Well, it’s been a while since I last did some presenting, mainly due to having purchased a new home and having gotten stuck in with renovating it.
After a successful session up at SQL Server User Group North East last week talking about using PowerShell to migrate SQL Server instances, I’ve another 3 sessions lined up around the country. 2 as part of the SQLRelay set of events, and 1 one at the Leicester SQL User Group
All 3 sessions will be my presentation “Transaction Log Basics”, this abstract should give you a good idea of what to expect:
Every SQL DBA has at least 5 transaction logs that they need to take care of. But what exactly is going on inside that file? Why can it be a performance issue? Is it really that important? And why does it keep filling my disks when I’m not looking?
This session will answer all of those questions. We’ll be looking at how SQL Server relies on it’s transaction, best practices that will keep it performing properly and explaining why it’s so vital to your databases and your job to keep is safe!
It’s a perfect introduction to SQL Server transaction logs and also a good way to make sure you won’t fall into problems later on.
Includes the presentation as a pdf, all the PowerShell scripts used during the presentation, the SQL scripts to build the demo databases, plus the backups of a couple of the databases to speed things up.
Readme.txt gives a quick overview of each script and the order to run through them in.
It’s the 2nd Tuesday of the month, so it’s another T-SQL Tuesday. This months is being hosted by Bradly Ball (blog | twitter) who’s set us the assignment topic of “Second Chances”.
Now I’m sure most SQL Server DBAs (and all other techies for that matter) have lots of stories where something went horribly wrong ,and they got another chance to get it right, either with or without their employees best wishes. But those are mostly horror stories to scare people onto the right path!!
Instead I wanted to talk about about those ‘second chances’ you get, even when the first chance went well (And was probably ignored by the PTB becase of that, c’est la vie). They go well, and we feel happy as we leave the office. But there’s alway the niggling feeling that we could have done it better somehow. Maybe it could have been faster, or we could have taken the chance to implement more features, and that’s where our second chances come.
Even if I’ve done the same task before, I want another chance to try something different when I do it again. Perhaps I’ve read something online, and it looks good on my test rig, and now I want to try it on something large but not too important. Or I’ve been to some training (or conference) and picked up some useful information from a presenter. This is a perfect opportunity to try it out, but very carefully, unless you want to end up needing one of those less pleasant second chances.
And I take it as good practice to regularly review previously written scripts or setups. 3 months after you’ve written it’s amazing what can jump out at you as a less than brilliant solution, or a bit of fresh insight offers you a better way to set things up. Another good reason for keeping notes on how things went when you do a large piece of work. For example, I have a folder full of notes I’ve built up building SQL Server clusters over the years. Because I can refer back I can make sure that I don’t repeat mistakes (and there have been some), but can also look at what can be improved (even non technical aspects, my recording spreadsheet for clusters has become a thing of great use rather than an after thought).
As SQL Server professionals we should be trying to make sure we’re always learning and refining our skills, so we need to make sure we take all the opportunities we get to improve and learn. Even if it is just doing something we’ve done before again, or we think we can shortcut things by just reusing the same scripts we’ve used before.
So grab hold of second chances when they come along as they can be a good thing.
The session will be about how I’m using PowerShell to manage awkward backup scheduling (instances with hundreds of databases), performing automated restores to test those backups, and then to verify the restored database. With all of this being logged somewhere to keep the auditors happy.
OK, so I thought it might be handy for SQLBits 2013 attendees to have some guidance to the better pubs in Nottingham and Beeston.
My idea of a better pub is a good wide range of well kept beer, plenty of room, friendly knowledgable staff, food available and somewhere I wouldn’t mind spending a night sitting chatting even if I wasn’t drinking their beer
If you’re staying at the East Midlands Conference Center, then you are on the Beeston side of town. There’s some very good pubs that side, but they are about a 30 minute walk from the conference centre or a 10 minute taxi ride (probably about £6 each way). If you do want to venture out, then the best 2 are:
Smallish pub in the Lace Market area, by St Mary’s church. Can get very busy at office closing time, but thins out once they’ve had a pint. Good range of ales on, and a lot of bottles as well. Plenty of European lagers. Good food as well.
Little bit out of town up Mansfield Road, but worth the trip (the Golden Fleece on the way up can be worth stopping for one if you need a breather). Another former CAMRA pub of the year winner (we seem to have quite a few in Nottingham). Always well kept beers, and a huge whisky selection. Another pub with a very good food menu. And it is holding a mini beer festival the weekend of SQLBits so there’ll be even more choice than usual.
Built into what remain of the old Nottingham City Centre hospital. Unusual in that I’ve never been in a completely circular pub anywhere else. Good range of beers, good tasting platters (3x 1/3 pints plus bar snacks). Food OK, but standard pub options done well rather than anything exciting
A little wander up Derby Road past the cathedral, but worth it for a pub built back into the caves of Nottingham. Always well kept beers with a good range of guests. Restaurant style eating available.
Nottingham CAMRA keeps a good list of other pubs as well. And while SQLBits is on, they’ll be hosting their annual Mild in May event, where a larger number of pubs will be making sure to carry some of the finer examples of this beer type
If you want any other recommendation, or something close to a particular hotel, just drop me a line and I’m sure I can come up with something for you.
This is the story of how I cam to love presenting, how we went through a rocky patch, but patched it up in the end.
Years ago I was getting swamped by work. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be another call coming in, another request for something to be done, another bit of housekeeping that was begging to get done, all of it landing on me and swamping me. End result,an unhappy DBA who didn’t feel as though he was developing any new skills or progressing his career.
Then I realised, hang on I’m part of a team, why aren’t we sharing? So at a rare team meeting I asked around, and it turned out we all felt the same. While we all wrote our mandated documentation, no one really felt they could delve into some else’s domain. So we decided the best way was to do presentations across the team, cross training each other into our areas.
This was a revelation. Suddenly people were interested in helping out, documentation didn’t seem quite so much of a chore as there was a real point to it. Team meetings changed from a dull routine to satisfy management into something to look forward to as a chance to learn something new. Everyone in the team learnt some new skills, and we became a much more efficient and cohesive team. And because we were efficient we had more time to learn new things for ourselves, so everyone was a winner. And I discovered I loved presenting. Seeing the light break as someone grasped a new concept, having to approach things from a different angle, having to break down concepts to there simplest levels to make sure I understood them; all of this was great
But soon the shine wore off a bit. We’d passed on all the work related information, and the excitement of presenting had warn off a bit as I knew my audience to well. With every presentation I knew the level to target, and even the best way to address a topic to specific team members. So me and my presenting stumbled around in the doldrums for a bit. I’d occasionally get excited when I learnt something new to me, but the thrill just wasn’t there anymore…..
I’d been attending SQL User groups for a year or so, and loved seeing some of the top SQL Server gurus from around the world presenting to small groups and having to deal with such a wide range of audience knowledge and engagement. I mean, only a short slot to present something technical, to a group you’ve never met, when you’ve no idea if there’s going to be an expert in the crowd ready to pick you up on something, where there could be a large section who have no interest in your topic but you still need to win them over, this looked like just my sort of gig.
I’ve now presented at 2 SQL Server user groups. And each time I got that same feeling from years ago. The flame is back, and I’m constantly thinking about how to improve my presentations, or how I can build one out of things I’m currently working on. I’m also paying more attention to speakers presenting skills than I did before, trying to work out if there’s anything I could ‘borrow’ to improve my skills. And I dig deeper into topics, because I want to be able to explain each oddity, or be ready for the off kilter question from the audience.
In fact most of my training for the coming year is based around becoming a better presenter and teacher. I want to do more User group presentations, have submitted to a couple of SQL Saturday events, and want to try to do some of the larger conferences next year. I’m also working on an MCT, and am even considering taking some speaking classes
So go on, get up on the stage. Presenting, whether to colleagues or a User Group could be just what you need to perk up your career or rekindle your passion for your job.