See me speak at SQL Saturday 194 in Exeter


I'm Speaking at SQL Saturday 194

After a long time and plenty of prodding by a few SQL People I have finally submitted and been chosen to speak at SQL Saturday 194 in Exeter on the 9th of March.

My talk: Database Replication – What, How and Why will be about SQL Server Replication (surprise, surprise). I’ll be trying to explain the ins and outs of how replication works inside SQL Server and go into what components make up replication. I will finish up explaining when/why you would use replication.

I chose this topic because I work with replication on a daily basis and it seems to be a rare topic at conferences.  The reasoning for that could be that a) no-one uses replication or b) no-one wants to talk about it.  Either way, I was chosen and that means I am now knuckling down and trying to patch together a semi-coherent presentation on the topic.

Luckily I have a few people that are going to be there offering moral support (I hope). I am also on the volunteer team so that I can busy myself before my session to hopefully keep my nerves in check.

If you haven’t already booked and you are able to make it down to Exeter, take a look at the schedule and I am sure you’ll be convinced that it would be a good use of your time. Just look at the speaker line-up, some of the biggest and best names from around the world will be speaking, so please register and come and see some excellent content…… for free!

SQL Saturday 194 in Exeter

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SQLBits here I come


I recently found out that I am, unfortunately, not Charlie Bucket. The people over at SQLskills were offering a free ticket to one of their Microsoft Certified Master training camps dubbed SQLskills Master Immersion Events.

I entered into the competition on the off chance that I was picked and got to go to one of their week long training events. The gods were not smiling on me that day and I wasn’t chosen 😦

However, this has not deterred me from continuing my quest for awesome training. I mentioned in my entry to the SQLskills competition that I would be going to SQLBits VIII. I have now completed all the preparations to be able to go there in April.

I will be attending the Friday training day and the Saturday community day and am looking forward to it. I know a couple of the people on the speakers list (the Saturday sessions are still open to voting, so the list may change yet) and hope to either catch up with them (Andre Kamman / Blog – we met at the PASS Summit in Seattle) or finally meet them in person (Matt Whitfield / Blog – we met online at ASK).

I am also hoping to meet up with a couple of other people from the ASK) site (in no particular order):

Jonathan Allen
Kev Riley
Thomas Rushton

They have all helped me a great deal in the last 6 months and I think a pint is in order! On top of which I would love to finally meet some SQL people from the UK, they are very thin on the ground where I live.

I also plan on making this a sort of reconnaissance mission for my employer. They recently made it clear that the PASS Summit is too pricey and I have been inofficially tasked with finding top-rated training a little closer to home. The videos of previous SQLBits conferences are very promising, so I expect things to work out well on that front.

I’ll be staying at the Best Western in Brighton, just down the road from the conference. As this is on my tab, The Grand was a little too much for my wallet to handle (maybe work will foot the bill the next time and SQLBits will be at the Ritz).

I look forward to meeting people and learning a few new things whilst I’m beside the seaside, beside the sea.

Hope to see you there.

Off to see the wizard(s), the wonderful wizard(s) of PASS


This week I start the long journey to the PASS Summit 2010. My plans changed slightly since my initial post. I am now leaving a day earlier (Saturday) and fly from England to Amsterdam and then on to Seattle. The first flight is at 6am, so I will not be going to bed after my brother’s wedding, I will get out of the suit and into the taxi to the airport at 3am. I should arrive in Seattle on Saturday at about Midday local time. That gives me Sunday as a jet-lag recovery day.

I am taking a pre and post con (again). It makes so much sense when you travel half-way round the world to spend as much time in a class room!

I hope to see some familiar faces and meet up with people that I only know online. If you don’t belong to either of these groups, introduce yourself – I don’t bite 😮

PASS Summit 2010 – Seattle


After attending my first PASS Summit in 2009 I have managed to convince the powers that be, including my wife, that I need to go there this year.

If you haven’t attended the PASS Summit before or only know the European Summit), then you need to go to one of them.  They are invaluable resources, that pay for themselves through the contacts that you can make.  The hardest part (for me at least) is to talk to new people, but most people are in the same boat so just go for it.  The worst thing that can happen is that someone doesn’t want to talk to you!

It is going to be a little hectic for me this time round.  My brother is getting married on the Friday before the Summit, so I will be flying to England for the wedding, getting up at 07:00 to then drive down to London, to fly back to Germany.  The flight to Seattle is then on Sunday 11:30-ish from Amsterdam.  If I’m lucky, I will manage to stay awake from Amsterdam to Seattle, so I can get on local time a bit quicker. Trans-Atlantic flying really kicks you around the head!

I hope to catch up with a couple of people that I met last time, but would love to meet up with new people too.

See you there!

Training day in Cologne


I recently mentioned that Brent Ozar was presenting in Germany.  Well, that was today!

I found myself in a swanky office block in Cologne at 09:30 with about 25 other SQL Server professionals.  Brent was much “fresher” than I imagined after his trans-atlantic flight on the weekend.  I know that I felt rough the first few days of the PASS Summit, so hats off to him.  He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, either he travels well or his coffee was really strong!

He kicked off with his“Performance Tuning for Race Car Drivers” presentation.  This was followed by “Top 10 Developer Mistakes that Won’t Scale” and finished off with “Virtualization and SAN Basics for DBAs”.  The first two were presentations that I had seen on webcasts, where the third was totally new to me.  Although I had seen the videos, I still took away a lot of information that I could not get from the webcasts.  The possibility of clarifying a point then and there makes the learning experience much better.

I will be booking some time with my SAN and Virtualization Admin in the next few weeks.  I know he is good, and want him to teach me about our EMC SANs and VMWare environment.  Brent implied that the phrase “Trust, but verify” was very important when working with SAN and virtualization, because SAN/VM Admins basically lie to us DBAs! :o)

Luckily my SAN Admin understands and supports my decision to dedicate my SAN hardware for the database systems and has shown me that they are blocked from general use.  I even managed what Brent mentioned today: I got him to use SQLIO to test his LUN configurations before putting a new SSAS system on them.  He managed to spot a problem(bad RAID choice) and fix it before it became an issue.

In conclusion, I think the audience interaction at live events makes Brents already good presentation skills even better.  He quickly answers questions and tries to connect the answer to the topic that is being discussed.  Added to this, the limited size of the audience today made it that bit easier to follow him and get questions answered, that I may not have wanted to ask in a room full of 200+ strangers (I have to work on that before November – PASS Summit ;).

It was well worth the 5 hour round trip and I will be keeping my eyes open for any other oportunities to take part in something similar.

Brent Ozar Presenting in Germany!


Quest software are offering two training days on the 22.06 (Cologne) and 23.06 (Berlin) in Germany: http://www.quest.com/events/listdetails.aspx?contentid=11498&technology=34&prod=&prodfamily=&loc=

Brent Ozar (www.brentozar.com) will be presenting on three topics, and it looks like it will be really good.

The best part of it, Quest is offering the entire thing for free (food & drink included)!  So if you haven’t signed up, do so ASAP.

See you in Cologne.

UPDATE: You can find a round up of the training day here