PASS Summit 2014—My Sessions and Free the Comments

This week, I had the honor of being selected to speak at the 2014 PASS Summit in Seattle, WA this coming November. As always, the program committee did an excellent job of combing through a ton of submissions. I was graced with two sessions this year—one is called “Building Your Second Datacenter Disaster Recovery in Microsoft Azure”, and the other is “Building Perfect SQL Servers, Every Time” (I’m noticing a trend here about building stuff)

For the Azure session, I started last year (at spoke at last year’s summit on the topic) of using a hybrid model for building an Always On Availability Group. At the time, the process was complex and fairly complicated. Since then, Microsoft has done a lot of work (as have I, I just finished writing a white paper with Stacia Misner (b|t) on implementing Power BI in Hybrid IT) to make the process easier in simpler. In this three hour session attendees will learn not just about availability groups, but other DR options like log shipping, mirroring and replication, and how to implement them in both cloud-only and hybrid models. It should be an interesting session, with lots of opportunities for my demos to fail.

My other session is about things that need to be done after installing SQL Server-it’s something I’m passionate about. As a consultant, I get to see a lot of SQL Servers, and they aren’t always pretty. SQL Server has a lot of pretty bad defaults in place (max memory, max degree of parallelism, data file autogrowth sizes) and these can lead to poor server performance if left in place. In addition, you will learn about how you can fully automate all of these best practices, so you don’t have to click next and watch the green bar go across the screen. I’ll also talk about the lessons we learned in building a private cloud environment at Comcast.

For my final comment, there has been a lot of controversy around session and precon selection for this summit. I had several friends on the program committee, who I know put a lot of work into comments on each abstract reviewed. As a speaker who gets rejected sometimes (and who doesn’t) being able to read those comments (even on selected sessions) is a great resource for feedback and understanding about what to change. For whatever reason, PASS has decided to not supply speakers with this comments, which I feel is a big mistake and an insult to the program committees and speakers who put in a lot of work to write abstracts and comments. #freethecomments

SQL Saturday #294—It’s a Wrap! #sqlsat294

I just finished organizing my third SQL Saturday event in Philadelphia, this one being our biggest ever. I’d like to thank all of my volunteers for making this event happen and be successful again. This year, we were on either side of TechEd, so I feel like that helped us with speakers. Also, for the first time ever we decided to have a precon day with myself and Stacia Misner (b|t) talking about Big Data and Power BI, and Allan Hirt (b|t) doing a really well regarded lab session on Always On Availability Groups. These were well received—I was surprised at how late most of our attendees registered. The last week saw a significant increase in registrations with a couple of attendees registering the night before. I did offer speakers a healthy discount on pre-cons—we had a few speakers sign up for some extra learning.

We are fortunate enough to have a really fantastic facility at Microsoft and a great representative there. The venue is central, close to my house, and the layout allows good foot traffic for all of our sponsors. One of the issues we’ve had in the past, was having attendees not print out their SpeedPASSes, this year we had the budget to offer a Xbox One as a prize, and it seemed like we had about 85% of our attendees show up with their SpeedPASSes printed.

In closing, I would like to thank all of my sponsors, my volunteers (you were awesome), and my speakers. Putting these events on isn’t easy, and it takes a great team to do it all.

T-SQL Tuesday #055: SQL Server 2014, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

T-SQL Tuesday is here (sorry for delay, work is busy, and I’m running a SQL Saturday this week). I will be hosting this month’s edition. Since SQL Server 2014 has been out for a couple of months now, I wanted to solicit opinions. What features are you really happy about? What features should be tossed/fixed immediately/taken out back and shot? Did SQL 2014 break your application, and do you know why?





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