Challenge Accepted

My life for the last 2 years has been a constant battle of putting out fires with system performance; finally user complaints have moved getting this resolved as my top priority.

Let’s see how I tackled the problem…


  • Very High Disk Latency as high as 300,000 milliseconds (ms) is not unusual
  • Average: 900 – 15,000ms
  • Memory Pressure
  • Slow User Experience


  • Bad hardware
  • Over-provisioned VM Hosts (what happens on one VM effects the other)
  • Old NetApp SAN
  • No infrastructure budget for new hardware

Challenge: Make the system viable with no hardware changes or tweaks

Step 1: Brain Storming (in no particular order)

  • Reduce I/O
    • I can probably tune a ton of old stored procedures
    • I need to do a full review of all indexes
  • Reduce blocking
  • Investigate daily data loads
    • How is the data loaded?
    • Can it be improved?

rubx3Step 2: Reduce I/O & Investigate daily data loads

After doing some research, it was found that we were truncating 48 tables daily with over 120 million records as part of our morning load. The process was taking over 2 hours to complete each morning and would often cause blocking. During this time users would run reports and complain data would not return in a timely manner. So I thought maybe this would be a great place to start.

I also noticed we were loading 8 tables to keep them “real time for reports” once every hour.  This resulted in a total of 9.6 million records being truncated and subsequently reloaded, taking approximately 17 minutes of every hour.

Solution: Implement transactional replication instead of doing hourly and morning truncate and reloading of tables.

Outcome: Once implemented the disk I/O dropped drastically and disk latency reduced to an average 200ms. The morning load times dropped from 2 hours to 9 minutes and the hourly load went to 5 seconds down from 17 minutes. Now, the disk latency is not optimal still but better. Best practices say it should be below 20ms.

This solution was difficult to accomplish because of all the work that went into it. Once the replicated tables were stable, I first identified which stored procedures were utilizing those tables (I used Idera’s SQL Search for this). Then I changed each procedure to read tables from new location.

Next, I had to change any SSRS reports that had hard coded calls to those old tables (Note: don’t do this. Always use a stored procedure). Finally, I looked for any views that called the tables and adjusted those as well.

In two weeks’ time, over 500 stored procedures, reports and views were manually changed.

It is probably worth noting that this was all done in Production simply because we do not have a test environment for this system.  Yes, I did get a few bumps and bruises for missing a few table calls in store procedures or typo’s or nasty collation errors that arose.  These were bound to happen and some changes I was not able to test during the day.  All in all it went really well. Having a test environment would have alleviated these, but not all of us have the luxury.


The OOPS: Unfortunately, not long after I implemented the first couple of tables I began to notice blocking. When I investigated I found it to be replication. I forgot a very important step, which thanks to a blog post by Kendra Little I was able to quickly identify and solve. I needed to turn on Allow Snapshot Isolation and Is Read Committed Snapshot On. Her blog was a HUGE help. You can read at her blog all the details as to why this is important here: . Once those to options were implemented the replication ran seamlessly and the blocking disappeared.

Step 3: Index Review

First of all, I always preach as a Lone DBA don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel, use what is out there. So I turned to the trusted scripts from Glenn Berry (B|T). You can find them here: . I am not going to supply snippets of his code, feel free to down load them directly from his site to review.

I started by reviewing duplicate indexes and deleted\adjusted accordingly where needed. Then I went on to looking for missing indexes (where some magic happens). This reduced the amount of I/O because it lessened the amount records that had to be read due to using proper indexing.

Now just because these scripts stated they were missing I didn’t just create them; I evaluated their usefulness and determined if they were worth the extra storage space and overhead. Glenn’s script gives you a lot of information to help decide on the index effectiveness. As you can see with the first one in the result set, if the index was added over 45,000 user seeks would have utilized it and query cost would drop on average by 98.43%.  Again I didn’t arbitrarily add this index because it was in the list.  Once I determined I would not be creating a duplicate or similar index on the table and given the potential of better performance with the suggested index, it was added.


Oh one more OOPS…(why not, learn from my mistakes)

After going thru the indexes exercise and adding indexes to the tables (in the subscriber), I lost all of them minus the Primary keys. Yep, made one change to a replicated table and the replication reinitialized; all my indexes were dropped. Needless to say I was not a happy camper that day. Lucky for me each index I added was scripted and put into a help desk ticket. I was able to go back thru all my tickets and resurrect each index I needed. Now, to be smart, I have scripted all of them and place those into one file, so I can re add them all if needed in future. I haven’t found a way around this yet, so if anyone has any information on how to feel free to let me know.

Step 4: Performance Tune Slow Stored Procedures (the fun part for me)

Armed with Grand Fritchey’s (B|T) book on Execution plans for reference I began tuning any stored procedure I was aware of that was taking more than 2 minutes to run. In total, I tuned about 77 of them, most were report related or part of data loads. I found many benefited from indexes being placed on temp tables within the procedures. Others were doing too many reads based on bad WHERE clauses or joins.

Another thing I ran across was functions used in where clauses or joins. Example of which is date conversion functions that were converting both From and To Dates used a BETWEEN statement. The functions caused each date value to be processed by the function before being evaluated by the WHERE clause, causing many more reads then necessary. To work around this I read in the data and converted the dates into temp table, then did my JOINS and WHERES on the already converted data. Alternatively, depending on what the statement was I also converted the value and placed in variable for later evaluation.

There were so many more things I came a crossed and tuned such as implicit conversions, table spools, and sorts that were not optimal. All of these were fixed by little code changes. I am not going into all of that because this post would be quite long, but you get the point.

Happy Side Effects: After cleaning up the tables and implementing replication I actually free up 300 GB of storage and greatly reduced our backup and restore times.rubix1


Things are running much better now; introducing Replication reduced enough disk I/O to keep the system viable. For now latency now hovers on average between 2 and 200 milliseconds, which is a vast improvement. I do, however, still see spikes in the thousands of milliseconds and users still complain of slowness when they run large ad-hoc queries within the application (JDE Edwards E1). Unfortunately, that goes back to hardware and the application itself which are things that I cannot improve upon.  The good news is, I am hearing a rumor that we will be installing a Simplivity solution soon. I am very excited to hear that. I’ll blog again once that solution is in place and let you know how that goes.

This Idera ACE Has Been Busy

This year has been a whirlwind so far, thanks to the Idera ACE program. For those that don’t know what that is …

What is an Idera ACE? (According to Idera)


“ACEs (Advisors & Community Educators) are active community members who have shown a passion for helping the community and sharing their knowledge. We help the ACEs pursue that passion by sponsoring travel to select events and offering guidance for soft skill training.”

Requirements to become an Idera ACE:

  • Enthusiastic members & leaders of the SQL community
  • Accomplished contributors to the SQL community
  • Good speaker, writer and presenter
  • Demonstrated a passion for educating fellow community members

Being an ACE has been both a very busy and very rewarding experience for me. Idera has given me the means to be able to share my knowledge as a Lone DBA and help others who are also in this predicament make the most of it. Since October last year, thanks to the generosity of the ACE program and the exposure it has given me, I have started my own blog, presented at a total of 9 SQL Saturdays, and 2 User Groups. I have also hosted 2 Idera #SQLChats on Twitter (links below) and participated in a SQL Hangout with Cathrine Wilhelmsen (B|T).

hangoutSo far, I have given my Lone DBA session to over 200+ SQL professionals, tweeted in SQL topic specific Idera #SQLChats to with a combined over 600 tweet interactions and had 200+ views on a video chat SQL Hangout.

One of my biggest talking points I try to convey is the power of networking and getting “virtual co-workers”.  Making those connections with others in the community is vital when you are a Lone DBA. I speak on the importance of building those relationships with those that can help you with their experience and expertise. Being an ACE has allowed me to vastly grow my network of “virtual co-workers”, by letting me travel to so many SQL Saturdays. I’ve had the pleasure in meeting so many speakers and attendees.  I make it a point at each of these events to make new co-workers and offer up any help I can give others.

The biggest reward for me is after my session is when attendees do their homework. Yes, I assign homework.  During the session, I ask each attendee to take advantage of what the SQL community has to offer by getting on Twitter and begin growing their own personal network.  Usually within a few days, many of them have created a Twitter account and has sent me a tweet.  I then take the opportunity to introduce them to the #sqlfamily.  I get a kick out of sitting back and watching each of them get involved in the community because me. It makes me giggle every time.

Of course, all good things must come to an end.  My year as an ACE is wrapping up in the next few months and I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you to Idera for a wonderful program. I encourage everyone to take full advantage of these types of programs and make the most of what they have to offer. I urge those that do, to not only take advantage for themselves but also to pay it forward. Give back to the community in any way you can. We can all benefit from each other with our shared experience and knowledge. The ACE program has really motivated me to get more involved and contribute to the #sqlfamily.

Stay tune to what comes next for me.

SQL Saturdays

 Washington DC

ABQ, New Mexico

Richmond, Virginia

Atlanta, Georgia

Pensacola, Florida

Louisville, Kentucky

Kansas City, Missouri

            User Groups

Richmond Virginia

Nashville Tennessee

            SQL Chats

Building Name Recognition

Building Your Career as SQL Developer or DBA


Summit Submission Feedback Response

I’m It Survival Tips for the Lone DBA – Level 100

(Not Accepted: Higher rated session selected)

Track: Professional Development

As others have done I also will share my feedback from my submission to speak at PASS Summit in hopes it will lend some more insight into the process.


Are you the only database person at your company? Are you both the DBA and the Developer? Being the only data professional in an environment can seem overwhelming, daunting, and darn near impossible sometimes. However, it can also be extremely rewarding and empowering. This session will cover how you can keep your sanity, get stuff done, and still love your job. We’ll cover how I have survived and thrived being a Lone DBA for 15 years and how you can too. When you finish this session, you’ll know what you can do to make your job easier, where to find help, and how to still be able to advance and enrich your career.

Topic: Handling High Stress Situations



  • Show how to manage the people you work with (boss, developers, etc) to control expectations around your life and environment.
  • The importance of tools and how to build out the best tool set to support you in your job.
  • Discuss tips on building out your support resources (people, blogs, etc) to help you get through your day.


  • This is more related to dba track rather than prodev. Also is survival really career development? Many would say that working 15 years as a lone dba could equate to failure in some peoples eye’s and I would struggle to want to see this session based upon info provided.
  • Interesting topic; 1st/2nd/3rd person tense shift -bad. Borderline PD topic.
  • I like the title. Good topic and goals. I’d like to have more details in the abstract of what content to expect.
  • Well written abstract with clear goals and a well-developed outline. The topic is one that should appeal to a large audience. The title and abstract are catchy. Overall a really good abstract. Sounds like a session I would enjoy attending.

My Thoughts:
Honestly, I was a little taken a back at the first comment. I found it insulting and not helpful. I am not sure how telling someone working as a Lone DBA for 15 years is seen as a failure. Especially when those of us that do it, manage to do the work load of multiple people by ourselves.  After considering it, I forwarded the comment on to PASS as being inappropriate and unconstructive. I was pleasantly surprised at their response. I give kudos to all the hard work that goes into reviewing the comments before they send them out.

Secondly, I fully understand how some would feel that this is not a Professional Development session, maybe I should have put in under Database Administration. I still have mixed views on that. In any case, I have found this session to be well received and always have 15-25 in attendance at SQL Saturday’s. Regardless of the feedback I will continue to submit it to SQL Saturdays and Summit next year. There are many Lone DBA’s out there and I will to continue to lend them a hand by sharing my 15 years’ experience with them.


SSRS Report Won’t Render in VS Preview

I love getting get a laptop, but getting all the software reinstalled and making sure everything works can be trying. Last week, I was lucky enough to get a new one and spent two days getting it setup just right. At least so I thought…. once I started working on it of course, BAM I hit my first road block. Visual Studio using SQL Server Data Tool will not render any reports in the Preview tab.

Let the trouble shooting commence!

  1. Error Message? No help… gives me nothing useful


  1. Can I deploy report to SharePoint and View? (We use SSRS Integrated Mode)- Success!! This leads me to believe the issue probably lies on my local machine. 
  1. Test Datasets? Can I return data from my query or store procedure connection in Query Designer – Yes. Did I test all my datasetsYes


  1. Should I try to uninstall and reinstall? So I did just that. After 2 hours finally was able to test and guess what NO GO! 
  1. Did I install all service packs to VS? Missed one – so installed and tested, still no luck     



  1. Try Running Visual Studio as Admin (suggested by fellow Twitter tweep, Martin Schoombee @sqlmartin) – tried… yep no difference
  1. Finally was given a suggestion to delete my shared data sources and re add them. (suggested by fellow Twitter tweep, John Morehouse @SQLRUS)

I deleted the shared data source for my report I was testing and re-added it. Hit the PREVIEW and BINGO IT WORKS!

So now to see WHY???

Looking over all my data sources I noticed that any of them that use “SQL Authentication” had the user blanked out. Any reports that had used Windows credentials worked, of course, first 5 in my project were all SQL Authentication, just my luck. So instead of actually deleting and re-adding all 30 shared data sources in my project, I was able to go through and just re-input the SQL user names and passwords.

Double Click on Share Data Source

Go to Credentials

If SQL Authentication re-input user name and password

Click OK


Questions still remained as to why my data sets tested ok and returned data. My guess is that it was using my network credential to connect to the data source upon execution. That’s my only explanation and reason why it didn’t dawn on me to check the shared data source connections. The second question is to why the user names were wiped out. My assumption is that they are locally stored and were not carried over to new laptop.

Since this was an interesting mystery I figured I would do a simple blog, so anyone else that may have this issue can have a reference. Hope it helps.

The Shield

small shieldHow many of you are known as the “Grumpy DBA” or have a bad reputation with users because you are always saying no or they have to wait? I know many DBAs that have this reputation. To avoid this, I use my manager as a shield and suggest you do too. As a Lone DBA, with an extremely full plate, I learned that having that shield is necessary. It prevents me from being seen as the bad guy and protects me from work overload.

We all experience what I call, “Drive Bys”, when people are asking for stuff on the fly. Telling someone “No” while they are waiting in your office can be hard to do and can reflect poorly on you.  So how do you avoid that? While you probably cannot prevent the drive by, you can however; fix the perception the user has as they walk away. When drive bys occur I take time to listen to the user’s needs, let them know I will look into it, and then follow up with my manager without giving a yes or no to the work.  I’ve found this to be not only the best way to keep from becoming a “Yes Man” and trying to fulfill every request, but also keeps me from having to say no.

Using your manager as a shield puts management of the workload on their shoulders instead of your own.  This, in turn, keeps them apprised of the work load, and prevents your plate from getting too full without negative user perception.  My manager has no issues saying no to users or prioritizing requests appropriately.  Doing this removes you from being the bad guy and prevents the opinion that the user’s needs aren’t important to you.

The key to maintaining a healthy user relationship is to make sure their needs are heard and you are doing your best to give them what they need to be effective at their jobs. It’s easy to become the Grumpy DBA when you’re forced to be the nay sayer. With my shield in place, I can tell the users that I passed the request along and their work is being prioritized. If they have any questions they can follow up with my manager to see where their request stands.

So far this works well for me, as a Lone DBA, and has become vital in preventing me from becoming over worked, over whelmed, and burnt out.  If you don’t already have a shield in place, I would recommend talking to your manager and seeing if you can work towards one.

Good luck!

SQL Family: The Wonder Years

Last week, Bill Wolf aka @SQLWareWolf and I somehow got onto the topic of High School pictures. So in jest, I decided to post mine and hash tagged it with #SQLHSPics on Twitter. I challenged others to do the same, only really expecting @SQLWareWolf to respond in kind.  I was floored with over 100 picture responses from #SQLFamily. Many of them went searching through attics, yearbooks, called relatives, and other great lengths to be part of it. As always the response was heartwarming and hysterical to say the least.


The reason why I am taking the time to blog about it is to reiterate how great it is to be part of this amazing community of SQL professionals. If you’re not already involved, then I encourage you to get involved. These wonderful people not only provide me with mentoring, education, laughter, and mental breaks, but also a true sense of family. Not many know, but I am going through some big things in my life and that week was more difficult than most. The #SQLFamily, unknowingly, helped me get through it with a smile and I am grateful more than you know.

Exhibit A: David Klee, @kleegeek (our winner for most laughs, re-tweets, and memes by far)












After this picture was posted it lead to a slew of responses and new hashtags including #myfirstklee, which showed pictures of peoples reactions to David’s picture.


react2 react react 3

Love to all my #SQLFamily and thank you!

Where else would you find highly professional people posting pictures of their most awkward growing years for us all to comment freely about?

You know that, I can’t end this without posting some of the pictures from that week!


Hs1 hs2 hs3 hs4 hs5 hs6 hs7 hs8 hs9 hs10 hs11 hs12hs13hs14hs16

Back to Basics: Why not parameterize?

I think sometimes those of us that have been doing database administration/development for a while take it for granted that everyone knows the basics. One such basic is parameterizing stored procedures. This allows us to potentially consolidate multiple stored procedures into a single procedure.  It’s as simple thing to do that many don’t.

I try to parameterize as many stored procedures as possible. This not only minimizes the amount of procedures I need to maintain, it in my opinion is a much cleaner way to code. It disturbs me when I see multiple stored procedures that pull the exact same data, but may have slight differences between them. Whether it be a sort, a where clause, or even just an extra field or two that makes it different, some developers think you need a different procedure for each one . Why not consolidate and parameterize?

Exhibit A

The code below is an example of a real work scenario.  Originally, it was 8 stored procedures and with 8 correlated reports. By simply adding a Report Type parameter I was able to make it one stored procedure and as well as consolidate to a single report.

To add a new dataset just right click on Datasets and choose Add Dataset. Since the report is a stored procedure we set the dataset connection string to the stored procedure name and its parameters. This is just my preferred method. You can also choose the stored procedure from the drop down.


rptTrackMonthlyStats @ReportType, @year, @startdate, @enddate


In the Report Type parameter, choose add Available Values. I typed in each option so the user could choose which report layout/data they wanted to see from drop down. That parameter will be passed to the stored procedure upon execution and the proper dataset will be returned. The users will never see the T, TD etc. they only see the label so it doesn’t make any difference to them what those are.

Parareport connectiom

You can even go as far as using these parameters to hide and show different report elements, but that’s for another time. Stay tuned for more back to the basics.

NOTE: There are some reasons not to do this, like the reuse of the execution plans and parameter sniffing but in these cases consolidating would not be an issue as they use the same parameters.

QUICK & DIRTY: Table name change for all stored procedures

Recently, I was tasked to find all stored procedures in a database that use a particular table and change them to utilize another table. I needed to get this done quickly so I decided to think simple. Since it was a quick and dirty answer I figured I would share, it’s not rocket science, but useful none the less.

The quick answer that I came up with is to script out all of the stored procedures into a single query window.  This can be done easily through the GUI.  Once that is complete, I can easily do a “Find & Replace” on the table name and we’re done!

Let me show you how!

Step 1: Script out all stored procedures for a database

Right Click on Database > Choose Tasks> Choose Generate Scripts


If you have not used Generate Scripts before it has a great wizard to walk you through it. You can create scripts for the entire database or just certain objects. You can even narrow it down to a single stored procedure. In this case I wanted all stored procedures.


Step 2: Choose Stored Procedures all or specific ones


Step 3:

Then I went to the ADVANCE Options and set Continue on Error to TRUE so it will  skip any issues that might surface. If there are issues, I will address them at a later time. I also chose to create the scripts to a new query window.  By doing this, it’ll be very easy to do a find & replace on the table names.


Step 4: Once the new query window was populated I did a simple find and replace of the table name I wanted to change. I also changed the word CREATE PROCEDURE to ALTER PROCEDURE for all of the procedures so that I would not need to drop and replace.

Step 5: Back up your database!!! Another option is to simply keep a copy of the script before any modifications had been made. In the event of an error, I can just rerun the original script to put things back to what they were.

Step 6: Run Script

In this case, 365 stored procedures were updated and I had the process completed in about 15 minutes. Not too shabby.

*Remember it’s best to always do this in test first.

It’s time to speak again!

My second time speaking at a SQL Saturday is upon us. This weekend I will be giving my Survival Techniques for a Lone DBA session at SQLSat470 Washington, DC.  Living in Virginia, I am surprised that I’m a first timer to this event. I live only 3 hours away but December is usually crazy with my daughter’s dance schedules and I haven’t been able to attend until now.

My session is bright and early as the first session at 8:20 am and going up against some other great sessions. Thankfully they will have an actual barista on hand to make me a much needed espresso. So, if you see me a little dragging first off and then more peppy as we go along you know that the espresso has kicked in. Obviously those that know me know that I am never dragging… so let’s just say if I am a little less lively just give it a few minutes.


So why don’t you start your morning with a little espresso as well and join me, SQLEspresso, for my session!!

I’m It – Survival Techniques for the Lone DBA

Abstract: Are you the only database person at your company? Are you both the DBA and the Developer? Being the only data professional in an environment can seem overwhelming, daunting, and darn near impossible sometimes. However, it can also be extremely rewarding and empowering.  This session will cover how you can keep your sanity, get stuff done, and still love your job. We’ll cover how I have survived and thrived being a Lone DBA for 15 years and how you can too.  When you finish this session, you’ll know what you can do to make your job easier, where to find help, and how to still be able to advance and enrich your career.

Why not attend?

So, if you are in our Nation’s Capital Washington, DC this weekend come out, get some free SQL Training and stop by my session that morning. You can register for the event at  and here is the lineup of sessions

November #SQLChat – How to Build your Name Recognition and SQL Network

For those who don’t know Idera Software sponsors a SQLChat on Twitter once a month. This month I got the privilege to host and had come up with a topic and questions for discussion. Below are the questions and answers I provided as well as some from others that chimed in. I think these are worth noting and give some valuable information especially to newbies of the SQL Community.

Q1: How have you benefited from networking with SQL professionals?

My Answer: As a lone DBA networking has gained me “co-workers”. I now have people to bounce ideas off of. I use these connections daily. Many have gained job opportunities based on just networking and getting to know other SQL professionals. I actually know several companies that hire based on SQL Networking relationships instead of utilizing recruiters. Networking exposes you to so many other facets of SQL you may not have otherwise looked into. My follow- up responses are depicted in italics.

A1: I have met incredible people who opened doors for my career. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them – @SQLDBA Kendal Van Dyke

I too have experienced this.  Getting connected and familiar with the SQL Community can really launch and expand on your career.

A1: If you don’t talk to folks in the same prof. you in a silo in many ways that can be a serious obstacle to progress – ‏@sqlmal  Malathi Mahadevan

I totally agree with this one. I found myself before I started networking in my own little world not really expanding my knowledge.

A1: I’ve built my network & ID’d a Go-To SQL Person for a variety of problems: Backups, mirroring, index, optimize, etc – @IrishSQL Rie Irish

I actually talk about this is my SQL Saturday presentation. Getting Go-To experts in all aspects of SQL Server is key, especially for a lone DBA like me. You cannot be an expert in everything, but you can build a network of those who are experts in their own realm of SQL Server.

A1: I was burnt out & wanted to change professions before I went to my first UG mtg and started meeting people and it re-energized me –@sqlgator Ed Watson

It is so easy in this field to get burnt out. I truly love how inspiring and motivating our community is.

Q2: What avenues have you used to build your SQL network?

My Answer: Twitter first and foremost. I am on it almost every day talking to SQLFamily and building those relationships. Even if it is just to say “Good Morning!”, people get used to seeing you every day and you becoming more involved. I also blog now and speak at SQL Saturdays. Now that I am an Idera ACE for 2016 you will be seeing more of me this year as I travel around to more SQL events. I am extremely excited to get even more involved.  Another great aspect of this community is that it’s easy for introverts to mingle their way in because it’s so inviting. We have lots of introverts in this community. There is a place for everyone.

A2: I’ve found that while SQL Sats, Summit etc are helpful, adding in Twitter is like rocket fuel for the process- @sqlstudent144 Kenneth Fisher

This is very true, add Twitter to your networking tools and you will see how much of an impact it will have.

A2: On Twitter since an amazing #SQLPass at the recommendation of @GlennAlanBerry been blown away by the SQL Love and support on Twitter – @_adamnichols Adam Nichols

I love this one. It goes to show how inviting our community is to new comers. The passion for what we all do shines through even in just 140 characters.

A2: Twitter! SQLSaturdays, user groups and events like PASS Summit and SQLBits. Newest is Slack – @cathrinew Cathrine Willhelmsen

The WIT (SQL Women In Technology) group has just started a new Slack channel, for those ladies that want to get involved, drop me an email or direct message I’ll get you invited.

A2: I joined the #sqlchat today and from reading the Tweets, it feels like a great SQL resource – @crhanks Cary Hanks

This is exactly why we do these types of things. It helps to get more involved and share our experiences with each other.

Q3: How can newcomers get started on networking within the SQL community?

My Answer: Get a Twitter account! Just start interacting don’t be afraid to jump into conversations, we don’t bite and I hear we have cookies.  Make sure when you setup your Twitter account and use SQL in your handle or at least in your Bio. It helps us recognize family members. In addition, change your avatar to an actual picture of yourself, start getting yourself out there. It’s great to put a face with a name.

A3:  Advice for to newcomers is to start with your local user group, attend SQL Saturdays and talk to the organizer and Tweet. – @LindsayOClark Lindsay Clark

If you don’t know if your town has a local user group, visit the PASS website and look it up.  If there is not one near you, try a virtual chapter those too are a great resource and way to get involved.

A3: Agreed if it is on Twitter and you can see it, it’s a public conversation –jump in. – @DanielGlenn

This a great tip to remember and several others chimed in and stated the exact same thing. Jump in to conversations freely, people will respond to you. Don’t be afraid to do so.

A3: Getting out of lurker mode on Twitter helps. Introduce yourself! I  often suggest new users of Twitter give a look to @BrentO’s free ebook on the topic Vicky Harp

This is fantastic resource for those new to Twitter. Great advice Vicky! I also completely agree with getting out of lurker mode. You can gain a lot by watching conversations and reading the information shared but you again even more by participating.

Q4: Do you have name recognition? Why do you think that’s important?

My Answer: I am working on building name recognition, I’ve begun using SQLEspresso on my blog, cards, and emails. I think it’s easier to remember then a name. I think building name recognition just opens doors it is not about becoming “SQLFamous”.  I’ll admit it floors me when someone recognizes me as SQLEspresso, I get a kick out of it.

A4: I heard “Oh, hey, you’re @AMtwo!” more than once at PASS Summit. Name recognition helps build relationships – @AMTwo  Andy

I’ve had this same thing happen, many others in the chat said they did too.  Since we are all located all over the globe social media, blogs etc. are our personalities and only interaction with many #SQLFamily members.  It’s important to build that name recognition and keep building it in order for people to remember you because of the lack of in person interactions.

A4: I have some name recognition. Enough for me. It helps when I need answers & gives more weight when I give answers – @IrishSQL Rie Irish

A little goes a long way. I agree with Rie, the more your name is out there the more credence you responses and questions get.

A4: I try to use the same photo of myself everywhere to help with self-brand recognition –  @johnsterrett  John Sterrett

This too is great advice. If you are trying to build a brand or name recognition consistency across all platforms is a must.  I’ve actually just started doing this myself.

Q5: What names or brands do you recognize? Why do you think that is?  

My Answer: There are so many names in the SQL Community I recognize because they make themselves visible and give back to the community.  They also promote others to get involved; you can see their passion for SQL Server and its family.

A5: Brent Ozar (wicked marketing chops) Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp etc. They all have excellent branding –@sqlrus John Morehouse

These are a few of the “big” names you see every day. Why are they big names… because they give their time and knowledge to our community. They are active and are consistent in their brands image.

A5: I recognize people who write books/blogs, who speak at UGs & SQL Saturday type events, & engage, on Twitter. –@SQLDBA Kendal Van Dyke

I think Kendal’s response enforces the idea of noticing those that get involved and give back.

A5: Leaders are “created” by their efforts and community acknowledgement. The most referenced names are that was for a reason. – @tomsql Tom Staab

A5: I think cheerful helpers in the SQL community gain name recognition whether they seek it or not. –@vickyharp Vicky Harp

I can’t agree more with Tom and Vicky. You don’t have to seek name recognition it is naturally created. You probably have more name recognition than you think.

Q6: How do you find time to network and build your personal brand? Are you able to do it as much as you’d like?

My Answer: I make time. Even just a little here and there makes a difference. I take a minute every day to pop into Twitter and say Hi.  I have started writing a weekly blog, as time allows and I give my time to my SQL user group. For those who know me personally they know I have a crazy schedule and as a lone DBA my work load is tremendous but the SQL community is important to me and I find time to network and get involved. It’s worth every minute of my time.

A6: I spend time building my brand and networking without knowing I am doing it. I focus on things I am passionate about so it’s really just my hobby time – @johnsterrett  John Sterrett

Many people have a brand and don’t even know they do. It’s just something the freely develops and can be cultivated if wanted.  I also find and think most people will agree if you’re passionate about SQL server it is a hobby for you and you make time. It’s one of the great things about our careers; we find it fun and don’t think of it as a job.

A6: I wish I could spend time participating in #SQLChat today. A meeting’s preventing me from it. Just wanted to say I <3 #SqlFamily –@DBAArgenis Argenis Fernandez

This is exactly my point. You make time. Argenis wanted to support me in this #SQLChat and made it a point to make time. Thanks Argenis!

All and all the chat session went really well. There are a lot of take a ways from this. The few I have I highlighted here helps drive home my point.  My notifications on Twitter blew up with so many responses; I wish I could include more in this post. We actually broke a record for Idera on the most tweets and involvement for a #SQLChat with over 370 tweets.  Thanks to all that played a part in the conversation, I hope it was as fun for you as it was for me. I am looking forward to next month’s topic.