Thankful DBA

This week is Thanksgiving in the United States, so I thought it fitting to write a quick blog on what I am thankful for as a DBA. These are in no particular order and feel free to respond with something you are thankful for. I’d love to hear it.

  1. Glenn Berry’s Diagnostic Scripts- (B|T) Used these for years. Really a great set of scripts and explanations that we all should be grateful for.
  2. Ola Hallengren’s (BMaintenance scripts. Index Optimization, Backup, and Integrity Checks for all! They have become an industry standard and continue to get better and better.
  3. RCSI (Read Committed Snapshot Isolation) –My Readers can stop blocking Writers! Thanks to Kendra Little (B|T) for this great blog.
  4. SSMS Results to grid and copy with header- I do this a million and one times a day. Ctrl+Shift+C .
  5. Query Store – Having the plan run stats and being able to force a plan, LOVE IT! Thanks Conor Cunningham and Microsoft for that one.
  6. Availability Groups – Easy setup and trustworthy. And, well, I like the name better than Mirroring.
  7. DMV’s (Dynamic Management Views)- Show me the money! It has all the SQL Server Internals goodies, mine for the taking.
  8. Profiler– #ProfilerForLife nuff said, my most trusted friend.
  9. Columnstore Indexes – I feel the need, the need for speed! Who doesn’t like up to 10x Query Performance gains and 10x the data compression?
  10. Paul Randal’s Waits Library (B|T)– I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to this. So much useful information!
  11. Adam Machanic’s SP_whosisactive (B|T) – This is my GO TO, for seeing what’s actively going on, it’s the first thing I run.
  12. Sentry One Plan Explorer– Execution Plans on STEROIDS! Yes, please. Love the detail and ease of use.
  13. RedGate’s SQL Prompt- My coding is downright ugly. With a quick Ctrl+K, Ctrl+Y my code is sleek and readable. Not to mention I love the code snippets.
  14. Grant Fritchey’s (B|T) Execution Plans book- I can’t wait for 3rd Edition, someone took my very loved highlighted, tabbed, marked up copy. I need another!
  15. Power BI – It puts the slicing and dicing into the user’s hands, giving Management easy visualizations of their data for analysis. Less reports for me to write, yippie.  Thank you Microsoft.
  16. dbatools – Great Power Shell Modules for migrating databases. No more doing it the hard way.

Last and most importantly I am grateful for #SQLFamily, Bloggers, and Twitter. I learn from you every damn day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

~Monica

Why I Go to Summit Each Year?

This year will be my 6th PASS Summit that I will have attended. Some people have asked me why I still go, and what I get out of Summit that I don’t get from attending and speaking at SQL Saturdays. That’s an easy one for me to answer, but a long answer at that.

Networking

First and foremost, it’s for the networking. Getting to meetup with so many other like minded people is gratifying. This networking allows you to exchange ideas, war stories, and downright geek out with others that know what you are talking about and don’t have their eyes glaze over when discussing optimizer internals.

On top of all that it’s career building. You never know when you will have that one conversation with someone that leads to your next career step. It’s the meeting of the #SQLFamily face to face that can sometimes lead to your name being brought up about a new position that may be opening.  Believe me, I know of many people that have landed their next opportunity just from the interactions they have had at Summit.

Sessions

Learning, learning, learning is the name of the game. The ever-changing world of data happens so fast these days and I want to keep up. It is impossible in every environment to have a chance to get exposure to all the facets of SQL Server and other Data related topics. Summit gives us a wider view into what’s out there, and provides ideas of things I may be able to implement.

Vendors

I love gadgets and gizmos. Learning about what products are out there to make me more efficient at my job is always something I look forward too. Tools were essential for me when I was a lone DBA so I always looked forward to visiting each booth and see what’s new with them. Spending a lot of time on the show floor is a good investment of time–you get to meet folks who work for the vendors who support the community, and the tools and offerings they have.

CAT Team

Did you know the Microsoft Customary Advisory Team (CAT) team is onsite and willing to answer all your questions FOR FREE? Yep, no $300 for support to just pick up the phone, they are there in person. I’ve asked them a question each year pertaining to an environment I was working in, in which they were able to help me solve. The CAT team isn’t support–they work with the biggest workloads SQL Server supports and have seen almost everything.

Inspiration and Renewal

I always find a sense I renewal after attending Summit. I get a little kick start on new things to do at work that makes my job even more exciting. Many people get into rut or routine and their jobs can become mundane. Getting out of the office and seeing others that have the same passion for data as you can really help.

Lastly, Friendships

Summit is a #SQLFamily reunion of sorts. Many of us converse daily on twitter and only get to see each other in person once a year. Summit brings us all together. Some of us are lucky and are able to meet up with each other more frequently as we travel to SQL Saturdays and other events, but Summit is kinda like a home base for us. We all look forward to those #SQLHugs, catching up, and meeting new family members.

This year’s Summit will be a little different for me. When I am not getting my learn on, you will find me in the Denny Cherry & Associates (DCAC) Vendor Booth. Yep, this time I get to play booth babe. I can’t wait to be on the other side of the table telling other attendees what DCAC is all about and helping talk through some of their performance issues.

Anyhow this maybe my 6th PASS Summit but it won’t be my last. I encourage all who have never been or have gone before to go. It’s not too late to register, if you use discount code in the image you can save $150. There is so much you can get out of it each and every time to attend.

See you there!

Time for a Change

I am ecstatic to say I have joined Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting.

Lone No More

I am happy, excited, and nostalgic to announce that I am hanging up my Lone DBA hat and becoming a consultant. Yep, you read that correctly, I’ve decided after 16 years that I am going to change things up a bit. I am switching gears and will be helping those who are Lone DBAs and others by lending them a hand with their work loads.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a Lone DBA. So, I will continue to speak on the topic and mentor others in that boat, but it’s time to give myself a little more freedom. Over the past 16 years I have been on call 24/7, even working while in labor, on vacations, nights, and weekends. I really think now is the time to slow down just a bit. My normal speed is 150 miles an hour so down shifting to 100 will allow me to spend time on what is important to me, my family.

Why DCAC?

First and foremost, the people. I am looking forward to working with and learning from Denny (B|T), Joey (B|T), and Kerry (B|T). These guys are wicked smart and most importantly know the importance of the SQL Community. They have a wealth of knowledge to share and I cannot wait to tap into it. With DCAC, I will be getting exposure to so many new environments as they are a renowned global provider of IT consulting and work on the cutting edge. I absolutely love learning new things and can’t wait to dive into things like Azure, which they excel at.

DCAC will give me the flexibility to speak and blog more which I genuinely want to do. Getting out into the community is also a strong passion of mine and moving out of the Lone DBA role will give me greater ability to do so.

Thanks, DCAC for bringing me on board, can’t wait to get started.

About Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting

The vetted and certified experts at Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting assist companies with attaining IT goals such as HA, scalability, SQL Server virtualization, migration and acceleration reliably, while finding ways to save on costs. With clients ranging from Fortune 50 corporations to small businesses, their commitment to each is the same: to provide a deft, high-speed IT environment that leverages every aspect of their platform: from architecture, to infrastructure, to network.

DCAC was named by CIOReview’s 20 Most Promising Azure Solution Providers of 2016.

Lone DBA Podcast

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on a Podcast episode with the SQL Data Partners Carlos Chacon (B|T) and Steve Stedman (B|T).  If you haven’t had a chance to attend one of my sessions on Survival Tips for the Lone DBA, this is great insight into it. I share via questions and answers how it is to be a Lone DBA.

http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/03/28/episode-89-lone-dba/

Ooops! Was that me? (Blog Challenge)

We have all made mistakes in our careers, I thought I’d share one of mine as a quick tip to others so that you don’t make the same one.

Everyone has their SQL Alerts setup right? If not, I have included the script below and here is the MSDN link to find out more (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms180982.aspx).

alert-list

For those who have setup their alerts, how many of you have remembered to set the DELAY BETWEEN RESPONSES setting?

alerts

When I worked at the Port of Virginia, I was a little less experienced in SQL and didn’t notice this lovely little option. I of course failed to set it. Can anyone guess what happened? YEP, we got low on resources in the wee hours of the morning and SQL kicked off an Error 017-Insufficient Resources. Thousands of emails were generated and caused the Exchange server to go down as well as some other issues that arose because of this. The worst part is that all the emails had to finish processing before we could delete them from the system. I think when all was said and done there was well over 250k messages it created.

So the morale of the story is, pay attention to this little tiny option when you set up your alerts your Exchange Admin will thank you for it.

Blog Challenge

oops

Do you have a “Oops was that me” story to tell? If so, share it using hash tag #sqlmistakes. Link back to this blog, so we can all learn from each other.  I can’t wait to hear your stories.

Create Alert Script

 

T-SQL Tuesday #84 – Helping New Speakers

Ok everyone; here goes my first crack at replying to a T-SQL Tuesday. For those that don’t know what it is, it’s a Monthly blog topic hosted by a member of the SQL Community. It was started originally by Adam Machanic (t | b)

This month’s topic hosted by Andy Yun (t | b) is on Growing New Speakers, which I find to be a perfect topic for me to leap off from, since this was my first year speaking and blogging.

How did I get started?

I 100% blame Derik Hammer (t | b) whom at the time was running my local user group. After attending just one meeting I was “volun-told” I would be presenting in August. Yep my name was now on the speaking calendar and I hadn’t even thought of a topic, let alone ever contemplated speaking.

My First Steps to Presenting

After the shock wore off, I sat back and began to think of anything of value I could talk about. Since it would be my first time speaking I really wanted a topic I could talk about and not necessarily a technical talk. Thus my Lone DBA talk was born. Everyone has something of value in their career to talk about, for me this seemed logical.

Simple Steps to Get Started

Where to begin is always the hardest part after choosing a topic. This was my approach. Of course there is a lot more to it, but getting this far a huge step forward.

  • Jot down a list of things you want to talk about
  • Then put them in a logical order
  • Then write a sentence or two about each line item

Just taking the time to do this will get you going.

Don’t Be Nervous (HA! Yeah Right)

It’s very hard not to be nervous. The way I “try” to get around this is to strike up a conversation some attendees prior to the start of the session while you are standing up front.  I pretend after the session begins that I am still having that one on one conversation with them.  For me it creates a “friendly” atmosphere rather than one like a teacher\ student. Now my biggest problem is talking fast, I try REALLY hard not to but it’s bound to happen as I get excited about the topic. My point is nobody is perfect at speaking everyone will have their fault, don’t let it discourage you.

Lastly

Start with your user group, listen to feedback, have another review your slide deck, and most of all enjoy it. There is nothing like a “speaker high”. Being able to share your knowledge and influence just one person is very rewarding.

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)

ace

“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.

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.

Topic: Handling High Stress Situations

Prereqs:
None

Goals:

  • 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.

Feedback:

  • 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.

 

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.

Tweethspics

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)

THEN &  NOW

CaUAoeVWQAAQLLl

klee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

CaptureCapture2Capture3

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!

Enjoy!

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

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.

dcschedule

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 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/470/eventhome.aspx  and here is the lineup of sessions http://www.sqlsaturday.com/470/Sessions/Schedule.aspx