Jul 212015

I’m extremely honored to once again be part of the speaker lineup for PASS Summit. This will be my 4th year in attendance and my 3rd year speaking, and the joy of being there never gets old. It’s an incredible gathering of people from all over the world who are passionate about data, and returning each year feels like a family reunion.

This time around I will be presenting about security, a topic near and dear to the hearts of many, especially with the number of newsworthy security breaches that have occurred the past few years. I’ve always wanted to present a beginner-level topic, and this year I got my wish. I’ll be talking about the basics of security in SQL Server: how to make sure everyone requiring access to data gets exactly what they need and nothing more, and that people with no business seeing certain data have no ability to. Here’s the abstract:

SQL Server Security Basics
The past few years seem to have had more than their fair share of high-profile data breaches, not all of which were caused by sophisticated hacking attempts. This session explains basic methods for securing your SQL Server by making sure you’re not leaving the proverbial front door unlocked (or in some cases, wide open). We will discuss the different levels and methods that can be used for granting and restricting rights, as well as the pros and cons of each. You learn steps you can take to design databases with securability in mind from the beginning, so that you can better protect your data later. We also demonstrate scripts that can help audit user rights and make sure logins don’t have any more permissions than they need. Security doesn’t need to be scary! Attend this session and gain a solid foundation on which to build your DBA career.

If you haven’t signed up for PASS Summit yet, register today! There’s still time to negotiate with your employer and see if they can help cover some or all of the cost. It’s an incredible investment in your career. If you want to learn from some of the best in the world, this is where you go to do it. I really hope to see you there!

Jun 242015

I’ve been to nearly all the SQL Saturday locations in the Midwest at one point or another, but Indy has been one of the very few that’s evaded me. (Minnesota, you’re next!) I’m very happy to be presenting in The Circle City this year at SQL Saturday Indianapolis on August 8 2015! I’m really looking forward to being part of the tremendous group of presenters put together by the organizing committee.

My presentation is all about the wonderful new features in SQL Server 2014 other than In-Memory OLTP, more commonly known as “Hekaton”, which was it’s feature codename. In-Memory OLTP is arguably the most significant feature in 2014 and tends to get the most love, but SQL Server 2014 offers plenty of other awesomeness that far more environments can benefit from. This session gives those other features some much-deserved attention, and shows attendees how they can take advantage of all the new improvements.

If you haven’t already signed up for SQL Saturday Indianapolis, register now! I hope to see you there!

Feb 242015

I’m definitely a fan of Wisconsin. I never really developed a taste for beer, but I do love Culver’s and cheese curds, so that counts, right? I’m also very happy to be presenting at SQL Saturday #387 in Madison on April 11 2015!

I had a blast at SQL Saturday Madison in 2012 and 2013. Last year I missed it, but with good reason – I was speaking at SQL Saturday Boston instead. I’m very happy to be heading back, though, and am looking forward to seeing friends and sitting in on some sessions by the other speakers in their amazing lineup.

My presentation this time around talks about all the wonderful new features in SQL Server 2014 other than In-Memory OLTP, more commonly known as “Hekaton”, which was it’s feature codename. Whenever SQL Server 2014 is brought up, Hekaton is usually one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s even got it’s own Wikipedia Page. It’s a neat feature, but SQL Server 2014 offers plenty of other awesomeness that far more people will benefit from. This session gives those other features some much-deserved love, and shows attendees how they can take advantage of all the new improvements.

If you haven’t already signed up for SQL Saturday Madison, do it soon – spots are filling up fast! Registration is still open as of right now. I hope to see you there!

May 212013

Tomorrow I am making the trek up to Madison to speak at MADPASS! I had a great time there last year and am looking forward to heading back.MADPASS Logo

I’ll be giving my talk on SQL Server’s data compression feature entitled “The Skinny on Data Compression.” I’ll be explaining how data compression works and sharing some of the things I’ve learned about when and where to deploy data compression that I’ve accumulated over the past 2 years of using it.

Greg Kramer will also be presenting tips and tricks regarding DAX that both Excel and SQL professionals should find useful.

WHERE: 2310 Crossroads Drive, Madison, WI 53718

WHEN: Wednesday 22 May 2013, 5:30PM

Hope to see you there!

Apr 242012

This past weekend I was very fortunate to be able to attend and speak at SQL Saturday #118 in Madison, Wisconsin. This was a top-notch event; all the hard work and planning that went into it really showed in how smoothly things ran.

My trip began around noon on Friday, which was a great decision because I hit no traffic at all on the way up there. I checked into the Crowne Plaza Madison and ended up with a little time to kill before heading out to help set things up. The hotel was excellent, featuring a pool and free wi-fi that was surprisingly fast. I’ve been gouged at other hotels for a much slower connection!

SQLCowA large group of volunteers converged on the venue around 4pm Friday to help with setup, stuff goodie bags, and make sure everything was ready to go. So many showed up that things got done significantly faster than planned, meaning more downtime before the speaker dinner started. Downtime’s never a bad thing at these events though – we all hung out at Ale Asylum, a brew pub with some very tasty beer!

The speaker dinner was held at Benvenuto’s Italian Grill, where much merriment was had, along with some excellent Italian food. Afterwards a lot of us headed back to the hotel bar before turning in for the night.

Doors opened for registration at 7:00 the next morning. The event was held at Madison Area Technical College, which was a terrific venue. There was excellent classroom space featuring large projector screens, plenty of desk space for laptops, and most rooms had tiered seating to help with visibility. The hallways were wide and there was plenty of open spaces to mingle and network with others. Much like the hotel, it also featured some impressively fast wi-fi.

My session, where I talked about data compression, was at 8:00 am – the first timeslot of the day. This was fine with me as I am very much a morning person. Not only was I awake and ready to go, but I had a pretty lively crowd of attendees that were eager to get the day started as well. My presentation filled the 75 minute timeslot perfectly, with enough time for some great questions afterwards.

Lunch was a delicious Wisconsin picnic featuring bratwurst, hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, and cookies for dessert. To facilitate conversation on specific topics, this was a “Cows of a Spot” lunch, where speakers were assigned to specific tables marked with topics and attendees could come with their questions. I manned a table on performance and had some great conversations with those who stopped by.

The sessions themselves appeared very well-organized, and those I attended personally were of excellent quality. I was particularly impressed by how room monitors were assigned to each room and evaluation forms were given to speakers immediately following their session. Of all the SQL Saturdays I’ve spoken at this was the first time I’ve gotten to see my evaluations. I can remember one where the evaluation forms got lost before we got them, and another where it wasn’t communicated that speakers had to come pick them up so they were thrown out instead. Giving the forms to the speaker immediately following the session eliminated any confusion and made sure the evals got in the right hands as quickly as possible.

After a full day of training, closing ceremonies and the highly anticipated raffle drawings took place. There were some great prizes, including many books, Amazon Kindles, and even a HP Mini! The after party was held at Wilson’s Sports Bar across town. Unfortunately I don’t have a whole lot to say about this, as I left for home shortly after it started. I’m sure an amazing time was had by all, and you’ll be able to find blog posts by others who stayed.

All in all I thought this was an excellent event. While it was the first SQL Saturday in Wisconsin, it sure felt like it was put on by a bunch of seasoned pros. Many thanks to the organizing team, which consisted of Jes Borland (blog | @grrl_geek), Ted Krueger (blog | @onpnt), Gina Meronek (@equerystrian), Leonard Murphy (blog | @phonetictalk), and the MADPASS Board: Tim Benninghoff (blog), Matt Cherwin (@control_group), Tony Sebion (@tonysebion), and Steve Novoselac (blog | @scaleovenstove). Also a huge thanks to the sponsors – without their support it wouldn’t have been possible.