Bob Pusateri

Nov 202017
 

I’m very happy to announce that registration is now open for SQL Saturday Chicago 2018! This year we have a new and larger location! Our event will take place at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

If you’re not familiar with SQL Saturday, it’s a free day of training for data professionals, covering a wide variety of topics relating to database administration, database development, business intelligence, and professional development. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to network. Registration for the event itself is free, with an optional lunch provided for $15.

Our call for speakers is also open – please submit your session(s) by 25 January 2018! We are always looking for new presenters. One of the founding principles of SQL Saturday is to develop new community speakers, so if you’ve ever wanted to present at an event like this, please consider submitting!

Our call for pre-conference sessions is also open! If you are interested in delivering a pre-con, please email abstracts directly to sqlsaturday719@sqlsaturday.com. Pre-conference session abstracts will be accepted until Friday 22 December 2017 at 5:00pm CST.

I hope to see you all in March!

Nov 142017
 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written for a T-SQL Tuesday, but I saw this month’s topic and felt compelled to throw my 2 cents in. Our host for the month, Ewald Cress (@sqlOnIce) is asking for us to write about people who have made a meaningful contribution to our lives as data professionals.

There have certainly been a lot of people who have helped me get to where I am with my career today, but for this post I’d like to take things back to the very beginning. He wasn’t my first boss, but was the first DBA I ever encountered in the professional world. He also got me my first real DBA position when a spot opened up on his team. Chuck Rummel (@crummel4), this post is for you.

The first time I met Chuck was at a job interview for what would come to be my first job out of college. I recognized Chuck’s name from all my years of Boy Scouting, and I seem to remember that he had highlighted the line of my resume that said I was an Eagle Scout. That served as a pretty darn good icebreaker, and we ended up spending just as much time talking about camping and outdoor adventures as we did about technical topics.

Like I said, I ended up getting the job…as a .NET developer. It turns out that even though I wanted to be a DBA really badly, most companies aren’t going to hire one straight out of college. Oh well – gotta start somewhere, and for me that was writing and optimizing code that pulled lots of data from databases. Databases maintained by a team that Chuck was in charge of. I can remember very clearly the first time I needed to add an index to improve a query’s performance, but I couldn’t add it myself due to lack of permissions. I marched around the corner to Chuck’s cube to request rights to create indexes and very promptly got shot down. It turns out that denying requests from developers is kind of a core job skill for DBAs, and I got to learn this first-hand by being on the receiving end for a while.

Helping and teaching others – what Chuck does best.

I can also remember the first time I passed a certification exam – it was something for SQL Server 2005. I was so proud of myself, and made a point of showing my result sheet to Chuck, partially (ok, maybe mostly) to show him that I really can do this DBA stuff. After about 2 years of developing applications, learning good querying practices, and maybe dropping hints that I wanted to work for him every once in a while, a position opened up on Chuck’s DBA team and I don’t even think I had to apply for it.

So now I’m a DBA, living the dream! I’ve got sysadmin rights and a boss I really look up to. Then my education truly began. Of course there was tons of database skills to learn along with details about the environment, but there’s also the finer points of business. While it’s quite easy to shoot down a rookie developer’s request for permissions, it’s slightly different when such a request comes from someone above your pay grade. Chuck, you taught me all of these things, and so much more. You taught me what it’s like to work on a good team with great chemistry. You taught me what to expect from a great boss, something that I’ve really only experienced once more since leaving your team. You also taught me that there’s no shame in wearing Far Side T-shirts that might have a hole or two in them to the office, because when your workplace explicitly states they have zero dress code these things need to be taken advantage of!

In short, thank you for getting me going on the path to where I am today by being a terrific leader, manager, and friend.

May 112017
 

Thank you to all who attended my session on “Passive Security for Hostile Environments” back on the 3rd of this month. I consider it an honor to be part of such a wonderful lineup. I just received my evaluations and comments, and am very happy to report that the results were extremely positive. Thank you very much to the people who took the time to rate my presentation and offer feedback, which I will include below.

I was also very surprised to hear that my session had 193 attendees, which puts it in the top five in terms of attendance – wow!

If you weren’t able to attend but would like to check it out, a recording is now available.

My slide deck is available for download on the 24 Hours of PASS site.

Demo scripts and other resources are available here.

Feedback

Sessions were evaluated based on four questions, and I received 78 total responses.

  1. How would you rate this session overall?
    Excellent: 60    Good: 18     Average: 0     Fair: 0     Poor: 0
  2. How would you rate the speakers’ presentation skills?
    Excellent: 64     Good: 13     Average: 0     Fair: 0     Poor: 0
  3. How would you rate the speakers’ knowledge of the subject?
    Excellent: 71      Good: 6      Average: 0     Fair: 0     Poor: 0
  4. Did you learn what you expected to learn from this session?
    Agree: 67     Somewhat Agree: 7     Neutral: 3     Somewhat Disagree: 0     Disagree: 0

I also received the following comments:

  • excellent demos and real deep dive into the details of each area he covered.
  • Your demo scenarios were very effective in showing the strengths and weaknesses of each option. Well done.
  • great use of demos!
  • Thank you!
  • Great presentation. Good demos – be great to get a copy of the scripts.
  • I had a lot of familiarity with DDL/DML triggers and Event Notifications. There were some new aspects you showed that I had not considered. Impersonation, for instance. Policy based management is something I haven’t used, but have read about. The session helped reinforce what I’ve learned in the past. Slide decks are great. But I prefer live demos and the code. You had a good, complementary mix of both.
  • Wow, this was incredibly good! So well organized. You covered a lot of territory.
  • Great overview of the different tech
  • Very clear explanations and demos, great pace for a webinar. Packed full of useful examples for real projects. Thank you!

 

Apr 242017
 

I’m extremely proud to be speaking at the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS: Data Security and Data Quality webinar on May 3-4 2017. For years now I’ve been wanting to present for 24 Hours of PASS, and I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity!

If you’re not familiar, 24 Hours of PASS is a series of 24 free webcasts delivered over 24 hours. My presentation, “Passive Security for Hostile Environments” is on May 3rd at 15:00 GMT!

Here’s the abstract:

Ideal database security settings usually exist in books, but rarely in reality. Is your CIO a member of the sysadmin role because they demanded it? Or maybe some users have rights for purely political reasons? Just because you can’t enforce security through typical means doesn’t mean you’re powerless. Attend this session to learn about the features SQL Server provides that will allow you to keep track of what your users are up to at all times and sleep a little easier. Through various scenarios and demos, see how technologies such as event notifications, auditing, and extended events can help ensure nothing happens on your system without you knowing about it. Even in optimally secured environments these techniques can still come in handy. The best security is often that which cannot be seen.

Sound interesting? Sign up today! Registration is open, and you can sign up for my session along with all of the others here.

 

Apr 062017
 

At last month’s SQL Saturday in Chicago, we had two great distinctions:

  • We were SQL Saturday #600, a milestone! (But weren’t SQL Saturday numbers going away?)
  • We also were the first SQL Saturday to use the new logo, which is just one part of the major rebranding project undertaken by PASS last year.

At PASS Summit 2016, PASS announced several new logos as part of it’s rebranding campaign. There were new logos for PASS as a whole, SQL Saturday, 24 Hours of PASS, PASS Summit, and Business Analytics. In general they’re not terrible. I actually really like the new PASS logo. The old one just never made sense to me. Was it a St. Andrew’s Cross spider on top of a storm warning flag? (Since Sharknado was a hit, a movie about a hurricane full of spiders is a guaranteed blockbuster, right?) If there was any symbolism behind that old PASS logo, I’ve never heard it.

Old (left) and new (right) PASS logos

The new PASS logo, on the other hand, has a nifty story behind it. It’s all the different facets that make up PASS coming together into one. I like that.

But then there’s the new SQL Saturday logo.

Old (top) and new (bottom) SQL Saturday Chicago logos

SQL Saturday’s new logo is much more refined than it’s predecessor, and it’s very evident that a lot of effort went into these new logos and this rebranding as a whole. That being said, I think the new logo falls short in a few key areas.

First of all, there’s the symbol itself. It definitely works well with the PASS logo, but look at it. If you’re thinking in SQL about it (and since it’s a logo for SQL Saturday, that’s not too hard to imagine) you’ll see that it’s literally “<>”, the T-SQL operator for “not equals”. I have to imagine that whoever designed this logo was a graphic designer with absolutely no clue what SQL is, or what the logo they designed meant to people familiar with it. And I think that’s okay to a degree, but very early-on in this process someone at PASS probably should have looked at that and said “ya know, that looks like a not equals operator. Is that really how we want to symbolize SQL Saturday?”

Second, the typeface used in the new logo is much more modern, and the letters are significantly thinner than the old one. It looks great on a computer screen or when printed on paper, but think about what SQL Saturday logos are used for. In a lot of cases they are embroidered on things like shirts or jackets. Did whoever designed this logo know that? Once again I’ll assume they didn’t, otherwise they probably would have accounted for that.

The smaller a detail is, the more difficult/expensive it becomes to embroider, and this logo definitely qualifies. Just look at the PASS logo located inside the SQL Saturday logo. It’s microscopic. We had to use a bolder typeface for the speaker jackets we gave out in Chicago this year; it just didn’t look good otherwise. We also had to make it single-color, and remove the gradients. But by making all those changes, we technically changed the logo, which has become a big no-no in recent years. The SQL Saturday Wiki states: “Per the SQL Saturday license, the event logos provided to you by PASS are not to be altered in any way.” So if changes are necessary to be able to embroider this logo, but it can’t be altered in any way, does that mean organizers will have to run afowl of the license agreement? Or just do away with speaker shirts altogether? I don’t know, and I’m not sure there’s any way to tell.

SQL Saturday Chicago embroidered on jacket

It really doesn’t have to be this difficult though. This logo is still quite new, relatively unused, and there seems to be quite a few members of the community (SQL Saturday organizers in particular) who think this logo could use some work. Why not change it now? I’m sure there’s a way to come up with something that fits in with PASS’ new branding, is easier to embroider, and has a better message than “not equals.”