Jan 072019

The SQL Saturday Chicago 2019 team is very happy to announce this year’s pre-conference sessions! We received many submissions this year, and are pleased to offer the following:

Pre-conference sessions will take place on Friday, 22 March 2019. You can find out details about each session, pricing, and register by using the above links.

If you haven’t already registered for SQL Saturday Chicago, which takes place on Saturday, 23 March 2019, registration is open! As has been the case in previous years, in the event that registration fills and we go to a wait list, registering for a pre-conference session will allow you to bypass the wait list!

Stay tuned for more SQL Saturday Chicago updates – we hope to announce our general session schedule shortly!

Jan 032019

I was very fortunate to attend my first SQLBits last year, and wow was it an amazing time! Not just because it was in London either (though that was great too!) but because it is a tremendously well-organized conference with some incredible sessions and opportunities to network.

This year I not only get to return, but am honored to be presenting a pre-conference session with David Klee!

Sound great already? Register here!

SQLBits has many excellent pre-conference choices this year, but I think you will find ours particularly useful because we’re focused on cloud infrastructure. Infrastructure still matters, and yes it matters in the cloud too! Poor infrastructure choices can lead to poor performance, but in the cloud they can also lead to a much higher bill! Here’s the abstract:

While your on-premises infrastructure is likely maintained by another team, in the cloud this responsibility falls on you. Whether your organisation is just planning for the cloud, all-in, or leveraging a hybrid architecture, this course is designed to ramp you up on maximizing your investment in the cloud components that you utilize. Infrastructure skills are essential when managing your environment in the cloud. Knowledge is power; key items such as firewalls and connectivity, storage presentation and performance, baselining, and even platform selection are all necessary areas of concern. Capacity management is also crucial, as the old ways of “throwing hardware” at a performance problem will translate into a larger bill each month. Attend this session to learn how to efficiently manage cloud resources, set yourself apart from your peers, improve the performance of your mission-critical workloads,and potentially save your employer money!

We really hope to see you there!

Dec 272018

2018 is almost over, and it’s been an incredibly busy year for me. I’ve done more speaking and community activities this year than ever before, and had something big going on almost every month! In this, my final post of 2018, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the highlights.


I started off the year with my first-ever trip to SQL Saturday Nashville. While the weather didn’t cooperate on Friday (an ice storm shut the venue down, leading to the cancellation of pre-conference sessions) things were back to normal by Saturday and it was an excellent event that I will be happy to return to sometime!


I made my first trip to SQLBits where I volunteered and presented two sessions! I’ve heard so many great things about this conference and had wanted to get there for a few years. I’m extremely grateful I was chosen to present. It was an amazing week in London and I got to meet so many new and awesome people. I can’t wait to return in just a few short months!

SQLBits 2018 Volunteers


In March we held our ninth SQL Saturday Chicago (my 8th as an organizer), in a new, larger venue. We were able to accommodate more attendees and pre-conference sessions than ever before, and a great time was had by all!


One of my favorite SQL Saturdays takes place in April, and it is also one of the closest to my home; I was very happy to return to SQL Saturday Madison, Wisconsin in early April as a presenter.


I presented for the PASS DBA Virtual Group for the first time!


Another personal first for me came in June, when I presented a webinar as part of the SSWUG Spring 2018 Virtual Conference.


I was very happy to return and speak at the Chicago SQL Server User Group on an exciting new topic: Azure Cosmos DB!


September was my busiest month ever, in my busiest year ever.

I’ve long-wanted to present at SQL Saturday in Oslo, Norway, and this year the stars aligned and I got my chance! It was an amazing trip and my favorite SQL Saturday by far.

I also presented for the Chicago Suburban SQL Server User Group, and I returned to Boston and presented at my second SQL Saturday there.


As a Friend of Redgate, I was very happy to help out and speak at Redgate’s SQL in the City Summit in Chicago.


I was once again very fortunate to go on a week-long marathon and present at SQL Saturday Portland, ride the SQLTrain, and deliver two sessions at PASS Summit in Seattle. Not only did I receive extremely positive feedback, but I also had the second-best-attended session of the entire conference!

Presenting “SSMS & T-SQL Tricks” at PASS Summit 2018


I finished up the year by traveling to Boston and presenting at the New England SQL User Group!

Looking Forward

2018 has been a great year of growth for me, both personally and professionally. I believe that 2019 is going to be even better, and can’t wait to see how things turn out!

I hope all my readers enjoy the last few days of 2018, and I’ll see you next year!

Dec 202018

When designing presentations or writing blog posts, I try to use good looking images whenever possible. When mentioning Microsoft technologies, quality copies of logos or icons are really nice to have, though not always easy to find. Image searches often provide results, but the legality of using images found via that method is questionable. Thankfully, Microsoft provides a collection of high quality images just for this purpose!

Check out the Microsoft Azure, Cloud and Enterprise Symbol / Icon Set!

This really is a great collection of symbols and icons, with many available in vector format as SVG. If you’re not familiar with scalable vector graphics, they are exactly what you want to use in things like slide decks because they can be scaled to absolutely any size without pixellating.

And there’s no question about the legality of using them either. The attached usage instructions are some of the most concise I’ve ever seen. You can use them in diagrams, slide decks, books, videos, or your own documentation. You can resize them, or change the monochrome symbols to be white on a colored background, but not modify them in any other way. Diagrams should contain at least one Microsoft technology in order to use the symbols. Finally, you cannot use them in user interfaces, but you can request permission to do that if you need.

This isn’t the only icon/symbol set Microsoft has publicly released either. Here are some others:

So the next time you find yourself writing about a Microsoft technology, be sure to check these sets out – they will likely have relevant logos you can use!

Dec 182018

Azure Data StudioAzure Data Studio (formerly Microsoft SQL Operations Studio) is Microsoft’s new “cross-platform, lightweight tool for modern database development and operations.” It is not a replacement for SQL Server Management Studio (not yet anyway), but I can see it becoming one over time. It is under constant development and improvement, and if you tried it back when it was first released and didn’t like it, I urge you to give it another spin. I find myself using it more and more because I really like the feel of it.

One thing about Azure Data Studio I’m not too keen about, though, is that many of the keyboard shortcuts are different. One keyboard shortcut that’s particularly helpful to me is using Ctrl + E to execute queries. I realize that F5 is the most common key to execute a query, however on most laptop keyboards you now need to hold an additional key to make the function keys behave like function keys. For this reason, Ctrl + E is a wonderful and quick alternative, but it doesn’t work in Azure Data Studio. Or didn’t, until now.

Fortunately, Azure Data Studio is designed to be expanded upon with extensions from both Microsoft and the community. In the case of keyboard shortcuts, a particularly helpful one is called SSMS Keymap, which ports many popular SSMS keyboard shortcuts into Azure Data Studio. With this extension,  Ctrl + E is once again an option, and I no longer have to click “Execute” with a mouse, or fumble to find my laptop’s F5 equivalent.

If this sounds appealing, try installing the SSMS Keymap extension yourself. Here’s how:

At the toolbar on the left, click the “Extensions” icon, or type Ctrl + Shift + X. This will open the Extensions view.

In the Extensions search box, start typing “SSMS Keymap”. The SSMS Keymap extension should appear in the results.


Clicking on the SSMS Keymap result will bring up a screen with more information about the extension. Clicking the green “Install” button will redirect you to the SSMS Keymap GitHub page, where the actual .vsix installer file can be downloaded. Download it.

At the top of the Extensions view is an ellipsis. Click it, and then choose Install from VSIX. Select the .vsix file you downloaded.

Azure Data Studio will prompt you to restart.

Congratulations, you did it! Now you can enjoy the SSMS keyboard shortcuts you love in Azure Data Studio!