pointers, solutions and scripts for the SQL DBA
not intended to replace msdn, common sense or oxford commas

Monday, November 06, 2017

SQLSat Organizers and UG Leaders Meetings at PASS Summit - Tips and Tricks notes

At the SQLSat Organizers and UG Leaders Meetings at PASS Summit meetings last week, we were given an opportunity to share "tips and tricks" with other leaders, and I had the opportunity to.

Now that I'm home (despite a thrilling late-night sprint through IAH to make a connecting flight) and starting to get caught up on sleep and email, here's my notes I typed up, annotated with some links.

Happy to share and thanks for the followup questions afterwards, let me know if you have any more.

SQLSat Organizers Meeting

  • First off the Microsoft global sponsor is a big deal, I have strong positive opinions in that, thank you for that.
    • I am a big-budget SQLSat organizer, I think this is a really good thing. Bravo Microsoft.
  • Broad set of topics, “for everyone in IT”
    • We pull in 400-600 each year for past 5 years
    • We invite the developers, sysadmins, students, IT managers and CIO's, SharePoint…
    • More ROI for sponsors, a bigger audience that includes decision makers
  • Join the Empire - Fundraising for foundation (for local schoolsystem?)
    • Call your local chapter of the 501st Legion - star wars
    • They'll help you raise money for whatever charity you pick
  • Jambalaya is cheap
    • Rice, meat, spices, salad, sides, plates, $4-5/head
    • Similar dishes: arroz con pollo, paella, fried rice, shawarma and rice
    • It's also gluten free!
  • R is hot, what else is?
    • Example: Chris Hyde at capacity in 60-person room for R
    • Pay attention to the hottest topics if you have opportunity use your bigger rooms
  • Speaker goodie bags
  • Sticker game - part of vendor ROI
    • We give stickers to the vendors with instructions to give them out to folks who actually show interest
    • Attendees have to collect 4 out of 5 stickers, n-1 on a game sheet
    • They get to keep the one for their field, the stickers have said in the past, "I'm building" or "Performance Tuning" or "rising", so it's SQL or Careers or Code or Servers or BI
    • About $300-400 for five 500-count rolls of stickers (pictured, right)
    • Sample game card here.

UG Leaders Meeting


  • South Central Regional Leadership meetings held bimonthly with fellow RM Keith Tate
  • Talk to your local .NET
    • Build a critical mass of people for networking , but also for sponsor ROI
    • They have a new parent organizer, the .NET Foundation, which is finally stepping in
    • For a long time we’ve enjoyed being a chapter of PASS, and I think sometimes we take it for granted how great it is, other technologies don’t have it
  • Remote speakers? Must have a good AV setup
    • We’ve had remote speakers more often recently because our venue has given us a conference room with a big TV
    • Do NOT try to do remote speakers with a shabby AV setup. It will discourage people.
    • Always prefer building a local new speaker
    • You can still have a local lightning round speaker as the remote speaker stands by
  • Networking Night
    • Every year the month before our SQLSaturday, we add to the vendor ROI by hosting a networking night.
    • This is one of the biggest meetings of the year for us, 75+ folks show up, many new faces with resumes in hand
    • We have lightning round style talks on career topics, soft skills, entertaining etc. My wife gives a different talk from some aspect of the HR interviewing process every year.
    • http://www.brssug.org/group-news/batonrougeusergroupsnetworkingnight2017
  • Meetup
    • We paid for it with leftover sqlsat money in 2017
    • So far, we have gotten a handful of first timers from meetup, but few retained regulars
    • Other User Groups have had A LOT of success with Meetup.com
  • More social events
    • We’re trying to build more social camaraderie so we’re going to do official self-pay events at various locations around town
    • Especially in December annually

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The #SQLSAT Speaker Goodie Bag

Last summer, I heard about an awesome idea for speaker gifts at SQLSat Pensacola 2017 from organizer Karla Landrum and Tamera Clark (SQLSat Nashville). It was our 9th year of SQLSat Baton Rouge, we've had polo fatigue and were looking for fresh ideas for useful, memorable speaker gifts. SQLSat Nashville's speaker goodie bags, full of day-of-conference supplies, was an inspiration.

I personally heard that at least three speakers went to the bag during SQLSatBR, specifically for the Mini DisplayPort-to-everything video adapter common to laptops. It's an annual occurrence that someone with a newer laptop is dismayed to find they've left their adapter at home, and they don't have a way to hook up to the room's VGA or HDMI cable. I've heard other speakers mention it at user groups meetings since. And just today, my wife Christine (hrtact.com) mentioned that at work she pulls it out for the various useful items.

So in advance of the SQLSat Organizers meeting at PASS Summit this week, I figured I'd list out the contents and sourcing for the goodies that made it into the bag. For some of these, you can even "subscribe and save" via amazon for a huge discount... for one month. ;)

The idea is to give a useful pack of inexpensive things in a bag that sits nicely inside of a laptop bag. The goodies are small, bulk-purchased, inexpensive things that someone would need the day of a speaking event. Links to the items, almost entirely sourced from Amazon.com, are provided only as examples.
The total cost per bag ended up being around $31, or a little more than the cost of an embroidered polo shirt. The biggest single expense (and most often used) item was the mini DisplayPort, roughly half the cost of the entire bag.



Tuesday, October 03, 2017

VS Code: PowerShell and focusConsoleOnExecute

If you're used to the behavior of SSMS or PowerShell ISE where upon executing code in the script panel, your cursor stays in the script panel, then the behavior of Visual Studio Code's PowerShell default might be annoying. By default in Code, your cursor moves down to the PowerShell console terminal upon executing code.

Maybe that's your thing. If not, there's a preference you can change, immediately.

In Code, go to the File Menu -> Preferences to launch the User Settings screen. There's a setting to overwrite the default called powershell.integratedConsole.focusConsoleOnExecute, that's what you're looking for. Add it to the right-side of the Code settings window like this:
{ "powershell.integratedConsole.focusConsoleOnExecute": false,
}

It'll look like this:

The change takes place immediately.
Not using Code yet? Hop to! https://code.visualstudio.com/Download

My former long-ago colleague and PowerShell prize-winning guru Mike F Robbins has a good blog post and video getting you up to speed on Code, he discusses powershell.integratedConsole.focusConsoleOnExecute and more.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Twilight Timezone: Date and Time Architecture in your Applications aka Use DateTimeOffset, Your Future Self Thanks You

Thanks to everyone at a joint meeting of the Baton Rouge .NET and SQL Server User Groups who joined my colleague Steve Schaneville and me for a presentation on date/time data architecture in modern applications last night.

We reviewed the SQL and .NET architecture for date/time storage an informative and thought-provoking talk about handling timezones in your application architecture. Dealing with Time Zones is disconcerting, rarely straightforward, and often complicated! In the end, our architecture recommendations lead to two likely best paths - either using datetimeoffset (and optionally also storing the Time Zone Name information in a separate field) or storing the date and time in separate fields. (But preferably datetimeoffset.) There are few advantages and major disadvantages to storing only UTC data or all-in-one time zone data.

Steve and I are the principal consultants for appdev and SQL Server respectively at Sparkhound, and have worked hard to put together a joint presentation on this topic that is valuable to both audiences. We got a lot of great questions and positive feedback, as well as more notes to add to our presentation the next time, which will likely be at Houston Tech Fest 2017 in October. Got questions/feedback for us, actual use cases or lessons learned? Please reach out to us, our emails are at the end of the slide deck below.

You can download the slidedeck and sample code here.

UPDATE: Related to Steve and I's presentation on date time architecture, check out our colleague Vance's blog post on serialization: http://www.sparkhound.com/learn/blog/date-demo-blog



Friday, August 04, 2017

SQLSat Planner's Calendar

We just completed our 9th annual SQLSaturday Baton Rouge. In my post-mortem of the event, I've updated and tweaked the living, breathing SQLSaturday Planner's Calendar that I've been crafting for a couple years now.

If you are a SQLSaturday organizer of any level of veterancy, you may find this calendar helpful in remembering to keep up with the months-long building to your event. If you're on some of the SQLSat Slacks you have may seen an earlier version of this doc, and already I've received a ton of good feedback. I am open to feedback on what to add/move/modify in this calendar, please reach out one or another if you have some wisdom that another SQLSat organizer or I need to hear.

Link:
https://1drv.ms/x/s!ArJKDbZJcmzGgYUkumO4G1BeOzWrSw

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback!




Monday, July 31, 2017

Twilight TimeZone: Handling Time in Your App Architecture at SQLSaturday Baton Rouge

Thanks to everyone who joined my colleague Steve Schaneville and me for a presentation on date/time data architecture in modern applications. Steve and I are the principal consultants for appdev and SQL Server respectively at Sparkhound, and figured that a joint presentation on this topic would be valuable.

It was! We got a lot of great questions and positive feedback from our first audience at SQLSat Baton Rouge 2017, as well as a ton of notes to add to our presentation the next time, which will likely be at Houston Tech Fest 2017 in September.

We reviewed the SQL and .NET architecture for date/time storage an informative and thought-provoking talk about handling timezones in your application architecture. Dealing with Time Zones is disconcerting, rarely straightforward, and often complicated! In the end, our architecture recommendations lead to two likely best paths - either using datetimeoffset (and optionally also storing the Time Zone information in a separate field) or storing the date and time in separate fields. (But preferably datetimeoffset.) There are few advantages and major disadvantages to storing only UTC data or all-in-one time zone data.

You can download the slidedeck and sample code here.

UPDATE: Related to Steve and I's presentation on date time architecture, check out our colleague Vance's blog post on serialization: http://www.sparkhound.com/learn/blog/date-demo-blog

Our presentation at SQLSatBR 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Change RegisterAllProvidersIP setting on an existing Availability Group

Was working with a client who had an existing Availability Group, but did not have the RegisterAllProvidersIP setting enabled on their cluster. So, recent changes to their connection strings to take advantage of MultiSubnetFailover to minimize failover re-connection delay wasn't helping. Multisubnet failover needs to see both Listener IP's to help, so RegisterAllProviderIP's is required to be ON.

Here's why.

With RegisterAllProvidersIP disabled on the client access point (the cluster network), only one IP address is made available for the listener. When enabled, all site IPs for the listener are simultaneously listed. Connection strings using MultiSubnetFailover will try out all IPs simultaneously, providing for the fastest possible transition after an availability group failover.

Caveat remains that any connection strings that aren't or can't use MultiSubnetFailover will have problems. So RegisterAllProvidersIP should be enabled only when MultiSubnetFailover can be used in all application connection strings. More information here. You really do need to understand the applications and their connection strings here, this has little to do with the SQL Server and more to do with apps and DNS aliases.

In the case of the client above, enabling RegisterAllProvidersIP on an existing, in-use cluster is possible, but does require a brief outage.

Here is the script to use via PowerShell.

Comments guide along the way.


nslookup AAGListenerName #With RegisterAllProvidersIP = 0, this will only return one IP, the IP of the current primary.



Get-ClusterResource  -Cluster "FC_Name" #Get Cluster Network name



Get-ClusterResource "ClusterNetworkName"  -Cluster "FC_Name" | set-clusterparameter RegisterAllProvidersIP 1  -Cluster "FC_Name"



#You'll get a warning, all changes will take effect until ClusterNetworkName is taken offline and then online again.



Stop-clusterresource "ClusterNetworkName"  -Cluster "FC_Name" #Take Offline



Start-clusterresource "ClusterNetworkName"  -Cluster "FC_Name" #Right Back Online



Start-clusterresource "AAGName"  -Cluster "FC_Name" #This step is important. The AAG is offline, must bring the AAG Back online

#Wait a moment, then verify


Get-ClusterResource  -Cluster "FC_Name" #Verify



nslookup AAGListenerName #This should now return Two IPs, for both the primary and secondary. Now, MultiSubnetFailover can help.

UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter, updated the 0 to 1 in the set-clusterparameter line.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

SQLSaturday Baton Rouge at LSU on July 29


The big finale to our SQL Summer and the last of the three Gulf South 2017 SQLSat events, our 9th annual SQLSaturday features an 11-track lineup of speakers from around the country, assembled by our scheduling extraordinaire Kenny Neal.

The schedule includes a whole track of PowerBI experts, a panel on Careers in IT, an entire track on Big Data/Analytics, tracks for .NET, mobile, and web developers an entire track for Business Intelligence, and so much more. Oh, and of course top-notch SQL DBA and SQL Development tracks from big names in the SQL industry!

Who attends SQLSaturdays, you say? I'm glad you asked...

This event is entirely free for attendees, including a jambalaya lunch, and tons of raffle prizes to giveaway at the end of the day. Everything is paid for by our amazing sponsors.





Please pre-register if you plan on attending! Please also consider signing up to be a volunteer as well, and our expert volunteer coordinator Adrian Aucoin will put you to work, probably just by being a proctor and attending the same sessions you were going be in anyway. And we still have of sponsor tables available in the atrium to be a part of this local community-driven event.

Have questions about sponsoring? Check out our informational sponsorship PDF explaining all the benefits, costs, the day-of experience, and the process of getting involved in one of the largest and broadest SQLSaturday events in the world. Have questions? Please reach out to us via email at sqlpassbr@gmail.com. The sponsor registration and payment deadline is July 15.

Thumbs up if I'll see you there!


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Celebrate Your Independence with Free Tools

Been working on this blog post for a while, thought I'd share today an inventory of tools I use regularly that are free to the DBA.

ZoomIt
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/zoomit.aspx
A nearly ubiquitous free Microsoft-provided download to provide for easy zooming, live zooming, drawing on your screen, and more. It is something that makes a big difference when communicating to an audience. Won't make you a better presenter, but will make your content clearer and easier to communicate. Be sure to practice with it before you go live. :)

ShareX
https://getsharex.com/
An open source alternative to other screen recording, screen capturing, even making quick .gifs and uploading them to social media, image sharing applications and more.

WinMerge
http://winmerge.org/
An open source alternative to BeyondCompare that has many of the same features, including file and folder structure comparison. I commonly use this to compare large result sets to make sure that my query tuning hasn't drifted the outputs, or to compare two queries to find differences. It's a quick and easy application when this type of text or file comparison is needed. I've been using it for years for these purposes.

Visual Studio Code
https://code.visualstudio.com/
A Microsoft-provided open source rich text editor that has a lot of the features you see in expect in Visual Studio, but in a lightweight, quick-loading text editor that compares favorable to other paid alternatives. It's replaced other alternatives for me for lightweight code editing.

Plan Explorer
https://www.sentryone.com/plan-explorer
SentryOne (formerly SQLSentry) released a user-friendly, feature rich, useful alternative to the SSMS execution plan viewing options that is particularly useful when analyzing massive, complex query execution plans and breaking down costs. The guidance provided is obviously solid technically and can deliver valuable insights. It even has integration with SSMS. A premium paid version has collector service and database.
Also: You should of course also check out new features that have been added to SSMS recently, including Live Query Stats and the Query Store. SSMS itself is a little obvious for this list.

Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan)
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44989
Not to be confused with Remote Desktop Manager or any similarly-named browser extensions, RDCMan is a free Microsoft-provided tool that makes it easy to organize remote desktop connections, securely store credentials for groups of RDC's, for example in a domain. This is a dream tool for folks who have many RDC's with many credentials in many different domains.
Sidebar: Do you get an annoying popup when you open your RDCMan application, "There were problems decrypting some credentials"? That's the built-in encryption that keeps your stored credentials secure. You'll get that (and lose the stored passwords) when you migrate from one machine to another. You'll have to open the .rdg file and remove the password hashes. There are instructions in the RDCMan help to migrate a personal certificate along with the .rdg file for proper migration, it's the only way to have remembered passwords transfer to another device. (I've been meaning to blog about this over time, but didn't feel it was worthy of its own post.)

OneNote
https://www.onenote.com/
Okay, maybe this isn't free, but it comes with your Office365 account or office license for Word and Excel, so unless you're in a no-Microsoft environment, you have access to OneNote for free.(Teachers and students globally can also get all of Office365 for free.) Had I known about OneNote back in college I'd have been using it then. OneNote is a fantastic information-gathering tool. It can do quite a lot more than a simple note-taking platform. We share password-protected OneNote notebooks on SharePoint for secure team-based collaboration and note taking. And the search function can find word matches in your notes and handwriting, and even in your screenshots, photos, and audio recordings, something you can't do with stacks of legal-size notepad paper. I've presented using OneNote as a whiteboard before as well, and it performs admirably with your drawing pad or tablet touchscreen.
Caveat: By default, the Ctrl+1 zoom feature of ZoomIT (above) and the Ctrl+1 checkbox feature of OneNote make for exciting note taking. The good news ZoomIT is easy to close and re-open.
Slack
https://www.slack.com/
The ubiquitous rich persistent chat app has set a very high bar for other collaboration tools, including the me-too Microsoft Teams. It's free but you have to pay for history and some other features. It's got a million different integrations, is very popular in the tech world for internal corporate team communication, but also in the social activism communities and technical user community, especially in the SQL Server community. The richness of the medium allows for better responses when you're crowd-sourcing SQL help than the twitter hashtag #SQLHelp, which is still popular. Speaking of which...

Twitter
http://www.twitter.com
There is no larger or more popular platform for short-format communication this day and age, used by everyone from teenagers, heads of state, even teenaged heads of state. Hashtags are topics, so posting a question accompanied by #SQLHelp will allow others anywhere in the world to see your post if they follow that topic. Twitter has most impact during live events, especially physical events like conferences, but also sporting events and breaking news. The next time you're at a SQLSaturday event, check out the hashtag for the event, for example, #SQLSatBR at SQLSaturday Baton Rouge. If you're at PASS Summit in the fall, try #SQLSummit. Also, reading about their architecture for outrageous growth scale is interesting.
Quick unsolicited advice: If you're on Twitter, you should try to keep your professional and personal lives separate. You know you shouldn't launch political tirades on LinkedIn or in front of your coworkers or at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You should use your professional platforms to interact with technical peers and colleagues and coworkers, and to represent your employer (and future employers). Use your personal, potentially anonymized account(s) to hurl insults at sports rivals and to argue over whether the dress was blue or gold. As a consultant who tried to keep public work and politics separated, the benefits to this strategy are clear. If you're a government employee, this is probably required of you too.
Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/dd537566.aspx
Does a yeoman's job of collecting IT infrastructure inventory in your environment, including SQL Servers, via a variety of connection methods and all without an agent. Generates a bunch of reports that CIO's and managers will eat up. Has delivered good value with minimal investment in time or expertise.

PowerBI
https://powerbi.microsoft.com/
Yep, there is a capable free version for organizations, assuming those organizations have an Azure tenant/Office 365. It is also free for individuals who are not in those organizations.

Vark
http://www.vark.com
Aardvark is a really neat social tool that allows you to source answers come from other users who have signed up for knowledge in general categories. It's really going to change the world.
Just kidding of course, but it was cool in a make-the-world-small kind of way for a while there before Google bought then killed it in 2011.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SQL Server Permissions and Security Principals on UserGroup.tv

You can now watch my presentation on SQL Server Permissions and Security Principals from SQLSaturday Houston 2017 on UserGroup.tv, a site dedicated to capturing presentations just like this, run by Shawn Weisfeld, Sr Technical Evangelist from Microsoft. Thanks Shawn!

Thanks again to the organizers of the very successful SQLSaturday Houston event and to my first-in-the-morning presentation audience! 



Friday, June 23, 2017

A Big July Planned in Baton Rouge

Three big events planned in Baton Rouge this year that everyone can be a part of:

User Groups Networking Night at the Louisiana Technology Park on July 12

Attendees from all Baton Rouge User Groups (SQL Server, .NET, Power BI, IT Pro, SharePoint, and Women in Technology, students, and the public) are invited to this free event!

Our annual Networking Night features short-format entertaining presentations on career topics, technical or nontechnical. In 2014 and 2015 and 2016, 80+ IT professionals and students, including many newcomers, attended this fun event! It's all at the Louisiana Technology Park on July 12.


Be part of this free event by attending, enjoy a free dinner, and all the professional networking you can handle. Even better, be a part of the event by giving a 7-10 minute talk on career soft-skills, professional guidance, etc. WE NEED SPEAKERS!

Examples of entertaining short-format speech topics and a signup form here. Best of all, be a part of Networking Night with an official sponsor presence if you are a Gold or Platinum sponsor of SQLSaturday Baton Rouge (more on that later).

PowerBI PreCon at the Louisiana Technology Park on July 28


The day before SQLSaturday Baton Rouge, join us on Friday all day in the TechParkU room of the Louisiana Technology Park. The only precon for SQLSat Baton Rouge this year features an ALL DAY Deep Dive into PowerBI with Microsoft employees Adam Saxton (Guy in a Cube on Youtube) and Baton Rouge SQL UG founder Patrick Leblanc!


Bring your laptop, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to learn! Registration fee is $120 for the all-day event and includes lunch! Register Today for the Pre-Con on Friday, July 28!


SQLSaturday Baton Rouge at LSU on July 29


And of course, the big finale to our SQL Summer and the last of the three Gulf South 2017 SQLSat events, our 9th annual SQLSaturday features an 11-track lineup of speakers from around the country, assembled by our scheduling extraordinaire Kenny Neal.

The schedule includes a whole track of PowerBI experts, a panel on Careers in IT, an entire track on Big Data/Analytics, tracks for .NET, mobile, and web developers an entire track for Business Intelligence, and so much more.  Oh, and of course top-notch SQL DBA and SQL Development tracks from big names in the SQL industry!

Who attends SQLSaturdays, you say? I'm glad you asked...

This event is entirely free for attendees, including a jambalaya lunch, and tons of raffle prizes to giveaway at the end of the day. Everything is paid for by our amazing sponsors.


Please pre-register if you plan on attending! Please also consider signing up to be a volunteer as well, and our expert volunteer coordinator Adrian Aucoin will put you to work, probably just by being a proctor and attending the same sessions you were going be in anyway. And we still have of sponsor tables available in the atrium to be a part of this local community-driven event.

Have questions about sponsoring? Check out our informational sponsorship PDF explaining all the benefits, costs, the day-of experience, and the process of getting involved in one of the largest and broadest SQLSaturday events in the world. Have questions? Please reach out to us via email at sqlpassbr@gmail.com. The sponsor registration and payment deadline is July 15.

Thumbs up if I'll see you there!




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Registrant Job Title Data from SQLSaturday Baton Rouge events 2014-2016

In a blog post on the Sparkhound website, I laid out the strong case for a sponsor's Return on Investment (ROI) for sponsoring local SQLSaturday events. Part of my argument in favor of sponsoring SQLSaturday events are the diversity of attendees and their responsibilities, and particularly, the presence of decision makers.

Attracting the Decision Makers and Influencers


At a large-tent event like SQLSaturday Baton Rouge where we have tracks for IT management, server admins, and .NET developers, the cross section of responsibilities in the registrants skews heavily towards developers and especially decision makers, as evidenced in the below graph:


I believe the percentage of attendees in a decision-making capacity in their workplace is understated at SQLSaturday events, broadly. This is a fact that should be emphasized by SQLSaturday organizers and promoters to potential sponsors.


At SQLSaturday Baton Rouge we have sought out speakers for "IT Management" and "CIO" tracks over the past few years. The speakers remain the type of experienced, highly motivated volunteer professionals that speak in technical tracks. Topics include SQL Server disaster recovery and high availability, the value of business intelligence dashboards, and cloud adoption strategy. The typical "career" track with soft-skills sessions can include giving feedback to employees, or how to best conduct interviews, and how to be more inclusive of women and under-represented demographics. The value of having "something for the boss" at a SQLSaturday translates directly to sponsor ROI.

What about small SQLSaturday events?


To sponsors, the size of the event is a factor, but it shouldn't be the only one. Significant ROI can be returned merely by a sponsor's presence at a local event, showing support for the local IT community. Whether the sponsor is looking to recruit, drive sales, or increase market recognition, the size of a SQLSaturday event doesn't necessary translate to higher ROI.

In fact, smaller SQLSaturdays may provide a bigger share of the spotlight, a more recognized local contribution, and more face time with local IT connections. There are SQLSaturday events held locally around the world almost every weekend of the year - meaning that at least one a year, almost any company has a local, authentic, home-grown opportunity nearby.

Job Title Categorization


If you're curious for how the job titles were categorized, I've included the relatively simple TSQL categorization logic below:
...  set JobTitleCategory = CASE
      
      WHEN [job title] like 'C%' and len([job title]) = 3 
       OR [job title] like '%Chief%'   
       OR [job title] like '%Director%' 
       OR [job title] like '%President%'   
       OR [job title] like '%Officer%' 
       OR [job title] like '%Owner%' 
       OR [job title] like '%CIO%' 
       OR [job title] like 'VP%'
       OR [job title] like '%Partner'
       OR [job title] like 'Founder'
       OR [job title] like 'Attorney%'
       THEN 'C-Suite'

      WHEN [job title] like '%Manager%' 
       OR [job title] like '%Senior%Associate%'
       OR [job title] like 'Head%'
       OR [job title] like '%manger%'
       OR [job title] like 'HR%'
       OR [job title] like '%supervis%'
       OR [job title] like '%coordin%'
       OR [job title] like '%Advisor%'
       OR [job title] like '%Legal%'
       OR [job title] like 'Managing%'
       OR [job title] like 'team lead'
       OR [job title] like 'Process Optimization%'
       OR [job title] like '%Mgr%'
      THEN 'Management'

      
      WHEN [job title] like '%dba%' 
       OR [job title] like 'data%admin%' 
       OR [job title] like '%data%base%' 
       OR [job title] like '%ETL%'
       OR [job title] like '%SQL%'
       OR [job title] like '%PASS%'
       OR [job title] like '%Chapter Leader%'
       OR [job title] like '%DB Admin%'
       THEN 'DBA'
       
      WHEN [job title] like '%BI %' 
       OR [job title] like '%Business Intelligence%' 
       OR [job title] like 'Data%Scien%'
       OR [job title] like '%analytic%'
       OR [job title] like 'Math%'
       OR [job title] like '%data%Architect%' 
       OR [job title] like '%report%' 
       OR [job title] like '%warehouse%' 
       OR [job title] like '%data%specialist%' 
       OR [job title] like '%data%analyst%' 
       OR [job title] like '%Informatics%'
       OR [job title] like '%Information%'
       THEN 'Business Intelligence'

      WHEN [job title] like '%Studen%' 
       OR [job title] like '%grad%'
       OR [job title] like '%Candidate%'
       OR [job title] like '%Intern'
       THEN 'Student'

      WHEN [job title] like '%Accounting%'
       OR [job title] like '%CPA%'
       OR [job title] like '%AP %' 
       THEN 'Accounting'

      WHEN [job title] like '%design%' 
       THEN 'Design'

      WHEN [job title] like '%access control%' 
       OR [job title] like '%security%' 
       OR [job title] like '%sec%' 
       THEN 'Security'
       
      WHEN [job title] like '%Instructor%'
       OR [job title] like '%Teacher%'
       OR [job title] like '%faculty%'
       OR [job title] like 'Research%'
       OR [job title] like 'Editor'
       OR [job title] like 'Librar%'
       OR [job title] like '%school%'
       OR [job title] like '%education%'
       OR [job title] like '%science%'
       OR [job title] like '%instruct%'
       OR [job title] like 'Fellow'
       THEN 'Academia'

      WHEN [job title] like '%programmer%'  
        OR [job title] like '%software%developer%' 
        OR [job title] like '%Software%Engineer%'
        OR [job title] like 'App%Dev%'
        OR [job title] like 'Dev%'
        OR [job title] like 'Comp%Scien%'
        OR [job title] like 'App%Dev%'
        OR [job title] like '%developer%' 
        OR [job title] like 'Tech%Lead'
        OR [job title] like '%application%'
        OR [job title] = 'P/A'
        OR [job title] like 'Program%'
        OR [job title] like '%Architect%' 
        OR [job title] like '%software%' 
        OR [job title] like 'Code%' 
        OR [job title] like 'Analyst%' 
        OR [job title] like 'pgmr%' 
        OR [job title] like 'E-%' 
        THEN 'Developer'

      WHEN [job title] like '%System%Ana%' 
       OR [job title] like '%Comp%Ana%'
       OR [job title] like '%Sys%eng%' 
       OR [job title] like '%Sys%admin%'
       OR [job title] like '%Net%Admin%'
       OR [job title] like '%IT%Tech%'
       OR [job title] like 'IT%specialist%'
       OR [job title] like 'tech%specialist%'
       OR [job title] like '%Engineer'
       OR [job title] like 'MCT%'
       OR [job title] like 'Implement%Spec%'
       OR [job title] like '%technic%'
       OR [job title] like '%Administrator'
       OR [job title] like '%Network%'
       OR [job title] like '%integration%'
       OR [job title] like '%repair%'
       OR [job title] like 'helpdesk%'
       OR [job title] like  'IT%Pro%'
       THEN 'Server Admin'

      WHEN [job title] like 'Customer Support Specialist'
       OR [job title] like 'Tech%Support%'
       OR [job title] like 'Dispute Resolution%'
       OR [job title] like 'Specialist'
       OR [job title] like '%IT%Supp%'
       OR [job title] like '%IT %'
       OR [job title] like '%Support%'
       OR [job title] like 'field%service%'
       OR [job title] like 'desktop%'
       OR [job title] like 'service desk%'
        THEN 'Customer Support'

      
      WHEN [job title] like '%QA%'
       OR [job title] like '%Quality%' 
       OR [job title] like '%test%' 
       THEN 'QA/Testing'

       
      WHEN [job title] like '%SharePoint%'
       THEN 'SharePoint'

     WHEN [job title] like 'Acc%Exec%' 
      OR  [job title] like '%Sales%'
      OR  [job title] like '%Account rep%'
      OR  [job title] like 'Business%Dev%'
       THEN 'Sales'

      WHEN [job title] like  '%Recruiter%'
       THEN 'Recruitment'

      WHEN [job title] like  '%Admin%Assistant%'
       OR [job title] like  '%Assistant'
       THEN 'Administrative Assistant'

      WHEN [job title] like '%Admin%'
       OR [job title] like '%systems%'
       OR [job title] like '%engineer%'
       OR [job title] like '%technolo%'
       OR [job title] like '%operat%'
       OR [job title] like '%IT%'
       OR [job title] like '%server%'
       OR [job title] like '%system%'
       THEN 'Server Admin'

      WHEN [job title] like '%Business%Analyst%'
       OR [job title] like '%Analyst%'
       OR [job title] like '%Auditor%'
       OR [job title] like 'BSA%'
       OR [job title] like '%process%'
       OR [job title] like '%product%'
       OR [job title] like 'BA'
       THEN 'Business Analyst'

      WHEN [job title] like 'Self%Employ%'
       THEN 'Self Employed'
      
      WHEN [job title] like 'Social Worker'
       OR [job title] like '%nurse%'
       OR [job title] like '%dental%'
       OR [job title] like '%health%'
       OR [job title] like '%clinic%'
       OR [job title] like '%medical%'
       OR [job title] like '%nutrition%'
       THEN 'Medical'
      
      WHEN [job title] like '%legal%'
       THEN 'Legal'
      
      WHEN [job title] like '%Project%' 
       OR [job title] like '%PM%' 
       THEN 'Project Management'
        
      WHEN [job title] is null 
       OR [job title] = '' 
       OR [job title] = 'Mr' 
       OR [job title] = 'NA' 
       OR [job title] = 'n' 
       OR [job title] = 'n/a'
       OR [job title] = 'not provided'
       THEN 'Not provided'
      
      WHEN [job title] like '%Consultant%'
       OR [job title] like 'Principal%' 
       THEN 'Consultant'

      ELSE 'Other'

      END

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Great to see you at SQLSaturday Houston 2017

Great to see all of you at #SQLSatHouston today, an awesome event put on by a great crew of volunteers. I presented in the first timeslot of a stacked schedule, and met and made a lot of friends.

My talk on SQL Server Permissions and Security Principals had a great crowd in the morning, about half of whom had never attended a SQLSaturday event before. I was thrilled to be their (hopefully good) energetic first impression!

You can download my slide deck and sample scripts here at the SQLSaturday Houston schedule page.

Please reach out if you have any questions, contact info in the slidedeck. Thanks to UserGroups.tv, you can click here for the video of the presentation.

See you all at SQLSaturday Baton Rouge on July 29!

Monday, June 12, 2017

SQLSaturday Houston 2017 - I'll be there, will you?

Looking forward to combining a work trip with a SQLSaturday trip to Houston this week!

Will be happy to see the #SQLFamily on Friday night and Saturday! So many faces I only get to see once a year, too many!

I'll be presenting in the very first time slot on Saturday morning. Who says 830AM is too early for SQL Server Permissions and Security Principals? Then I'll be helping represent both Sparkhound and PASS at the event. Maybe I'll even get to do this again.

I'm bummed that I'll be presenting in the same timeslot as good friend and fellow Baton Rougean Thomas Leblanc and also good friend and my predecessor as PASS Regional Mentor (and now Microsoft employee) Ryan Adams. What a loaded lineup the rest of the day too!

See you there!


Monday, June 05, 2017

SQLSat Pcola 2017 Security Principals and Permissions

Great attendance and awesome questions from my afternoon session on "SQL Security Principals and Permissions". As promised, both the demo script files, and the entire info-packed slidedeck are available for download here on the official SQLSaturday Pensacola 2017 website.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, please let me know, contact info inside. Happy to meet, and thanks again for participating in the session and asking so many great questions.

The wife and I are always happy to join the #SQLFamily at Pensacola annually, hope to see many of you sooner than next year!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SQLSaturday Pensacola 2017

It's the start of a SQLSat summer for me, with Pensacola this weekend on Saturday June 3, then Houston two weeks later, then the rampup to my hometown SQLSaturday Baton Rouge on July 29. Hopefully everyone in the region can make it out to all three Gulf Coast region SQLSaturday events.

At SQLSaturday this weekend, both the wife and I will be presenting in the 1:45PM time slot. I'll be presenting on Security Principals and Permissions in SQL Server, and she'll be presenting on pretty much the same topic, except substituting your next job for SQL Server.

SQLSat Pensacola is also sporting a pair of precons, including Tim Mitchell's Building Better SSIS Packages and the McCown's Enterprise Maintenance Lifecycle.

Looking forward to #SQLFamily again this weekend, hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Connect with your SQL Community on Slack

Slack is a popular tool for team interaction. To describe it quickly, it's a feature-rich persistent chat room, with threads, multimedia, alerts, etc. There is a web interface, a desktop app, and a mobile app.

In addition to Twitter, which is also extremely popular in the SQL Server community, there are a couple Slacks to be aware of, specifically setup for the SQL Server community:
If you're a user group leader or SQLSat organizer in the PASS US South Central Region (NM, TX, OK, AR, LA):
And if you're in my hometown Baton Rouge, join:
Of course, Slack is a neat tool, but it cannot replace the in-person networking, training, and professional development that comes from User Group meetings and SQLSaturday events, so don't miss out on the IRL stuff too. :)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why SQLSaturday? A SQLSat Career Case Study

We all know that SQLSaturday events are good for career networking, professional development, and technical education. Sometimes the perfect story presents itself as a real testimonial.

When fellow Baton Rouge SQL Saturday organizer Adrian Aucoin Jr. and I heard about John Wells' (@SQLServerDBA318) story of making a career spark happen in the vendor expo area of our annual event, I couldn't help but think that we had to capture this as a SQLSaturday case study

The idea that people find jobs, recruits, future colleagues, and clients at SQLSaturdays is widely accepted, but it's always nice to read about a real life one in your own town.
Since Baton Rouge in August of 2016, you might have seen John recently at SQLSaturdays in Huntington BeachBirminghamDallasNashvilleOklahoma Cityand San Antonio. I'll turn it over to John, then we'll do a Q&A with this prolific SQLSat fan:


John Wells, DBA and SQLSat connoisseur  
SQLSaturday is a great day of training and networking that I participate in as much as possible. I was sold after my first experience in Dallas May 2015. Quickly realizing how powerful this event was I made it a point to go to as many as possible moving forward. It’s quite an experience as you not only have great sessions of free training, but even more powerful is the networking involved. Most events have precon sessions for a small fee the Friday before that I have attended and are well worth it. 
The vendors and speakers make this event happen so I always go out of my way to thank them during breaks and after sessions. In my short DBA career, I have made several new friends and connections because of SQLSaturday. This has made me a big advocate and I try to attend 10 SQL Saturday’s a year. The SQL Server family along with PASS is not like any other organization out of there and I’m happy I found them. 
I can go on for quite some time about this, however, my SQLSaturday success story came out of Baton Rouge in 2016. I mean how can you go wrong with great training sessions, networking and Jambalaya all in the same day? I was excited when it came time for another SQLSaturday and this time close to home. I made the short trip down to Baton Rouge from Bossier City and was a volunteer for this event. 
It was another great SQLSaturday and I went around at lunch time thanking all the vendors as I always do. I approached the vendor booth for a large tech recruiter and began to speak to one of the representatives. I told the lady that I was a younger DBA and was curious about the positions around the Baton Rouge area. It wasn’t that I was looking for a new job because I wasn’t, but I was really just curious. She asked me a few questions and gave me her card asking for a resume, which I sent her when I got back home that night. 
Two days after I sent my resume I was contacted by another representative from the tech recruiter. She told me about two positions that they had been trying to fill for months and sent me the job descriptions. There was one in Baton Rouge that caught my attention, they were really looking for someone with more experience, but were not having any luck and were open to someone with not as much experience depending on their knowledge. 
The interview came a few days later and before I knew it I was heading down to Baton Rouge for a new adventure. 
I am now a DBA at a national, publicly-traded ad agency and love it here in Baton Rouge. Everything is going great and I have recently begun attending the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group meetings. I continue to go to SQLSaturday’s and one day will speak myself at these events. Again, I can go on and on about PASS, SQLSaturday and the SQL Server family, but my success story will always be SQLSaturday #515 Baton Rouge.



Not only did John drive 250+ miles from Bossier City, Louisiana to Baton Rouge, get free SQL training, and find a job - he also volunteered!

John Wells (arrow) in his volunteer vest at SQLSaturday Baton Rouge 2016
I know one way in which John's story isn't unique: I owe a good bit of my own career trajectory to business and connections made through the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group and the SQLSaturday it hosts. As an organizer of SQLSaturday Baton Rouge, I took the opportunity to ask John a few questions about his experiences at SQLSaturdays in general.

Q: Everybody's different, but what is it about SQLSaturdays that makes them worth giving up a Saturday and some travel time?

John: It's not just the Saturday - its the entire experience of SQLSaturday including pre-cons, great sessions and networking with similar minded individuals who share the same passion. I also look for the sessions and speakers as well. When I see certain speakers that are highly regarded in this industry that alone makes it worth my time to travel to an event to see their session.  I have driven as far as Atlanta just because of the session line up.  
SQLSaturday is a great tool to invest in yourself and I have also made some friends along the way.


Q: Is there a science to how you pick sessions to attend?
There definitely is and it breaks out into two pieces. First, am I familiar with the speaker and are they a well known name in the industry? I don't have to know who the speaker is, but someone like Kevin Kline or Grant Fritchey would be someone I would want to see speak regardless of the session content. A perfect example was last year in Oklahoma City where Bob Ward did two sessions so I went to both. 
Second, what is the session focused on? Anything to do with performance tuning, HA/DR and PowerShell are at the top of my list. However, there are still many other subjects I favor and also is it something that could immediately help me at work. I'm also lucky because I go to so many events that sometimes I will skip a session I want to see because I can see it the following month at another location.


Q: What should vendors know about maximizing their visibility and impact to potential job seekers?
I think it is how aggressive they are when they talk to attendees. Whether they are a recruiter or software vendor the way they interact with attendees sticks out. The ones that seem to be aggressive and happy to speak with me get my attention every time.


Q: Any plans on developing a technical talk yourself? We'd be happy to give you a trial audience at the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group.
Absolutely! I have one in mind and hope to do it in the next few months. My overall goal is to be a speaker at SQL Saturday and I have 2019 in mind.


Q: We'll look for you then, John!  You're quite the a connoisseur of SQLSaturday events all over the Southern United States. Who's got the best food? 
No bias here since I'm not originally from Louisiana, but Baton Rouge owns that one. I mean SQLSaturday and jambalaya can't be beat.


Q: Give me more best-of from your SQLSat travels: most memorable session, vendor booth, end-of-day raffle?
There are so many great sessions I have attended in the past two years I can go on for awhile. One session, Branding Yourself, by Steve Jones was one. I walked away with some great ideas and have used them to my advantage. There was a pre-con, Performance Tuning for Mere Mortals, this past January in Nashville by Mike Lawell and Ed Watson. There were some major light bulb moments in that one. 
I have always enjoyed talking to the folks at Pure Storage and was able to thank Argenis Fernandez personally for answering a question two weeks earlier on #sqlhelp at Nashville SQL Saturday. 
I think all the end of day raffles are good, but Baton Rouge wins for entertainment.

Thanks again to John Wells (@SQLServerDBA318) for sharing, and congratulation on your recent career jump. Looking forward to seeing you on the SQLSat circuit!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Return to Birmingham for SQLSaturday Bham 2017!

It's been 2.5 years since I last spoke at SQLSaturday Birmingham, and I'm eager to make a return, this time with two more Sparkhound colleagues in tow and an amazing secret raffle prize to giveaway at the end!

We'll see you there on Saturday!

Sparkhound speakers in the lineup:

Robert Bishop, "Hostile Takeover" at 830AM
Myself, "SQL Admin Best Practices with DMVs", at 10:50AM
Kevin Grohoske and myself, "SQL + SharePoint: Best Friends Forever", at 3:20PM

UPDATE: The slides and demos for all three of the above presentations is available at the schedule site here: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/593/Sessions/Schedule.aspx

Other highlights on the schedule you should check out:

Patrick LeBlanc: Introduction to the Power BI Desktop
Bill Pearson: Seeking the Perfect Hybrid: On-Prem Data with Reports and Dashboards in Power BI
Mike Robbins: PowerShell 101: The No-Nonsense Beginner’s Guide to PowerShell
Ed Watson: Introduction to SQL Server Integration Services

It's going to be great event, and a thanks-in-advance to Samir Behara and John Baldwin and all the volunteers who have been working hard to make this event happen!