Jul 242014
 

Today I presented a fun session for the SQL PASS Performance Virtual Chapter’sSummer Performance Palooza 2014” entitled “Infrastructure Tuning for SQL Server”.

Abstract: Mention SQL Server performance to any DBA, and the impulse is to dive headfirst into the database and queries. However, if the infrastructure underneath the data is your performance bottleneck, the time spent tuning at the database layer is usually in vain. Server hardware, operating system parameters, storage, interconnects, and networking will all be discussed in depth in terms that DBAs can relate to. Practical architecture guidelines and troubleshooting techniques will be presented so you can analyze your environments and see if your performance bottlenecks are where you think they are.

The slides for today’s session are available for you to download here, and the recording – as well as all of the other session recordings – will be available at performance.sqlpass.org within the next week. Thank you all for attending, and I look forward to the next time!

Jul 032014
 

If it were not for the SQL Server community, I would not be where I am at with my career today. Period.

Some of you know me personally but a lot do not. I come from a hard-working family of teachers and educators. We’ve had our struggles over the years, just like any other family, but we always push hard (sometimes to a fault) to try to make our dreams a reality.

Ever since I was in grade school, I knew I was a geek. I got my first computer when I was five, and built my first computer for my parents when I was nine. I was building networks when I was in middle school. I loved technology but always got a thrill out of being able to put it to use to solve problems. But, there’s the conundrum that was always in the back of my head. When you are a technologist, how can you cross that chasm into the business world?

About eight years ago I discovered the SQL Server community through the very first Omaha SQL Server Users Group meeting that John Morehouse (t | b | l), a great friend of mine, first launched. It was an incredible experience, and because of the fantastic sense of community that the first meeting brought me, I decided to become the best SQL Server professional that I could be. I really enjoyed the technology, but the community was the biggest factor. The community accepted me for the person that I am in ways that non-techie groups wouldn’t understand.

Somewhere around this time I had a few jobs that were up and down and kept me on the tech side. I wanted more ability to make a positive difference on business and people. But how? How can a tech make any sort of impact? Making the impact helps to cross the bridge. Fortunately, the community helped to steer me along the right path.

About three years ago I decided that it is time to start giving back, and struggled to find the avenues to do so. I never thought I would enjoy it until I played a bit part to help coordinate the first SQL Saturday in Nebraska back in 2010. I had always been the person to quietly get the job done but never one to be in front of people. I think the teacher part of my upbringing came out for the first time with my SQL Saturday session at that first event. I found that giving back helped me feel more complete. Giving back helped me feel like I could make a difference. And it grew from there…

My commitment to the SQL Server and other technical communities that I am a part of is simple. You helped originally steer me in this direction. You helped mentor and guide me over the years. You supported me when I launched my own consulting company in ways that continue to astound and amaze me. I want to give you everything that I can in return. I want to help others any way that I can.

Today I am honored and humbled to be awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for my efforts in the SQL Server community over the years. To have Microsoft acknowledge the work that I have done is incredible and amazing and very much appreciated, but the impact to the communities and people, and the friends that I have made for life as a result, is the best reward.

#SQLFamily – This award is for you, because of you. As my friend Argenis Fernandez wrote so eloquently a few days ago, now the real work begins for those of us who were selected for this award, past and present. But it does not have to just be me or the other folks who are visible in the community today. Speak at community events. Blog. Tweet. Nominate anyone you know that is an unsung hero in this community for MVP. Continue to grow the community participation and give back. You never know how fulfilling that it can be unless you give it a shot!

microsoft mvp wide

Jun 302014
 

2014_header_logoThe SQL PASS Summit 2014 community sessions were recently released. I’m very pleased and honored to announce that I will be presenting a 75-minute session entitled “Right Sizing Your Virtual Machine” at the Summit this November. It’s a topic that I spend many hours a week on in my professional duties with my company, and I am very excited about sharing the fundamentals of the topic and the methodology that I use to perform a right-sizing analysis on a SQL Server virtual machine. If you have a virtualized SQL Server anywhere in your environment – this topic will matter to you.

Abstract: Virtualizing your top-tier production SQL Servers is not as easy as P2V’ing it. Sometimes allocating more resources to the VM (Virtual Machine) is the wrong approach, and getting it wrong will silently hurt performance. What is the most effective method for determining the “right” amount of resources to allocate? What happens if the workload changes a month from now? Join this session and find out!

The methods for understanding the performance of your mission-critical SQL Servers gathered over the past ten years of SQL Server virtualization will be addressed, and valuable processes for performance statistic collection and analysis will be displayed. Come learn how to properly “right-size” the resources allocated to a VM, improve the performance of your SQL Servers, and keep it maximized well into the future.

If you did not get selected for the Summit this year, don’t fret. Keep up the great work in the community and keep submitting. Refine your topics and speaking style at various events, like SQL Saturdays, PASS Virtual Chapter presentations, or SQL Server user group sessions. All of the experience adds up, and with the right presentation background, topic, and some luck, we’ll all be speaking there next year.

I really hope that you are able to attend the Summit this year – and every year after. I consider it the most professionally important conference of the year for any SQL Server professional. Attending the conference over the last three years has changed my career and my life in a number of fantastic ways, and it can do the same for you.

Jun 252014
 

ThSQL Saturday Maineis coming weekend is the SQL Saturday #293 in Portland, Maine with my precon on Friday. I am really looking forward to attending this event. I have never been to Maine but have always wanted to go.

I am very excited to be presenting two sessions at this event!

Easy SQL Server Benchmarking - Room 211 at 8:30am

Abstract: Do you have a new piece of hardware going into service and want to see how well it performs? Or do you have a few systems and want to see how they compare against each other? Multiple free and easy ways to stress test your SQL Servers exist by simulating an OLTP workload against a real SQL Server and the infrastructure underneath. In this session we will demonstrate how to test your storage and SQL Server instances to get raw performance numbers that you can use to compare performance of machines across your enterprise. The utilities DVDStore, HammerDB, and SQLIO will be demonstrated in depth. 

Session Level: Beginner

Squeezing Top Performance from Your Virtualized SQL Servers - Room 113 at 3:05pm

Abstract: Just about anyone can click through a SQL Server installation and get it working, but more than a little tuning is required to get the most performance out of your servers. Once virtualized, additional tuning can help get even more performance out of that virtual machine. David Klee (@kleegeek) will discuss valuable details for both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V on how to tweak and tune your virtual infrastructure for business-critical virtualized SQL Servers. Tips on configuring your SQL Server installations for maximum performance when virtualized will be covered in detail.

Session Level: Intermediate

Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs Precon

Also, if you are interested, there are just a few seats left for my Preconference training session on Friday, aptly entitled ‘Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs’.

Session Information:

VMware vExpert and SQL Server performance expert David Klee leads this full-day introduction to enabling and managing a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization and/or infrastructure concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with the focus on SQL Server performance. 

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand key virtualization and cloud concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Construct a SQL Server virtual machine template with best practices for agility and performance
  • Understand how and what stack metrics to benchmark and baseline to ensure proper objective performance measurement
  • Identify and remediate common virtualized SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper virtualized capacity management techniques for long term management 

Attendees with the following experiences will benefit the most from this course:

  • Basic familiarity with the core components of a server
  • SQL Server installation and configuration
  • Exposure to SQL Server performance metric measurement and identification 

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for prospective reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

This Summer

This summer I am slowing down my weekend travel so I can get caught up on some side projects that I hope to be able to announce by the end of the summer. I also plan to spend some time spoiling my nieces! I’m taking about two months off of the SQL Saturday rounds (I know – I’ll be going through withdrawal!) so I can accomplish those goals, and then will jump back into things starting with VMworld and IT/Dev Connections in September and a whirlwind of activities planned after that!

I still have a number of webinars planned though! Stay tuned for more details on those events.

Jun 112014
 

If you are running VMware vSphere 5.5 Update 1 and are using NFS-connected storage, update your hosts ASAP (test first, of course). VMware just released a bug fix (express patch ESXi550-201406401-SG) for the All Path Down (APD) bug that has been plaguing NFS-mounted storage users for a couple of months now. Datastores can randomly go inaccessible for a few minutes, which is generally a bad thing.

If you find items in your log that resemble the following entry:

“Device or filesystem with identifier [12345678-qwerty0] has entered the All Paths Down Timeout state after being in the All Paths Down state for 140 seconds. I/Os will now be fast failed.”

…then patch quickly. NFS-mounted storage and heavy I/O workloads are prone to this bug. More details about the bug can be found at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2077360/.

Update Manager has the patch available, or you can download the patch here.

I know that this was a tough bug to crack, and kudos goes to VMware engineering for tackling this one.

Jun 042014
 

sqlsat307_webThis coming weekend is the SQL Saturday #307 in Iowa City, Iowa. I am really looking forward to attending this event again. I have been to this event before, and I really enjoy the attendees warm enthusiasm!

I am very excited to be presenting two sessions this year!

SQL Server Virtualization 101Room 2520C at 1:00pm

Abstract: What is virtualization? What impact does it have on DBAs and their systems? What aspects of their job stays the same, and what changes? What is really going on inside that black box? The fundamentals of private cloud computing and how it impacts data professionals will be discussed in this interactive session. Tips on how to use the best of virtualization to improve their daily tasks and efficiencies will be demonstrated, and common questions and concerns will be addressed.

Session Level: Beginner

 

How to Argue with Your Infrastructure Admins – And Win! - Room 2520D at 4:00pm

Abstract: Do you feel like you spend hours going round-and-round with your system, storage, and virtualization administrators over SQL Server best practices? Are their application-agnostic requirements hurting your SQL Server’s performance, or worse, their reliability? David Klee (@kleegeek) will discuss valuable insight into how to start and work through the common conversations with them on the SQL Server infrastructure practices that matter to you the most, and how to succeed in getting what you need while keeping everyone happy.

Session Level: Intermediate

Also, if you are interested, there are just a few seats left for my Preconference training session on Friday, aptly entitled ‘Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs‘.

Session Information:

VMware vExpert and SQL Server performance expert David Klee leads this full-day introduction to enabling and managing a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization and/or infrastructure concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with the focus on SQL Server performance. 

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand key virtualization and cloud concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Construct a SQL Server virtual machine template with best practices for agility and performance
  • Understand how and what stack metrics to benchmark and baseline to ensure proper objective performance measurement
  • Identify and remediate common virtualized SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper virtualized capacity management techniques for long term management 

Attendees with the following experiences will benefit the most from this course:

  • Basic familiarity with the core components of a server
  • SQL Server installation and configuration
  • Exposure to SQL Server performance metric measurement and identification 

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for prospective reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

Upcoming Precons

Coming up are two more SQL Saturdays with my preconference sessions in Rochester, NY (precon) and Portland, ME (precon)! If you are in the area, I urge you to check out the SQL Saturdays in these towns, and if my preconference session is intriguing for you and your organization, register for the precons today! I look forward to seeing you at these events!

After these three events, I’m taking a short break from SQL Saturdays for a couple of months to work on some exciting projects that I will be unveiling here soon. Check back frequently for more information as these become publicly available!