Nov 142014

PASS Summit 2014 Logo_930x260This past week of conferences was simply amazing. It was the best week of my career. Period. Now that I’m close to being recovered, I thought I’d put together a short recap of the week.

(I seem to say this after every PASS Summit. Every year has been better than the last. What will next year bring? I am excited to find out!)

microsoft mvp tallThe first part of the week, I attended the Microsoft MVP Global Summit from Sunday to Tuesday. The details of the Global Summit and the topics that we covered are all unfortunately under NDA, but rest assured, I am very excited for the future of the products that I have dedicated this portion of my career to.

Tuesday evening to Friday was the PASS Summit 2014 at the Seattle Convention Center, the largest SQL Server conference of the year. My goals were simple – network, present, and network some more.

Welcome to the PASS Summit 2014

Welcome to the PASS Summit 2014

My company, Heraflux Technologies, co-sponsored a booth with Denny Cherry and Associates, SQLHA, and Fortified Data, which we called Consultants Corner.

Ben DeBow relaxing in our booth

Ben DeBow relaxing in our booth

We had a blast meeting everyone that stopped by the booth! I thoroughly enjoyed the varied conversations around virtualization migrations, performance tuning, and rubber chickens.

The largest presentation that I’ve had so far was Wednesday at 1:30pm. Have you ever had one of those moments where you stop what you are doing and “is this really happening” starts going through your head? I had this moment when I was approaching the doorway for the room where I presented the session. The room had all six doors open and I saw nothing but chairs covering the entire view. I had to stop and pause for a moment because of the wave of emotion. Exhilarated… excited… humbled… Nothing clearly describes how I felt. It was a very surreal moment. When I walked through the room and onto the stage about 45 minutes early, this is the view I saw.

summit 2014 view from stage

This session, “Right-Sizing Your Virtual SQL Server”, was presented to solid attendance in one of the very large conference rooms. It was also broadcast live to the world on the streaming video page at PASStv, which you can watch here. That’s no self-imposed pressure at all, right? The audience and I had a fun time with the 75-minute session going through all of the nuances of why and how virtual SQL Servers should be “right-sized” to maximize the performance and consolidation. The attendees were engaged and energetic, and asked some wonderful questions throughout the session. I really appreciate each and every one of you who came to see me speak!

It was in this session that I announced my company’s intention to release a product that can run in the background on a physical or virtual SQL Server and determine an approximate number of virtual CPUs and memory allocation for the server. I am proud to announce that it will be available for FREE. If you would like to sign up to become a beta tester once it is ready to release, please sign up by just sending me a quick message with your email address at the contact me page here.

Throughout the week, I attended a number of great gatherings after hours. Denny Cherry, SQL Sentry, Fortified Data, SIOS, and others all had some fantastic gatherings at venues near the convention center. Your contributions to community building are much appreciated! We all had a blast, and you helped us all stay out WAY too late most evenings!

On Friday at 4pm I presented another session entitled “Achieving Top Performance with your Virtual SQL Servers” to a great group of die-hard attendees in the last session block of the conference. Being the last session of the conference, I was going to be genuinely thrilled if a single person showed up, but much to my amazement, the room was mostly full! You all were great. The interaction level was high, the questions top notch, and I wanted to keep going until midnight to make sure that I had everyone’s questions answered.

Saturday morning wrapped up the week with a nice, quiet breakfast at Pike’s Market overlooking the waterfront and friendly banter with a few friends from the #sqlfamily. I did not want the week to end. I spent the rest of the day on two uneventful flights back to Omaha.

The week of this conference is the most amazing week of the year for me, and I am going to attend this conference each and every year going forward. This event is created by the SQL Server community, for the community, which is quite unique in the tech field. For those of you who have never been, or are looking for the best SQL Server ecosystem training in the world, I cannot stress enough the value of this conference. You should leave the conference with at least three things that will directly improve something you are working on or manage in your environments. The friends you make will last a lifetime. The professional contacts will help you when you’re in a bind in your business.

As for next year, the next PASS Summit is back in Seattle on October 27-30, 2015. I can’t wait to see you all there!

Landing at Seatac airport (cleaned up by Brandon Leach)

Landing at Seatac airport (cleaned up by Brandon Leach)

Chris Shaw and John Morehouse setting up for their precon

Chris Shaw and John Morehouse setting up for their precon

Saturday morning breakfast on the water

Saturday morning breakfast on the water

See you all next year!

See you all next year!

Nov 062014

Logo-K1Hi everyone! If you’d like to join us in the second installation of a high-speed tradition after the SQL PASS Summit 2014 wraps up Friday afternoon, meet us in the Community Zone at 5:30p sharp. We will be leaving promptly at 5:45pm and taking some sort of transit to the K1 Speed indoor go-kart track for a few heats of high-speed competitive fun! If you have transportation of your own, the address is:

K1 Speed Seattle

2207 NE Bel-Red Rd.

Redmond, WA 98052

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t work out. There’s nothing like a policeman’s ball in the same hotel you’re staying in keeping the traffic around the hotel absolutely jammed up. The shuttle we called to take us all there spent over an hour trying to get in and then we just ran out of time. We’ll make up for this next year!
Nov 062014

PASS Summit 2014 Logo_930x260Today I presented my SQL Server virtual machine “right-sizing” session at the SQL PASS 2014 Summit to a fantastic audience. I really appreciate each and every one of you for attending. This session was also broadcast on the Summit PASStv live video streaming session, and thanks to all of you who tuned in to watch!

As promised, I have attached the schema and scripts from the session, available to download here. These scripts will help you take Perfmon data that you have loaded into the database (use the Midnight DBAs code available here to do so, demo how-to video here) and run a statistical analysis on the data. The end goal is to help you understand the resource consumption of your SQL Servers, both physical or virtual, and take this data to determine the appropriate amount of CPU and memory needed to keep this SQL Server performing well while minimizing the size of the VM.

Also announced in this session is the target date of the end of the year for the beta release of a FREE standalone utility to run on your SQL Servers that will profile the performance trends of the server and present an estimation of the “right” amount of CPU and memory needed to balance the VM’s performance with the VM’s size. If you’d like to be added to the beta tester list, just contact me here and request to be added. Keep an eye on this blog for more details as the project nears a release date!

Nov 052014

PASS Summit 2014 Logo_930x260My session today at the SQL PASS Summit 2014 entitled “Right Sizing Your SQL Server Virtual Machine” is going to be broadcast live on the streaming session page called PASStv! It will start broadcasting right at 1:30 PM Pacific time today.  View it live here!

Right-Sizing Your SQL Server Virtual Machines

Wednesday, November 5, 1:30-2:45PM in Room 6E (Level 300)

Virtualizing your top-tier production SQL Servers is not as easy as P2V’ing it. Sometimes allocating more resources to the VM 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?

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.

Oct 082014

PASS_VC_VirtualizationToday I presented the final ramp up session entitled “Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs 499” for the SQL PASS Virtualization Virtual Chapter. It’s the last session in a four-part where the goal is to take the DBA from knowing nothing about infrastructure and virtualization technologies up to where they can identify specific issues with performance and availability and work directly with the VM administrators – in their nomenclature – to get the VMs stable, highly available, and tuned for maximum performance. This last session worked on common performance troubleshooting scenarios and the quick hits for remediation from both perspectives. The previous session recordings (101-301) are available on my videos page here.

The slides from this session are available for you to download and review. Tom Norman has this 499 session recorded so watch away!

Special thanks goes to Matt Penny (@salisbury_matt) for an absolutely awesome SketchNote!

salisbury_matt sketchnote from twitter

Next it’s on to special topics! In January I will be working with the chapter to present an updated version of my Summit 2014 session – “How to Right-Size Your SQL Server VMs“, and after that, I’m going to be working on a session to demonstrate configuring and using cluster and Availability Groups in a virtual environment. If you have any special topics that you’d like to learn more about and/or see demos of, please let me know! I’m always looking for new ideas for topics, and if it matters to you, it’s guaranteed to matter to someone else, and I’m willing to get a webinar put together to make it happen.

Sep 022014

My summer event hiatus is coming to a close, and we’re now back into the conference and event season! I’ve spent the summer making some wild plans for new posts and research articles (and more) that I’ll be releasing on here this fall. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements!

I do have a number of upcoming events that I would like to share with you. Hopefully I’ll see you at some of these!

First, on September 13th I will be in Kansas City for their next SQL Saturday #300 event. The event is being held at Cerner Corporation’s Riverport Campus, 6711 NE Birmingham Road, Kansas City MO. I’ve been to this event every year for quite a while now, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. My session this year is the SQL Server Virtualization 101 session, and I always look forward to presenting this one. It’s a great introduction to virtualization for any DBA who has never had any exposure to the details on the virtualization layer. Register today for this event here!

I go from there to Las Vegas for this year’s IT/Dev Connections conference held at the ARIA Resort on September 15-19. I am very lucky to have been selected to present two sessions this year – “Make Your Virtualized SQL Server Machines Top Performers” and a joint session with my friend Ben DeBow entitled “Scaling Your Virtualized SQL Servers Up and Out“.

I fly straight from IT/Dev Connections to this year’s SQL Saturday #331 in Denver! It’s being held at the University of Denver – Driscoll Student Center, 2055 East Evans Avenue, Denver CO on September 20. I’m presenting the followup to the 101 session aptly entitled “SQL Server Virtualization 201“. Register today for this event here!

Hopefully I can catch a few zzzz’s after this event, because just one week later I’ll be at the next SQL Saturday #318 in Orlando on September 27th at Seminole State College, 100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford FL. I’m excited to attend this event for the first time. I’m hitting the tail end of the massive session lineup with my “Easy SQL Server Benchmarking” session. Register for this event here!

Heraflux-Logo-Color-SMAfter a short break, I’m presenting a preconference session entitled “Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs” on October 24th in front of the next SQL Saturday #332 in Minneapolis. The all-day training is designed to help you, the DBA, understand the intricacies of virtualization from a DBA’s perspective, and give you the foundation to take back all the tips and tricks needed to maximize your system’s performance and availability when virtualized. Seats at this all-day class are a steal at just $99. To register for this precon, click here.

I’m not the only one presenting at this event! Argenis Fernandez, Jason Strate and Adam Jorgensen, and Mark Vaillancourt are all presenting fantastic preconference training sessions. If virtualization is not your thing, please check out the other precons.  This is the best training that you can get – without having to travel – at an incredible price!

The following day is Minneapolis’ next SQL Saturday on October 25th. It is being held at the University of Minnesota – Keller Hall – 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis MN. It’s my first time at this event too! The schedule has yet to be posted, but I know the lineup will be great based on the submissions and tales from previous events. I can’t wait! Register for this event here.

2014_header_logoA little over a week later I’ll be in Seattle for this year’s infamous SQL PASS Summit 2014 from November 2-8th. I was fortunate enough to be selected to present a really tough session – “Right-Sizing Your SQL Server Virtual Machines“. I’ve got a lot of fun demos for this session, and I can hardly wait! November will be here before we know it. If you have never made it to the SQL PASS Summit conference before, it is the defacto event for SQL Server professionals each year. I’ll never miss it again. Period. Register today to lock in a lower rate than if you wait until the last minute!

If you’d like to have me speak for your user group, either in person or remote, feel free to contact me! I’d love to talk with your group and spread the word about how DBAs can use virtualization to their advantage!

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