Tag Archive for Red Gate

SQL Source Control and Git Support In the Real World

When I heard that Redgate had improved the Git support in SQL Source Control, I have to confess I got excited about it. I even tweeted about it. There’s a good reason for that too.

I fell in love with SQL Source Control the first time I used it in another company. Before it came along, we scripted out database objects, which is a pain. At one point in one company, we used the Visual Studio version, and that’s painful as well because you don’t get the immediate gratification of knowing what’s changed. You have to actually bring in the changes and then see what your changes are. I just found that very cumbersome.

SQL Source Control makes it a really easy process and defines all of your changes. It’s especially useful if you’re working on multiple projects and one project is sitting there for three weeks and you come back and look at the changes. You might think, for example, oh yeah, I was working on indexing and I should probably get those indexes into production. Using SQL Source Control, you can do it quickly and easily.

The missing link

As much as I love SQL Source Control, a niggle I’ve had has been its limited support for Git. Like many other people, I moved from Subversion to Git because its branching features are so much better, and adopted Atlassian Stash (now called Bitbucket Server) as the repository.

That’s where I had a difficulty because there was a gap between SQL Source Control and the Stash repository on the server. I tried a workaround using command prompts, but it was so painful and cumbersome I turned to Atlassian SourceTree instead. A free Git client, it provides a visual GUI to do the push and the pull between the server, Git, and the local repository.

The tweet

imageAt the beginning of October 2015, everything changed. That was when Redgate announced SQL Source Control users could now push to and pull from remote Git repositories.

And not just from within SQL Source Control – from within SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

I was thrilled because this one apparently small move eliminated an entire step in another application. No more closing this, opening that, moving this, quitting that, going back to the application you were happily working with before.

It also made things a lot clearer to team members who were new to using version control by taking the complexity out of the process.

You’re not out of the woods yet, Redgate

I use SQL Source Control every single day and I’ve now got my entire team checking in their changes using Git.

They can commit changes, get the latest changes, and do everything they need to do without complications. As well as saving time, it makes it easier for less technical staff who are new to using repositories. A glance at what it looks like in SSMS demonstrates how simple it is:

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So it has made my life easier, but do you know something? There are still some improvements I’d like to see.

What branch am I on?

Top of the list would be to see which branch I’m on. Right now I can see which database I’m on, but not which branch

How many changes are ready to push or pull?

Near the ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ buttons, it would be nice to know if there are files to pull or push, in case other stuff has been checked in from other users. A number on the buttons would work as well, to show how many items have been checked in locally and are ready to go up or come down.

The pull button is the more important one, to make sure you’re on the right version. Team keep forgetting to pull down changes that exist on the repository so this would be a real bonus.

What about conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution would be another great feature because sometimes it’s difficult. The developers don’t always remember to bring down the latest version and when they check something in, it causes a conflict. I think I spent an hour fixing that yesterday, and I still have to go back and deal with it on one of my team mate’s machines.

Right now, I use KDiff3 to merge our QA branch and personal branches to fix conflict resolution, but a feature within SQL Source Control would make things a lot simpler.

And finally

Finally, I’m looking forward to when SQL Source Control is incorporated with migration scripts. At that point, everything will become a breeze.

If, like me, you want to see some of these features added then visit the SQL Source Control UserVoice site and vote!

Adventures Into Azure Databases For The First Time (Part 2 of 2)

AdobeStock_52521593_thumb[2]In my last post, I started a two part series to learn how to create and migrate a database from SQL Server 2014 to a new Azure Database.

Recap of My Goals

In Part 1 of this series, I completed the following goals:

  • Activated my free credits through my MSDN license.
  • Created my first empty database.
  • Determined how to connect to the database.

In this post (part 2), my goals are:

  • Poke around the Azure GUI to learn what is available with my free credits.
  • Use my Red Gate tools to create a new schema and load it with data.
  • Learn if I can take a backup from SQL Server 2014 and restore it in my Azure account.
4. Poking Around the Portal

When I was poking around, I found some great features. I discovered these screens by clicking on the database name on the Portal screen (figure A), where I found a series of links at the top that you can click on.

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There is a monitoring screen, which also has some helpful metrics at the bottom, like dead locks. This is an important screen. You don’t want to max out your resources or you’ll be considered a “noisy neighbor” and Microsoft will do something about it.

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I also found the Scale Out page. This page will allow you to increase or decrease the size of your database. This can be very helpful if your database slowly changes size throughout the month. By changing the service level or the DTU’s to only what you need, you can save money.

5. Upload A Database

I have an existing Database on my SQL Server 2014 server that I want to migrate to my Azure account. I want to first move the schema, then the data. I have always trusted my Red Gate tools to create reliable, deployable scripts. The two tools I’ll be using are SQL Compare and SQL Data Compare.

SQL Compare will compare my existing SQL Server 2014 database schema with my new Azure database schema, which is currently nonexistent. The reason why I like this tool is that it creates serializable transactions for deploying all the individual scripts as one script. If the script fails at any point, then the whole script is rolled back. The second tool, SQL Data Compare, will be used to move the data. I don’t recommend doing this on a gigabyte of data, but for my small database it will work great. It is also a good tool for moving all the values of lookup tables, or for resetting development data to a previous state.

When you open up SQL Compare, you are presented with a screen to set up the two databases. The left hand screen has the database with the SQL Objects you want to deploy and the right hand side has the database you want to deploy to. After you enter the server and login credentials, SQL Compare connects to the Server to obtain the list of databases.

At this point, I learnt another lesson. When I went to get the list of databases from my Azure Server, I was given an error message. It stated that my IP address was not allowed access to the Azure Server. Back to the Portal, I went and I followed these steps:

  1. On the Portal, I clicked on the server name.
  2. I clicked on Configure in the menu bar under the server name.
  3. I was presented with a very helpful page. It told me which IP address was currently accessing the portal. At this point, I clicked on the link “Add to the allowed IP addresses”
  4. Finally, I clicked save at the bottom.

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I went back to SQL Compare, and I was able to retrieve the list of databases from my Azure server. Win!

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When I clicked the Compare Now button, SQL Compare will compare the two databases and provide a list of deltas. The deltas are broken up into differing groups. The schemas exist in both databases, but differ. One group consists of the schemas that only exist in the database that will be deployed, and the other consists of the schemas that only exist in the database that will be receiving the deployment. You are able to select only the changes that you want to deploy.

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In this database, there are only two tables and one function that are relevant for my Azure database, so I selected them and then I clicked on the Deployment Wizard button at the top. The next screen asked me if I want to have SQL Compare perform the deployment or to create a deployment script. I chose to create a deployment script. I’m then directed to the screen below.

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It showed me the script that I can use to do the deployment. When I clicked the “Open Script in Editor” button, a marvelous thing happened. SSMS opened, a tab opened with the script I will be deploying, AND I had been connected to my Azure database with the same credentials I used to create the script.  It also opened the correct database so that I was not left in the Master database.

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After I executed the script, I had a database schema in the new Azure Utility database.

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Now to get some data.

The SQL Data Compare works exactly like SQL Compare, but it is comparing all the data between two identical (or mostly identical) tables. Note: If the tables don’t have primary keys set, then you can select the field that should be the primary key.

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Here you can see that I have two tables that I can compare. The ExpandedDate table has +44K records and my Tally table has 1 Billion records to move. The following steps are just like SQL Compare and I can choose whether SQL Data Compare deploys the script or creates a script to be manually deployed.

Since this was my first time migrating data from my local database to my Azure database, I learnt a few things. One, a deployment script with over 1 billion inserts, does not work. (I’m not surprised.)

Two, it took the SQL Data Compare tool a long time to migrate the data. I’m sure my home internet connection (with teenagers using the bandwidth) didn’t help.

6. Restore a local database backup to my Azure Database

While I waited…and waited for my Utility data to be inserted into my Azure database, I did some poking around to see if it was even possible to restore a local SQL Server 2014 backup to an Azure database. Guess what, I found something (And there was much rejoicing).

On CodePlex, I found a SQL Database Migration Wizard that can be used to restore the database. They even had Migration Wizards for 2008R2, 2012, and 2014. SQL Database Migration Wizard v3.15.6, v4.15.6 and v5.15.6

In the post, they also listed under their Reference Materials a “Migration Cookbook” that you can download and use. Migration cookbook now available for the latest Azure SQL Database Update (V12)

Recap

When I first started this two part post, I had only taken classes on Azure topics, but I had never gone through the steps of using the Azure portal. Now I’ve gone on a journey of completing a list of goals, which started with the creation of an Azure account and ended with loading a schema and data to a new database.

I hope you enjoyed this journey and will take a journey of your own exploring what Azure has to offer.

Adventures Into Azure Databases For The First Time (Part 1 of 2)

New Construction Home High Ceiling Wood Stud Framing

Whether we want to accept it or not, cloud computing is here to stay. Microsoft has made a big push in that direction for a few years now. When I first started using Office 365, I wasn’t sure I would like it. Now I love it. I love being able to access Word, Excel, and Outlook from wherever I am.

Now I want to do the same with my databases. To do that, I need to take the plunge and learn how to work with Azure Databases. If I don’t, I’ll fall behind, which is something I don’t want to do.

So let’s get started with my first Azure Database.

Ready. Get Set. Go!

Whenever you start a new project, you should set goals, and my experiments in learning about Azure Databases is no exception.

In Part 1 of this series I have the following goals:

  • Activate my free credits through my MSDN license.
  • Create my first empty database.
  • Determine how to connect to the database.

In Part 2 of this series:

  • Poke around the Azure GUI to learn what is available with my free credits.
  • Use my Red Gate tools to create a new schema and load it with data.
  • Learn if I can take a backup from SQL Server 2014 and restore it in my Azure account.
1.  Setup Azure Account

The first thing you need to do is activate your Azure Account through your MSDN License. This only took minutes. I entered my contact information, then Microsoft sent me a text with an activation number, and I was set.

There were lessons that I learned though.

  • The Azure account uses the same login as Office 365, so I ended up setting up my Azure account for work the first time. Oops.
  • There is a difference between the Free Azure Credits for the Professional MSDN license and the Enterprise MSDN license.
  • The Professional MSDN license provides $100 per month free credit, while the Enterprise MSDN license provides $150 per month free credit.
  • You can pay for more credit, but I didn’t need to.
  • You can find the details here for all MSDN and Visual Studio licenses. Note: These credits are for development and testing only, not for production use.
  • The free credits can’t be used to work with third party products like Oracle. (I’m good with that.)

If you do have multiple Azure Accounts, you can verify which one you are currently logged into in the top right hand corner of the portal. Now that I’m paranoid as to which account I’m in, I’ll be watching that corner for my private email or my work email.

Portal

2. Setup My First Empty Database

Setting up my first database was as easy as setting up my Azure Account.

At the bottom of the portal, there is a New link and a Delete link. These are for creating and deleting databases.

After clicking the New link, I went through a series of screens to create my database.

The first screen asked me for the name of my database and what size database I wanted to create. This is an important step, since it will affect my monthly charges. Remember, I only have $150 in free credits each month. You can go here to see the pricing for the various service tiers and the performance levels. I chose to create the smallest database I could (2 GB, and 5 DTUs). I also created this database on a new SQL Database Server (I kind of have to, since it is the first database).

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The second screen I was shown was for the login credentials of my Azure Server. I created a login name, a strong password, and where I wanted my server to be stored. Microsoft has locations all over the world that house the Azure servers. While I can’t pick a particular location, I can pick a particular region.

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Now I have an Azure Server and Database. By clicking the Database Link or the Server link, I can see my Databases and Servers.

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Figure A

There is another portal that you can look at as well. You can find it by clicking on your login name and selecting Azure Preview Portal. (This is in preview at the time of writing this article.)

There are a couple of different ways you can look at your servers and databases. One is a tile layout and the other is a traditional list layout.

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Figure B

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Lessons learned

  • I don’t get to pick the name of my server, but I’m ok with that. It will provide better security.
  • If I’m moving a database to Azure, I should probably provide the same name as my current database. This means I get to create two new databases, AWMonkey and Utility, which will be the two databases I’ll be working with. I’ll also delete the AzureMonkey database since I don’t need it.
3. Find the Azure Server and ODBC strings I’ll need to use to access from my applications on my laptop

This was very easy. I remember the 90s where I would bang my head on the table trying to figure out how to put together an ODBC string the first few times. (This was the stone age where Google didn’t exist. I know, horrifying.)

  • If you are on the current portal page (Figure A above), then you double click on the database name. Towards the bottom you’ll see the string that will be used to connect to your Azure Server.
  • By clicking on the link for the connection strings, you’ll be given four different connection strings. You just need to provide your user account credentials.

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If you are in the preview portal (Figure B above), you can click on the name of the database, which will bring you to a property page, which has the string for the Azure server. Then you can click on the link that will provide the connection strings.

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Until We Meet Again

Even though I’ve only created an empty database so far, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I remember trying to get SQL Server 7.0 setup. It took two of us half the day and a fifteen step cheat sheet to get it installed. (Yup. Still no Google.)

Note: Setting up an Azure Account and an empty database took less than 10 minutes. In fact, it took less time than it took me to write this post. See you soon for the next post.

My Eleven Day PASS Summit 15 Experience

“STUEWE!” This is how I knew PASS Summit was about to begin. I was walking to the Friday night SQL Saturday Portland speaker dinner, prior to PASS Summit, when I heard my name being called, well, yelled. Since it was already dark, it took a minute to spot the black SUV with Mike Fal hanging out the window waving at me.

But wait, that is not when my Eleven Day Summit Experience started.

Day One – Thursday

It actually started on Thursday before Summit at LAX. I was there bright and early to pick up two of my Australian friends, Martin Cairney and Ben McNamara, who would be traveling with me to Portland and then on to Seattle. Despite the 14 hour flight, they wanted to go see the Endeavor space shuttle at the California Science Center in LA.

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Day Two – Friday

Friday was spent flying to Portland where we would be attending SQL Saturday Portland. We stayed in an Air B & B house. This is a great way to save some money for lodging and to feel like you’re at home. There is always a coffee machine with decent coffee and the best…no rambunctious kids on the floor above you. WIN!

Friday night, we attended a wonderful speaker dinner (This is when Mike Fal yelled my name out a window of an SUV). Speaker dinners are always fun to attend. You get to catch up with friends and make new ones. Portland is always a bit special, because it’s full of speakers from around the world who made a little extra time to speak at a community event before PASS Summit.

After dinner, we found an amazing restaurant. It had the most scrumptious gluten free bread. I think it was made of clouds.

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Day Three – Saturday

Saturday was spent at one of my favorite SQL Saturdays. Ok, I’ll be honest. ALL SQL Saturdays are my favorite. It’s a great time to do a little extra networking, get to see SQL Family, and meet new people in the community. I also love speaking and that is what I did in Portland. I spoke on SSRS.

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I was able to attend several wonderful sessions. My favorite was given by Julie Koesmarno and Cindy Gross: Moving beyond Unconscious Bias. I really liked their approach to this topic. Throughout the presentation, they strongly emphasized that we are all good people.

They spoke about how everyone categorizes everything in our lives, but sometimes we have a bias in our categorization, an unconscious bias that we are unaware of. They told us about a study by Harvard called the Implicit Association test, which tests how we categorize various topics. Julie and Cindy then showed us a video of Allen Alda taking the Harvard test. I strongly recommend learning about unconscious bias.

No Portland trip is complete without going to my two favorite places in the evening. We put our names in for our two hour wait at the Multnomah Whiskey Library, and then we headed over to Cassidy’s. They have great food and AMAZING bacon. I ordered enough bacon for all sixteen of us. (And there was much rejoicing). Afterwards we went to the Whiskey Library, where I was finally able to try some Scapa Scotch. I really liked it (Thanks for the recommendation Grant!).2015 PASS Summit13

Day Four – Sunday

One of the cheapest ways to get from Portland to Seattle is the train. When we bought our tickets, they were around $25. Little did we know it would be an unexpectedly amazing day. My friend, Ted Stathakis, was really looking forward to this day too. He loves trains; neither of us realized how amazing it would be.

Last year, there were only five of us on the train. Martin Cairney and I spent the majority of the trip troubleshooting a problem with my VM. Not this time. This time it was completely non-technical. There were sixteen of us in our car, and two who (foolishly) purchased tickets in a nicer car. Why do I say foolishly? Well, we were having so much fun, that they spent the majority of the trip in our car…eating our Voodoo Donuts. Next time, I think they will buy the general tickets. Next time, I’m also going to try getting the WHOLE car too. So if you want to ride with us, keep an eye out for a post from me in the summer.

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For more details on the fun we had, go look up the twitter handle #SQLTrain.

Day Five – Monday

Monday was a red day. Red Gate day that is. Red Gate puts on a free event called SQL in the City. They have put it on each year on the Monday before the PASS Summit for several years now. They bring quite a few people from the UK to talk about their tools, and they have amazing presentation. This year, they went with a common theme: Continuous Integration. I participated in the Lightening Talks. I spoke on how to use their DLM Dashboard. This is a great tool that keeps an eye on the databases you connect to the DLM dashboard. You can monitor who modified the database and which scripts they ran on the database. Did I mention this is a free tool?

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Monday night is the annual Networking dinner put on by Steve Jones and Andy Warren. This is a “must attend” event. Why? It’s all about networking and integrating 1st timers into the community. This year, a bunch of us crammed into a booth with four 1st timers. At least two were from Europe. I enjoyed getting to know them and they enjoyed being introduced to all the people that came by our table to say hi.

Note: Remember, networking isn’t just about talking tech. It’s about building relationships so that you can ask technical questions in the future. If you need ideas on how to meet people, take a look at my blog post, Top Ten Ways To Create Your Meet and Greet List For Summit.

Day Six – Tuesday

Tuesday was a relaxing day before the busyness of Summit. I started the day off with breakfast with Chris Yates. This is a rare pleasure. Chris and I met through the SQL Community on Twitter. We now blog together occasionally and I speak at the SQL Saturday in his hometown.

Before I took time to prep for my Wednesday morning presentation, my apartment mates and I went to the Starbucks where they roast all of their coffee beans. I had my first french press, and, I must say, I’m hooked. 2015 PASS Summit2-001

After I was done with my presentation preparation, it was time for the opening event for PASS Summit. This is a whirlwind event. I feel like a butterfly, fluttering from conversation to conversation. This year, I felt like a match maker too. I had three people from my company attending with me. I haven’t had that happen since the mid 90s! I enjoyed introducing them to a number of people.

I also did something different. I went looking for the lone 1st timers. The wallflowers who don’t know who to talk to. I found one. He was eating by himself near a wall, watching everyone by himself. I went up to him, introduced myself, and got to know him. I then asked if there was someone he wanted to meet. He wanted to meet Pinal Dave from India. Pinal and I know of each other, but we’ve never had the pleasure of shaking each other’s hands. So that’s what we did. Luckily, Pinal was standing nearby. Pinal and I finally shook hands, and I introduced him to the 1st timer. That made me very happy. Win!

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Day Seven – Wednesday

This was my day <deep breaths inserted here>. I was first up to bat <deep breaths inserted here>. I’m nervous as I walk to my room. I see my room and I get calmer. I climb up on the stage and I get calmer. I get my laptop set up and I’m ready to go. Boom.

As you’ve probably noticed, I really believe in networking. My class filled up with plenty of time to spare before the presentation, so I did the same thing I did last year. I had everyone stand up and introduce themselves to their neighbors. I stood on stage with a huge grin on my face, then I stepped off stage and introduced myself to people in the front row.

200 hundred people came to hear my presentation on Sophisticated Techniques in SSRS. I enjoyed every minute of the session. We did have a couple of exciting moments in class though. There was a laptop on the table (not mine) that started beeping. I thoroughly enjoyed slamming nicely shutting the laptop lid. There was also a crash of dishes behind me in the hallway. I said “Opa!” in my head and kept on presenting.

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With my presentation done, I was able to enjoy classes the rest of the conference.

One class I took was not found in a classroom, but on the edge of a planter on the ground floor. I started talking with this guy (sorry I can’t recall his name, but he was awesome). He was telling me how he had submitted his session, but wasn’t selected. After he told me his topic, I told him I would have taken his class. His presentation was right up my alley. So he asked if I would like to see it. I said yes and we had a wonderful one-on-one discussion, complete with demos on his laptop. Right there. On the edge of a planter. It was my favorite class. THAT is one the many special things about PASS Summit.

One of the things I was really happy about this year was the change in how special diets were handled. In the past, they have always messed up my meals. I have a lot of food sensitivities, so I understand it’s difficult to accommodate my diet, but I still need to eat. This year, they had our names on our meals, and they had the more common special requests handled in the regular food line. (Thank you)

Day Eight – Thursday

I was invited again to live-blog the keynote on Thursday. You can see my comments here. I was very sad to hear that this would be the last keynote for PASS Summit given by David DeWitt and Rimma Nehme. I’m happy that I’ve been able to see two of their keynotes.

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Before lunch, I thoroughly enjoyed directing people to lunch (I’ll tell you a secret. I think I enjoyed twirling my sign a little too much. Open-mouthed smile).

Thursday is the Women In Technology Day (WIT). WIT puts on a great lunch, and I was in the perfect place to direct people to the regular lunch and the WIT lunch. One of the traditions of WIT day is for men and women to wear kilts. This tradition was started by Grant Fritchey many years ago. This was my fourth year participating.

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Day Nine – Friday

Friday is full of sessions and bitter sweet goodbyes. Now, I don’t want you to think I only had fun this week. I did attend sessions. I have proof. I also took notes.

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… And I had fun.

 

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Summit is not complete without at least one night hanging out with Jason Strate at Bush Garden participating in SQL Karaoke. I was super happy to make it there multiple times this year. Last year, I wasn’t able to go at all due to all the commitments I had at Summit.

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Day Ten – Saturday

Saturday was a vacation day. I spent the day with my Australian friends. These are friends that I’ve made through Summit. I even worked with a some of them for a few months. In the evening, Julie Koesmarno and I threw a dinner party for a few of our friends who were still in town. We were even able to invite some friends we met this year.

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Day Eleven – Sunday

Sunday I had to come back to reality on my flight home. While I had an amazing time in Seattle speaking, learning, networking, and reconnecting, I was happy to see my family and they were happy to see me.

LucybyVictoria

Top 10 Ways To Create Your Meet and Greet List For Summit?

There was a time not to long ago when I didn’t know how to meet others in my profession. I didn’t know about SQL Saturdays or PASS Summit. The conferences that I was starting to attend were full of people who really didn’t want to network. But I’m persistent. I was determined to find a community of professionals who wanted to network. Then I found my first SQL Saturday and I fell in love with the community that PASS helps create the world over. I now have friends on almost every major continent? (Are there any SQL professionals in Antarctica? If so, I want to meet you.)

Who you gonna meet?

As each PASS Summit approaches, I make a list. I check it twice. And I decide who I’m going to meet. My question to you is, who are you going to meet at PASS Summit (or at your next SQL Event)? How do you decide who you want to meet? If you are looking for ideas on how to make your list, and you should have a list, keep reading.

My Top Ten List of How I Pick People to Meet

 

1. Set up a Twitter account to get to know the #SQLFamily community

The first thing I did before my very first Summit was creating a Twitter account. The SQL community has a huge presence there and it is a great place to get to know people from all over the world. You’ll not only connect with other individuals, but you’ll also see tweets of links to great articles that people share. You’ll also have a place to ask others how they solved the problems you are now facing through the hashtag, #SQLHelp.

I had several people on my first “Meet and Greet” list whom I had met this way. One of them was Ed Watson, whom I’m still friends with.

IMG_3221We chatted on twitter often. It was great meeting Anil in person.

Note: I recommend reading this before acquiring your first Twitter account. http://www.brentozar.com/twitter/book/

2. Consider the bloggers you follow

I checked out the list of blogs that I read and compared the authors to the list of attendees to see if any of the bloggers I knew were attending.

1651Ola Hallengran is known for his maintenance scripts.
We connected at a karaoke bar.

 

3. Ask the people in your local community if they are attending

They will be able to introduce you to other people during the event. I met several people at the SQL Saturday in San Diego who were also going to Summit. They were happy to introduce me to people at the various events we attended.

723I know Phil from the local user groups.
He helped introduce me to other people.

4. Consider the speakers of the sessions you are attending

As you determine which of the sessions you want to attend, read up on the instructors. They all have small bios on the PASS Summit site. You can also check out their blogs. If they have something in common with you, or if they really helped shape your career, then add them to your list. Just don’t make your entire list out of the speakers. You need variety.

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Jes Borland is an amazing speaker.
I’m so happy I’ve gotten to know her.

Note: I would recommend introducing yourself to speakers you want to meet at various after parties, during lunch, or as you see them in the halls. They are usually super busy right before their sessions setting up and right after their sessions answering questions.
But wait! There’s more!

Those are the easy ways to create a list before the event. But don’t stop building your list after the event starts. The list you bring with you is just the beginning. Keep reading to find out how to add to your list during the event.

5. Go to the networking parties in the evenings

At PASS Summit, there is a Networking Party put on by Andy Warren and Steve Jones. GO TO IT. Sit with people you don’t know. I know I will be. This event is not a sponsored event. In other words, you need to pay for your food and drink, BUT the networking is free and encouraged. Register for it here.

When I went to my first one, I met the lovely Viki Harp. She introduced me to Wendy Pastrick who whisked me away to meet Pam Shaw. It was actually amazing that I ate any food at all. It was so much fun meeting new people.

MickeyAndJasonJason and I are connecting at the
Summit Networking event.

6. Sit with new people during breakfast and lunch

At my first Summit, I only knew the people I had met at my first SQL Saturday, and I was very determined not to eat a single meal by myself. So I didn’t. Every morning, I got on Twitter and asked if I could join anyone for breakfast at the Daily Grill. I used the hashtag #Summit2012 (this year it will be #Summit2015, obviously). And guess what. I never ate alone. This wonderful woman, Monica Rathburn asked me to join her almost every morning.

1143This was my last breakfast at my first Summit.
We started with four people.

7. Consider people in your sessions

Introduce yourself to people sitting around you before the session starts. Or strike up a conversation about the session with someone after the session has ended.

722Ritu and I connected when we realized
we kept attending the same sessions.

8. Hang out at the Community Zone at PASS Summit

This is a great place to meet people. Why? That is the purpose of the Community Zone. Usually there is a schedule for various groups of people to be in the community. So, if you really want to meet the Australians, then show up during the hour to hang out there. If you want to meet people from your own region, then come when they are scheduled to meet up in the Community Zone. (The best part is there are awesome bean bag chairs to sit in.)

1648Tjay and I ran into each other in
the Community Zone.

9. Attend the after parties

Attend as many after parties and other non SQL events as you can. Yes, quite a few of them have drinking, and that might be an issue for you, but not all of them do.  Here are some other events that have little to no drinking that are usually found at PASS Summit:

  • Running. That’s right, there is a large group of runners who get up when I’m still dreaming and go for a run. They usually have cool SQL shirts and Jes Borland is usually found leading the pack of SQL runners.
  • Board game night. Last year there were a couple of nights where people gathered around board games to talk and have fun.
  • PASS Prayers. This is a Christian group who meets for prayers and fellowship in one of the hotel lobbies in the morning, again when I’m still dreaming.
  • Photo walk: This is a great way to learn about Seattle, get a good walk outside, and get to know other SQL Photography lovers.

2014-11-07 21.39.38We were hanging out at an event in the evening.

Note: All the events that PASS knows about will be put on this page a few weeks before PASS Summit starts.

10. Attend other events that occur around PASS Summit

Last but not least, attend Redgate’s SQL in the City event on the Monday before PASS Summit. This is an amazing free event put on by Redgate. They have several speakers speaking on various topics. There’s also a free lunch and networking at the end of the event. When you are done, you can head over to the Networking dinner I mentioned in No. 5 above.

downloadSebastian Mein and I had a photo op with
the lovely Carly from Redgate visiting from the UK.

Hi. My name is…

One of the things you can do when you are talking to people is give them your card. Wait…You don’t have one? That is easily fixed. Vista Print is where I make mine and they always seem to have discounts. Since the card is about YOU and not your company, just put the contact info you are interested in sharing. I put my name, title, email, and a picture of myself.  My first year, I came home with 50 cards from other people. I wrote on the back where I met them. The following year I went through them and I was amazed at how many I still remembered and even interacted with through other SQL events and through social media (mostly Twitter).

Back to talking to people

So, you’ve got your list and you are standing in front of someone you wanted to meet. Now what?

If they’re not considered “famous”, then ask them if you could buy them a drink (coffee, soda, or bottled water works, too) or ask if they have time to meet in the Community Zone to chat. The Community Zone is usually full of awesome bean bag chairs to sit and talk in.  Tell them you wanted to meet them to talk about xyz, and xyz doesn’t have to be about SQL. Maybe you both enjoy art, or learning about Whiskey distilleries. (Oh wait, that’s me.)

2014KY4ChrisYatesChris and I will be reconnecting over breakfast this year.

If you consider them “famous”, thank them for writing/speaking/inspiring. If they have time to talk, tell them about yourself and maybe ask them a question about SQL.

What if you are shy or an introverted?

You can still make connections. You only really need to make one strong connection. It’s ok if it takes more than one Summit to develop. I have SQL Family friends that are shy/introverted. I make sure they go out to some of the events and are having a good time. I help with making introductions for them to make connections with people on their “Meet and Greet” list.

Anecdote: My first Summit I met someone who was shy. We saw each other again our second Summit, but it wasn’t until our third Summit when we developed a stronger connection. I know it was hard for them, but they called me and asked if they could go with me to an event. They weren’t comfortable going by themselves. I was happy to go to the event together. I was also happy to introduce them to other people in the community. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with them this Summit.
Follow the White Rabbit

In the end, it’s all about making connections. If Neo hadn’t followed the white rabbit, he wouldn’t have met Trinity who took him to Morpheus. These connections are not just for the yearly PASS Summit. They are there for as long as you nurture them. Some of the people I’ve met, I only see at Summit, some I see four or five times a year, and some I talk to every day through social media and Skype. These connections help remind me that I’m not crazy when the App Devs tell me that Foreign Keys are bad, and they help me when the poo hits the fan and I need to restore data in a way I’ve never done before. Finally, they are there for me because we are all part of this huge community, affectionately dubbed “SQL Family”.

Exploring SQL Prompt 6.5

010The SQL Prompt Team has been working hard at the Redgate campus in England, and they have out done themselves yet again with their latest release, SQL Prompt 6.5. I’m extra excited about this release, due to the fact that several of the features I’ve been wanting for a while are available this time around. In this post, I’m going to go over my top three favorite new features.

Tab Coloring

I was so happy to see this feature move from the Experimental Lab List to the Feature List. It was like watching Pinocchio become a real boy. Not only does this feature behave the way it did when it was on the Experimental Lab List, but they added some additional cool features to it.

So what does it do for you? It colors the tabs of each query window based on environment settings that you set up. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, Mickey, but SSMS already does that in the status bar for me.” Well, the Tab Coloring in SQL Prompt is way better. Here is why.

I rarely look at the status bar, but I’m always looking at the top 20% of the screen, so for me, a very visual person, having the color in that top 20% of the screen is much more effective. SQL Prompt provides that for me, by coloring the tab of the query window and adding a line of the same color below the status bar. If you undock the query window, then the whole window is outlined in the tab color.

SQLPrompt6_5a

 

You can create as many environments as you want and you can pick any color…or shade of color that you want. This was one of the improvements to Tab Coloring from when it existed in the Experimental Lab list.

To modify the environments, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the SQL Prompt menu and select Options.
  2. Select Colors from the Tabs list on the left hand side.
  3. Click on the Edit Environments button in the bottom right hand corner, under the table.
  4. Add or modify an environment.
  5. Click on a color to modify the color to meet your needs.
  6. Apply these environments to the servers they represent on the previous window.

SQLPrompt6_5c

 

I’m notorious for saving stored procedures in the Master database in development. To help prevent this, I can set up a Tab Color for a specific database on a specific server. For me, that would be the Master database in dev. I love this!

To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Go to the SQL Prompt menu and select Options.
  2. Select Colors from Tab list on the left hand side.
  3. Click on the Add Server/Database link in the table.
  4. Add a Server Name in the first column.
  5. Add a Database Name in the second column.
  6. Select an Environment for the color in the third column.

SQLPrompt6_5d

Note: In the above example, all three colors are for the same server. This means that when the data is not Utility or Master, then the tab coloring will be green…even for new databases on that server.

In Tab History, you can see which environment each query ran on last. In the example below, I can see that I ran SQLQuery6 in the Master database on SQLDemoMonkey. I know this due to the fact I set up a database specific Tab Color for the Master Database on SQLDemoMonkey. (I guess I should go make sure I didn’t create a stored procedure in that database.)

SQLPrompt6_5b

Intelligent Intellisense for GROUP BY

One of the boring tasks for writing a GROUP BY statement, is re-writing all the columns that you already wrote in the SELECT section of your query. Many times, I’ll copy what I wrote in the SELECT section and paste it under GROUP BY …but then the list still requires editing. Not any more. SQL Prompt now provides an intelligent intellisense for GROUP BY. Take a look:

 

SQLPrompt6_5f

 

In this query I used Ctrl + to get the intellisense to pop up for my GROUP BY. At the top of the list, there is a shortcut for having all the non-aggregated columns inserted for you. Also notice that RequestType from line 42, is not listed at the top of the intellisense box, because it is an aggregated field.

Format Actions and <ctrl> + k, <ctrl> + y

I wrote a post, back in July of 2014, about SQL Prompt formatting shortcuts.  I wrote:

As a power user, my key strokes will look like this when I use them all at once: + bw, bq, bc, ky and finally + e to execute my code. Here is an example of how an ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan by applying all of these hot keys at one time.

That long list of key strokes is now obsolete. (And there was much rejoicing). I now can select from a list of formatting options that will be applied with only the Ctrl + K, Ctrl + Y shortcut. This is so much easier!

To modify the list of formatting options, follow these steps.

  1. Go to the SQL Prompt menu and select Options.
  2. Select Actions under the Format list on the left.

 

SQLPrompt6_5e

 

It’s  A Wrap

I only listed three of the new features that SQL Prompt 6.5 has. I encourage you to take a look at the Release Notes for the full list. If you don’t have SQL Prompt, then download a free 14 day trial here. If you already have SQL Prompt, then you can go to the SQL Prompt/Help/Check For Updates menu item to get the latest version.

Caribbean: The Final SQL Frontier

20150211_154238These are the voyages of the SQL Cruise 2015 cruisers on the ocean liner Getaway. Its 7 day mission: To seek out new SQL knowledge and new islands; to boldly ask questions that no woman or man asked before.

– Cruiser Mickey Stuewe

Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.07

Dan and I embark on our first day. We plan to explore new islands and learn more about SQL. We meet several of our shipmates during the boarding process. At twelve hundred hours, we met up with our captain, Mr. Tim Ford and his first officer Ms. Amy Ford. While I begin the process of SQL knowledge transfer, Dan decides to get the lay of the ship.

Captain Ford wastes no time on our voyage. Our first class is given while our ship is still docked in port. We have a wonderful presentation by Jeff Lehmann on what is available to us with Amazon Web Services.

That evening we gathered again for an opening party where we were able to meet all the students, instructors, and families (like my husband Dan) that were joining us for the voyage. It was great to meet new people and also to catch up with fellow alumni cruisers like myself. Bill, Joe, and Matisse were all on my SQL Cruise 2 years ago. Matisse and one of the two Patricks were international students.

After the opening party, Captain Ford divided the students into groups for a scavenger hunt sponsored by Amazon Web Services. This is one of my favorite activities. We are not allowed to be in a group where we know anyone. (That meant Dan and I were on different teams.) This is a great way for the students to break the ice and start building friendships. I had so much fun running around taking pictures of the clues we found….and photo bombing the other teams. I am very proud to announce that my team won.

IMG_3910Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.09

The last two days, I have seen some intense training, while Dan has seen some intense relaxation. In the last two days my classmates and I have been in six 1.5 hour sessions with David Klee, Kevin Kline, Jes Borland, and Grant Fritchey leading the way. These classes have been amazing. Why? Not only are they all amazing speakers whom I can listen to for hours, but the class sizes are small and the sessions are longer than what I normally see. Do you know what that means? It means technical dialog with a room full of experts. Can you give me a Boom Shaka Laka?

We also had “office hours” the last two days. We were able to ask our instructors and our fellow classmates’ questions in a relaxed environment. Our office hour topics varied from day to day. Some of the topics I participated in included sharing examples of PowerShell, understanding the consulting world better, and solving problems on VMs.

IMG_3933Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.10

Today was our first day in an island port. We docked in St. Maarten for the day. We took a taxi with some friends to the airport beach where we rented beach chairs and watched the tide come in almost to our toes. It was very relaxing. I did go in the water, which was amazing. We ate lunch in town where our group split into two. My new friend Deidra and I went shopping, while everyone else walked leisurely back to the ship and hung out at a bar near the ship.

Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.11

Today was our second day in at island port. We docked in St. Thomas. This was the only day we set up a planned excursion and I’m so glad we did. Kevin Kline, Jes Borland, Justin Borland, Dan and myself took a sailboat out to St. John’s for some snorkeling and sun bathing. This was an amazing adventure with great memories. The ocean was wonderful, it wasn’t too hot, and we saw sea turtles while snorkeling. On the way back, they served drinks and snacks. I discovered that I like rum. I’ll leave it at that.

When we returned to the ship, we had some more office hours. Dan and I then had dinner with Kevin Kline, David Klee, and the lovely Molly Klee. Since Dan and Molly are not data professionals like the rest of us, I didn’t want us nerding out the whole night. Well, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Both Kevin and David enjoy woodworking, which my husband is very into. This gave Dan the opportunity to interact with my SQL Family, which I was thrilled with.

IMG_3908Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.12

Today was another day at sea, which meant we spent another day in class. This day has been just as amazing with sessions from David Klee and Kevin Kline. Again the sessions were full of great knowledge and interaction of the whole class (especially Jared).

After our sessions, we had our second group dinner. This gave us yet another opportunity to ask questions and get to know more about our classmates and their families.

IMG_3943Ship’s log, star date 2015.02.13

Today was our last day on an island. We docked in Nassau, in the Bahamas. And guess what? We had another amazing day. Thirteen of us walked up to an old fort. Along the way we picked up two non-SQL cruisers. (More the merrier.) Grant Fritchey, Tim Ford, and my husband Dan all REALLY enjoy history, so they loved visiting the fort. On our way back into town we stopped at a local eatery on the beach. They couldn’t have been nicer. They literally built us a seating area out of old upholstered benches, added umbrellas, and served us food and drinks. That was the best.

Afterwards, we broke up into two groups. One going back towards the ship and the other off to see a rum distillery. Guess which group I was in? Since we weren’t part of an organized tour, the grounds were relatively quiet. This allowed us to leisurely stroll around and ask questions. We also sat for a bit and tasted the various rums they produced.

When we returned to the ship, we had a closing party. We were all very sad that our voyage was at an end, but we were all very happy to be spending the last evening together.EveryoneAtSQLCruiseAtEnd

Summary

This was my second SQL Cruise and it will not be my last. Tim and Amy Ford have really made an exceptional environment for learning. The environment is nurturing, fun, intimate, including, and friendly. You get to spend quality time with the instructors AND with your fellow SQL Family. I absolutely love PASS, but I feel very torn about who I will spend the few evenings I have with. On SQL Cruise, it’s a small group of people and you are all stuck on the boat together. Also, there is plenty of time to ask questions. There are many times at conferences where I don’t get to ask my questions because there is a 30 minute wait AFTER class to speak with the instructor. Not so on SQL Cruise. There’s office hours. There’s dinner. There’s the hot tub. There’s breakfast….

Thanks for all the fish

I want to thank Tim and Amy for spending their time putting the cruise together and handling all the logistics so that we have a place to meet on the ship for the classes, office hours, and group dinners. I also want to thank the sponsors who help keep the cost of the cruise down. Thanks go out to Amazon Web Services, SQL Sentry and Red Gate.

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Reflections in the 2014 Mirror

DSC03551-BWLast year I read an article about setting goals that are measurable. So I did just that. Instead of having a goal of speaking at more SQL Saturdays than the previous year, my goal was to speak at 7 SQL Saturdays. While I only spoke at 6 SQL Saturdays this year, I did deliver 9 SQL Saturday presentations. I would consider that a completed goal.

Level up

Here are some other achievements for this year.

  1. I received the Best New Community Voice award from Red Gate.
  2. I delivered 25 presentations to roughly 1,740 people across 20 physical and virtual events.
  3. I founded the BIG PASS user group in January for Orange County, California and have been joined by Rob Hatton (l) over the summer as my co-leader.
  4. Chris Yates, Jeffrey Verheul, Julie Koesmarno and I started a collaborative blogging series called SQLCoOp.
  5. I had the honor of being part of the Friends of Red Gate program for a second year, speaking at SQL in The City for a second year and getting to work very closely with the SQL Prompt team. (Yes, they are my favorite team too.)
  6. I wrote 31 posts this year that were viewed in 116 different countries. This happens to be the same number of posts my friend Jeffrey Verheul (b|t) had this year. So I am publicly throwing down a challenge to him to see which of us will come out of 2015 with more posts.
  7. At PASS Summit I networked, live-blogged two events, hosted a Birds of a Feather table, networked, hung out at the Community Zone, networked and the feather in my cap this year…
  8. I gave my first presentation at PASS Summit to a full room of 361 people. My favorite part was not the number of people, but how engaged they were. That made my day.
IMG_3197-001I raise my glass to my friends

We never accomplish anything in a vacuum, so I want to thank my friends who had the biggest impact on my life this year. There are many that are not listed, because if I did, this would be a very long post.

  1. Ben McNamara (t)
  2. Jes Borland (b|t)
  3. Chris Yates (b|t)
  4. Jeffrey Verheul (b|t)
  5. Julie Koesmarno (b|t)
  6. Brian Moran (b|t)
  7. Ted Krueger (b|t)
  8. Grant Fritchey (b|t)
  9. Tim Ford (b|t)
  10. Jason Horner (t)
  11. Argenis Fernandez (b|t)
  12. Red Gate (b|t) staff – Specifically Carly Harding, Aaron Low, and David Priddle
My next adventure

What will 2015 hold? I have some ideas and I’m setting some new goals, but only time will tell. I’ll see everyone on the flip side. Happy New Year!

Summit 2014 Experience Or My Week With the Aussies

Summit may officially only have three daysfive days if you count the two pre-con days, but my “Summit 2014 Experience ” this year was two weeks long. How can that be? Well, I hung out with my favorite Aussies.

(I will apologize right here. This is a looong post. I created a timeline for those that want the short version.)PASSSummit2014Experience

JulieAndMickeyAtFrys#SQLAussieFamily comes to visit

Some of you may know that I’m really close friends with Julie Koesmarano and she lives way too far away. So I asked her to come visit a week before Summit. That is when my “Summit 2014 Experience” officially started, when Julie arrived on my doorstop. After she settled in, we headed out to lunch, and then shopping at Fry’s for adapters. By Thursday (before Summit) two more Aussies came to visit, Martin Cairney and Ben McNamara.I hadn’t met Ben before, so he gets to be the official first networking opportunity of my “Summit 2014 Experience”. He’s also the one I spent the most time with during Summit. The next day we hopped on a plane heading to Portland and their SQL Saturday.

Portlandia

I’m born and raised in California. We drive everywhere. Aussies, on the other hand, do things differently, and I loved it. We didn’t stay in a hotel. We used Airbnb and stayed in an old Victorian parsonage. It was wonderful. We could have taken a taxi to the house we rented, but instead we took our suitcases on a tour of Portland via the light rail, the street cars, and our feet. We even picked our dinner location based on walking distance from our house. So much fun.

Since I don’t want to leave any of my “flat mates” out, we were joined late Friday night by the lovely Heidi Hastings, straight from Australia.

SQL Saturday #337 – Portland

I love SQL Saturdays. Attendees get to learn for free, I get to teach about the things I love, I get to meet new people, and to top it all off, I get to see and hug all my SQL Family. At this SQL Saturday, I gave my presentation called: Changing Your Habits to Improve the Performance of Your T-SQL.

SQLSatOregonSpeakerRoom

I found my favorite moments to be in the bathroom. I know, you’re scratching your head, but it’s true. While I was heading out of the restroom, I was stopped by one of the other speakers. She introduced herself to me and told me how she has been reading this very blog for the last two years and she has enjoyed watching me grow. Wow, that touched me. I’ve never been told that before. It made my day.

Believe it or not, my Aussie friends and I were the very LAST people to leave the event. Mostly because we needed to wait for a taxi and we waited to the last minute to call one. Once our taxi arrived, we headed for dinner. Someone had found a restaurant/bar that had whiskey called The Library. WOW! If you like whiskey, and you’re in Portland, you need to go there. They had ladders to get to the top shelves!

TheLibrary

IMG_3202Make sure you get reservations though. We had to wait 1.5 hours! Which we did at a wonderful restaurant called Cassidy’s. The food and company were wonderful. They even let me order a plate of bacon as an appetizer.

All aboard!

Sunday we needed to get to Seattle, so Neil Hambly joined our little Aussie Posse and we took a ride north on the train. This was a very relaxing train ride for Ben, Heidi, and Neil. Martin and I spent most of the time trouble shooting some domain controller issues on my laptop. In the end, Martin prevailed, and we all left the train happy. (And there was much rejoicing.)

TrainStation

 

IMG_3205Red Gate had a speaker dinner that night, just as I arrived into town at a wonderful restaurant called Tango’s. I have NINE different foods that I can’t eat. Annabel (from Red Gate), gave the chef my list of allergies, and they made me a custom meal. It was SO delightfully delicious. Here is a picture of what I considered my desert. A salad with fruit and BACON! Yum!

SQL in the City

IMG_3210Monday was spent with my favorite vendor, Red Gate. They put on an amazing free event called SQL in the City. I was honored to be a speaker for the 2nd year in a row. This year I had two presentations. I gave a lightning talk at the end of the day called: Finding the delta with SQL Compare and backups. I also gave a full session in the middle of the day called: Customize your faux test data with SQL Data Generator. I was very pleased with this presentation. I showcased a tool that isn’t talked about very often and demoed the new features that have been implemented over the last year or so, including the ability to use Python to better customize the faux test data. It was quite a bit of fun to present.

While I was wondering networking, I ran into John. The two of us participated in the First Timer’s dinner that was put on in 2012. He told me that he had been reading my blog ever since then and that he enjoyed watching me grow from a first timer at Summit to a First Timer Speaker at Summit.

Has Summit started yet?

No, Summit hasn’t officially started yet, but networking has. After networking throughout the day at SQL in the City, I had dinner with a couple of friends on our way to the beloved Tap House, whereI did more hugging and networking.

SSIS Pre-con and Mickey

Every day of this amazing “Summit 2014 Experience”, I was giving back to the SQL community. Either through speaking at an event or doing some other volunteer duty. But TuesdayTuesday was for me. I took a pre-con from Brian Knight and Devin Knight called: SSIS: Problem, Design, Solution. They are amazing presenters to watch, and I enjoyed the content I learned.

That evening I ran around with my head cut off trying to say hi (and hug) everyone I knew. I’m pretty sure I was still saying hi (and still hugging) people on Thursday that I hadn’t seen in a year. In fact, there are a couple of people I missed completely. That’s not too surprising, there were only 5000 people wandering around.

IMG_3221It was really fun getting to meet some of my Twitter friends whom I hadn’t met in person yet, like Andre Ranieri, Anil Mahadev, Annette Allen, and Adam Machanic. Now I have voices to go with the faces. (hhmmmMy data is skewed. All the people I listed have a first name that starts with “A”.)

Woot! First Day of the Summit

I started the day off at the Bloggers Table at the first Keynote. This was very exciting. You see, I was invited to live blog the keynote. I’m no Brent Ozar when it comes to live blogging, but I had a great time and I had at least one reader following the live blog.

After Julie and I had breakfast, I prepped for my very first Summit session, which was scheduled for Thursday. I’m so glad that I prepped mid Wednesday, because I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Which brings me to the last session of the day and the first session that I was able to attend. I took Mladen Prajdic’s  class called: SQL Server and Application Security for Developers. Anyone who has to write any inline SQL, should take his class. It was great.

I’ll just tell you right now. I networked EVERY single night. Why? Well, I got laid off right before I left for Summit. If you are going to get laid off, do it right before Summit, because it is the absolute BEST place to get the word out. I came home with several potential opportunities. I even gave up taking classes so that I could make deeper connections in the SQL community.

JessAndMickeyTHE BIG DAY

I was bummed to miss the Keynote on Thursday, but I don’t sit still well before a big presentation. I thought it was more important to have a good breakfast.

Since I was up first for the day, I went to my classroom forty minutes earlyand there were people already there! It gets better! I asked the room proctor if she could tell me how many people attended my session after it ended. She thought I was someone else, and started telling me about how many attendees they expected for my session. She told me that there were 232 people who added my session to their schedule and that I was on the “overflow watch list”. (Yeah, that made me a tad nervous.) That is a big class! Do you want to hear the best part??? I ended up with THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE attendees in my session. That’s 35% more than expected. There were only 12 empty seats. That’s more people than the number of students in my youngest daughter’s elementary school! Did I mention this was the FIRST time I was speaking at PASS Summit?

While those numbers still blow my mind, it wasn’t my favorite part of my session. Not even close. There were two other much more exciting events that happened in my session. The first, was the attendees themselves. They were engaged. They were so engaging that I ran a bit over. I felt bad about that, but my class was so interactive and I love that. The second happened during the six minutes prior to the session starting.

BenAndMickeyI was completely ready to start and didn’t know what to do with myself. There was a very low murmur in the room, but I could see many people just sitting there waiting for the session to start. So I turned my mic on and announced, “My favorite thing about Summit is the Networking. I want everyone of you to turn to the person on your left and the person on your right and introduce yourself. I will then know you have networked with at least two people today.”and the room exploded in conversation. I even introduced myself to two people in the front row. I then waited for my session to start with a huge grin on my face. I even had to quiet the room down when I started. Man that was awesome.

My Thursday is not done yet

I didn’t get to attend any sessions this day, because I was busy doing other things. I attended the Women in Technology lunch. I hung out in the community zone for an hour. And I was asked to live blog a Q & A session with the Executive Board. This was a way for the bloggers to ask questions of the Executive Board and blog about them before the Q & A session that was held on Friday. I was honored to be asked to participate. I really have a lot of respect for our Executive Board. It’s not easy pleasing the entire world of SQL professionals.

That evening I was invited to a special dinner put on by Red Gate for their Friends of Red Gate members. I’m mentioning it here, because of where we had dinner. We ate at a special restaurant called FareStart. This amazing restaurant helps the homeless get back on their feet by training them, housing them, and feeding them. All proceeds from the restaurant go back into the program. The chef and main waiting staff are all volunteers and there is even a waiting list to work there. I encourage you to follow the link and read about the restaurant. (This restaurant was also great about my food allergies. I had an AMAZING meal.)

ChrisJulieAndMickeyAnother great thing happened at the Friends of Red Gate dinner. I was able to introduce Chris Yates to Julie Koesmarano. The three of us, plus Jeffrey Verheul from The Netherlands all blog together under the hashtag, #SQLCoop. This was the first time that Chris and Julie had met in person. It’s the little things, like introductions, that make me happy.

And you know what I did after dinner. I networked… and celebrated this amazing day.

Friday already?

I actually was able to attend classes all day on Friday. I was quite happy about that. I was even able to attend Martin Cairney’s session called:Thinking Out of the Box: Manage SQL Server Using Built-in Tools . He had the very last session of summit and it was wonderful.

At lunch I lead one of the Birds of a Feather lunch tables in the discussion of Data Models. Our table was pretty full and we had a great discussion about someone’s data model challenges.

2014-11-07 21.39.38

Summit may officially end at 5:15 PM on Friday, but the “Summit 2014 Experience” doesn’t end until you’re buckled into the seat of an airplane, train, or car. (Hopefully, not a straight jacket.)

Two of my Aussie “flat mates” and I snuck off to a wonderful Lebanese restaurant for dinner. The food was great, but I could have done without the steep hills to get there. I guess it is a requirement to walk up and back down at least one steep hill while you are in Seattle. After dinner we went to a birthday party and finally ended up at… the Tap House where I continued to network.

Bittersweet

My “Summit 2014 Experience” started with the Aussies and ended with the Aussies. We all went out to breakfast one last time at the Daily Grill. It was a great breakfast, but still sad that I probably wouldn’t see these wonderful people for another year.

 

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Thanks for all the fish

I wish I could give a shout out to all the SQL Family members I spent time with, but there are far too many of you. I do want to thank everyone for being part of a fabulous community. It is a rarity in the computer programming world and we are all very fortunate to be part of it.

Where in the SQL World is Mickey Stuewe

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PASSFlagI’m in countdown mode right now. Countdown to Halloween. Not because I get to dress up this Friday, but because I’m leaving for my favorite time of yearPASS Summit. This will be my first year speaking at Summit, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

JulieAndMickeyMentorsOne of the most amazing things about Summit is the networking opportunities. These opportunities have the potential to start lifelong friendships. And that is where my post really needs to start, with my friend Julie Koesmarno. Julie and I were at most of the same events at my first Summit, but we didn’t get to know each other until after the Summit. Now she has flown in from Australia to spend a week at my place before we head out to Summit together. Thursday, two more Australian friends will be joining us here in Orange County before we fly up to Oregon together on Friday for SQL Saturday in Portland, where I’ll be presenting my Changing Your Habits to Improve the Performance of Your T-SQL session and taking as many classes as I can.

Sunday we’ll be taking a leisurely ride on a train up to Seattle. It will be the last day of relaxation before the madness of Summit related activities start.

SiTCMickeyMonday I will be spending the day hanging out with my favorite tool company, Red Gate. They are putting on a free one day conference called SQL in the City. This is an amazing day to network, eat great food, see amazing presentations, and end the day English style with a pint of beer. You heard me correctly. Red Gate is a British Company, and they always end SQL in the City with a pint of beer. The beer bottles have customized labels. Last year’s said “Query Hoptimizer”.

This year I have two presentations at SQL in the City. My first presentation is called Customize your faux test data with SQL Data Generator and focuses on how to generate test data. My second presentation is a lightning talk. I’ll be presenting on called Finding the delta with SQL Compare and backups.

Monday night I will be attending Andy Warren and Steve Jone’s networking party. (I hope to see you all there.) This is a great way to start off on the right foot at the Summit. You get to sit down to share a meal and network. I was introduced to many new people the first time I went, and yes, I remember quite a few of them. Tuesday is all about me. Ok, almost all about me. I signed up for an all-day precon on the topic of SSIS. I do have to step out in the afternoon to attend a chapter leader’s meeting though.

Then the even hits with Summit’s opening night event followed closely with several other events that I will be attending. (Sleeping has been rescheduled for later in November.)

On Wednesday, I’ve been invited to be at the bloggers table for the Day 1 Keynote. I’m very excited about this. So, if you are unable to be at the Summit this year and you want to know what is going on during the first Keynote presentation Wednesday morning at 8:15 am, then come hang out on my blog. It will automatically update until 9:45 am. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed as well, I might “practice” by live blogging one of the sessions on Saturday or Monday too.

PASS_Summit_2013_WIT-2Thursday is my big day. I will be presenting for the fourth time in a week, but it will be my very first time speaking at the PASS Summit. My presentation is entitled Techniques for Dynamic SSRS Reports. The presentation will be held in room 2AB at 10:45 am. Since it is Thursday, I’ll most likely be presenting in my Kilt. Many attendees wear kilts to celebrate Women In Technology (WIT). After I’m done with my presentation, I’ll be running over to the WIT lunch. The event has sold out, so I hope I can find a seat. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE will be giving a keynote at the event. Thursday afternoon at 3:30 to 4:30 you’ll find me hanging out at the community center. (I hope you come by and say hi.) I’ll be there to network, answer questions about community, SQL, SSRS, and whatever else comes up. (All questions I can’t answer will be forwarded to Grant Fritchey since he has nothing to do until January when his first term on the PASS board starts.)

WendyMartinMickeyJuliePaulThursday night I hope to celebrate by singing SQLKaroake style at Busch Gardens, but you never know where I’ll end up. The evenings at the Summit are like being caught in a strong current. You never know where the evening will take you. The point is to enjoy the ride and meet new people.

Friday I’ll be getting my final learning on and attending the Birds of a Feather lunch. This is an event where you can sit with others to talk about specific SQL related topics. So, bring your questions and share a meal with like minded individuals.

Saturday I’ll be heading back to Orange County to give hugs to my family and my puppy before I crash and catch up on all my sleep.

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