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The Scary DBA

I have twenty+ years experience in IT. That time was spent in technical support, development and database administration. I work forRed Gate Software as a Product Evangelist. I write articles for publication at SQL Server Central, Simple-Talk, PASS Book Reviews and SQL Server Standard. I have published two books, ”Understanding SQL Server Execution Plans” and “SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled.” I’m one of the founding officers of the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group and its current president. I also work on part-time, short-term, off-site consulting contracts. In 2009 and 2010 I was awarded as a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. In the past I’ve been called rough, intimidating and scary. To which I usually reply, “Good.” You can contact me through grant -at- scarydba dot kom (unobfuscate as necessary).

PASS Summit 2009 Day 3


The day started off with a mixed bag. First we had an honestly tearful farewell with Wayne Snyder saying goodbye to Kevin Kline, leaving the board for the first time since PASS was founded. This was followed by a painfully dull session with Dell all about their commitment to bread & butter DBA concerns. That was followed by Dr. DeWitt doing a deep dive into the history and the future of computing, showing and teaching in ways that only the very best can achieve. It was a fantastic performance, entertaining, enlightening, amazing… Just flat out incredible. It’s the kind of understanding that you wish you could get about most things, most of the time. Unfortunately, it came to an end.

Today I finally got to hit a lot of sessions. First I saw Andrew Kelly give a session on “Capturing and Analyzing File & Wait Stats.” It was great. Andrew Kelly is a good presenter and he knows this topic forwards and backwards. That makes it very easy to sit and learn from him. It’s the kind of useful information you can really take advantage of in your job. For lunch I went to a book signing to find out that both my books were sold out. A few people, including @sqlbelle, stopped by to get books signed. It was a real honor and privilege for them to do that. After that I went to two Buck Woody sessions, back-to-back. After the session yesterday I couldn’t have missed them. The first session was on “SQL Server Automation on Steroids.” The slide deck was laid out to look like a Zune. It was great stuff on fundamentals like how to configure SQL Agent, and drill downs on mechanisms for working with PowerShell, or POSH as Buck calls it. He showed several different scripts and I’m pretty jazzed to continue my pursuit of POSH skills after his session and Allen White’s earlier in the week. Yes, this sort of reinforcement of session on session with different people giving different views of the same tools used in varying ways is something you can only get at the PASS Summit. His second session was on “Performance Tuning with SQL Server 2008.” While I didn’t find it as technically useful as the previous two sessions I’d seen him do, it was every bit as entertaining and enlightening. He made my list of must see presenters. I finished out the day, and the PASS Summit, at Gail Shaw’s “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” Gail presented fantastic information in her clear, informative style. If you needed to know something about statistics, she laid them out for you in this session. Things were a bit subdued, this being the end of the Summit (not counting the post-conference) but Gail got the audience up and awake with some great demo’s and explanations of how statistics works inside SQL Server.

After hours it was off to the Friends of Red Gate party. I’m a friend of Red Gate because I sing the praises of their products, which are absolutely praiseworthy. But, I’ll tell you, I might be inspired to sing at least one praise more because of the meal we had. Nice food at a nice resteraunt with great, impassioned people, excited about what they do. It’s hard to enjoy things more.

So that’s the end of the Summit proper for me. I’ll be staying in Seattle through Friday because of a series of events that Microsoft is holding, but I won’t be blogging about them here. This has been one of the best PASS conferences I’ve been to, out of the five that I’ve attended.

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