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PASS Summit 2001 In Review…WOW!!!


It has been a couple of weeks and I have had time to get back in the groove at a new job as Senior SQL Server DBA, after trying Informatica Administrator via Enterprise Architect for about 3 months. Long story, but I am glad to be back as a DBA.

My week started on a Sunday travel day where I got to Seattle about 8pm Pacific and close to 10pm getting to bed at the 6th Avenue Inn after taking the Light Rail. The rail was cheap ($2.75), but took at little more work and time. The hotel suggestion was from a blog by Brent Ozar and cost ~$600 for Sunday thru Saturday.

Monday was off to Rooooobbbb Farley’s Query Tuning Pre-con. I learned a lot about Residual Predicates and GROUP BY versus HAVING versus WHERE clauses. He was ad-hoc writing queries to show performance metric and I hope to get a copy of the sql before long to review.

The second day was about networking. I started in the Virtual Chapter leaders meeting with Geoff and Karla, They did a good job informing us about options and sharing from different chapter leaders. Our Data Architecture VC can give away a $25 gift that I did not know about. If we get a sponsor, up to $100 a session. It was nice to talk with the DBA VC which had 3 people on attendance, and I got a nice shirt, that I wore while manning the VC tables during the Welcome Reception.


Tuesday was not over. Next, SQLSaturday leader meeting. This was led by Andy Warren who is a well-seasoned leader and moderator. Various suggestions were given for the website, which I think is invaluable, no matter what does not work perfectly. Anything free is nice in my opinion. Lots of information in starting a Pre-con for a SQL Saturday and talk about speaker cancelations. This seems to be a growing concern from leaders and ways were discussed to help grow more speakers and get speakers to notify about needs to cancel.


Above are pictures of Andy, Karla and the PASS IT dude. And right is Greg Larson and Sri.

The second half of Tuesday was spent at Adam Machanic’s Pre-con and performance tuning. Man, this dude knows his stuff. He and Alan White helped me understand the difference between CXPACKET problems, versus request Waits through twitter and blogs. sp_WhoIsActive is a tool you have to learn, plus read his 30 days of explanation on what it does. Adam is well organized and well rehearsed. His training is a must.

Tuesday evening was the Welcome Reception and SQLServerCentral.Com and RedGate’s Casino night. The exceptional DBA ward is given at the later event.

Wednesday morning was time to tackle the regular sessions. I made it a BI day. Started with Craig Utley from SolidQ doing SSAS Aggregates. Then, Devin Knight from PragmaticWorks presenting common SSAS mistakes. Both sessions were great and well prepared. Lunch was Chapter day and wear your SQL Saturday shirts. Jen Stirrup presented on PDW and reporting which got me wanting to investigate more into the monitoring of instances. Last was Many to many relationships in DAX by Alberto Ferrari. The last session kind of got me thinking about how to model the data to not have to write expressions in Excel. Wednesday night was Vendor appreciation dinner at the Summit. I visited with SQLSentry, Confio and Idera, ending with Quest while I had questions about Spotlight used at my current employer.

Thanks to DELL for my favorite place at PASS!!! And thanks to Robert from BCBS helping me find this treat.

Thursday morning I got to blog from the bloggers table at the morning Keynote. See previous blog for my take - It was really cool to sit next to Kevin Kline and Stacia Misner among others.

Thursday morning was Reporting Service Tips and Tricks from Bob Meyers. I really enjoyed this session. Though my favorite session on the whole week was Ami Levin talking about Physical Join operators. After I go through his examples again, and apply the lessons to some real world queries, I will have to blog about it. Do not miss this guy, he was well organized and very knowledgeable. I might be wrong about the best session, because next was Kalen Delaney talking Plan Cache. 500-600 people attending can tell you she knows her stuff. Check out her internals book for more info - Last was a chance to see a Kimball employee Joy Mundy talked about Multivalued Dimension relationships – no demos and all talk left me wanting more. Maybe my brain was already toast.

I took Thursday might off to head to my room and grab a bite. There was a need to rehearse my 3rd Normal Talk before Friday. Well rested, Friday morning started. First up, Adam Machanic again with a 500 level Query Memory session. Another great, well prepared session with demos. After lunch, I briefly went to Peter Meyers talk about KPIs in the MS BI Stack. Peter came to SQLSaturday in Baton Rouge, so I want to say hi and thank him again. All the SolidQ presenters are great in the information they share and well prepared. My talk happened fast. Only 2-3 people left out of ~150 and 5-6 questions at the end. Hope to learn from comments. I think next time, I will not go to 400 or 500 level sessions before my 200 level. I felt I did not present enough advanced stuff, but I know the database normalization talk is needed in the development community. Last, I took it easy in a T-SQL session with Aubrey Hammonds. She showed some CTEs and other cool SQL. It was a good break from the other advanced sessions. The data Architecture VC will have her presenting in the future.

The PASS Summit is a not miss event. I would rather go to it than any TechEd event. No other conference have I been able to see networking, fellowshipping and free sharing of knowledge ever. I am so glad I have been able to meet people like Grant Fritchey, Sean and Jen McCown, Andy Warren and Steve Jones just to name a few. And thank the companies that sent or let me go.

God Bless and GEAUX Tigers!!!



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