Blog Post

The week that was: PASS #SQLRally EMEA 2013


I feel really bad that I’ve not been able to blog recently. My draft area is littered with half written posts about things I was going to be doing late October and early November that will now go unpublished because those particular events are over. This does however provide me with a chance to review a few things.

One of the major things that happened in the past few weeks from a SQL Community perspective is that we had two PASS SQL Rally events in EMEA, more specifically Europe. Mainland Europe. OK, it was Stockholm (Sweden) and Amsterdam (Netherlands). These were two great events that brought together some brilliant speakers from all over the world providing some awesome knowledge, hints and tips and real world experience to paying attendees. Somehow, somewhere along the way I was invited as a technical speaker to not just one, but both of these events.

It’s an honour to be chosen to speak at any event, but when you see the calibre of people that are at places like the PASS Summit and PASS Rally’s it is a really humbling experience.

I’d like to say a big thank you to both teams for picking me as part of a great program line up. The abstract must have struck a chord somewhere as the both session was picked at both events, but more on that later.


SQL Rally Nordic – Stockholm



Arrived late, Tuesday afternoon which meant that I missed a couple of sessions that I wanted to see. Caught up with some fellow Dell Software colleagues who were on the sponsors booth. Had some great conversations with existing and some potential customers about Dell’s SQL Server solutions.

On the Tuesday evening there was a lovely meal, I was lucky to be sitting next to Tobias Koprowski and had MVP’s Hugo Kornelius and Jen Stirrup opposite me. This photo was taken during the entertainment. I did leave a little early to go through my session one last time before the morning.




This was my view on Wednesday morning; I should clarify this was about 5 minutes before my session started and my bed wasn’t actually set up on the stage, that would have been weird!


A good friend John Martin from the UK and Southampton SQL Server User Group was presenting at the same time next door. We traded experiences briefly, both sessions seemed to go well.

After the session I was thankful to be able to catch up with Kevin Kline where we had a good chat on a number of SQL and non sql (not NOSQL) related topics before he had to head off to SQL Server Days in Belgium. It’s always great to catch up with Kevin, he is a seriously nice guy. I’m very blessed to be able to call him a friend.



SQL Rally Amsterdam


Unlike he Nordic Rally the Amsterdam event was not held in a hotel, this meant that we had a chance to experience “outside”. Normally I wouldn’t quote a word like this, but I never managed to go outside in Sweden as the hotel was at the airport and the conference was in the hotel. I could have literally been anywhere! That being said the hotel in Stockholm was amazing.

On the 7th I was able to go to the second secret speakers dinner which was an experience. Unfortunately I missed the first as I was flying in from Stockholm, I’m sure that one was great too.

One thing that struck me about Amsterdam was how beautiful it was, even with a smartphone I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate the great architecture in this wonderful city.



Networking – It’s not every day that you manage to bump in to MCM’s (Brent Ozar, left) and Technical Evangelists (Scott Klein, right) from Microsoft, well not if you live outside of Seattle anyway.




The Presentation(s)

The session that I presented at both events was called “The Day After Tomorrow, why you need to baseline”. As you may be able to tell from the title the session was all about baselining.  More specifically, why you should do it, the things you should be collecting information about and how to collect it. I’ve had a few emails from people asking when the slide deck will be available so rather than wait for the slides to be available on the PASS website there will be video too at some point.


Ensuring peak SQL Server performance isn’t always easy and requires a lot of work on the part of the DBA. To maintain the best-possible performance, you need to make sure you’re monitoring the right things. But how do you know if the figures you’re seeing are good or bad? Baseline comparisons can help, and in this educational session, SQL Server expert Richard Douglas will show you how to get the most from them. Richard will explain what a baseline is, why and when you need to take one, and how you can create one. You’ll also learn about a number of native Windows and SQL Server tools that will allow you to do just that.

Read more: Presentations – 2013 | Richard Douglas – SQL Server Professional

If you can’t see the embedded slide deck below, please view it on my blog page here -

No, that’s not a typo

If you were able to see the embedded deck you may have noticed that it said Movember not November. This isn’t a typo, Movember is a month long event where people grow facial hair in order to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. I have joined the SQL Relay team. The link for the team can be found here and my personal Mo link is if you would like to donate to this cause.


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