PASS Submission feedback ’16

Hi.

I have not really had anything of note to write about in a while. I submitted to the PASS Summit and was not selected. I’m not shocked I didn’t get selected, I’ve only been speaking a year. I’m glad I entered my hat in the ring to go through the process and see how to improve for next year. Below is my info and feedback that I got from the review committee. I’d like to say thanks to those who volunteer their time to do this job. Without you folks there would not be a Summit.

 

General Session (75 minutes)
Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment
High Availability: Availability Groups / Mirroring / Clustering / Replication
Level 100

Title:
Clusters! From the ground up, let us build one together.

Abstract:
You are looking to protect your SQL instance from a machine failure.  Or maybe your storage budget and tight and you don't want to have your databases in two places with one of the other highly available options that SQL provides.  Let us learn what a cluster is and why it might be the right thing for you.  We'll explore the system, network, storage and database administration sides of the equation.  And, when it is all said and done we will even have built a SQL clustered instance!

Prereq:
There are none, we will go through all the steps outlined in the abstract and goals to teach the audience how how to do this in a lab in 75 minutes.

Goal 1
Teach the audience about system administrator life in active directory, domain naming system, and windows failover clustering.

Goal 2
Teach the audience about the storage administrator life with block level storage.

Goal 3
Teach the audience how SQL server can sit on top of a Windows failover cluster to build a failover clustered instance.

Comment 1
There is an error. Change the word … budget AND tight… by …buget IS tight…

Or maybe your storage budget IS tight and you don’t want to have your databases in two places with one of the other highly available options that SQL provides

Comment 2
Abstract: not compelling

topic: level too low

Subjective Rating: not interested

Comment 3
Abstract:  Abstract I awkwardly worded in places and contains a typo.  “Or maybe your storage budget and tight” I presume and = is.

Topic:  I like the idea of an introductory level session on building a cluster.

Subjective: Not sure this session would draw well.  Aims to cover a ton of information….. AD, DNS, SAN, etc., all with no pre-reqs required.  This could pose a serious challeng

 

My thoughts:

Comment 1: Well, I’m an idiot who can’t read. So that’s my fault on the wording.

Comment 2: Pissed me off. Too low level, not compelling and not interested? Seemed a bit like personal interests getting in the way. I like to think (hey it’s my blog) that new people get a taste of lots of different items they need to know about when they step into the clustering world.

Comment 3: Not wrong on covering a ton of stuff. It’s really hard to do this talk, the 75 minute version is more fun to do than the 60 minute moving at the pace of a freight train.

After I present this thing in Indy and Cbus this year I’m probably going to stop submitting it and come up with something else.

 

Session 2  –  lightning talk
Centrally manage your instances
Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment
Management Tools
Level 100

Abstract:

Did you run the query against all your instances? Do you know all your instances? How do you keep track of this?

In this lightning talk we will go through quickly cataloging your environment and getting your instances into a Central Management Server.  I'll even show you how to deploy a job, backups for example, to all your instances at once!

Prereq:
None

 

Goal 1
Show what a Central Management Server is and why it is useful.

Goal 2
Catalog your inventory of SQL instances.

 

Goal 3
Add your instances into the Central Management Server and deploy a test job to them all.

 

Comment 1
Abstract: compelling
topic: relevant
Subjective rating: interesting

Comment 2

Abstract: Well written, clear, and concise abstract.

Topic: Simple and effective. Fits the level.

Subjective: Not a fan of lightening talks. Could wrap them into “Here’s stuff you should Google if interested” lists that are given to attendees.

Comment 3
Abstract:  For a lighting talk, this abstract is okay
Topic:  Interesting topic
Subjective:  I may attend this session

Comment 4
The outline does not seem to clearly describe the contents of the presentation.  The subject matter may be difficult to effectively present in the time allotted.  For a 10 minute session, maybe it should be more specifically focused.

 

My thoughts:

Comment 1
Sweet, thanks!

Comment 2
Can’t disagree with the googling. But thanks for the rest.

Comment 3
I’ll take it.

Comment 4
I’ve done it in 10 minutes and it fit like a glove. It’s pretty specifically focused and I doubt could be a hour long session.

 

And there you have it. I’ll probably throw the CMS lightning talk in the pool again for next year. Now to figure out another fun session to present.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Edit: I forgot to add the following:
Clusteres: Not Accepted Popular topic, higher rated session selected
CMS : Not Accepted Other sessions selected based on building a balanced program for track coverage, speaker coverage, topic coverage, and session rating

More SQL Sats

Hello.

This is totally a me, me, me post.  March 5th I’m presenting my clustering session at SQL Sat Chicago.  April 5th I’m giving a lightning talk on Central Management Server.  April 9th I’m giving my clustering session at SQL Sat Madison.

The lightning talk is new and I’m excited to try it out.  I’ve submitted both sessions to the PASS Summit in October.  I eagerly await those rejections. 🙂

Other than that not a lot has been going on for me to write about.

We broke it. PASS. A Virtual Chapter?

My goal should be to write in this monthly.  But not to write just to write, but to write on things that have a meaning to write about, so here we go.

First, we have a 4tb db with 60 cores/512 ram.  Checkdb on it (while in a FCI) would cause a failover due to slow IO on local SSD tempdb in SQL 12.

Slow IO on local SSD.

Huh?

140 hours later on a case with Microsoft these fixes came out in SP3 of SQL12 because of us:

KB 3029825

FIX: DBCC CHECKDB/CHECKTABLE command may take longer in SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014

KB 3107400

Improved tempdb spill diagnostics in Showplan XML Schema in SQL Server 2012

KB 3107172

Improved tempdb spill diagnostics using Extended Events in SQL Server 2012

3107173

Improved memory grant diagnostics using Extended Events in SQL Server 2012

 

We broke it real good. The outcome in SQL 14/16 is to throttle IO with resource governor.  It was paging to disk with a high amount of data because the optimizer said it was 2.8 TB of RAM to do Checkdb on an object that was using 96 gig of RAM during the Checkdb process (25% of the max RAM in the system which is the cap.) So it paged like crazy to do math.  Use a startup parm -k with a IO value you want to set the max to curb these Tempdb spills so your FCI doesn’t fail over. (I do not believe the KB for this -k parm is updated as of this posting.)

 

I attended my first PASS summit.  I really, can’t even go into words what a week this was for me.  Best of my professional life.  I got to tour building 16 at Microsoft and meet the SQL dev team.  I got to meet Conor Cunningham and tell him how excited I am for Query Store, and then Mark Souza walked out of a room and I got to say hi to him again.  I mean, I just.. haha it was awesome. I loved every minute of PASS. I must go yearly. I need to take more pictures with people. I need to keep a running notepad of things so I don’t forget. I need to make it to bush gardens next time along with Top Pot (or is it Voodoo?). Just such an amazing time.

I’ll be doing my build a FCI presentation for the PASS VC on HADR on Dec 8th at 1 eastern time.  Totally terrified for this, but each time I give this talk I am so what else is new?

If I don’t write again, I will have turned 31 in December, Christmas/NewYears will have come, and our Cleveland SQL Sat will be on Feb 6th. Please come out for the event if you’re in the area.

SQL Sat Pittsburgh

Yesterday was SQL Sat Pitts and I wanted to write about it a little bit while it’s fresh in my head.

I know I said I was going to switch up my demo to slide>demo>slide>demo but I opted not to do that.  I instead got to the part of installing SQL engine and then went through the storage talk that I had cut out for times sake.  I liked that part because I could show a software based SAN and I figured it would be a good way to get through the install screen. I was mostly right.

I got to the 75% of the installer screen. So close.  SQL then failed to start right at about the 55 minute mark. There was also a oddness in SQL setup accepting the domain user\pw during for account rights.

DEMO. FAIL.

I guess I’m a real presenter now since I’ve had my demo fail on me.

I might need to make a new account with a one char user/pw to make this go quicker, or do an unattended install like Eugene Meidinger suggested, and nest that idea with another pair of VMs with things already setup so I can show all the things I want to show like Kevin Feasel suggested.

Luckily, I had a secondary slide deck with all the screen shots of how things should have looked. We went through those and class dismissed.  I’m now waiting for my evals to get mailed to me.

Carlos (Carlos Chacon Managing Partner, SQL Data Partners LLC) asked me to do a podcast on clustering, which was a shocker to me.  Who am I? Exactly, not really anyone.  So I did a 25 minute or so talk with him. I’m curious to hear myself on it later this month. That was a new and fun experience.

All and all it was a fun trip and I got to meet a lot of new people and see some folks that I’ve seen now at a few SQL Saturdays. In 3 weeks I’m off to the PASS Summit and cannot wait for that experience. Should be a great one.

Another SQL Sat

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/440/sessions/schedule.aspx

There I am, on the schedule again! I’m quite surprised and excited that I am getting a chance to speak at SQL SAT Pitt.  That’s two this year and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I need to change up my presentation a bit to be less, watch install screens. IF I do slides > demo, then we have to wait and watch SQL install. I’m going to change that for this to slide > demo > slide>demo so that way we talk through while installing happens.  Hopefully this makes things go a bit smoother.

Also, in actual SQL related news, I’ve got a checkdb taking up 98gig of RAM on a 512 RAM box with 60 cores of ENT SQL 2012 on a 4 TB DB with over 2gb/sec of writes to tempdb on local SSD.  WOoooooohooooo. This has been a learning experience and probably one of my next two posts. We’re deep down the rabbit hole with Microsoft support on this one. It’s been a fun ride and I can’t wait to see what the fix is, because there’s no way that’s expected behavior.

Sql Sat Columbus

Present they said. It’ll be fun they said. You can teach us things they said.

What the hell was I thinking.

Those are the thoughts I had before I went and have my build a cluster talk at SQL Sat Cbus, a wonderful event.
My talk was the last session of the day and it was pretty well after attended. About 15, 18 people I’d guess. I ran a bit over, about 65 minutes when the last installer finished. My laptop was running a bit slow and it hurt me. Even at a 20/40 minute split for slides and demo and cutting out half the demo (mounting drives via isci) I still was too long as I didn’t get to show a failover happen. Well that was in part to some good discussions thanks to Eddie Wuerch and Ryan Adams (both of which ran precons (http://www.sqlsaturday.com/421/eventhome.aspx))

Overall, I stumbled a few times but I got the points out that I wanted to get out. My evals were good and I’ll hope get some feedback and can continue to grow and tweak my session.

All and all I’m glad I am now officially a presenter. I put in to speak at Pittsburgh and am hopeful to do that October.  Then a few weeks later it’s off to the PASS Summit !

Presenting and a new job

Hello

I’ve been waiting a while to write this.  First off, I presented on building your first cluster to my regional user group (http://ohionorth.sqlpass.org/) and now I’ll get to give this talk at SQL SAT Columbus Ohio! (http://www.sqlsaturday.com/421/eventhome.aspx) I’m very lucky, honored, and scared out my pants to give a talk in front of total strangers.  Yikes!

I’ll be presenting on building your first cluster as one of the last classes of the day. Cannot wait for the chance to do this, as I step into the world of presenter.

In other news I’ve got a new job. I’ll be a senior DBA at a large hosptial.  I’m leave my first professional job ever (8 years) to take on an awesome opportunity at a large hospital about 30 minutes away.

I would not have gotten this job if not for people (in no order) like the Brent Ozar group, of the SQL Skills team, the Upsearch team, my RUG, the dozens of people I’ve met at SQL Saturdays, all the blogs, twitters, #SQLHELP, just the SQL community, thank you.

Thank you all for being amazing.  The outpouring of free learning opportunities that you all provide is amazing.  I could not be where I was today, or am going to go if not for the community which I greatly love.  Thanks #sqlfamily for all that you do.

Do you wanna build a cluster?!

I’m presenting on building your first cluster Tuesday May 5th at the Ohio North SQL Server Regional User Group (http://ohionorth.sqlpass.org/)

I’m scared.  What was I thinking.  I signed up for this?!

Since college ended I have given, to my memory, two real presentations. I’m talking sitting in front of group of people for 15+ minutes and talking on a topic.  I’ve had plenty of meetings with VP and C level people where I work but nothing where I wanted to sit down in front of people rattle on for an hour about something.

In February I spoke for around 20 minutes on topics for work, in front of around 130 people.  I was pretty scared then too.  The funny thing about that story was I was supposed to copresent but the other fellow had family issues that morning leaving me to my lonesome.  I apparently did pretty well, at least that’s what lots of my coworkers told me. So I want to believe them that I kicked tail and did a great job.

This coming Tuesday is my second real presentation. Yes, above I said I’ve done two real ones, well, this post is counting the one I’m about to give as real.  Mostly because I can.  But anyways I blame Allen White (https://twitter.com/sqlrunr) he was our group president and this is his fault.  I say that tongue in cheek. He’s always going on about what I or others can teach him. So I took up the challenge. Now here I am freaking out about it.

This is a good thing though. It’s made me go back and review all my clustering notes. I just setup another pair of instances for work so I’m all in the clustering mode right now. So long as I make a little offering to the demo gods things should go well. Yes, the demo is setting up a SAN, Windows Cluster and then getting SQL installed in it. Along with notes on all the ways and things you should be aware of as you go.

So the main goal of this post? If you haven’t given a presentation to your RUG, why not? What can I learn from you? Assuming I don’t bomb this thing on May 5th I want to give this same talk at SQLSAT Columbus, a virtual chapter, and hell, I’ll throw my name in the hat for PASS just for fun. Because you never know what will happen, but I know nothing will if you don’t try.

stats, yeah stats.

The other day a programmer told me a query was slow in production but not in development. My first thought was what’s the TSQL look like and where in production was it slow. Well our internal testing base isn’t the largest so I had a pretty good idea that it was table scanning all things in production. Once I had the query and ran it against the two clients in house sure enough the execution plans came back with all sorts of table scans. When I plopped the exec plan into SQL Sentry Plan Explorer (free version – http://www.sqlsentry.com/products/plan-explorer/sql-server-query-view) to see the heat map of what tables had the scans and how bad the stats were, I was shocked. The expected versus actual returns on rows weren’t even in the same city (thousands versus dozens).

Well, I’m obviously failing at something I thought. I use Ola’s scripts (https://ola.hallengren.com/) to handle my maintenance jobs and I’ve long thought that I might be lacking in stat maintenance. Today’s example kind of proved it. I wanted to rely on auto create/update stats and the native SQL settings but as the exec plan I just viewed showed me, that isn’t working.

When I view the work done from Ola’s maintenance jobs in the commandlog table it’s mostly index reorgs, not to many rebuilds. I know my data sets don’t change by that many rows a day (hundreds to low thousands) so this doesn’t shock me too much (reorgs over rebuilds) but I know rebuilds also do stat maintenance where reorgs won’t so I’m relying on SQL to do the stats with the auto create/update enabled. Time to change that.
I then started to channel @erinstellato from her talk at our RUG a few weeks back on stats.

She said [roughly] “users are complaining it’s slow, … so you go and update stats and people are happy again.” Well, when I updated states on the tables in the two DBs for the query that took 6 minutes and 22 minutes they went down to 3 and 6 respectively. That’s pretty good for waiting about 12 and 20 minutes to update all the tables/stats by just executing sp_updatestats on those two DBs in question. (I also suggested some indexes to help reduce scanning but that isn’t the point here.)
I’ve been toying with the idea to enable this trace flag 2371 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2754171) but I’m worried, as the article suggests, it’ll get too aggressive, and do odd things to my cached plans. So that’s something I need to figure out how to test.

Another idea is I want to look into Minion Reindex (http://www.midnightsql.com/minion/) and see if that will give me some options to better maintain stats.

In short, more things in SQL to keep learning about, and finding ways to tune. Things I thankfully enjoy. I’m looking to start down a better stats path in the next few weeks and If I come up with something that will give me something to write about. 🙂

If anyone out there reads this and has an idea or two to share please drop a line in the comments, thanks.