Locks, Blocks, and Deadlocks Oh My!

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Published on: February 12, 2014



Managing concurrency is one of the most challenging aspects of working with any enterprise DBMS. There is much confusion out there about locking, blocking, and deadlocks. In this demo heavy session we will clear up the confusion.


Randy Knight, MCM, is an IT professional who has worked with Microsoft technology for over 20 years, focusing on SQL Server for the last 16. He has worked in a variety of settings, including 6 years as a Database Architect for Match.com, one of the largest and most successful dot-coms. He is currently the President and Principal Consultant for SQL Server Solutions Group LLC, a Utah-based SQL Server consultancy.

LiveMeeting Info

Attendee URL:


Meeting ID: 9KSDPD

January 2014 S3OLV and Tabular Models

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Published on: January 9, 2014

This is really late notice.  We had some extenuating circumstances this month and then a last minute cancellation.  Now that everything is squared away, we have some great news.invite

If you are in the Las Vegas area, you are welcome to attend our monthly meeting which is now being held at the south end of the strip.  This should put you a bit out of the way of the CES 2014 crowds – though you will probably have a fantastic time getting through the crowd.

Then again, maybe you just can’t peel yourself away from these types of things at CES.



Or maybe you are just too busy trying to find the right pair of speakers for your car at CES 2014.



Well good news!  S3OLV holds the meetings in the evening and the main show at CES should be pretty close to wrapping up.

Come join us this month for a presentation by Julie Koesmarno.  She hails from down under and is making time in her schedule last minute to help us out.  You can read all about the presentation and Julie at our Meetup site here.

Guess what else you can do by visiting our Meetup site.  You can find out about how we have changed venues to the South end of the Strip.  That’s right, S3OLV has moved.  We are now meeting at the Tahiti Village.  Details of the location are in the meetup.  Check it out.

Oh, and don’t forget.  We still offer an online virtual meeting space for the user group just in case you can’t make it in person.  Details for joining the virtual meeting are also in the Meetup page.

Day 8 – Ring in The New

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
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Published on: January 1, 2014

This is the eighth installment in the 12 day series for SQL tidbits during this holiday season.

Previous articles in this mini-series on quick tidbits:

  1. SQL Sat LV announcement
  2. Burning Time
  3. Reviewing Peers
  4. Broken Broker
  5. Peer Identity
  6. Lost in Space
  7. Command ‘n Conquer

As tradition would have it, this is the first day of the new year.  This is the first day of 11111011110.

As tradition would also have it, the New Year also means that there was plenty of partying and reveling throughout the night leading up to and beyond the stroke of midnight.  One such party was reported as having the largest fireworks show in history.  Seeing some of the video and pictures – it was a spectacular show.  Check it here.

If you are interested in some of the other worldwide events, here is a pretty good slideshow of some of those parties too.

Another tradition that comes with New Year’s day is the quarterly announcement for MVP renewals (or newals) from Microsoft.  If you happen to know somebody that was recently announced has being an MVP for the next year – tell them thanks.


Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: December 11, 2013

dcThis past weekend I had the opportunity to go visit Washington DC.  It was the first time I got to stay in the Nation’s capitol for more than just a few hours.  It is also the first time that I was able to see any of the monuments in the capitol area.  Granted, I only saw them from the car or plane window in passing.  But that is far better than seeing them in photos or not at all.

The reason for the visit?  It was SQL Saturday 233.  I had written a little about the opportunity here, as it approached.  Now, I have the chance to recap the event and what I learned.


Some articles have already been written at the time of this writing.  One article that I want to mention is by Ayman El-Ghazali (blog) that you can read here.  I had a good conversation with Ayman in the speaker room in between some of the sessions.  Ayman struck me as a very humble and appreciative person.  Those are traits that are important to have as a DBA these days.  Then to read the blog post by Ayman, it was refreshing to see those same traits echoed in his writing.  Check it out and give him a shout out.

Something that I found funny throughout the few days I was in town was the repeated looks and comments by the locals.  I wear shorts just about as frequently as I can.  The morning before I left to head to DC, the local temperature had warmed to -2 by late morning.  The day of this writing, I saw the local temperature at -8 in the morning (8 am) and -4 at 6 pm.  Just a couple days before those temperatures, the temperatures were well north of 50.  The temperatures in DC were in the 40′s and 50′s and it really felt more like 70′s and 80′s for me.

You can imagine the comments about the shorts and me thinking it was Vegas or something like that.  Well, it did feel rather warm – almost tropical.  But, since the locals were bundled in parkas, using umbrellas and generally bundled from head to toe (for the rather warm weather), I decided I needed to provide a frosty perspective on the SQL Saturday event / weekend.

dc_frostThat should help you feel chilly now that the photo is “iced” over.

Despite the weather or the pending doom and gloom of the weather (which is still happening with the ice storms), the event was great.  The event was well organized.  I think that is mostly due to Gigi Bell (twitter).  She is the wife of Chris Bell (twitter) and she whipped those boys into shape. ;)

There were some things that couldn’t be controlled necessarily.  But everybody came together and helped to make it work.  We had a couple of cancellations.  I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to present a second session thanks to one of these cancellations.  I enjoyed presenting to packed rooms and I enjoyed the feedback.  One comment came back saying “I learned so much more than I expected.”  That is GREAT!

I also had a great time seeing SQLFamily.  Talking with friends and enjoying everybody’s company.  I did make it to a few sessions outside of mine.  I took great pride in harassing Robert Pearl.  I learned some soft skills from Alan Hirt.  And I got to chat with attendees while trying to answer their questions in the halls.

I am looking forward to this event again next year.  And I hope everybody that attended my sessions learned at least one thing.

One last thing.  Thanks to all of the attendees.  To say “the attendees were great,” at this event, would be a gross mis-understatement in my opinion.  The attendees were awake and engaged.  They invested their time and effort and I think they helped to make the event top notch.

SQL Claus and BI at S3OLV

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Published on: December 9, 2013


Tis the season once again.  We have SQL gifts a plenty for any and all who wish to partake.

This month, we have Stacia Misner (twitter) that will be playing SQL Clause for the Las Vegas chapter of PASS.  In this season of giving, it is nice to have a little SQL giving too.  Then again, we get SQL giving all year long.

You can read all about the meeting and what Stacia would like to present to us at our meetup site.  The link is here.

Besides the meeting, we have some news for the group.  Stacia will also be assuming the role of President for S3OLV.  Charley had a long run and started the group.  Now Stacia and I will continue the group.  If you see Charley, tell him thanks for everything he did.


Carolina Whistle Stops

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Published on: October 10, 2013

The SQL Crazy train continues chugging along this month.  The next two whistle stops are back to back in the Carolinas.

The first stop is coming up in just a few short hours.  I will be stopping in for SQL Saturday in Charleston South Carolina.  I have been selected to present on the topic of Compression.



The lineup is pretty rock solid for this event.  And nothing like extending a bit of training to encompass the SQL Saturday events if it just so happens you had intended to be in town for the next whistle stop – Summit 13.  I’ll talk about that in a bit.

There are a lot of speakers for this single day event that I would really like to see.  Looking at the schedule, I don’t know how I am going to pick which session to attend.  Every single time slot has at least two sessions that I would like to attend.  There are only 3 tracks!  At least this will give me practice in selecting which sessions to attend for Summit.

The next whistle stop is in Charlotte North Carolina.  Charlotte is the home of PASS Summit 2013.



Even better is that this year, the summit really does have a train – of sorts.

(Image is a link to the actual source at SQL Sentry – the sponsors of the trolley.)

SQL Sentry has been kind enough to sponsor the SQL Sentry Shuttle to help Summit attendees get around and see some of Charlotte while in town.  You can read all about it here.

Yeah – I will be boarding that train/trolley.

I have a busy schedule coming up at Summit 2013.  But, I am looking forward to meeting people and talking about whatever may come up.

Will you be at any of these whistle stops?  If see, say Hi.

Join The SQL Crazy Train

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: September 13, 2013


One of the best lines I heard in the past few weeks was “That train has sailed.”  Combine that with a crazy schedule and we now have a SQL Crazy train that floats from event to event.

Next whistle stop is Providence Rhode Island at…



Event Details

Event Date: September 21, 2013
Time: 8am – 6pm
Location: 1408 Division Rd East Greenwich, RI 02818
Directions: Available on the Location page
Twitter: Join the conversation with #sqlsat213


I was able to present at Providence last year and I have been lucky enough to have been asked back.  This year I will be giving two sessions, and they are the same sessions as last year.  Let’s see how well we can do this year.

I am looking forward to this trip.  There are a few people I haven’t seen for a while on the east coast.  This will afford me the opportunity to chat and network with these folks again.

If you visit the event website, you might even catch a glimpse of the featured speakers.

Here are some of the courses that stood out to me.  Sadly, some of them are in direct conflict with my presentation times.

Paresh Motiwala (twitter)

Database Forensics – Part 1 and 2

These are the days of increasing cyber and computer crimes. As DBAs and guardians of corporate data, it is your paramount duty to not only prevent any data loss but also discover lost , damaged or sabotaged data. But how can you do that without destroying evidence? Remember electronic evidence is extremely fragile. In this the first of the two part session, we will explore the following: 1. Fundamentals of Computer Forensics 2. Tools to use in Computer Forensics–Data Acquisition 3. Processing a crime scene 4. Network Forensics and Live Acquistions. 5. Submitting reports

Session Level: Advanced


Mike Hillwig (twitter)

What the VLF?

Experienced DBAs know that SQL Server stores data in data files and transaction log files. What is less commonly known is that the transaction log file is broken up into smaller segments known as Virtual Log Files, or VLFs. Having too many VLFs will cause performance to suffer. And having too few will cause backup performance to suffer. How do you strike the right balance? In this more advanced session, veteran DBA Mike Hillwig will show you what VLFs are, how they’re created, how to identify them, and how to strike the right balance between too few and too many.

Session Level: Advanced


DBA’s Rules for Dummies… And Developers

In many organizations, there is a rift between DBAs and developers. The root cause is that there isn’t often an established framework between what the DBAs need to manage the data and what developers need to help solve business problems. Many DBAs think that developers just write code without considering the impact to the data. And many developers think that DBA means ‘Dont’ Bother Asking.” In this session for developers, veteran production DBA Mike Hillwig will help you understand the DBA’s needs in order to help you bridge that gap in your organization and work better to help solve business problems.

Session Level: Beginner


Sebastian Meine (twitter)

15 aspects of SQL Server indexes that you might not know

You probably know that indexes make you queries faster. But do you know why? Knowing how the different index types work under the covers will help you make the right decisions when (re-)designing you indexing strategy. After attending this demo rich session you will be able to – Explain the differences between SQL Servers 9 “index” types – Identify the layout of SQL Server data on disk – Decide which index types are the right ones to use for a given query – Assess the impact of the Key on access speed

Session Level: Intermediate

I am curious about the forensics.  I am intrigued about the presentation that Sebastian is doing on indexes.  I want to sit in on Mike Hillwigs topics because I heard he wants to be ribbed and heckled.  Both of Mike’s sessions are at the same time as mine.  I’ll have to catch him some other time. Unless…

DB Forensics 2 and Sebastian’s presentation are at the same time, so I will only be able to hit one of those two as well.

That means, I will probably float around from session to session or in the hallways or maybe in a lounge somewhere to either network or talk shop with anybody who might be doing the same thing.  There are a lot of good sessions and it is really hard to play favorites and pick just one and sit in that the whole time. ;)

So I have to ask. Will you be joining the SQL Crazy Train at our whistle stop in Providence? If so, come say hi and we can chat.

Las Vegas UG September 2013

Categories: News, Professional, SSC, SSSOLV
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Published on: September 9, 2013



Are you ready for some SQL?

If you are like me, you are probably almost always ready for some SQL.  Well, we have just what you are hungry for – more SQL.

Thursday evening we have the distinct pleasure of having Bob Hovious present to the Las Vegas SQL User Group.  If I am not mistaken, this is his first time presenting to a SQL audience outside of a work setting.

Bob is going to try and teach us about good design and proper datatype use.  I think many a data professional could highly benefit from this type of presentation.

As usual, we will have the presentation available for those interested in showing up in person as well as those who can only attend via the virtual world.

Here are the details on how to attend.

With the Move to Meetup, All of the Meeting information (abstract and bio) is posted there.


LiveMeeting Information:


Attendee URL:https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/UserGroups/join?id=RH8QKM&role=attend
Meeting ID:RH8QKM




The meeting location has changed.  We will no longer be meeting at The Learning Center.  New meeting location is M Staff Solutions & Training / 2620 Regatta Drive Suite 102 Las Vegas, NV 89128.

SQLSaturday Salt Lake City #246

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Published on: September 5, 2013


Fast approaching (yeah just a couple of days out now), is SQLSaturday 246.  This year t

he event is sort of in Salt Lake City, being another 10-15 minutes south on the I-15 corridor.

I will be presenting this year.  I will also be attending to socialize, network, and learn some good stuff about SQL Server and about some other stuff.  This year, the SQLSaturday SLC team is combining with Big Mountain Data to also provide topics on Big Data and other DBMS’s.

If you are still on the fence about coming, check out this email that was just sent.

We wanted to announce a new room/session that we will be holding at SQL Saturday  this weekend.  We’ve decided to open up a room all afternoon for open discussion.  We will be asking specific speakers/experts in the field to help staff the room and help people with technical problems they are having.  If you are currently evaluating new technologies or working on a big data initiative this is the place to discuss your ideas with some of the best in the business.  They will give you honest feedback on things they have tried and ways to help design what you are looking for.  The exact schedule for this room will be available at the event.  This will only be scheduled for the afternoon of the event.
If you were on the fence about coming to the event and not sure if you saw a session that really met your needs ask yourself if you’ve been in a position in the last few months where you would have loved to bounce and idea off someone or sat down with an expert to ask them what they suggest?  This is the perfect chance to have those questions answered.
We look forward to seeing you this weekend.
Organizing Committee
SQL Saturday #246 & Big Mountain Data
I know there will be some top notch individuals (an MCM or three) manning the extra session.
As a perk, here are some of the things you can check out (from the SQLSat site)
    • Attend class sessions that focus on SQL Server, noSQL, Hadoop, RDBMSs and everything in between
    • Learn how new solutions will help process large and complex amounts of data with the latest technologies as well as managing relational databases
    • Learn to build data solutions for your company’s individual needs
    • Update your knowledge to manage your company’s current data

I have earmarked two sessions that I want to attend.  One is by Argenis Fernandez (blog | twitter) and the other is by Kevin Boles (twitter).  I will probably pop in and out of sessions otherwise trying to pick up as much as I can from several sessions.

You can see the full lineup for the event here.

SQLSat 235 Wrap-Up

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Published on: September 3, 2013

Wow, more than two weeks past SQL Saturday in Curacao and I find a partially written wrap up post for Curacao in my queue.  I had fully intended on getting this out much sooner than this.

My apologies to those interested parties for the huge delay.

Curacao offered an excellent opportunity (like SQL Cruise) to combine two things for me – SQL and Beach/Relaxation time.

One of the first things you will notice if you attend SQL Saturday in Curacao is the beach and the serenity at oceanside.

Beach Time


It didn’t take too long for Karla Landrum to ask about any lizard sightings.  Karla was back home in Florida getting ready for SQL Saturday in NY.  As one could imagine, it was necessary to help remind her of the lizards and particularly of Iguana soup.

Iguana Sighting

This particular guy was a little nervous and no intention of letting me teach him anything about SQL Server let alone have him over for lunch.

On the flip-side though, this little guy felt it necessary to invite himself to my table for lunch.

Sharing Lunch


Curacao has some wonderful dutch influenced scenery.  I only had a brief opportunity to take any of that in.  But there is this floating bridge with a market that could be of interest if you make it down next year for SQL Saturday.


20130817_085049 20130817_085241


With the sight-seeing out of the way, it was time to lay down some serious SQL education.

We had some really good presentations by Bill Pearson, Rohan, Roy Ernest, Ignacio Salom and myself.  Rohan and Roy also help run the local user group in Curacao.

I had the distinct opportunity and pleasure to conclude the training with two sessions.  Instead of doing two separate sessions though, we did a really long session on “Murder they Wrote”.  The session is designed to discuss the top 10 methods to really kill your database.  We had a fantastic time and the attendees were really engaged.  I truly hope that it was as much fun for them as it was for me.  I also hope that it was the educational experience they desired (I tend to think it was).

We capped the event off with some speaker gifts and a group photo.

20130817_202352 20130817_163629


Then it was off to visit with some of the attendees as we wound down the day and trip.  The last pictures I took in Curacao are totally fitting in this spot.  We see the sun setting on the island, just the same as it was setting on the short trip to the Caribbean.

20130817_185254 20130817_185211


Mind you, all of these photos were taken with a phone and not a camera.  The quality isn’t the best, but you get the picture.

I enjoyed the time in Curacao.  I enjoyed the opportunity to spread some SQL Learning.  I enjoyed the opportunity to make new friends.  These are some of the things that SQL Saturdays are for me.

Last picture was through the plane looking down into the Caribbean waters.  Those are some really clear waters with great colors.


I hope to see you at a SQLSaturday soon!! I happen to know of two in the near future that I will be presenting and attending (Salt Lake City and Providence), hope to see you there.

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April 2014
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Welcome , today is Saturday, April 19, 2014