T-SQL Tuesday #57 – SQL Family and Community

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Published on: August 12, 2014

TSQL2sDay150x150Look at that, it is once again that time of the month that has come to be known as TSQL Tuesday.  TSQL Tuesday is a recurring blog party that occurs on the second Tuesday (most generally) of the month.  This event was the brainchild of Adam Machanic (Blog | Twitter).  

Anybody who desires to participate in this blog party is welcome to join.  Coincidentally, that open invitation is at the base of this months topic – Family and Community.  The invitation, issued by Jeffrey Verheul (blog | twitter), for this month said the following.

This month I would like to give everyone the opportunity to write about SQL Family. The first time I heard of SQL Family, was on Twitter where someone mentioned this. At first I didn’t know what to think about this. I wasn’t really active in the community, and I thought it was a little weird. They were just people you meet on the internet, and might meet in person at a conference some day. But I couldn’t be more wrong about that!

Once you start visiting events, forums, or any other involvement with the community, you’ll see I was totally wrong. I want to hear those stories. How do you feel about SQL Family? Did they help you, or did you help someone in the SQL Family? I would love to hear the stories of support, how it helped you grow and evolve, or how you would explain SQL Family to your friends and family (which I find hard). Just write about whatever topic you want, as long as it’s related to SQL Family or community.

What is it?

We have all likely seen SQL Family thrown about here and there.  But what exactly is this notion we hear about so often?

I think we have a good idea about what family might be.  I think we might even have a good idea of what a friend is.  Lastly, I might propose that we know what a community is.  When we talk of this thing called SQL Family, I like to think that it is a combination of family, friends and community.


These are people that can come together and talk about various different things that span far beyond SQL Server.  We may only see each other at events every now and then.  Those events can be anything from a User Group meeting to a large conference or even at a road race (5k, half marathon, marathon).

These are the people that are willing to help where help is needed or wanted.  That help can be anything ranging from well wishes and prayers, to teaching about SQL Server, to lending a vehicle, or anything along that spectrum.

I have seen this community go out of their way to help provide a lift to a hotel or to the airport.  These people will help with lodging in various circumstances when/if they can.  These are the people that have been known to make visits to hospitals to give well wishes for other people in the community.

Isn’t that what friends / family really boils down to?  People that can talk to each other on an array of topics?  People that go out of their way to help?  Think about it for a minute or three.

Presenting at PSSUG

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Published on: August 4, 2014



Coming up this week, I have been given the opportunity to do something I enjoy doing.  I have been invited to present to the folks in Philadelphia.

Sebastian Meine (blog | twitter) approached me during SQL Saturday in Philadelphia and I was happy to help where I could.

The topic for this presentation will be Extended Events.  We are going to try a slightly different approach, but here is what was posted in the meeting invite.

Jason Brimhall SQL 2012 Extended Events
Extended Events were introduced in SQL Server 2008. With each edition since, we have seen a significant upgrade to this feature. Join me for a little adventure into defining this thing called Extended Events. We will discuss how to use Extended Events to aid in performance tuning and in day to day administration. We will also explore some background and the architecture of Extended Events.
Jason Brimhall

Jason Brimhall


As a Microsoft Certified Master/Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, I have 19 years’ experience in the technology industry, including more than 10 with SQL Server. I also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Systems from Utah State University. One of the highlights of my career was co-authoring SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach .  I am a frequent presenter at SQL Server events worldwide, which includes SQLSaturdays and User Groups. I am also currently helping lead the Las Vegas SQL Users Group.

I am looking forward to this opportunity and to mingle with the group for a bit.  I hope to see you there.

Oh, and here is the link to the invite for the meeting.

Free SQL Training In Sacramento

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: July 7, 2014


In a few short days the newest SQL Saturday event.  This one will be on the far West coast of the United States.

This marks the first time for me to present at a SQL Saturday so far West.  From where I live, I have had to travel East for every SQL Saturday so far.  This should make for a fun and interesting new experience.

This event is in Sacramento on 12 July 2014.  It will be held at the following address.

Patrick Hays Learning Center
2700 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 2600
Sacramento, CA 95833

The fun stuff

When I take a look at the schedule I see some pretty interesting sessions.  One session of note is by Kalen Delaney (blog | twitter).  I have never heard Kalen present – ever.  In the same room is Benjamin Nevarez presenting on parameter sniffing.  Since his session is right before hers, I will probably just be hanging out in there for the morning.

The third session of the day poses an interesting dilemma.  I could go watch a session I have never seen before, or I could go watch a session by any of the other four presenters knowing I have seen all of those sessions.  Dilemmas, dilemmas.

In the afternoon, there are two sessions that really caught my eye.  There is a session by Ami Levin about physical join operators (cool topic) and then this other session about Extended Events.  I really hope to make it to that XE session.  I hear there might be some surprises in it.

I hope to see you at the event.  If you are there, find me and say hi.  Maybe we can even chat for a bit.

Omaha BI/SQL User Group – What?

Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: May 7, 2014

I recently received an email from this guy named John Morehouse (blog | twitter) about the Omaha SQL/BI User Group Meeting in May.

Imagine my surprise when reading the email and discovering that I was presenting.

Here are the guts of that email.

Can you believe that it’s almost May?!  Time sure does fly!
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday May 7th, 2014 @ 6PM.  Food will be available approximately 20-30 minutes prior to the meeting.  We will be at the Farm Credit Services of America facility and our sponsor for the evening is QCI.
Speaker: Jason Brimhall
Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2014. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments. He is currently a Principal Consultant and MCM. He is he VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).
Topic: SQL 2012 Extended Events
Extended Events were introduced in SQL Server 2008. With SQL 2012, we have seen a significant upgrade to this feature. Join me for a little adventure into what extended events are. We will discuss how to use extended events to aid in performance tuning and in day to day administration. We will also explore some background and the architecture of extended events.
Sponsor: QCI
QCI has a long history of attracting and retaining the best talent. Continuous investment in our consultants results in an immediate, positive impact on your projects.  Contact Information: Omaha@qci.com 402-981-4264
For further information and to RSVP please go here: http://omahamtg.com/Events.aspx?ID=242
Please make sure to RSVP so that we have an accurate head count for food plus a chance to win some awesome SWAG!!
John Morehouse

Ok, so it really was not a surprise.  John asked and I agreed to present.  If you are in the Omaha area – come join the group for a pleasant evening and to learn something (hopefully) about SQL Server.

And yes – the meeting is tonight May 7, 2014.


SQLSaturday Vegas Style

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Published on: April 3, 2014


We are mere moments from the inaugural SQL Saturday (announced a few short months ago) event in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.  Can you feel the excitement building?

The SQLSat 295 team has been working hard to bring together what we think will be a great event.  From the volunteers, to the speakers, to the vendors, and most importantly to the attendees.


If you are in Vegas or nearby, we welcome you to come down and check out what we have for you.

This event will be held Apr 5 2014 at The InNEVation Center, 6795 Edmond St., Las Vegas, NV 89118.

Where else do you get an open invitation to learn about SQL Server for free combined with what Vegas has to offer for entertainment?

Just remember, what is learned in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.  But what happens in Vegas is up to your discretion.


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.

To DBA or Not to DBA (DBA Jumpstart)

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Published on: December 10, 2013
This post is part of the SQL Community Project started by John Sansom called #DBAJumpStart.
“If you could give a DBA just one piece of advice, what would it be?”
John asked 20 successful and experienced SQL Server professionals this exact question. I share my own thoughts with you below and you can find all our answers together inside DBA JumpStart, a unique collection of inspiring content just for SQL Server DBAs. Be sure to get your free copy of DBA JumpStart.

In my day to day operations I have the opportunity to work with people in various capacities in regards to data.  Sometimes it is in the capacity of a mentor, sometimes in the capacity of a consultant, and sometimes just in the capacity of the dude that fixes the problem.

I enjoy working as a database professional.  There may be times when I want to scream or yell or pull out my teeth and hair.  Then there are times when I just bounce off the walls with joy and pleasure.  Some may call that a manic-depressive disorder.  They just don’t understand the true life of a data professional.


In becoming a data professional, I took the long route to get where I am.  I made the decision to work with SQL and learn about SQL 17 years ago.  I made the decision to learn about SQL because I viewed it as a really difficult thing to learn.  I wanted that challenge.  Then again, back then I also enjoyed the challenge of learning to configure Cisco routers.

Early on, I passed the Microsoft exams for SQL 6.5.  A couple of years later, I finally landed a job where I got to touch a database.  That was part of my duties with being in one man shops.  I worked in a few of those one man shops for a while where I had to be the exchange admin, domain admin, DBA, and even janitor at one shop.  I don’t miss the days of having to fix the plumbing in between troubleshooting performance issues and checking the router for DoS attacks.

Eventually I got an opportunity with a larger enterprise to be a production DBA.  All I had to do was work with SQL Server all day long.  It was fun designing metrics and monitors to alert on various thresholds while saving the company oodles of money.  I really thought I was learning something cool.  I thought I was doing pretty good too.

Fast forward a little more and a couple of job changes and I found myself living in Las Vegas and getting more involved in the community.  Boy did I learn quickly how little I actually knew about SQL Server.  Sure, there was reading of posts, books and forums before that.  But that just didn’t quite open my eyes like becoming involved.

I soon started applying myself even more so I could learn more about SQL Server and then be able to try and teach those things to the developers where I worked.  I also started working on trying be good enough to be able to teach people at User Group meetings.  Throw in the efforts to answer questions on forums and writing articles – and it was an explosion of learning.

Now I present pretty regularly at User Group meetings.  I travel around the world to present at SQL Saturdays.  I have contributed articles and co-authored a book.  I also had (still have) the sweet opportunity to participate in the Mentoring project hosted by Andy Warren.  I even went so far as to challenge myself and attained the MCM.  Yet, I know that I have really only scratched the tip of the iceberg with SQL Server.  There is so much to learn about SQL Server still.  If I were to compare myself past to present, I would rate my skills in various areas lower now than I probably did back in the day.

Through the years, and more particularly the more recent years, I have observed many teammates and DBAs for clients.  These observations have revealed some good and some bad.  When I notice certain behaviors that need to be changed, I try to use it as a teaching opportunity.

Price of Rice

One thing I find myself doing on a frequent basis is to try and gauge if I might be treating my work as a 9-5 J O B or if I am treating it like a career?  Am I just punching the clock or am I investing in myself and improving my skills?  Am I helping others improve their skills or am I hording the knowledge like an Oracle DBA?

As I observe others, I can’t help to ponder some of those same questions.  For instance, if I encounter a veteran DBA of 10 or so years that can’t perform a transaction log backup, I will wonder if being a DBA is just a J O B for that person.  The way you treat your work duties is often transparent about how much you care for the quality of work you do and is also revealing in how much one values their skills.

Taken that same DBA that can’t perform a log backup, I might start to wonder if their is a time investment outside of work to better their skills.  I might wonder why I have to show that person five or six times how to perform that log backup.  This may sound a tad judgmental, but it is not meant in that way.  Let’s call it an informal assessment to try and figure out how to help that person become more efficient at performing their job duties.

As a data professional, I think it is an important thing to do.  Spend some time on introspection and try to determine just how much of a career the job is.  Find out if it is a career or if it is on the short end of the spectrum that points to it being just a J O B.

As a team lead, I like to give everybody on the team the task of taking 15-30 minutes each day (on the clock) to improve their skill-set in some way.  This is a tactic that does not work in all environments and with all employers – I get that.  But if that 15 minutes a day means that the teammate will be more efficient down the road, it is a good investment.  If that 15 minutes means there will be less time redoing some work, then it is time well spent.

As I mentioned earlier, there is plenty about SQL Server that I still need to learn.  An important component of learning is to invest some time.  It’s a matter of finding a topic and then taking the time to research.  I do my research by reading and then experimenting.  Once I feel comfortable with that research, I will typically write about the topic.  Why?  It helps to solidify or to disprove some of the principles just learned.  It also helps to cement that research into memory.  I also like to do it because it serves as a personal archive that I can refer back to at some future point (I have done that plenty of times).

Another thing I like to do after learning about something different in SQL Server is to present it to a group of people.  That group can be co-workers, a user group, or at a SQL Saturday (as a few examples).  The beauty of presenting on the topic is that it helps me to embed that knowledge a little further.  It also helps me to try and gain an even deeper understanding of the topic to be able to answer questions that may arise. Best of all is that it helps to disseminate knowledge to others.


For me, being a data professional equates to a career.  I get that for some it is just a J O B – and that is fine.  For some, it may just be a J O B because they have not figured out how to advance it into a meaningful career.  Those people don’t want to just be a clock puncher and want to make something more of their chosen profession.

As a data professional, I suggest the following practices to help turn your profession into a career.

  1. Regular introspection – check in with yourself on occasion to keep yourself headed in the right direction.
  2. Learn something new – Treat this like a cursor. Keep finding something new to learn and act on it.
  3. Give Back and Get Involved – When you learn something new, teach it to somebody or post it on a blog. This helps give back to the community and more people can learn and grow.

These three simple steps can help turn a J O B into a career.  Better yet is that these steps can help to invest in yourself.



To DBA or Not to DBA…

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 30, 2013

In my day to day operations I have the opportunity to work with people in various capacities in regards to data.  Sometimes it is in the capacity of a mentor, sometimes in the capacity of a consultant, and sometimes just in the capacity of the dude that fixes the problem.

I enjoy working as a database professional.  There may be times when I want to scream or yell or pull out my teeth and hair.  Then there are times when I just bounce off the walls with joy and pleasure.  Some may call that a manic-depressive disorder.  They just don’t understand the true life of a data professional.


In becoming a data professional, I took the long route to get where I am.  I made the decision to work with SQL and learn about SQL 17 years ago.  I made the decision to learn about SQL because I viewed it as a really difficult thing to learn.  I wanted that challenge.  Then again, back then I also enjoyed the challenge of learning to configure Cisco routers.



This has been a short tease on an article to be published on Tuesday November 26, 2013 as a part of a community project.  Please return to read the rest of the article and the articles from the rest of the project at that time.

Summit 2013 – Part the First

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 16, 2013

While not technically the first day of Summit since the official start is yet to come, here are my thoughts on Sunday and Monday of PASS Summit 2013.

For many of us the week began Sunday evening.  Many, the start was not until Tuesday.  Others still might have started Monday or Wedneday.  My first day of Summit 2013 was actually last week as I began my travels to the East coast the Friday preceding SQL Saturday in Charleston, SC.

So, I want to share those experiences as a prelude to the events in Charlotte, NC.


The event in Charleston was a first time event in more than one way.  This was the first time that SQL Saturday had ever been presented in Charleston.  It was also the first time that the organizer had ever a) attended a SQL Saturday and b) organized a SQL Saturday.

The event was successful.  Some of that success can be attributed to many factors.  One factor I think was the quality of presenters that was selected.  Another big factor was the responsiveness of the venue and volunteers to help resolve issues big or small.  Another factor was the general help of the volunteers.  And finally, the attendees were FANTASTIC.

One big issue that we ran into affected all presenters in the afternoon for one of the rooms.  The projector died!  I just so happened to have my projector with me.  When it became apparent that nobody would be able to get the projector to work, we hooked up my projector.  Whether it was a Surface tablet or a normal laptop, we got it working.  We had different connectors and just made things work.

As an attendee, I took advantage to see sessions by Andy Warren, Laerte Junior, Grant Fritchey and David Klee

As a presenter, I thoroughly enjoyed presenting on compression.  Even with Andy Warren (who is a really really good presenter) sitting in the room trying to offer distractions.

I also enjoyed taking part in the two different QA panels in two different rooms as two of the three afternoon presenters no-showed.  The QA panels were a riot.  In one room we had Andy Warren and Shannon Lowder.  In the other room we had David Klee, Steve Jones, Mike Wells and Grant Fritchey.  I tried to split time between the two because they were different topics and questions in each.  The room with Grant, Steve et al ended up being largely entertaining as well as informative.  Yes, Grant is still preaching NO PANTS (even three days later).

From there, I rode with Wayne Sheffield back to Charlotte to start the actual events of Summit – with a few left hand detours on I-26.  You’ll have to tweet Wayne (blog | twitter) to get more details on the Charlotte motor speedway (I-26 and left hand turns).

Sunday was a slow day filled with mingling and talking to people who I haven’t seen in months or a year or so.  Combine that with the opportunity to network with people I have never met, and then those with whom I have only virtually met – and it was a good day overall.

Monday was the day to really start diving into the deep end of Summit 2013.  This is the day that I was supposed to get to “Color with Crayons” during the precon by Paul White. I am still waiting for my pack of crayons.  I know that was all just said in jest by Paul on twitter.  The session was an advanced look into the Optimizer and Execution Plans.  The session did not disappoint.  I have a lot of playing to do with the stuff learned from that precon event.

Monday evening was filled with a networking party where I met soooooo many of the SQLFamily with whom I have frequently chatted and talked.  That event was worth the price of admission and then some (cost of the meal ;) ).  That event was shortly followed by a quick jaunt to the Friends of RedGate gathering a few blocks up the street.  Which, was another fantastic opportunity to meet and greet with more SQLFamily.

Tuesday is a bit of a different story.  Some people continue on with the precons.  Some people had various meetings to attend.  I was in the latter group.  I had meetings about SQLSaturday, Volunteering, and a meeting for Chapter Leaders.

Tuesday was capped with the Quiz Bowl that seemed to be over before it even started.  I think a good majority didn’t even know it was happening when it happened or that it had completed when it did.  Many were busy socializing or in a different part of the Welcome Reception where you couldn’t hear the announcements.

After the welcome reception (where the Quiz Bowl happened), I spent my evening at a bowling alley called Strike City.  There was an event for volunteers and another party hosted by Linchpin People.  The evening was filled with great networking opportunities and was time well spent.

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Welcome , today is Thursday, August 28, 2014