Extended Events – Better than Profiler

Categories: Presentations
Comments: No Comments
Published on: March 23, 2016

Abstract

Extended Events were introduced in SQL Server 2008. With SQL 2014, we have seen a significant upgrade to this feature. Join me for a little adventure into the realm of 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. This is a fast paced session and will be a lot of fun. Attendees will be able to take back several sample XE sessions to help troubleshoot different issues and get to more intimately know their data/environment.

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Bare Naked Skinny on SQL Server

Categories: Presentations
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Published on: March 23, 2016

Abstract

Ever feel like there are just too many layers with SQL Server? You peel off a layer and behold there is yet another layer. SQL Server is rather complex. The complexities can be rather frustrating from time to time.

Join this NSFW (not safe for whining) session as we strip SQL down to the bare bones. I will help you undress the complexities of a few of the basic SQL Server concepts. These concepts will include locks, principals, query directives and deadlocks.

In this session I will disrobe misunderstandings related to the aforementioned topics. I will show the different types of principals in SQL Server. I will also show various scenarios involving locks and deadlocks along with some of their effects with and without query directives. The goal is to better understand these topics and to hopefully stop using and perpetuating common mis-uses of terminology and common misconceptions about the technology.

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Monitoring SQL Server with Extended Events

Categories: Presentations
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Published on: March 23, 2016

Abstract

Every good enterprising DBA has the prime directive of monitoring the SQL Servers under his/her jurisdiction. The last thing a DBA wants to hear is that there is a problem with a database under his/her purview from an end-user.

SQL Server has progressed over time to give better and better information to the DBA.  Much of this information can be used in a home grown solution to monitor SQL Server. With the constant increase in surface area from Extended Events, the power to build a home grown solution becomes more and more feasible while being limited only by the imagination of the enterprising DBA (or developer or data professional). This full day workshop will introduce you to an Extended Events based solution to achieve that home-grown monitoring goal.

This full day session on Extended Events will help prepare you to put this tool to immediate use as you walk back to your daily duties.  This workshop will teach you about Extended Events starting with the basics and moving through how to create XE sessions that will get the right data for you, while doing so with minimal impact.

You will be exposed to advanced troubleshooting techniques as we work through complex issues that are made easier through the use of XE.  Take advantage of this opportunity to dive into the world of Extended Events and learn how you can make best use of this tool in your SQL 2008+ environment.

Download

Freecon – Oct 27 in Seattle

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Published on: September 23, 2015

Just over a week ago I announced that SQL Solutions Group was getting ready to host a day of training, FREECON if you will, in Seattle as a prelude to the PASS Summit of 2015. You can read all about that here, with registration being here.

While I really do hope to see the room fill with people looking to get some fantastic training, I also want to note that this training is not a part of the Summit. Though I hope it is viewed as an effort to enhance the learning made available during the week of Summit and to give the attendees more options.

An option is only really any good if some sort of detail can be attained about the option. While, I did publicize that the event was going to happen with a brief introduction into the the topics to be covered, one may be left wondering what really will be covered during the day.

Today, I hope to help make the SSG Freecon option a better option  by including a little detail into what it is that I will be presenting during my session on Extended Events.

Extended Events

This should come as a huge surprise given the 60 Days of XEvents series that I am currently publishing. While I am publishing a lot of information about Extended Events in this series, this Freecon session will cover the methodology that I, as a consultant, would use to troubleshoot various issues when a client seeks my help.

It is well known that there is a wealth of information within Extended Events. One can tap plenty of information about performance issues, errors, or general interest type stuff by setting up an XEvent Session and trapping some (hopefully) useful information.

roadmapDuring this session at the FreeCon, I want to help show how I would use Extended Events as a consultant to help find the pertinent information that will bring to light the problems the client is having.

How can I use Extended Events as a consultant to perform a health check on your server? That information will be covered throughout this session.

How can I determine where precisely the backup failed (and when) and be able to procure more information to determine if it was caused by some other event on the network? This is the type of information included in the methodology that I plan to share.

Think of this session as a condensed road-map to XE Success.

Free SQL Training in Seattle

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: September 15, 2015

The annual SQL Server Professional migration is about to begin. Many of us will be descending upon the city of Seattle for a week of training and networking at the PASS Summit. The week in Seattle will invariably begin and end on different days for many people. And since many will be coming to Seattle in advance of the first day of the actual Summit, there may be some idle time available.

free training

Well, because of this, SQL Solutions Group decided to provide yet another opportunity for those that may have a bit of free time on their hands. So, on Oct 27th, SSG is offering a day of free training (with a small fee for lunch) provided by four of our Microsoft Certified Masters.

If you are in the market for some extra training, you are invited to attend this day of training. Please register at our EventBrite listing to attend and see the training that we have on tap for you on Oct 27th, 2015.

Here is a brief overview of the training that will be given:

Code Smells for the Consultant

Throughout my career, I’ve seen developers do some pretty crazy things to databases ( I know because I come from a developer background). Come to this session to learn both what I (and SSG) look for and why it’s bad for the database (or your career), and alternatives that can be used. Some of the topics that I will discuss include; how coding mistakes open up the database for SQL Injection attacks, how coding choices can slow down the server, and how design choices keep SQL Server dumb ( if SQL Server was allowed to be smart, it would be faster!). Trust me, your DBA will love you for identifying and fixing these code smells.

A Masters Passport to Extended Events

As is commonly the case, all good things come to an end.  And now is as good a time as any for the use of SQL Trace and Profiler to come to an end.  Let’s face it, Trace was a good tool and had some wonderful uses.  Profiler for that matter was a good tool and was useful at times.

It is time to let those old tools retire gracefully and move into the world of XE.  This workshop will provide you the means to let Profiler and Trace be retired from your tool-set as you discover all that XE has to offer.

This focused session on Extended Events will help prepare you to put this tool to immediate use as you walk back to your daily duties.  This workshop will teach you about Extended Events starting with the basics and moving through to some specific XE sessions that I would use to troubleshoot in a client environment – while doing so with minimal impact.

You will be exposed to advanced troubleshooting techniques as we work through complex issues that are made easier through the use of XE.  Take advantage of this opportunity to dive into the world of Extended Events and learn how you can make best use of this tool in your SQL 2008+ environment.

Practical Powershell for the DBA

Think of all the tools you use in managing your SQL Servers. All those SQL Servers being managed by tools and man that is a lot of clicks. We will show practical scripts and techniques to help you get a handle on all those clicks. Whether you are gathering data or statistics from your SQL Servers or deploying an object to all of them. Configuration items are not excluded from the need for good tools. PowerShell is that tool that will let you get away from all those clicks. Reusable scripts that let you manage all those instances with ease. This session will give you a great start on how to think about admin tasks using PowerShell scripts or modules. Many items are already out there to help you and we will take a good look.

Transaction Isolation Levels, Locking and Deadlocking

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 by defining what each of these items are and what their causes are. We will then dig into each of SQL Server’s built in isolation levels and explore how they affect concurrency. Understanding concurrency and how isolation levels impact it is one of the most important things you need to know as a SQL Server developer. But understanding when to use each one can be daunting. Whether you are a developer who needs to understand how isolation works and why NOLOCK is not an appropriate hint in most cases, or a seasoned DBA who needs to understand the less commonly used isolation methods, this session is for you. We will look at each level, how it impacts the engine, and examine appropriate (and inappropriate) use cases for each.

 

A Masters Passport to Extended Events

Categories: Presentations
Comments: No Comments
Published on: August 31, 2015

Abstract

As is commonly the case, all good things come to an end.  And now is as good a time as any for the use of SQL Trace and Profiler to come to an end.  Let’s face it, Trace was a good tool and had some wonderful uses.  Profiler for that matter was a good tool and was useful at times.

It is time to let those old tools retire gracefully and move into the world of XE.  This full day workshop will provide you the means to let Profiler and Trace be retired from your toolset as you discover all that XE has to offer.

This full day session on Extended Events will help prepare you to put this tool to immediate use as you walk back to your daily duties.  This workshop will teach you about Extended Events starting with the basics and moving through how to create XE sessions that will get the right data for you, while doing so with minimal impact.

You will be exposed to advanced troubleshooting techniques as we work through complex issues that are made easier through the use of XE.  Take advantage of this opportunity to dive into the world of Extended Events and learn how you can make best use of this tool in your SQL 2008+ environment.

Download

Murder and XE Train in Louisville

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: July 17, 2015

I am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Amazing this thing is still going on after the sailing train comment that was made around the time of PASS Summit 2013.

lvillecrazytrain

 

Time to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 403 in Louisville will mark the next attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in this all day workshop event.  The session is one of two all day sessions for the event in Louisville, KY. Did I mention that this is a:

bogo

That’s right! If you get two all day sessions for the price of one! Attend just one or both of the sessions that Wayne and I will be presenting. You can see full details at our eventbrite site here.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, these sessions are for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, these sessions are a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years of working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

That is just the Murder session. Here are the details for the XE session.

A Masters Passport to Extended Events

As is commonly the case, all good things come to an end.  And now is as good a time as any for the use of SQL Trace and Profiler to come to an end.  Let’s face it, Trace was a good tool and had some wonderful uses.  Profiler for that matter was a good tool and was useful at times.

It is time to let those old tools retire gracefully and move into the world of XE.  This full day workshop will provide you the means to let Profiler and Trace be retired from your toolset as you discover all that XE has to offer.

This full day session on Extended Events will help prepare you to put this tool to immediate use as you walk back to your daily duties.  This workshop will teach you about Extended Events starting with the basics and moving through how to create XE sessions that will get the right data for you, while doing so with minimal impact.

You will be exposed to advanced troubleshooting techniques as we work through complex issues that are made easier through the use of XE.  Take advantage of this opportunity to dive into the world of Extended Events and learn how you can make best use of this tool in your SQL 2008+ environment.

Course Objectives

  1. Build a knowledge base for Extended Events
  2. Become familiar with the tools for Extended Events
  3. Become familiar with uses for Extended Events
  4. Get acquainted with troubleshooting scenarios for Extended Events
  5. Begin to put Extended Events to practical use
  6. Return to work with enough information to eradicate Profiler from the environment

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles at www.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is also an MVP for SQL Server.

 

 

 

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Louisville SQL Saturday site – here.  There are only 75 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $150 (plus fees) up through the day of the event.  When you register, be sure to tell your coworkers and friends.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Louisville for these workshops, I will also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on August 22, 2015 (the Saturday after the workshops which run Aug. 20-21, 2015).  You can view the available sessions here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some workshop sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

SQL Cruise Mediterranean+

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: June 24, 2015

This is a post that is looooong overdue. I have intended to write some of this at least since the first SQL Cruise I attended back in 2013 (in the Caribbean). Now with three Cruises under the belt and plenty of awesome experiences, it is high time to follow through on those intentions.

Official_SQLCruise_2015For those that have not heard, SQL Cruise is a mix of training and vacation. You get a little (or a lot) of SQL and then you get a little (or a lot) of vacation mixed with the opportunity to see places you may not have otherwise visited. Last but certainly not least is the opportunity afforded to all attendees to meet other people they may have never otherwise gotten a chance to meet. This last benefit may be the most important facet of SQL Cruise in that the networking done during the cruise will last a long time and can certainly open a few doors if/when necessary.

One great example of this networking occurred on the first cruise I attended. In the meetings outside of the scheduled training, one of the other cruisers (he is now an MCM and MVP) asked a pretty important question about an issue within his work environment. A performance monitoring package they ran for all of their clients was causing some serious problems. The problems affected about 30% of all of the servers which numbered over 1500. The application on the affected servers would stop responding and they would no longer receive metrics or alerts to conditions being raised.

This problem was significant enough that they engaged Microsoft and Microsoft engineers had been collecting metrics and logs for over six months (at the time). There was a series of try this and try that and all of it resulted in no change whatsoever. So this fellow cruiser brought the issue to the cruise with him. In chatting with the cruiser (oh, and he had to fly to the US from Europe in order to attend), I discovered that the symptoms he was enduring were quite similar to some things I had seen within SSIS packages for example. We discussed a quick fix which he took back to his employer.

Through a series of tests and deployments, this Cruiser and his employer rolled out the fix to all of the servers in the environment. This fix ended up saving them so much money in labor and other costs, that his employer sent him and his family (eight people in total) back to SQL Cruise in the Caribbean the following year. The ROI for this Cruiser and his employer was huge! Additionally, he and I have become friends thanks to the Cruise. This is the sort of stuff that defines SQL Cruise.

This year, we had the chance to repeat the Cruise by attending the Mediterranean version. This installment was a whirlwind of touring Europe. Some started in London before proceeding to Barcelona and then on to such places as Pompeii, Rome, Pisa, Cannes, Monaco, and Mallorica before returning to Barcelona to continue on to Berlin or London before returning home. For me, we chose to start in Paris and then taking the bullet train on to Barcelona.

Med Sunset

The tourism was fast and furious. The training was faster and more furious. And in the end, the European / Mediterranean trip was gone before we knew it. All who attended surely walked away with great memories and with having learned something (whether it be cultural, historic, or SQL in nature).

If you have the chance to attend a SQL Cruise, I would say do it. The training comes from the technical leads as well as the attendees in the rooms. Often, the tech lead will even defer to any of the other professionals in attendance. Especially in the case of Trace Flags as we learned this past week – in every session and in every office hours meeting. Just ask Grant Fritchey (blog | twitter) about it some time – he loves talking about Trace Flags.

Extended Events in SQL Server

Categories: Presentations
Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: May 30, 2015

Abstract:

Extended Events were introduced in SQL Server 2008. With SQL 2014, we have seen a significant upgrade to this feature. Join me for a little adventure into the realm of 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. This is a fast paced session and will be a lot of fun. Attendees will be able to take back several sample XE sessions to help troubleshoot different issues and get to more intimately know their data/environment.

Download

Murder in Charleston

I am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

Charleston Friend

 

Time to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 354 in South Carolina will mark the next attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in this all day workshop event.  The session is one of two all day sessions for the event in Charleston, SC.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles at www.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant, SQL Server MVP and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Charleston SQL Saturday site – here.  There are only 75 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $110 (plus fees) up through the day of the event.  When you register, be sure to tell your coworkers and friends.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Charleston for this workshop, we will also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on December 13, 2014 (the day after the workshop which is December 12, 2014).  You can view the available sessions here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some workshop sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

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