Hope Foley's Blog

Another day in the life of a SQL Server DBA

SQLSaturday Denver 2015 September 25, 2015

Filed under: SQLSaturday — hopefoley @ 1:50 pm
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On the flight home now from the SQLSaturday in Denver. I was excited for this one! I had never been to Denver before, through it but never to it. That and there’s some wonderful #SQLFamily out there. I lucked out though, I had this SQLSaturday on my radar but didn’t know for sure when the cutoff for submissions was to end. I just happened to catch it and submit on the final day of submissions. Not sure if there were any tweet reminders for that but I didn’t catch any.  Anyway I got accepted to speak and do the new tabular session (yay more practice for Summit!).

***

I am not a hardcore road warrior like some, but I travel a decent bit. I don’t know if I have ever got a direct flight anywhere. I found one to Denver from Indy and was a good deal but it was with Frontier.  Flight was at 6:00am but for direct I was willing to sacrifice. I have never flown on Frontier before and holy cow! They charge $30 for carry on luggage! Other various odd weird charges too.  Just a little warning if you haven’t flown with them, check the crazy fees first.  So I get to Denver very early and catch up with my co-worker Meagan Longoria (Twitter | blog) who was speaking too. Working for a remote company, it’s a nice treat to be able to work with folks in person for a change.

Speaker dinner! Thanks again Carlos and Quanta Intelligence

Speaker dinner! Thanks again Carlos and Quanta Intelligence

After work we head to the speaker dinner at Citron Bistro. The restaurant was nice and was graciously sponsored by Carlos Bossy (Twitter | blog) from Quanta Intelligence.  The food was PHENOMENAL! It moved in to my top spot of speaker dinners. They had sit down menu with great choices and I went with lamb shanks. Holy moly! So good! Well done there organizers! Thank you Carlos! Very much appreciated that meal! And to top that off we got possibly my favorite speaker jacket ever as well.

Not one to post pics of food much (beer yes - food not as much). After one bite I got out my phone!

Not one to post pics of food much (beer yes – food not as much). After one bite I got out my phone!

My session on Saturday was in the next to last slot so I had intended to sleep in having such an early flight. So of course my eyes pop open at 5:15AM. Not having any excuses I get a workout in and some review on my slides/demos. Then head to the venue. It was an interesting site. I thought we were lost when we pulled into the parking lot. It was in a typical strip mall. After going inside was able to see it was very much a conference space and pretty nice. It was a bit tight in the through ways but worked out well. There wasn’t a speaker room but we found some space to congregate and worked it out.

***

Wish I could have attended more of the morning sessions but I’m always distracted by my own prep. I did sit in on some of Mike Fal’s (Twitter | blog) session as it was in my room prior to mine. He’s got a great speaking style and a definite enthusiasm for PowerShell.

***

So I get setup and start my session. I had a terrible issue with the projector. It would flash from time to time during my session. It also caused my slides to sometimes become about 3 inches wide. I have had issues with projectors in the past but this was a new one for me. Other than that it went well and demos worked for the most part. I only got 3 (of 17 attendees) to turn in feedback sheets which was a bit of a bummer but that’s the breaks.

David Klee scaring the bejeezus out of DBAs on VMs.

David Klee scaring the bejeezus out of DBAs on VMs.

After my session I sit in on David Klee’s (Twitter | blog) session. Man oh man it was a fantastic session! If you ever have a chance to see him speak, DO IT! His knowledge on virtualization is astounding. Coming from the SQL side of things, so much I never knew from the virtualization side. Really glad to see that session and learned so much! And he’s great speaker and just about the most likeable guy ever. Great job David!

Prize raffle at end of day

Prize raffle at end of day

After that wrapped up the day with a lot of great prizes. Then they had a little after party in the same venue which was different but nice. They had drinks and appetizers. After that we went to a place called Tavern Lowry which was good.  We were able to get a large table in an area on the patio on a gorgeous night. The poor waitress that had to deal with all of us!  Restaurant had a nice beer selection. By the way Denver, I think Titan IPA was my favorite that I tried while out there.

There's a whole lot of trouble (the after party).

There’s a whole lot of trouble (the after party).

After that we went to “Family Karaoke”. I was a little nervous when we pulled up as it had all blacked out windows and didn’t look, well like a place that should have “family” in the name. Going in, it was fine. It was a Korean karaoke place that had private rooms. We got one of the larger rooms. It was like few years ago in Indy, they have all these super odd Korean videos that play while you sing. Hilariously bizarre! And I even kinda/sorta sang, well just the chorus while Keith Tate (Twitter | blog) did Tupac on “Changes”.

Poor Tim

Poor Tim

Looking for songs not in Korean

Looking for songs not in Korean

Karaoke and snuggles

Karaoke and snuggles

Thanks so much organizers for having me out and doing a really great job on your event! I had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones. I hope I can work it out to come back some time!

 

Finally Made It To SQLSaturday Louisville! September 8, 2015

Filed under: SQLSaturday — hopefoley @ 12:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

Home now from SQLSaturday Louisville and wanted to get a blog post going while those SQLfamily good vibes are still fresh. It’s kind of a sad fact but this is the first time I have ever been to a SQLSaturday in Louisville. Being that I only live 2 hours away, it’s a bit tragic! It seemed like every year I had a commitment or it was held on my kids birthdays. Poor Mala (Twitter | blog) was probably thinking I would never make it but low and behold, it worked out this year!

They gave us personalized weapons!

They gave us personalized weapons!

So I head down around lunch on Friday to get to the speaker dinner. The ride down was fine except I still swear the Google navigation lady hates me. She took me through the boonies to get to 65 for some reason.  After finally getting there via the scenic route, I hadn’t given this session for a bit so spent some time telling the hotel walls about spatial data. After that I head over to the speaker dinner with David (Twitter|blog) and Wendy (Twitter|blog). The speaker dinner was at Boombozz pizza. The food was excellent! The room was a bit small but it worked out fine. They gave us these too (pic above) for speaker gifts! Love when can incorporate some hometown flair into speaker gifts. Wish Indy had more than race cars to work with on that note.

They really know how to take care of the speakers in Louisville!

They really know how to take care of the speakers in Louisville!

The day of the event I had hoped to sleep in but eyes bolt open at 6:00am (I’m old). Head over early and get situated at the event. The venue was walking distance from the hotels which was very nice (jealous of that). It was held at an Indiana Wesleyan as well (Indy was too). It was a nice facility and the layout was good. I normally can’t concentrate in sessions prior to mine so I just prepped and chatted it up the morning. My session was right after lunch which is nice for the extra setup time. Lunch by the way was excellent! They had barbecue that was really good. I heard there was a bit of a line but I snuck in early with the sponsors so I only heard of the lines.

***

My session went pretty well. I had a good bit of time to chat before the session started so got to yuck it up with some of the folks. I don’t know if anyone could tell but I felt the nerves a bit in the beginning. I realized while down there I hadn’t done a SQLSaturday since Cleveland! In February! Kind of shocking! The nerves worked their way out after I got going so that was good.

***

After my presentation I stayed in the same room to catch Rob Verell’s (Twitter) session on replication. I hadn’t seen him speak yet and knowing how funny he is, had to go see one of his sessions. Very much enjoyed it! I always enjoy sessions that have humor with tech content. You have to be careful to balance it though and he did that.

Replication session full of cowbell from Rob Verell

Replication session full of cowbell from Rob Verell

Next up I went to see Daniel Glenn’s (Twitter|blog) session on SharePoint. He had jokingly pouted that he wouldn’t have much of a crowd because of the topic. SharePoint and DBAs do not exactly have lovey dovey vibes. So I agreed to go to his session, even though I planned to anyway as I hadn’t seen him speak either. He is an excellent speaker and did a great job. Was nice to see some of the stuff that drives DBAs nuts (like GUIDs in db names) can be avoided if the SharePoint person knows what they are doing.

Daniel Glenn trying to bring the DBAs and SharePoints of the world together.

Daniel Glenn trying to bring the DBAs and SharePoints of the world together.

Then it was prize raffle time. Louisville had a tweet wall in the location where the raffle was held. This was a big hit and all the speakers took advantage of being goofy on Twitter and the wall during the raffle.  They also had someone speak who teaches tech to high school students.  I have always thought it would be great to expose high school students to data careers via SQLSaturdays but I haven’t had any luck making any contacts in my area yet.

Energetic tech high school teacher talking to the masses at end of day.

Energetic tech high school teacher talking to the masses at end of day.

After the raffle folks congregate to head out to dinner at the hotel out on the patio.  David Maxwell always has a guitar and plays for us while we relax a bit.

SQL chill session

SQL chill session

After that John Morehouse (Twitter|blog) leads us to potentially my favorite place for an afterparty, Ann Marie’s Bacon Bar.  I mean there may not have ever been a place that contained all the components SQLfamily enjoy: local non-chain place, bacon, great food, nice beer selection AND karaoke!  All these things in ONE PLACE!  We all had a blast!

"Friends in Low Places" going on right here.

“Friends in Low Places” going on right here.

Had a really great time in Louisville!  Thanks volunteers…you all really knocked it out of the park!  Really a top notch event and glad the planets finally aligned for me to come down.  Thanks so much for having me down to speak!  Definitely one I will add to the “must do” list!

Good times!

Good times!

Meagan has some real singing chops!

Meagan has some real singing chops!

Some of the SQL ladies having a good time at karaoke.

Some of the SQL ladies having a good time at karaoke.

 

SQLSaturday Chicago 2014 May 5, 2014

Filed under: SQLSaturday,Uncategorized — hopefoley @ 12:50 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Last weekend was SQLSaturday Chicago which was good timing  I was getting antsy to get to another SQLSaturday since it has been quite awhile since the one in Cleveland.  Chicago is one of my staple events.  It’s a fantastic one, ran by some wonderful folks and very much in drivable range.  I just looked back and I’ve been going every year since SQLSaturday #67 in 2011!  Just amazing that we’re now in the 300s for SQLSaturdays.

 

I head up Friday after getting some work in the morning.  I get there in time to get a run through of my presentation.  I learned a speaking lesson in Cleveland that even though I’ve given a session several times, never get too comfortable.  I didn’t do a run through prior in Cleveland and my timing was off somewhere and I lost 10 minutes.  It wasn’t a huge deal to attendees I don’t think but it drove me nuts.  I will always do a run through just before an event.  It helps the nerves too.  After giving a presentation to the walls of the hotel, head over to the speaker dinner.  This was definitely a favorite as far as speaker dinners go.  It was at a place called Schnitzel Platz and of course a German restaurant.  They brought out a feast of sausages and schnitzel.  It was wonderful!

Speaker dinner at Schnitzel Platz

Speaker dinner at Schnitzel Platz

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Grant seems to have enjoyed the German food too!

Morning starts with breakfast with the lovely Strates, Jason (twitter|blog) & Sarah(twitter|blog) and Warner Chaves (twitter).  Then headed over to the DeVry campus where the event was being held.  My session wasn’t until noon so I had time to get situated and prepare.  They were doing an interesting new schedule where they spread lunch over a couple sessions and let those get food as they wish.  It seemed to work out for them.  The logistics of feeding that many folks are always tricky.

 ***

My session was over spatial data again and it went really well.  I had done some tweaking and with an engaged audience, it may have been my favorite with flow and timing. It also gave me a good story too.  I had a…well an interesting fellow in my session that gave the following creepy feedback.

 

Definitely the first time anyone ever mentioned Holocaust in session feedback.

Definitely the first time anyone ever mentioned Holocaust in my session feedback. *insert creepy music here*

After my session I went to see my friend, Mark Vaillancourt’s (twitter|blog) “Danger: The Art and Science of Presenting”.  I had wanted to see it for quite some time but never had the opportunity for one reason or the other.  It was very good and not what I expected.  I had been expecting a rah rah, you should all present and here’s why session.  There was only a tiny bit of that and instead gave a lot of interesting points about speaking as compared to Emotional Intelligence.  One thing that struck me was the notion that everyone attending your session is on your side or they wouldn’t be there.  It’s often thought of in the reverse and that everyone is out to get you, or “eat you” as he says.  Mark has the best sense of humor so his sessions are always entertaining.

 

Mark and his daughter, Paige. Love it when folks bring their kids.

Mark and his daughter, Paige. Love it when folks bring their kids.

Then I had to go see Meagan Longoria’s (twitter|blog) session “Choose Your Geospatial Adventure.  I was shocked to see two sessions relating to spatial on the schedule.  And even more so that it was by two ladies!  Her session was a nice one coupled with mine.  I delve into the spatial data type where she covered more the methods to visualize it.  It was a good session and showed some examples that I hadn’t seen.  It gave me some ideas for some things to try out later.

 

Meagan presenting how to visualize spatial.

Meagan presenting how to visualize spatial.

After the raffle we head back to the hotel for the after party.  Chicago has a somewhat traditional after party at the hotel with karaoke.  It’s nice to not have to worry about driving around.  One of the most memorable was Frank Gill’s (twitter|blog) version of “Unbelievable”.  He put a surprising death metal spin on it that was shocking/hilarious.  Thanks again for another wonderful time Chicago!  Organizers you did a fantastic job and really appreciate you allowing me to be a part of it again this year and for the past 3 years!

 

The masses gathering for the end of day raffle.

The masses gathering for the end of day raffle.

 

Frank Gill doing best "Unbelievable" rendition ever! And an odd setting on my phone so you see my eye. Who needs to take a pic like that??!!

Frank Gill doing best “Unbelievable” rendition ever! And an odd setting on my phone so you see my eye. Who needs to take a pic like that??!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SQLSaturday Chicago 2012 – Fan-tabulous Event Again! May 30, 2012

Continuing with super amped up excitement from the Free-Con, moved on to SQLSaturday Chicago festivities.  I have been really looking forward to this one.  I had a blast last year and it really solidified my addiction and love for SQLSaturdays.  So we head from the Free-Con event downtown to the speaker dinner.  It was held at Dave & Busters.  It was a good location and the space allowed for movement which was nice for chatting with everyone.  They also had pool tables and duck pin bowling too which was fun.  Food was good too so definitely a win for the organizers on the speaker dinner.  I left a bit early so I could spend some time going through demos and slides.  Word on the street was that there was a unicorn pool party later on but I’ll put missing that event into the win column as well 🙂
***
Then Saturday rolls around.  Get a workout in, grab a coffee and bagel, then head over to DeVry.  It was the wrong DeVry campus of course but someone points me to the right place and I make it in plenty of time.  I skipped first session to get prepared for my presentation in the speaker room.  My session was the second of the day which was a pretty good slot.  I like getting the morning sessions so I can get presentation out of the way then relax and enjoy sessions for the rest.  Then show time arrives.  I had a really good crowd (probably around 35 people).  I was in the same time slot as Mr. Ozar which is always disheartening but I was doing a B.I. topic so bit different audience than his.  My presentation went pretty good.  I always sweat the small stuff but just part of my nature.  And I always want to make sure I am constantly improving so just part of the process.  I had some great B.I folks in the room too which was very helpful.  I would not consider myself a B.I person really but want to learn portions of it better.  I was very lacking on my SSIS so I picked up this session topic as a challenge to myself to learn.  I don’t think there is any better way to dig deep and learn something than to prepare a presentation on the topic.  So it helped to have some very heavy SSIS folks in the room to assist with questions.  Thanks Bill Fellows (blog|twitter) and Norm Kelm (blog|twitter).  I got some good constructive speaker feedback in the end that I am definitely going to incorporate into this session next time.
***
Right after my presentation was the WIT panel lunch discussion.  I always love these and was very happy to sit on the panel when Wendy (blog|twitter) asked.  Wendy moderated and I sat with Erin Stellato (blog|twitter) and Shelly Noll (blog|twitter) on the panel.  As always we had a lot of great back and forth with everyone.  There were a few topics that popped up such as competitive team members and technical vs management (very much something I struggle with).  One of the main topics of the session were if you have to be assertive to be heard.  We also talked about aggressive vs assertive.  Great discussion as always.  I apologize for making folks watch me eat during this, my fear of missing a meal trumped fear of looking like a yahoo.

View of crowd from WIT panel

Then I got to sit in on Tim Ford’s (blog|twitter) session “The Periodic Table of Dynamic Management Objects”.  I wasn’t sure if I had ever seen Tim present and was very glad checked out this one.  You could tell he put a lot of time and effort into this session.  Had a great visualization (actual period table laying out and grouping of the DMOs).  A lot of great information and he has a great presentation style.  Definitely can tell not his first rodeo and he is swell and that shows through for sure.

Tim Ford getting his DMO on!

Next up was Argenis Fernandez (blog|twitter) and his “Troubleshooting SQL Server with SysInternals Tools” presentation.  Argenis is a super great guy and a new MCM so was very interested to see his presentation style.  It was a very good presentation and I took away a lot.  I wasn’t familiar very much at all with the SysInternals tools he used.  I have to admit I was a bit freaked out with folks trying to do some of these things he showed but still good info.  For example he showed how he got into a locked out system where you lost sa password.

Argenis doing the damn thing on some SysInternals

Last session of the day was Erin Stelleto’s (blog|twitter) “DBCC Commands: The Quick and the Dangerous”.  This was I think my favorite presentation of the day.  She is super great and had a lot of great information on DBCC commands.  She showed some very helpful DBCC commands such as DBCC SQLPERF(logspace) but also a lot of focus on integrity checks and corruption.  She went through a few examples of corruption and what you can do to fix it.  I think that’s super helpful to have some practice runs with corruption for new DBAs.  I envision that session helping quite a few DBAs in those corruption-sky-is-falling situations.

Erin doing a great DBCC session

Then hoping to up my karma points I take my dear friend Argenis to the airport to head back to Seattle.  Then haul it back for my favorite part, the aftermath!  They had the afterparty at the Hampton Inn in one of the convention rooms.  They brought in a KJ for the phenomenon called SQL Karaoke.  They had food brought in for folks from Famous Daves which was super nice.  I didn’t have to worry about making a meal out of appetizers and I didn’t have to worry about driving or finding a designated driver.  Could sit back and relax and visit with everyone.  I got to meet some folks from Twitter such as the very popular SQLCheesecake (aka Dustin Mueller) (twitter).  I am still an innocent bystander in the way of karaoke.  No one should have to hear me sing but I’ll be damned if they don’t keep trying to get me to do it.  They failed again but they are a persistent bunch so maybe one of these days I’ll cave.  Jason brought out the disturbing and supposedly foul smelling unicorn mask (I took everyone’s word for it on the funk…I wasn’t that curious).  Mark Villiancourt (blog|twitter) kills me at SQL Karaoke.  An honorable mention for his Gilbert Godfrey doing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” but of course my favorite is his “Star Wars Cantina” to the tune of “Copa Cabana”.  Jason Strate (blog|twitter) also did some songs in his so wrong it’s right kind of way.  Then there were some who were super ambitious and went out dancing.  I hung back with several others and stayed in the lobby just chatting.  I felt bad hijacking Rob Farley (blog|twitter) into talking so late that he was damn near dilirious.  There were a group of us that I think stayed up till 2:00 just chatting.  It was so great!  I so love having the opportunity to hear the stories of everyone and soak up any and all advice they give.

Disturbing isn’t it?

Another fantastic experience at SQLSaturday Chicago!  All you guys who organized this did just a fantastic job!  It seemed to go really smoothly but I know that is because you guys made it appear that way.  I hope I can take some of that into ours coming up in Indy.  Thanks for having me again!

 

SQLSaturday Chicago Recap April 1, 2011

Filed under: Presentations — hopefoley @ 4:13 am
Tags: , , ,
  • SQLSaturday Chicago was another fantastic experience!  It was my second one and was just amazing.  It definitely helped me to recharge my SQL mojo and remember that I really love doing this stuff.  Was a rough month at work and really needed that recharge.
  • We drove down on Friday and got there in time for the speaker dinner.  Enjoyed a couple 312’s and pizza.  It was nice to see folks I hadn’t seen since the last event and also to finally put some faces to names.  Conversation went to one of my favorite topics too…how people ended up as DBAs and in the industry.  Seems so often it’s an odd twist of events that land people in the DBA role.  I was then kidnapped by some fellow co-workers for a little birthday celebration.  Thank you Kandy, Teri, and Caroline!
  • Then the big day!  I caught Allen White’s session in the morning on PowerShell and PBM.  His sessions are always great and love catching them any chance I get.  That and as most folks know I’ve drank the kool-aid big time with PowerShell.  Followed that up with Aaron Bertrand’s session on Denali.  I seen some things on Denali but not much so wanted to catch that one.  The thing that stinks with all SQLSaturdays is the struggle to figure out which sessions to go to.  The line up for Chicago was so incredible…every session I wrestled with myself figuring out which one to actually go to.  After that was the Women in Technology luncheon which I was so pumped to be on the panel.  It was full of great discussion.  It was a bit hectic and rushed with lunch but great still the same.  I always love those WIT events.  Jes did a great job leading the conversation and keeping us all on time.  After that I caught Jeremiah Peschka’s session on SQL Refactoring.  It was great….just love his delivery and slides!  So artistic…makes my slides feel insecure and inadequate 🙂
  • My presentation went surprisingly well.  I had so many doubts coming into this one.  I had been swamped at work so didn’t prepare as much as I normally like to do.  Then I checked out the lineup at the same time.  When I saw Brent Ozar’s session going on at the same time my heart sank.  One because I would have liked to catch his session too but more because I thought I would be presenting to the walls.  I was so happy to see the room filled up!  I think the session went well.  I had folks who seemed really engaged and asking great questions.  I felt more at ease too.  Getting a bit more used to this public speaking thing I guess.  I know some of my first sessions you could have pushed me over with a feather and fried an egg on my face.  Oh and when it’s over the way that heaviness lifts and you can relax…also good stuff.  Luckily I didn’t have the same jerkface that was in Christina Leo’s session in mine either.  I always have “that guy” in mind when I’m preparing for these.  I know all the presenters were ready to grab torches and pitchforks and hunt him down…I mean really…really?  Read about her experience here.

  • Then came my favorite part..the aftermath!  This was my first experience with SQL karaoke and it was outstanding.  I am so not a karaoke kind of gal so didn’t actually get up there and sing but it was fun to watch for sure.  I would have to say my favorites were “Summer Nights” with Jes Borland and Jason Strate and “Pokerface” with Nicholas Cain and Jose Chinchilla.  Then when they kicked us out of that room we moved to the lobby for more chit chat and jello shots.  Oh the stories!  I just ate up every minute of the talk with everyone!  I stayed up till 4:00am taking it all in..and that’s unheard of for this poor mom.  I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late.  Grant Fritchey started talking about how he got where he is…what was I going to do leave? Ummm no.
  • Thank you all so much for the encouragement, advice, and just in general good vibes.  Them SQL people are good people I tell ya! 🙂  And thank you too to all the people who put on a really fantastic SQL Saturday…great job!