Speaking at European PASS

I just heard that two of my presentations have been accepted for the European PASS Conference 2010 in Neuss, Germany, April 21-23, 2010. My sessions include:

How to Analyze Performance Data Using PAL

Analyzing Performance Monitor data is not always an easy task. It often involves viewing Performance Monitor logs in graph view, seeing what has been happening, and hoping that your knowledge and background in SQL Server and the Windows OS provides you with enough information to help you to be able to pinpoint specific performance-related issues.

One way to make this job easier is by using a free tool called "Performance Analysis of Logs," or "PAL", for short. It was developed by Clint Huffman of Microsoft, and can be downloaded free from Codeplex at www.codeplex.com/PAL. In brief, the tool takes a Performance Monitor log file (.blg), analyzes it, and provides you with an HTML report that presents a graphical analysis of the data, including alerts for those counters that exceed a specified threshold. The thresholds for the counters are based on those recommended by various Microsoft product teams.

In this session, you will learn how to use this tool, including how to customize it for your specific needs. You will also learn how to analyze the output so you can better understand what performance problems your SQL Server instances may be having.

This session is filled with demonstrations, and assumes attendees have a basic foundation of DBA knowledge, and a solid understanding of how to use Performance Monitor. After attending the session, attendees will be able to return to work and immediately put what they have learned into practice.

Essential DBA Skills: Best Practices Every SQL Server DBA Must Know

With the continued popularity of SQL Server, more and more people are becoming SQL Server DBAs, whether they planned to or not. Many of these DBAs don’t have formal training, but are doing the best they can under the circumstances. Most of these DBAs want to do a good job, but just don’t know where to start. While Books Online is a great reference tool, it doesn’t tell new DBAs what they need to know about commonly established best practices that experienced DBAs know by heart.

The focus on this session is on describing best practices every SQL Server DBA needs to know. These are foundational best practices that, if not followed, could have a significant negative effect on the performance and availability of their SQL Servers. As such, this session is targeted towards those who have less than one year’s experience as a SQL Server DBA.

This session focuses on key fundamentals, such as: Installing & Upgrading SQL Server; SQL Server Configuration; User Data and Log File Management; Database Configuration Settings; Configuring Critical Maintenance Jobs; Setting Up Alerts for Critical Errors; Security Basics; Implementing a Backup and Restore Strategy; Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan; Testing; Monitoring; and Documentation.

Because of time considerations, and the amount of content to be covered, the focus will be on explaining what needs to be done, not how to perform each task. By learning the best practices suggested in this session, DBAs will be able to go back to their organizations and begin to immediately implement them.