PASS SQLRally Dallas 2012 Pre-Con: How to Perform a SQL Server Health Check

If you are attending the PASS SQLRally this May in Dallas, I will be presenting a one day preconference session called “How to Perform a SQL Server Health Check”. Here’s the abstract for the session:

Are all the SQL Server instances you manage healthy, running optimally, and providing the high availability your organization expects of them? If you don’t know, or if you have inherited, or are consulting with some SQL Server instances you are not familiar with, then you need to perform a SQL Server Health Check in order to find out.

Think of a SQL Server health check similarly to a health check with your physician. On your visit, the doctor will record your basic stats, take a medical history, and perform a number of tests. In many ways, what the doctor does is to document your health, and then compares what he finds to medical health best practices, to determine your current health. The next year at your annual check-up, the doctor will examine your again and then compare it to the baseline from the initial checkup. This helps the doctor determine if your health is the same, getting better, or getting worse. A SQL Server health check is very similar.

In this day-long session, you will learn how to document your SQL Server instances and how to determine if your instances are employing generally accepted best practices. Based on this information, you will be able to conclude if your instances are healthy, which means that they are running optimally and providing the level of high availability your organization expects of them. If not, you will learn how to fix any problems you find.

More specifically, you will learn about how to document your instances, and learn best practices in all of the following areas: Hardware Setup & Configuration, Operating System Setup & Configuration, SQL Server Instance Level Settings, Database Level Settings, Security Settings, Database Maintenance, SQL Server Jobs, Logs to Monitor and Review, SQL Server Monitoring, Performance Optimization, and High Availability. In many ways, this session will bring together all the best practices every DBA should know about administering a SQL Server instance.

This session will cover hundreds of health checklist items and their best practices. To help you keep track of all this information, you will be provided with scripts to collect the data, and a spreadsheet in order to collect and analyze the data.

This session is designed for database administrators from novice to intermediate level. After attending this session, attendees will be able to go back to their organizations and begin to immediately perform their own SQL Server health checks.

For more information on the event, visit the PASS SQLRally website.

As a PASS Member, Don’t Forget to Vote in the 2010 PASS Board Elections

I just received my e-mail from PASS, which says, “As a PASS Member in Good Standing, you are entitled to vote in the 2010 PASS Board Elections.” I am not sure exactly what a “PASS Member in Good Standing” means, but I guess I qualify as the e-mail provided me with a link to vote. If you are a PASS member, and did not get an e-mail allowing you to vote, please contact PASS immediately to ask them why you did not receive the e-mail.

This year there are three spots available on the board and there are five candidates, including:

  • Mark Ginnebaugh
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Allen Kinsel
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Andy Warren

You can find out more about these candidates at the SQLPASS Board of Directors web page. You can also find interviews with the candidates at Andy Leonard’s blog.

In selecting three candidates I voted for, I had a great difficulty as I personally know four of the candidates, and I would have liked to have voted for all four of them. These include Mark Ginnebaugh, who is a great PASS user group leader and businessman; Geoff Hiten, an outstanding SQL Server MVP and PASS user group leader, and a person who is not afraid to speak his mind; Andy Warren; who has been a long-time supporter of the SQL Server community, and who has shown in his last term of office that he is working towards greater PASS Board transparency; and Allen Kinsel, who has dedicated large amount of his time to the PASS program committee the past several years. All four of these are great candidates, and I can recommend all four of them to anyone who is still deciding on who to vote for.

So if you did get your PASS Board Elections e-mail, be sure you carefully review all of the candidates and select people who you think will lead PASS to a brighter future.

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for the 24 Hours of PASS: Summit Preview

Looking for some free SQL Server training? How about 24 hours of free training offered by some of the top SQL Server experts in the world? If so, sign up for the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS live webcasts to be held September 15-16, 2010. It’s your opportunity to continue and broaden your SQL Server education, with your only investment being your time.

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Pensacola Holds Second Annual SQL Saturday

Steve Jones SQLCentral.com Editor

SQL Saturday #22 was held on Saturday, June 5, 2010, with about 224 attendees participating in this free event. It was held at the Pensacola Junior College in Pensacola, FL.

Forty-three different sessions in six different tracks were offered (mostly SQL Server, but with a few .NET and miscellaneous sessions thrown in for good measure), offering attendees a wide choice of sessions to attend.

Many well-known speakers attended, including Steve Jones (see photo), Brad McGehee, Joe Webb, Joe Healy, Rushabh Mehta, Robert Cain, Kevin Boles, Patrick LeBlanc, Tim Mitchell, Rodney Landrum, Kevin Kline, and many more.

The event was hosted by Karla and Rodney Landrum, and of course they were helped my many behind-the-scenes volunteers to make this a successful event.

Below are a few photos from the event.

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Don’t Forget to Register for the Free 24 Hours of PASS

The free 24 Hours of PASS event will held May 19 & 20, and includes 24 different one hour presentations on many different aspects of SQL Server, with a special emphasis on SQL Server 2008 R2. You need to register to attend, so sign up today so you won’t forget.

My session, the only professional development topic at the event, is called “Manage Your DBA Career, Don’t Let It Manage You,” is session 13, which will be held at 00:00 GMT on May 20. My session focuses on specific steps you can take to help take control of your career. Of course, if you are in control of your career, then you don’t need to attend.  😉

I will be traveling that week, and will be making my presentation from a hotel room in Dallas.

Missing European PASS (Updated)

As most of you know, the Icelandic volcano has played havoc with travel plans for speakers coming from the US to speak at European PASS, and many of us will not be able to attend in person, including myself. Fortunately, I have found someone to take over my presentations for me. His name is Bodo Michael Danitz, an experienced SQL Server DBA and Microsoft Certified Trainer.

The two sessions he will be doing for me include: “Essential DBA Skills: Best Practices Every& SQL Server DBA Must Know” and “How to Analyze Performance Monitor Data Using PAL”. I have been working with Bodo to get him up to speed with my presentations, and I am sure he will do a great job. Although I won’t be at European PASS in person, at least I will be there in spirit.

If you attend these sessions, he will be giving out a limited number of free, signed paperback editions of several of my books. You can only get these books if you attend his sessions.