Monday, March 31, 2008

SQL Server Worldwide Users Group - Virtual Conference

Earlier this year I delivered 6 sessions for the SSWUG virtual conference. Turns out that the conference was a huge success, so they're going to do it again!

June 24 - 26, 2008 is the date for the next conference. (that's 85 days from today if you're counting)

I am delivering 3 sessions this time around:

  • What is Analysis Services - In this session, attendees will learn the basics of Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. This session will answer questions such as, What is it? Why should I use it? What are the business applications for it? Attendees in this session will also gain a basic understanding of the MultiDimensional Scripting (MDX) language that Analysis Services uses
  • Installing and Configuring Reporting Services - In this session, attendees will learn the basics of installing Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. This session will cover common installation situations and will discuss some of the more common pitfalls that surround the installation. This session will also cover the basics of Reporting Services configuration options, including basic database configuration and security implications
  • WSS and SharePoint - In this session, attendees will learn the basics of Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). This session will cover some of the basic use-cases for both WSS and MOSS, and will discuss when one should be chosen over the other. This session will also demonstrate a commercial application that is based on the MOSS

The Virtual Conference idea is a very good one, and makes for a nice delivery mechanism for this type of information. One of the benefits you get from a virtual delivery is that the sessions are repeated and you can ensure you get to all of the sessions that you want to see, plus at the end of the conference you can download the session for playback later. You will also have each of the speakers online during the session for a live-chat during the session, so you can ask questions and expect to get them answered.

I think it worked out very well for the first one, so hopefully this one will be even better!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SQL Server Nexus

It seems as if every time I think I no longer have to worry about getting down to the guts of performance tuning in SQL Server, I find myself right in the thick of it once again. Generally speaking, I like to think of myself as very knowledgeable in this field, but sometimes, something comes along and just destroys that confidence.

Last week was one of those times...

I was onsite with a customer that had provided one monster server for our application to be deployed to. (Honestly, this is probably the most impressive hardware configuration that I've ever personally worked with) Our application is a data warehousing application, so the specific tuning procedures for DW workloads were used.

The ETL process within the application was performing very poorly, so I spent a lot of time tweaking SQL Server performance, but the thing that really bothered me was that all of the statistics that I could gather pointed to the fact that nothing was wrong.. Of course the application didn't agree, because things that "normally" take less than 2 hours were taking much longer than that (to be clear, the word "normally" in this instance isn't accurate, but it gets the point across).

At any rate, this brings me to the point of this entry:

Webster defines Nexus as: "a connection, or link" and "a connected group, or series" Which is interesting because my theory on SQL Server performance tuning is that there really isn't any link between any two instances of an application that run on different SQL Servers and that each instance of the application must be tuned separately, based on the specific environmental conditions unique to that instance.

Apparently my thoughts are incorrect on this subject, because a pretty impressive team of SQL performance types just posted a new release of the Performance Tuning toolkit on Codeplex called, of all things, Nexus... Check it out here:

Basically this is a "one stop shopping" performance tookit that enables a ton of different analysis scenarios for SQL Server. It's a pretty straightforward and easy installation, but you really do need to take the time to read the documentation provided.

Give it a shot..