Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL

T-SQL Tuesday #134 – Give me a break

Welcome to the first T-SQL Tuesday of 2021!

2020 ended up being a year for the record books and 2021 is already making its mark. So I appreciate the topic that our host, James McGillivray (b|t), has given us.

Breaks are critical for our mental health. Write a post about relaxation techniques, dream destinations, vacation plans or anything else relating to taking a break for your own mental health.

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Posted in Professional Development, WIT

Inspiration from the MA Conference for Women 2020

I was privileged to be able to attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women on December 10, 2020. I went last year and was inspired from the moment I stepped foot in the convention center. (Here’s my blog post about that event.) I was curious to see what would happen this year when it was moved to a virtual event.

Starting my day at the conference

I think I got my answer watching the number of the keynote attendees steadily increase to over 10,000 in 10-15 minutes. Just seeing so many say hello and where they were from was incredible to watch.

I was hoping to catch most of the sessions in the week after the conference was over but I wasn’t able to. But I was able to catch a fair number of sessions as well as the two keynote sessions. I thought I’d share some of the quotes that inspired me and challenged me the most, along with some context when I can. Some of these just stand on their own.

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Posted in SQL Server

My Year In Review

This time last year, I was so excited for 2020. I had a lot of plans of stepping out in the community. I was looking at all of the SQL Saturdays around the country and even a couple of international events to figure out which ones I wanted to submit to in the hopes of being able to attend.

And for the first two months, things seemed good. And then the pandemic hit. I’ve said this in other posts but everything that I was involved in was suddenly canceled – not just #sqlfamily event.

But looking back, it ended up being a pretty productive year in some ways.

Cheers to the past #sqlfamily events!
  • 19 Speaking Engagements:
    • 8 User Groups (virtual and local gone virtual)
    • 4 SQL Saturdays
    • 1 PASS Summit
    • Group By
    • Data Platform Summit
    • Dataweekender
    • dataminds.Connect
    • IDERA GeekSync
    • Data Platform Discovery Days
  • Mentor in the first New Stars of Data
  • 19 Blog Posts (not including this one)
  • 1 Job Change
  • 1 MVP Award – Data Platform

In some ways, I was able to be a part of things that I probably would not have had an opportunity to be a part of otherwise because some of these were new virtual events.

Like so many of us, I am heartbroken about the dissolution of PASS. Getting involved with SQL Saturdays and attending the past several SQL Saturdays really helped me invest in my career in ways that I can’t express. It’s actually fairly bittersweet and poetic that the last SQL Saturday I spoke at was Albany, which was also the first SQL Saturday I spoke at. I am so appreciative of all those who are stepping forward to fill in the void. I’m looking forward to finding a way to jump in and help where I am able.

It will be interesting to see what 2021 will bring. I already know that I will be speaking at a couple of user groups over the next several months, including my local group, NESQL, in January. I will be a mentor for the New Stars of Data again so I’m looking forward to working with a new speaker. I have no clue what sort of additional speaking opportunities will be coming up. Even if I don’t end up speaking much while things are finding their new ground, I have a lot of things that I’ve been hoping to explore more and blog about. Maybe 2021 will be the year I spend more time writing.

While this year has been a challenge on many levels, I am still grateful for my friends in #sqlfamily. It gives me many reasons to be hopeful for the things to come in 2021.

Wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year!

Posted in Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, T-SQL

T-SQL Tuesday #133 – What else have I’ve learned presenting

It’s T-SQL Tuesday! The last one of 2020 in fact so I’m glad I’m able to pull things together to contribute.

Lisa Griffin Bohm (t|b) is hosting this month. Her challenge for us is this:

This month, I’d like those of you who have presented, or written a presentation, to share something technical THAT DID NOT RELATE to the topic of the presentation, that you’ve learned in writing or giving the presentation.

This is a great topic, so thanks for hosting this month, Lisa!

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Posted in SQL Server

PASS Summit 2020 – Virtual Edition

Another PASS Summit has come and gone. This one really was different from the rest. I think the build up to the event, some of the stumbling blocks, and poor communication along the way didn’t help. But in the end, despite all of that, I think it was a good Summit. Not a great Summit, but not a waste of money Summit either.

Here are my takeaways….

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Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday #131 – It’s like this…

It’s another T-SQL Tuesday, that monthly blog party. It’s kind of like a Halloween party but instead of costumes and candy, we write blog posts about a topic related to SQL Server.

Thanks to Rob Volk (b|t)for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday. Rob has tasked us with using an analogy for explaining something in SQL Server.

I don’t know if I have a favorite analogy for what I do. But let’s see if this one works:

Pretend I have to run errands around town. I need to go to the grocery store, hardware store, and return something at the department store.

I’m also making a list as to what I need from each store. At the grocery store, I need to pick up a couple of the basics: eggs, a loaf of bread, half & half for my coffee and some cheddar cheese. At the hardware store, I need to pick up some nails to hang some pictures. In addition, I have to return a shirt that I bought online that is the wrong size.

The first thing I need to do is figure out which stores I need to go to and which order. So I open up Google map and determine which stores are closest to each other and what order it makes sense to go to each one.

Now that I know what I need to do, I run my errands and get everything done fairly efficiently. It worked great. As these are some fairly common errands, I now have my plan of attack for the next time I need to do these.

Over the next couple of months, I notice this works well for the most part. Sometimes my list changes slightly – I need to get mozzarella instead of cheddar or I am exchanging the shirt that didn’t fit for the size that does instead of just returning it, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference so the route I’ve come up with works well.

But other times, I notice things don’t quite work as smoothly. When I run my errands on the weekends, it seems like everyone else has the same idea so I’m having to wait in line a lot more. And why is checkout lane 4 always closed? Or if I need to cook for a holiday or special occasion, it takes me a lot longer to get everything at the grocery store since I need a lot more ingredients.

And then sometimes random things happen. Remember that time I went into the department store to return a dress and walked out with an Instant Pot? And then another time, there was car accident so it took me longer to get from the hardware store to the grocery store; traffic was at a standstill.

Some of these things I can figure out before I leave the house, like when my lists for each store are drastically different than usual, so I can decide on a new route before I go. Other times, I just don’t have that information or something else unexpected comes along and I’m stuck with the plan I have and can’t do anything about it because the problem has nothing to do with the route I’ve mapped out.

So have you figured out the analogy yet? It’s SQL Server execution plans.

Just as I’m planning out where I need to go, SQL Server figures out the good enough plan for getting the data it needs. Sometimes it works well when you have differences – like needed mozzarella instead of cheddar – but then it doesn’t when you suddenly need something completely different, like returning a shirt but buying a household appliance instead. If you have loads that require different sizes, like shopping for a holiday meals, SQL Server can figure out that it may want to use different indexes if they’re available so it may find a more efficient plan to use.

But you also have to remember that at times, queries aren’t slow because of a bad execution plan but other things like heavier server workloads at given times, like running errands on the weekend, or someone else’s query blocking you, like getting stuck in traffic because of a car accident.

These are all things you have to pay attention to when writing and troubleshooting a query using the execution plan.

Now if only my actual errand list could be made more efficient….

Posted in Docker, SQL Server

Installing Docker

When I hear about a new Broadway show, I usually like to wait until I see it before I listen to the soundtrack. Otherwise, I miss the context and I can’t always appreciate it.

When it comes to tech, containers seemed to fall under that category. I kept hearing and attending sessions about them, but it didn’t really start coming together until I finally set one up. Now that I’m starting to use it a little more, the container is starting to make more sense. I still have a lot of questions but now I’m in a better place to figure them out.

More importantly, you have to start somewhere. So let’s start by install Docker so we can create containers and go from there!

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Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL

Working With Synonyms

Don’t you love it when you find out that the little quirk you thought existed didn’t? Here I was – thinking I had this great idea for an article about it. I wrote up my test cases and proved myself wrong. So I guess we’ll chalk this up to another edition of “Me and Jon Snow – we both know nothing.”

I can still use Game of Throne references even though the show’s over, right?

At some point, I got it in my head that while you could create synonyms successfully before the object, once the object was created the synonym still wouldn’t know about the object or underlying changes. I’m not sure where I got this idea, but it’s just not true. Well, not entirely true. And I guess I was very convincing in this argument because no one corrected me at the time.

So let’s takes a look at a couple of examples to see how this works:

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