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James Luetkehoelter

Nearly any SQL topic presented at times in a slightly eclectic manner.

Recommendations for PASS attendees

For those of you going to PASS, I thought I'd write up a recommendation of speakers to go to and other activities. While I am speaking myself, I'm not mentioning my own sessions - if you read the topic and it interests you, be prepared that I'm not a conventional speaker by any means. People either love me or throw tomatos.

Of course, all of the spotlight sessions are great speakers. Items of personal interest to me are:

Itzik Ben-Gan, Datetime Calculation and Temporal Queries - I'm really interested to see where he takes this one. I find time-based queries (or databases that are used for mostly time-oriented queries, like all sales data from last month) are often far from optimized, and sometimes incorrect (especially something like "WHERE orderdate = '1/1/2007'" - if there's any time value on that orderdate field, no match). When it comes to TSQL, Itzik Ben-Gan is near the apex of overall knowledge (and creativity in usage).

Klaus Aschenbrenner, Scaleout scenarios with the Service Broker - I've never heard Klaus speak before, but this is a topic I that is near and dear to me - I suggest and use it myself as a means of improving the performance of loosely-coupled database processes.

Kalen Delaney, The Costs of Concurrency - It's hard to top Kalen as a subject matter expert or as a skilled speaker, and this is one topic that everyone should fully understand. If you can't name all of the Isolation Levels in SQL, what data consistency problems the address, or how Snapshot Isolation works, go. Period.

Kevin Kline, Performance Baselining, Benchmarking and Montoring - Again, this is fundamental knowledge a DBA requires. It's extremely difficult to "tune" after the fact, in particular if you don't know your starting point. Also an excellent presenter.

Tie: Allan Hirt (Disk Configuration for the SQL Server DBA), Linchi Shea (SQL Server on SANs - Notes from an Enterprise), Peter Ward (Engineering 101 for the DBA) - All three cover very important aspects of the hardware-related issues a DBA should understand (in some cases, intimately).

Erik Veerman, SSIS Pipeline Internals - I've rebuilt more SSIS packages than I've wanted to simply because people weren't aware of how the pipeline process works, what steps and transformations are best done inside the package or outside, etc. Since it's a full .NET scripting environment, I've even seen SSIS packages that are simply a script. That's fine if you understand pipelines - if not, you're headed for a major speed bump in the future.

Paul Turley, Advanced Report Design Patterns and Recipes - Whenever I teach anything about Reporting Services, I always throw out the challenge to my students to come up with a report that can only be done in RS by using a sub-report. There are very clever techniques available to provide very complex reports designed in a very manageable way. If you use RS, I think this is a must.

Reed Jacobson, Secrets of using Reporting Services against an Analysis Services Cube - I find that when it comes to RS, working against a cube is the most difficult thing to teach. There are aspects that are not intuitive, and features you need to either dig or be very creative to use.

Beyond these sessions I've listed (and no offense to any of the speakers - these are just ones that really interest me - in fact many of you I've seen present before), go up and talk to people. This is basically a huge user-group meeting. Everyone is in the same boat as you - perhaps you both need the same set of oars to get rowing again. Everyone looks at problems from a different point of view. Sometimes simply combining those points of view is all you need to get back on track.

This extends to speakers: don't feel shy. Go up and ask someone a question, perhaps over coffee or another beverage. The majority of the huge number of speakers are non-MS employees, people just like you. Even the MS speakers are keen to hear what you think; this isn't a marketing-oriented event, it is a technical one. Take advantage. Sometimes the best nuggets of wisdom occur not from a set presentation but in a simple conversation. And above all, have fun!

Published Tuesday, September 4, 2007 5:29 PM by James Luetkehoelter
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About James Luetkehoelter

I am passionate about what I do - which is DBA, development, IT and IT business consulting. If you don't know me, haven't met me or have never heard me speak, I'm a little on the eccentric side. One attendee recently described me as being "over the top". Yup, that about says it - because I only speak on topics that I'm passionate about.
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