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Merrill Aldrich

Technical content about Microsoft data technologies. All opinions expressed are purely my own and do not reflect positions of my employer or associates.

Optimized Thursday: My DEADLOCK_PRIORITY goes to 11

Just for variety, and in honor of one of Itzik Ben-Gan’s query optimization tips, I’m going to post today using a backward scan, end of day to beginning of day. But in one thread. Rimshot! (I think half the conference attendees were in that room, so if you were, maybe you’ll get the joke :-)

  • The last thing I did was stop at the grocery store for beer and wine, because I desperately needed to go home, have a drink and put my feet up.
  • Before that I’m afraid I flamed out at the Summit, alas, before the last session of the day. The sessions I hit were incredible, but my brain was just full to capacity, and my energy totally spent. I still have tomorrow to face.
  • Before that I had a really nice conversation with James Luetkehoelter, just before he began his session on Audit. Apologies, James, I wanted to be there, but I had it the wall. Seriously. I will check you out on the DVDs, though, for sure.
  • Before that I caught most of a session on best practices for the application of row and page compression by Sunil Agarwal – an excellent session. We’re about to apply this to our data warehouse, so this was timely.
  • Yet before that it was a visit to the SQL Clinic to quiz someone about ports and multiple named instances on a cluster vs. DNS cnames or aliases. Didn’t quite exactly get the whole answer here, but the clinic was definitely cool and I hope it’ll be back and even bigger next year.
  • Still earlier I hit Conor Cunningham and Boris Baryshnikov’s session Expert Query Performance Troubleshooting. Wow. Vital takeaway, and they really tried to emphasize this, is that practically all the tools a DBA needs to troubleshoot quite complex/sophisticated query performance issues are right there in DMVs and query plans. It takes a crazy-special problem, and the bar is quite high, before somehow one needs a special tool or some magical inside knowledge to understand what’s going on. All we need to do is learn the provided tools. That was encouraging. And I love Conor’s blog, so it was a treat to see him in action live.
  • Lunch.
  • Before lunch, Itzik Ben-Gan’s wonderful Query Tuning Tips. The cool thing about Itzik, in my opinion anyway, is that he can go out and exhaustively explore these programming techniques, and do it with a kind of mathematical rigor, but then bring it right back to the rest of us as a totally relevant, immediately useful collection of patterns. Lesser minds might end up off in the weeds with ideas or techniques that are only academically interesting, but not this guy. Great stuff.
  • Before that, of course, David DeWitt, who doesn’t even need explanation. Fantastic. I am geek enough I could listen to this stuff all day long.

This year was a turning point for me, I think. I am always leery of imaging I know more than I do. Nothing is more dangerous if you’re serious about computing than to imagine you know things that you don’t. Or, conversely, to not know what you don’t know. But this year, 6-8 years into my career as a DBA proper, I feel like I’m starting to get this stuff. There was new information, for sure, and I learned quite a lot – but all of it fit into a framework that I feel like I really understand. There were no huge surprises, no areas where I really felt like I had the wrong idea or was lost. That feels really good.

Published Thursday, November 11, 2010 10:43 PM by merrillaldrich

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