Ryan Adams Blog

SQL, Active Directory, Scripting

This post is a live recap of the keynote at the PASS Summit 2012 conference.

Bill Graziano opens Summit 2012 with 3894 attendees.
Bill recognizes local and virtual chapter leaders as well as SQLSaturday event organizers.
The PASS BA conference is announced to be in Chicago in April.

Bill introduces Ted Kummert who will talking about “Accelerating insight on any data”.
Ted announces that SP1 for SQL 2012 is now available.

Ted announces Hekaton that is in memory query processing.
Columnstore indexes will now be updateable and cluster aware in the next version of SQL Server
Sean Bice is brought on stage to demo Hekaton. We are seeing 2000 queries a second get a 9x boost with Hekaton and once he puts the stored procedure in memory we see a 29x boost. There are no hardware or software changes in the comparison.

The next version of PDW will be available in the first half of next year.
Christian Kleinerman is brought on stage to demo the next version of PDW.
Ted gives Christian a hard time about making a second typing mistake in the demo and the crowd has a good laugh.

Polybase is announced to combine relational and non-relational data.

Amir Netz is brought on stage to show Excel 2013 as a complete end user self service BI tool with Powerview and PowerPivot now baked in.
Amir is very entertaining as he demos powerview in Excel 2013 using movie and entertainment data from around the world.
The crowd loves Amir. He has tons of energy is entertaining and hilarious. He uses data with movie history to show that Angelina Joline would make the most money with animated films where you can’t see her. The crowd applauds.

and we are wrapped up and headed off to learn all we can today.

I’m not a politically minded person and this is not the type of post I would normally write.  However, I’m deeply involved with the PASS organization (read chronic volunteer) and I have a vested interest in it’s success.  The reason I decided to write this is because I have very strong feelings about two of the candidates and the success they will bring to the organization.

Sri Sridharan (Blog|Twitter)

I know what you’re thinking, “You guys both work together on the board for the North Texas SQL Server User Group, so that figures as much.”  The fact that we help run a PASS user group with several others would never be reason enough for me to recommend someone on that premise alone.  What it does do, however, is allow me to know someone’s character and motives far better than reading their campaign platform online.  Sri is both a friend and colleage with impecable character.

Sri is an extremely dedicated person.  When he finds a passion for something he follows it through to completion with an eye for perfection.  Although he aims for perfection in everything he does, he understands compromise and that nothing is perfect.  It’s those goals and that balance that give him the edge on other leaders.  You can see this through his leadership of the North Texas SQL Server User Group, the three SQLSaturday events hosted within a 12 month period, and SQLRally 2012.

He has a drive and passion that is unparalleled.  He has the distinct ability to not only see the whole picture, but the potential of that picture in the future.  Many people with that vision tend to forget the small things along the way, but Sri also has the uncanny sense to see those things and work them into the overall vision.

There is no doubt in my mind that Sri would become a coveted asset to the PASS board and the entire SQL Community.  The above abilities combined with his diverse educational background make him an ideal fit.

Allen Kinsel (Blog|Twitter)

I have gotten to know Allen over the past 4 or 5 years and he is about as passionate as they come.  This man bleeds and sweats PASS.  Allen has served a two year term over the PASS Summit portfolio and I don’t think there is a question about how wildly popular and successful that event is.  You might think to have that success he must have had his head down and just focused on that one thing, but you would be wrong.  What really gives Allen that success is his ability to see the whole organization and how all the pieces play together.  Did you know that letting the top rated speakers from SQLRally Orlando get guaranteed speaking spots at last year’s Summit was his idea?  SQLRally was not his portfolio, but he saw how they could compliment each other to grow community speakers.

Right now he is on year one of the Chapter portfolio.  Ask any current or past board member and they will tell you it takes a year to get your feet wet on a new portfolio.  They will tell you it’s not until around the second year that you start to see the vision and how to enact good change.  Allen, however, has managed to make actionable changes already within the first year of having this portfolio.  He piloted an awesome program for Regional Mentors to travel to user groups to better understand their challenges and also give them the most requested thing for a chapter, speakers.

He has also been working tirelessly to enhance the http://www.sqlpass.org website for chapter leaders.  A few of his changes have been released already and if you are a chapter leader you know how useful they are.  He has a lot more new features planned and in the works and I’m hoping he gets to serve another term to finish out those visions.  I do marketing/communications for a local chapter and also a virtual chapter, and I know the time commitment in advertising those meetings and events.  It sounds like a quick copy/paste thing, but it’s not because every social media outlet has a different format. The tools Allen is working on will alleviate and even automate that.

Closing

Above all else, I would encourage everyone to vote.  If you choose wisely to vote then I urge you to consider Allen and Sri as strong contenders to help usher in a new era for PASS.

By now you’re wondering why I have only talked about two of the candidates when you get to vote for three.  I voted for a third (my wild card), but I felt strongly enough about these two people to make my vote and backing public.  That’s a big deal for me and not something I take lightly.

Happy Voting!

I ran across the following error in SQL Reporting Services 2008 R2 a few weeks ago:

The report execution has expired or cannot be found. [rsExecutionNotFound]

This report contains a very large dataset, so my first inclination was that there was some query tuning and indexing review that needed to be done.  The first thing I did was fire up SQL Server Profiler to verify the query and its parameters.  I kicked off the report and started watching Profiler.  The report cranked away forever, which was the original complaint.  Guess what I saw?  NOTHING!  This report sat there and cranked away and I never saw it query the source DB once.

Now we have a mystery.  I opened the report in BIDS to snoop around some more, and decided to preview it from there.  What did I get?  It ran just fine, although it did take way too long.  At least it actually rendered a report, though.

It’s time for some research. The only things I found on this error were to increase the default report timeout setting and to check the report security context.  I knew it wasn’t the timeout setting, because it rendered the report much faster than that in BIDS.  I could also run all the report queries in SSMS in way less than that amount of time.  I also double checked the security setup and context and nothing was out of whack.

Lucky for me I had another report out there that was almost identical and did not experience this issue.  There were two differences between them.  The first was a date parameter and the second was an ID parameter that was not contained in the second report.  The date parameter was just a default RS parameter and not coming from a query for default values.  The second ID parameter, however, had a query for its values and when the report executed these values were used in an “IN” clause.  It turns out that this parameter was the culprit.  The “IN” clause could not handle the amount of values that were being passed.

I talked with management about the report to review their specific requirements.  It turns out they did not need the option to select IDs, so I removed that parameter and BINGO!  That fixed the issue.

So if you get this error, check your report parameters for anything absurdly large or that might need some tuning.  I should also mention that errors in RS are notorious for not pointing you in the right direction, but there is a reason.  By default full errors are not output to the web to avoid exposing things that should not be publicly available.  You can change that setting, but that is a post for another day.

It drives me nuts not knowing the full reason for an issue or how to track it down faster next time.  Here is another tip to get to the bottom of this faster, that I learned along the way.  I never saw the report hit the DB in Profiler, but if I had run the report from BIDS and watched Profiler I would have seen the root cause of the overloaded “IN” clause right away.  If you have an RS error of any kind on your RS site, I advise you to run it through BIDS and watch Profiler to see the root error from the start.

I’m officially on the slate and running for the PASS 2012 Nomination Committee!

I love the SQL Community and everything it embodies.  I am very involved at the local and regional level and gained a unique view into PASS working on SQLRally.  I know most of the current and past board members and those relationships have given me a good view into the PASS organization.  All of these experiences have fuelled me to help and grow the organization, so now I’m looking to take that to the next step in helping define the future of PASS.  One thing I have worked very hard on at the local and regional level is chapter governance, so I’m looking forward to working with the overall PASS governance structure.

Here are things I have volunteered for with PASS that I believe have given me the experience to fill a spot on the committee.

  • Director of Communications and Logistics for the North Texas SQL Server User Group
  • Director of Marketing for the PASS Performance Virtual Chapter
  • PASS Regional Mentor for the South Central Region
  • SQLRally Dallas 2012 Organizer
  • Currently helping organize the 4th SQLSaturday in Dallas and have been a mentor for 2 others in the region
  • I have spoken at many SQLSaturdays as well as SQLRally
  • 24 Hours of PASS moderator
  • Summit 2011 Program Committee

There are only 3 spots on the committee and I would very much appreciate your vote to fill one of those spots.  If you were a PASS member by June 1st, 2012 then check your email for a link to your ballot.  Feel free to post any questions here and I will be more than happy to answer them.  You can also visit the PASS Elections Site to stay current with updates on this year’s elections or keep an eye on the #nomcom Twitter hashtag.

I’m also going to ask you for a favor in addition to your vote.  I want you to either post here or email me (if you prefer privacy) your concerns and ideas about the PASS organization.  The nomination committee’s job is make sure the PASS board gets a slate of qualified candidates.  In order for the committee to do that I want to know what matters to you, the member.  The members are PASS.  We want to make sure the candidates are thinking about what matters to you.

June is going to be a busy month for me.  Here is where you can catch me speaking this month.

June 11th – Oklahoma City SQL Server Developers Group

June12th – Tulsa SQL Server Group

June 18th – CACTUSS Central

June 19th – CACTUSS North

June 20th – San Antonio SQL Server User Group

Have you ever heard of IFTTT?  It stands for “If This Then That”.  I’ve been signed up for the service for quite some time, but I just now got around to really playing with it.  So what does it do?  It does exactly as the name implies.  It is a service designed to perform certain actions based on certain triggers.  For instance my first test was to put any Tweet that I favorite into a particular notebook in Evernote.  Yeah that’s awesome!  What I really want to use it for is notifying all of my social media outlets of new blogs posts.

I used to have a plugin in WordPress that would do this for me via Ping.FM, but thanks to Ping.FM none of those have worked for quite some time now.  Seesmic bought Ping.FM and completely redesigned it, but alas that was not something they fixed.  I’m glad to say that IFTTT works for me.  It’s not instant as it only checks for triggers every 15 minutes, but that’s fine by me.  This blog post automatically got sent to my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

My next step is to get it to handle advertising user group meetings automatically as well, based off of the web site RSS feed.  Yeah buddy!

I was fortunate enough to get to present not 1 but 2 sessions at SQLRally 2012 in Dallas last week.  As a core organizer of the event, this really made it a special week to present twice and see it all come together.  My first session was a community choice pick.  The second session I got at the last minute due to a speaker cancellation (and a speaker I was very much looking forward to meeting).  Allen White filled the other open slot as we were the next two community choice picks in line.

Both sessions went extremely well, so I was very pleased.  If you attended then I hope you were as well.  I got my first request for a fan photo and plenty of complements so thank you to everyone that attended!  Below are links to my slide decks.

Mirroring Start to Finish

Manage Your Shop with CMS and Policy Based Management

Things have been quiet around here lately and I have a one word explanation….SQLRally.  There’s work and family and several other community commitments, but mostly SQLRally.  The good news is that the time has come and I couldn’t be more excited.  I haven’t been to a SQLSaturday or community event in months and I’m having serious withdrawal symptoms.

I’ll have several after event posts on SQLRally and the process, but I want to highlight two things I am looking forward to.  I am hoping you will join me there as well.

Pre-Cons

If you want the most bang for your buck where you are guaranteed to leave with skills you can implement immmediately, then this is the right investment.  You can visit the SQLRally site to choose the best one for you, but here is some insider suggestions.

How to be a DBA – Utility Belt of Tools by Tjay Belt and Chris Shaw.  I’m attending this one and it looks to be a great one.

Leadership and Team Management Skills for the Database Professional by Kevin Kline.  Have you met Kevin?  If not you need to, because he is the most down to earth and personable guy you’ll meet.  I watched Kevin present part of this pre-con on SQLCruise earlier this year.  I honestly did not expect to get anything out of it and had no interest in a professional development session, but I was sorely mistaken.  You’ll learn things about yourself and others you never saw or considered before.  This pre-con is guaranteed ROI and I’m not just saying that because of the fruity drinks on SQLCruise.

Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices by Argenis Fernandez and Robert Davis.  I’m attending this one and it is by far the one I am most excited about.  A pre-con delivered by two SQL MCMs.  No way you can lose on that!  I know Robert and he’s awesome.  I sat at his Birds of a Feather at the Summit last year and he even took the time to help me with a presentation of mine (which I am also presenting at SQLRally).  I haven’t met Argenis yet, but I’m looking forward to it.  Go watch the #sqlhelp hash tag for awhile and it won’t take long to see why you don’t want to miss Argenis.

After Events

Meet the SQL Professionals – This networking event is open to anyone, whether you attend SQLRally or not.  The speakers will be here so this is your chance to build a personal relationship with the best speakers and professionals in the industry.  The North Texas SQL Server User Group is hosting the event in conjunction with their annual sponsors, InSource Group and Idera.  Don’t miss out on this great time and it’s walkable from the Dallas Convention Center.  Here are the details.

Wednesday, May 9 – 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Aloft Dallas Downtown
1033 Young Street
Dallas, TX 75202
Click here to RSVP


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Evening Event and SQLKaraoke – If you have never attended a SQLKaraoke event then you are in for a treat.   Don’t worry if you’re not a singer, you can just hang out.  The North Texas SQL Server User Group is hosting the event in conjunction with their annual sponsors, InSource Group and Idera.  Here are the details, but let’s talk about how easy it is to get there.  NTSSUG has chartered a private bus that will have continual shuttle service between the convention center and the venue!  I’m biased, but this is the coolest user group ever!!!

Thursday, May 10 – 7:00pm – 11:55pm

Uptown Bar and Grill
2523 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201
Click here to RSVP

This week I had an application team report the error “SQL Connection Lost”.  Fortunately they also reported the exact times of occurrence, which made it much easier to hunt down.  I did some digging through the SQL logs and DMVs, but did not find anything that indicated SQL was dropping the connection.  I also did some digging in the application logs, but I didn’t find anything more specific than the generic error the application team reported.  My next stop was to start combing the system logs to see what I could find.  The one and only thing that coincided with the times of the issue was a full AV scan.

IO is generally the biggest bottle neck for SQL and there is nothing that can generate some serious additional IO than a virus scan.  This application does a large nightly import of data, so we just changed the import time.  We could have also changed the AV scanning time, but that is managed by another group and would take way too long to get changed.  That fixed the issue, but changing the import time is not the long term solution we want.  We’ve got the AV team working on changing the scan time, so we can change the import time back to where we had it.  So how should we configure our AV software on our SQL servers?  Here are some tips.

  • AV software creates a lot of IO so make sure the scans don’t coincide with large SQL jobs like imports or SSIS packages
  • Create a scan exemption for .MDF file extensions
  • Create a scan exemption for .NDF file extensions
  • Create a scan exemption for .LDF file extensions
  • If you have drives dedicated to your database files, CONSIDER an exemption for that drive.  Did you see that word in bold in the prior sentence?  Be aware that this can be dangerous if something like a keylogger or executable gets dropped on that drive, because now you’ll never catch it.  It is far better to make exemptions based on file extensions as mentioned above.  I mention this only because it is an option, albeit a very dangerous one.
  • Create a scan exemption for .BAK and .TRN extensions.  I suggest you only do this if your backups are on the same drive as your database files (shame on you for that, but sometimes we have no choice).

I'm speaking at SQLRally 2012

I just found out that I will be speaking at SQLRally Dallas in May.  I submitted 3 sessions.  As an event organizer, all 3 automatically went to community vote.  I am very excited that my Mirroring session was voted in.  Thank you to everyone who voted for me!

Mirroring Start to Finish

Mirroring can be an integral part of your high availability and disaster recovery planning. We’ll cover what mirroring is from start to finish, how it can fit into an HA/DR plan, the rules surrounding its use, configuration via the GUI and T-SQL, as well as how to monitor mirroring. This presentation is designed to not only give you an overview of mirroring, but to also walk you through a basic implementation. At the end you will have learned what mirroring is, how it can fit into your environment, what business requirements it solves, and how to configure it.