Monday, 9 December 2013

SQL Server Training in London this Christmas

If you are thinking of upgrading to SQL Server 2012 in the near future then why not join me in London this December, Wednesday 18th to Friday  20th December at Learning Tree’s London Education Centre (LEC) which is based at Euston House on Eversholt.

Learning Tree IT Training Courses & Certifications

You can read more about the course and what we will be covering and also enrol on the course by following this link the link to enrol is on the right-hand side of the page.

If you any questions for me please let me know

Friday, 6 December 2013

Superfast Broadband – can be a drawn out slow and frustrating process

I’m writing this blog post to simply to vent some frustration. I live in Wales’ third largest city, Newport and for some obscure unbelievable reason I am unable to get high speed internet. BT’s online speed check currently tells me the very best I can hope for is…


I never get this, if it makes 1mb download speed I am very lucky.

So back in 2012 when my BT exchange was enabled I tried to get superfast fiber broadband. The BT website said it wasn’t available to me yet. That's strange I thought to myself, I spoke with BT who said my cabinet needed to upgraded and that will be done early 2013. No worries I thought, not long now I’ll just be patient. I have no documentary evidence of this conversation, so maybe I imagined it.

Then in July this year after being told by the super-fast  BT broadband checker that I still could not receive a fast broadband internet connection, I got in touch with BT again asking when I could sign up and pay them lots of money for superfast broadband. I did this via twitter and I got good service off the guys managing the twitter account, I didn’t get the answer I wanted to hear but I got told very quickly  the outcome of my request. here is an excerpt of an email I was sent:

“This cabinet is not part of the Openreach commercial rollout, it is being rolled out as part of the Welsh BDUK project, Superfast Cymru.
The cabinet is currently predicted to go live in mid to late October. Customers should go to the Welsh website for more information.”

This was a change to what I was told initially but it was still going to happen later so I let it be. Full of hope for fast broadband come the autumn I make contact with nice people at Superfast Cymru, I waited until September to do this, who inform of the following:

“We can confirm from the deployment plans that your postcode area is within scope of the Superfast-cymru programme and cabinet X on the XXXXXXXX exchange that supplies your service will be enabled for fibre. According to the latest deployment plans the work should be completed in December 2013”

So yesterday  afternoon waiting for a SQL Server  service pack to install I though I would see if my cabinet has been enabled yet and if can get superfast broadband I’m told by the BT website that I still can’t get. I send an email and a tweet to @superfastcymru asking when I would be able to get it


I exchange some details with the nice person on the end of @superfastcymru twitter account and I get told the following



I was told the during my last round of email exchanges that the work would be complete by December. Its December today and I’m told that work hasn’t started yet but work will start at the end of December. I’m doubting work will start at the end of December…The end of December being Christmas and New Year I will be very shocked if my cabinet is upgraded during this period. Which means it has slipped again and much to my dismay I was told work will be completed by the end of summer 2014. Now I’m not a betting man but I think it safe to say I won’t getting fast internet until after my next summer holiday. Its not going to be a Christmas present anyway

I suggested that if it was end of summer 2014 it will be more than two years between my exchange getting enabled and me actually getting fast broadband. I said that I had signed up to the e-shot several times and I found it to be quite useless.

I then got this reply


I did in fact Laugh Out Loud at this – Great I thought good for them. I know for a fact lots of people have fibre already, houses on my estate can get it if they are connected to the correct cabinet -  this is where my frustration comes in. In the photo below you will see a house with solar panels on the roof – its about 300 yards as the crow flies from my house – this street and all the streets on the other side of it can get super duper broadband. I can’t,  It is very frustrating.


It turns out when you sign up for the e-shot – which will tell you that can in fact get fast broadband you also get signed up to a newsletter – it was the newsletter I was getting – my bad. I didn’t know they were two different things I assumed that the newsletter was in fact the e-shot. The person on the twitter account asked me for feedback on the newsletter to make it better I did some of this via twitter but I will also include it here

  • My main issue - I signed up to be told when I can get  fast broadband. I get a newsletter every month telling me all these lucky people have it already.
  • To begin with this is OK but after six months I start to feel like its never going to happen.
  • When I registered my interest in superfast broadband i don’t recall being told the difference between an e-shot and and e-newsletter. I was getting the Newsletter  which servers as  a reminder that
    • a) I don't have it,
    • b) I've told I could have it by now so the project has slipped again
  • I was just expecting to be told when I could get it – the newsletter never told me that, adding to my frustrations 
  • Every time I saw the newsletter, I was filled with hope only to be told everyone in Bedlinog (all 10 of them) have it and I don't
  • If I was interested in who has fast broadband  and who doesn't  then great, but that's not what I wanted. Every time i received the newsletter I thought it was confirming I was good to go but in-fact it meant no such thing.

So just a couple of things that could be improved. The newsletter is OK – but make it clear it is not the same thing as the e-shot. More importantly, give the people who can’t yet get superfast broadband a date when they can and let them know if that date changes – you e-shot people when its ready. Let people know when it slips. Obviously between September and now my date has changed – nobody has told me, I’ve spoken and registered with you several time over the last year. I’m waiting for December full of expectation, if you’d have told me I wouldn’t have been so upset when I found it wasn’t going to happen.

Anyway thanks for listening a bit off topic I know but I do feel better. Two years on I’ll go back to waiting  patiently for the slow  superfast broadband rollout to take place.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

SQL Server Training Events–November and December 2013

I’m in New York City this week delivering a SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation 3 days course for Learning Tree. You might be a little too late to join me at that event but I have two more course scheduled this year

At the end of November 27th-30th I’m teaching 137  - Introduction to SQL Server 2008: Hand-on Introduction for those of you starting out with SQL Server this a great introduction to the SQL Server product. You can enrol online using the enrol button

Or if you thinking of upgrading to SQL Server 2012 in the new year, why come and spend a few days with me in London in the week before Christmas. I’ll be delivering 2105 – SQL Server 2012 Database Administration Skills Upgrade which is a three day course at the London Education Centre from the 18th to 20th December. You can pick up some last minute Christmas presents while you are there. You can enrol by choosing how you wish to attend (online or in-class) and hitting the enrol button.

Alternatively if you prefer the comfort of your own home or office you attend both courses online using Learning Tree Anyware – So you can attend class without the leaving the warmth of your study.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Job: SQL Server DBA (Permanent UK)

A client of mine are looking for a good SQL Server DBA on a permanent basis, the location is flexible with offices in the South West and South London. The role offers a competitive package with excellent benefits, they are a great company to work for. If you have some Oracle experience or prepared to learn oracle too then this would be an advantage. If you are interested please email me ( CV and covering letter in the first instance and I will pass these along to my client.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

SQL Saturday #200 - Philadelphia

If you read my post from yesterday you will know I will be spending some time on the US east coast at the end of May.Last week my friend and fellow Learning Tree instructor Sharon Dooley asked me if I would like to attend SQL Saturday #200 in Philadelphia which is being organised by the Philadelphia User group. Seeing as I was in-town, well close by anyway, I was delighted to accept and registered for the event

I will be traveling from DC to Philadelphia on Friday the 31st,I’m going to have myself a bit of road trip staying in a hotel close to the venue on the Friday night and enjoying the conference on the Saturday. I might be able to take in some sights early on Sunday before I return to DC for my flight home.

This will be the second SQL Saturday that I have attended and I’m very much looking forward to it. This is what the website has to say about the event

“The Philadelphia SQL Server User's Group is extremely proud to be presenting SQL Saturday #200. The event will be held Jun 1 2013 at Microsoft 45 Liberty Blvd., Suite 210 Malvern, PA 19355.   Admittance to this event is free, but we do charge a lunch fee of 10.00 so that we can provide a lunch. Please register soon as seating is limited, and let friends and colleagues know about the event.”

I’m not speaking this time, as I’m attending with relatively short notice and speaker registration had closed but the speaking line up is great and if you are going do come and say hello. If you would like to register you can sign up here

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

SQL Server Travels–May 2013


Learning Tree IT Training Courses & CertificationsAt the end of this month of May, I will be teaching Learning Tree’s 3 day SQL Server Virtualization course at Learning Tree’s Washington DC’s Rockville education centre. The course will run from Wednesday 29th May through to Friday 31st May. You can enrol for this course by following this link

SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation

You can attend this course either online or in-class so if you can’t get to Rockville or would rather attend from the comfort of your own home or office then you can do so.

Maybe I will see you there.

Monday, 22 April 2013

SQL Server Training in the Summer Time

Its been a long winter so far this weekend has seen the first signs of spring here in South Wales, the Sun has been out nearly all weekend. The temperatures have been in double figures most of the time and I even got to cut the grass and fix so drain pipes.

So with the weather getting warmer and the hope that summer is on its way I wanted to let you know about some up and coming events that I will be delivering that you might be interested in.

If you planning on upgrading to SQL Server 2012 this year then you might like to come on my 2105 SQL Server 2012 Upgrade course where you will learn about all the useful new features included in SQL Server 2012. The course is running at Learning Tree’s Education Centre (LEC) this August from 14th – 16th. Come and join me three days of great training on SQL Server 2012. You can enrol online using this enrolment page.

You might be planning on running your new SQL Servers on virtual platform (VMware or Hyper-V) if so come along and join me this September when I will be delivering my 2109 SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation course at the LEC. If you are thinking about running SQL Server in a virtual environment then come along and pick up some tips and tricks to help you out and make the transition to the hypervisor as painless as possible. You can enrol here

Maybe I’ll see you in class, remember you can attend in-class or online, so you might not need to leave the comfort of your own home or office and still get some great training.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Friday Fun – Football Derbies

This is an off-topic post for a Friday. With Cardiff City reaching the premier league this week and all the joy that had brought Cardiff City fans throughout South Wales this week I thought this might make a nice change of topic and a bit of fan on a Friday.

Apologies if you are not a football fan but please do humor me, just for today.

Its an interactive post on football trivia, so you will be expected to leave a comment below, you can remain anonymous if you want but I can’t give you a shout out if you get right. Remember no searching the internet for the answer either…That is cheating.

So here is my football trivia question this Friday

“In The English Football league including the Premier League, but excluding London and Birmingham, there are six other cities/towns with a football derby. Can you name the towns/cities?”

Glasgow derby is Rangers and Celtic

So if we use Scottish football as an example, although Scottish teams and towns are excluded from this question, Glasgow has a Derby, Celtic and Rangers, both teams are from the same city. You get it? OK off you go.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

TSQL Tuesday #41–Presenting and Loving it?

Well sort of…it took a while.

I’d done some plays and singing at school but my mother made me practice and practice and practice and she  was always in the crowd to cheer me on so it was never that bad, if ever I forgot my lines my mother who would now my lines better than I did would be there to mouth them to me from her seat Smileso I was never that bothered. i didn’t like it but I was with my friends and it was OK

My first ‘real’ presentation was  a group presentation that I was involved with at university and I’ve even forgotten the topic we were presenting on.  I was studying for BSc in business so it would have had business related theme. This was part of the course work for the course so the result went towards final grades etc. Did I enjoy that experience? Simply No. I was nervous I dreaded the thought of it. So my group and I got together when we knew the topic and who is our group, we prepared and practiced and it went OK. We got good grade but I never stood there and enjoyed it.

After college I got a job at a local authority and one of my roles was explaining the local authorities e-government strategy to a range of people from inside and outside the authority and how it could help them interacting with the council. This involved presenting to small groups of people. I was always nervous and never enjoyed the experience, never mind loved it. I was so nervous I had to practice and practice and practice my presentations to make sure when I was stood there in front of a group of people I knew what I wanted to say.

I was then best man for my friend Chris ‘Duff’ Coombes. Did I enjoy that experience? Simply Yes BUT only when it was over. I wrote my speech, practiced it, changed it, practiced and it went well, all well before the big day. In the build up though, through the ceremony, during the wedding breakfast meal, I was uncomfortably nervous, I didn’t eat my meal. I was well practiced and just in case I lost a copy of speech, I printed out another copy for my other suit jacket pocket. Just in case I lost it. I then printed another one for my inside jacket pocket. Just in case I lost the other two SmileBut everybody laughed at my jokes and the groom asked for a copy of speech after I’d finished. I gave him all three copies, I managed to not lose one all day!!

I went on a DTS training course not long after this wedding. I had been working with SQL Server for a few years but never got involved with DTS. The company I was working for at the time were converting from Oracle to SQL Server and I needed to get the data out of Oracle and into SQL Server. We went with DTS. On this course my instructor was a person called Charles Kangai who is now my friend and colleague. Charles had this ability to make complex issues seem simple and did a great job in getting his knowledge of DTS across. He made me think, ‘I’d like to do that’

A few years later I went contracting, which means you are in business for yourself. This means you have to pitch to groups of people who are looking to secure your services. They always asked me questions that I knew the answers to and I liked prepare and practice and before hand. These ‘pitches’ have always gone well for me. I do get nervous but success breeds confidence and confidence breeds confidence. Never enough for me to over confident though

Now I make a living at it. As most of you know I have spent the last several years delivering SQL Server training courses for Learning Tree. This involves standing up of between 10 and 30 people presenting on SQL Server based topics. I do love this. The first course I delivered for Learning Tree though, I didn’t sleep for a week. I had a four day course, starting on Tuesday. Monday was spent with my good friend Bob Black who made me practice and practice my presentation opening. I was practicing all the weekend before but I was doing it again on the Monday. Monday night involved me going through the entire days material all night before going to bed. I could sleep but I dozed on and off all night. Quite simply I was nervous. Tuesday was day 1 and things went well. I was stood there in front of 24 people taking to them about SQL Server. Each day was a repeat the next, Deliver, prepare, not sleep. I was nervous but it went well, and my evaluations and the end of week were great! These days still involve nerves and preparation but I do sleep a little easier.

I recently presented at my first SQL Saturday down in Exeter in the UK. Again this followed a similar theme, practice, practice, practice. You can read more about that presentation in my SQL Server Saturday post. I hope to present at few more community events over the coming months and years

What I have learned over the years is thus.

  • You will always be nervous
  • Nerves a good thing…they make you prepare
  • Being prepared is important, if you don’t prepare, prepare to fail.

I now love presenting. I manage the nerves and I prepare for every presentation the best I can.

This post is part TSQL2sDAY created by Adam Mechanic and is a monthly blog party that allows anyone to post a contribution on any given SQL Server topic. You can host a party yourself if you want to, get in touch with Adam if you want to.

This month’s party is being held by Bob Pusateri you can find his opening post here

Thursday, 28 March 2013

@LearningTree: SQL Server High Availability

Learning Tree are offering their 3 day SQL Server High Availability course this April in London. Running between 17th and 19th of April and taught by Chris Radcliffe come and learn all about SQL Server high availability and get your hands dirty with

  • SQL Server Clustering
  • Database Mirroring
  • Availability Groups
  • Log Shipping

If you would like to attend you can enrol here, you either come to London and attend in class or if you prefer you can attend online from the comfort of your own home or office.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Slide Deck–SQL Saturday Exeter

In my session (An Introduction to SQL Server Virtualisation) at SQL Saturday Exeter I told the attendees that I would be making my slide deck available after the event. In my blog post early this week where I reviewed my day at SQL Saturday Exeter I also mentioned that I was going to make my slide deck  available for download. Well it is now available on the SQL Saturday website you can download it from there and the link is below

Monday, 11 March 2013

SQL Saturday Exeter - Review

This last weekend I attended my first SQL Server Saturday event. The event was held in The Jury’s Inn in Exeter and was superbly arranged and organised by Jonathan (b|t) and Annette (b) Alan and the great team of volunteers from the SQL South West User Group.

Just after Christmas I submitted two sessions for this event one on AlwaysOn Availability Groups and another on SQL Server Virtualisation. My Virtualisation session got selected after a round of voting and discussion by the organisers which meant I was going be lucky enough  to deliver a session at the event too.

I travelled down on Friday evening, it was later then I planned, I was hoping to make the speaker dinner but unfortunately time got away from me. By the time I had checked into the hotel and gone down to look at the room I was speaking most of the speakers and and organisers were getting back from the speaker dinner. I had a couple of beers in the bar (which was full of speakers and organisers) I met a few nice people too including a DBA who is a DBA/Developer for one the top Premier League sides – Not the mighty Pool though.

I was scheduled in the first slot of the day so I had an 8am start, so I didn’t spend too long in the bar, I was  quite happy with the 8am slot as it let me get up deliver my sessions and then enjoy the rest of the day.

My session seemed to go pretty well, there a few familiar faces in the crowd including my friend and former colleague David Postlethwaite who is a regular contributor to this blog. I didn’t count the actual numbers in attendance but I think there  was between 20 and 30 which I was happy with as it was the early session.

The sessions were 50 minutes long and I took up all the allocation of time. I did cover just about everything I intended to and people seemed to enjoy it. I’ll know more about people’s thoughts on the session when I get the feedback later in the week.

I skipped the keynote speech (naughty me) which was being held in the same room as my session straight after I’d finished. I wasn’t staying in Exeter after the event so I needed to get breakfast and get checked out of the hotel.

After the keynote I had a tough decision to make, I wanted to see both Christian Bolton’s session SQL Server 2012 HA and DR Architectures and Denny Cherry’s indexing session. I chose Denny’s session as he had travelled from California to attend and speak and I hadn’t seen any of his sessions previously. Having seen Christian at several SQL Bits I thought I’d see someone new. It was a great session.

The before lunch I took in Dave Ballantyne’s session on statistics and Mladen Pradjic’s SQL Sever Injection session that were both great.

Lunch was plentiful and enjoyable, there was plenty of networking and chatting going on.

In the afternoon I took in Gavin Payne’s session on how to be a better architect, Williams Durkins’ first ever presentation on Replication and finally Neil Hambly’s session on SQL Server Waits.

All-in-all it was a great day that I really enjoyed. I’d like to thank the all the guys that helped put on the event, they worked tirelessly to ensure everything run smoothly and their efforts paid off as the event was great. I hope they organise another one next year.

Friday, 8 March 2013

SQL Saturday Exeter - I'm speaking

Just  short post for a Friday. This Saturday (tomorrow) I will be speaking at SQL Saturday 194 which is being held in Exeter.

If you have already registered then feel free to pop along to my session - I'm the first session in the Babbage starting at 8am. If that's a little early for you not to worry - there are many great sessions going on throughout the day.

I'm not sure if its too late to register but this was the registration link

Maybe I'll see you there do feel free to stop by and say hello.

SQL Saturday - Exeter

This time tomorrow morning I will be on my feet starting to  deliver a 50 minute session at SQL Saturday in Exeter. My session is titled "An Introduction to SQL Server Virtualisation"
If you are attending SQL Saturday #194 in Exeter, plan on making the first session, interested and new to the concept of SQL Server virtualisation then feel free to come along.
Here are some of the things my session will cover:
Consolidation and how virtualisation fits into it
DBAs and why some have been reluctant to embrace virtualisation
Discuss some of the benefits virtualisation offers the DBA
Why you might not virtualise SQL Server
How to migrate to virtual machines
Settings to 'tweak' that can help your SQL Server performance on a virtual platform
A demo of how hypervisor HA features can give you some nice benefits without trying too hard
That's quite a lot to cover in 50 minutes and hopefully I'll get through everything before I get evicted for the key note.
I will be making my slides available early next week (as long as I can dig out the email with the instructions on how to do it.)
Maybe I'll see you tomorrow?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Upgrading to SQL Server 2012?

Do you have any plans in place to upgrade to SQL Sever 2012 this year. We are now well into 2013 and its been almost a year since the RTM of SQL Server 2012  which happened 1st April 2012. Service pack 1 (SP1) has been released too (, which I know for a lot of you is still contributing factor to your SQL Server upgrade decisions. “We always wait for the first service pack” is a phrase I hear frequently. I am expecting that many people will be upgrading to SQL Server 2012 in the near future.

If you need training on the new features of SQL Server 2012 for the DBA then maybe Learning Tree's 2105 SQL Server 2012 DBA skills upgrade course will be for you.

If you are upgrading soon and need the training quickly then the next scheduled run is Rockville Maryland starting 26th March. Remember even if you are based in the UK and Europe (Or anywhere else is the world for that matter) you can still attend the course in Rockville by using Learning Tree's online delivery option 'Anyware' By attending online you can attend the course in Rockville  remotely from the comfort of your home or office.

The Rockville  event is being delivered by Sharon Dooley - a former SQL Server MVP and Technical Editor of the course. If you want to enrol then click here.

Its also scheduled to be delivered in New York in May, again Sharon Dooley will be your instructor, if you would like or prefer to attend this event instead then use this link to enrol.

The course is running in Toronto starting on the 22nd may click here if you would like to attend this event.

For UK and Europe based readers the next event to run in London will be in August so why not joining me for some late summer fun in the heart of Britain's capital

Monday, 4 March 2013

Virtualising your SQL Server?

Having just completed the latest revision of Learning Tree's SQL Server Virtualisation and consolidation course I thought I'd share with you where and when it will be running and give you some links so you can enrol
The next run is scheduled for Stockholm starting May 22nd - may 24th as yet I don't know who will be delivering this course. There is a chance it will be me but I will confirm here when I get confirmation. If you would like to attend this course you can enrol here
Following that on 29th - 31st May I will be delivering 2109 at the Learning Tree Education Centre, Rockville Maryland in the USA. If you would like to join me you can use this enrolment form.
I'll then be delivering the course again in London starting between the 12th and 14th June. If London suits you best then you can enrol here.
I hope you can make one of these events. Follow the links to enrol on the event that suits you best.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


LinkedIn sent me an email on Monday that said my profile was in the top 5% of viewed profiles in 2012!

Check me out yeah I’m a social media mogul. Smile


Then I realised I have no idea what that number means so I did a few calculations. It seems  LinkedIn have surpassed 200 Million users and they are having a party.  I couldn’t find any stats on how many of the 200 million are active. It looks like they don’t make that information available but no doubt there are at least some duplicates in that figure and no doubt that at least some of those users are not active on LinkedIn.

So I managed to quickly burst my social media mogul bubble  by doing some calculations

Lets assume that all 200 Million users are active, Being in the top 5% means that my profile view numbers are in the top 10 Million users. Suddenly I don’t feel so special any more.

If we assume that 100 Million or 50% of the 200 Million members are active then my profile is in the top 5 Million active users. Slightly better but still not top 10 material.

So if you read my blog and you are not connected to me on LinkedIn then send me a connection request and I’ll happily accept. Maybe I can get in the top 1% of viewed profiles in 2013

Did you get an email too? Where were you ranked?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

SQL Server Auto grow

I had a great response to my blog post and poll last week about how DBAs use auto grow. In the main it seems people use auto grow like I do. As a backup but it does not replace proper monitoring or capacity planning.

You can see the results below



As you can see although most of the respondents use it as a backup there is still a fair few that use it as their database sizing tool. I think some of the comments in the original Auto-grow -  on or off straw poll post l put the argument for using auto grow as a backup perfectly and I urge you to check those out.

Thanks for everyone who took part in the poll and took the time to leave a comment, your feedback is much appreciated.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

SQL Server Consulting: Weekly Round-up

The first full week in 2013 has been a a busy week for me with lots of SQL Server consulting and SQL Server writing work on. I haven’t written many blog posts so we have eaten into the scheduled posts a little bit. I like to schedule my posts a week or maybe two in advance so there is always some new material about be to published.
I have got a short series on contracting in the UK lined up which will start to be published towards the end of January. I have about eight of the series completed thus far and ideally I’d like to have ten in the bank before I start publishing the series. This has the potential to be many posts but we’ll see how it goes. I hope for the series to start at the end of January.

This week has been a busy week in terms of traffic. This has much to do with Monday’s post titled Auto Grow – On or Off making to the front page of SQL Server Central on Thursday, so a big thanks to Steve Jones and the SQL Server Central for putting my syndicated post on the front of the site.
You can still vote in that poll – Do you have auto grow turned on and do you is it to size you databases. The poll can be found on the right hand side of the home page
So this weeks top posts are
  1. Auto grow - On or Off Straw Poll
  2. Bulk Insert Permissions
  3. Configuring Database Mirroring in SQL Server
  4. db_executor role
  5. SQL Server - Dedicated Administrator Connection (DAC)
View my SQL Server Training pages to see the list Learning Tree courses that I teach and view my SQL Server Consulting pages for a list of my consulting services.
I hope you have a good weekend.

Friday, 11 January 2013

#SQLSaturdayExeter–Superb SQL Server Event

#SQLSaturday194 is coming to Exeter on the 8th – 9th March.

What is SQL Saturday?  The brain child of Steve Jones, Brain Knight and  Andy Warren, the founders of  the first event took places in the US in back October 2007 and since then has grown into a series of global events. Best described as a 1-day SQL Server conference held on a Saturday that is free or almost free to attend.

The good people at the SQL South West User Group have put a lot of time and effort time into planning and organising #SQLSaturdayExeter which I’m very much looking forward too and I’m sure it will be a huge success.

Saturday 9th March will be the free 1-day conference  but there is also a pre-conference training  day, known as a pre-con day where you can get a full day’s training from some of the leading SQL Server professional from around the globe! This is taking place on Friday 8th March.

This training day is great value too. You can get a full day’s training for £150 if you register before the end of January and £185 afterwards.

There are  five great sessions from five great people for you to chose from

As you can see pre-cons and the people delivering them are top-notch, and I’m sure like me you’d want attend more than one. So don’t miss out get  your place reserved today.

To reserve your place simply follow the links above which will take you to the SQL South West User Group read the pre-con abstracts  and then follow the link to reserve your place on the session you want to attend. Simple!

Register for the free Saturday conference and your Pre-Con today.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation

Come and join me in London this March for a 3 day course on SQL Server virtualisation and consolidation.The course will start on Wednesday March 13th

SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation

Attending this SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation course you will learn how to:

  • Implement SQL Server in a virtual environment
  • Select the appropriate consolidation method for your enterprise
  • Migrate to Virtual Machines  to maximise uptime and performance
  • Monitor your virtual SQL Server and optimise performance through resource controls

Come and join me in London this spring time.

If you’d like more information or would like to enrol then visit the SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation enrolment page.

The SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation course is also scheduled to run in Toronto at the end of March and New York in early April. So if you would like to attend feel free to use the enrolment form on the Learning Tree website.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Auto grow–On or Off Straw Poll

David Postlethwaite who contributes to this blog regularly sent me an email this morning asking about Database Auto grow.

This was his question

Do you set the database and logs to grow on demand.
Advantage:       Only using expensive shared disk space as required
Disadvantage:   Causes slow database response when the files have to expand. If auto growth size  is set too low then too many small virtual logs are created leading to poor performance
If you set it what sort of growth sizes do you use (%tage or fixed size)
How many people have changed the auto growth settings from the default of 1MB and 10%?
Do you manually size the database and logs and disk for expected growth for the year and then turn off auto growth
Advantage: No slow response caused by auto growth during busy periods
Disadvantage: Lots of expensive shared disk is used up with empty space

I replied with the following:

“I set the file sizes to decent amount to allow for say 12-18 months growth and monitor it regularly.

I prefer to change file sizes manually as this will allow you to control when the files grow. File growth can have an overhead.

I prefer to leave auto grow turned on as a fail back.You won't need or want to get called out about it overnight on the weekend etc. If you turn it off the files need to grow the DB fall over until it can grow.

I prefer a fixed size in MB for the growth a % can mean it grows by different amounts. 10% of 100mb is different from 10% of 100GB etc.

Re the log growth: You need to ensure the log is sized appropriately and if auto grow is set, it grows by a reasonable size. You will need to manage the VLFs (Virtual Log Files) - this is interesting and Kimberly l Tripp over at SQL Skills  has some great stuff on  VLFs on her blog.

I have an old post on database auto growth that also argues these points

So then I’d thought this might be an interesting talking point. I have set up a poll which you can see on the right-hand side of the blog. If you are reading through a RSS reader you will need to visit  to take part.

I think David will be interested in your responses, so please take a minute to leave your thoughts

Friday, 4 January 2013

SQL Server Contracting and Business Network Wales - LinkedIn Groups Updates

I have been doing some work on some LinkedIn groups that I manage and look after over the holidays. There have been two in particular that I have been working on.

SQL Server Contracts – I set this group up in 2009. Its purpose was connect SQL Server Professional and contractors who were looking for their next contractor role with agents and clients who looking for a SQL Server professional from contract assignments. This group now has nearly 600 members, so if you are looking for a SQL Server Contract role or you looking for a SQL Server contractor then this could be the group for you. Feel free to become a member

Business Network Wales – This group was also set up in 2009 but with a different objective. The purpose of this group was allow businesses and people based in Wales or wanting to do business with Welsh based businesses to connect and network online. Again this group has been relatively successful and is fast approaching 500 members. If you feel that this group could be of benefit to you then feel free to join. It is an open group and your membership will be automatically accepted once you have joined.

Of course you can always connect with me on LinkedIn you can find my profile here

I have always liked LinkedIn and the fact it is a social network site for business, you know what you are getting. If you feel that being members of the groups could be beneficial to you please do feel free to join. Membership is open so you will be accepted automatically and you may just find an opportunity that can help you

Thursday, 3 January 2013

SQL Saturday #194 Exeter

I have read much about SQL Saturday’s but I have yet to attend one, that is about to change. I have read much about them but until recently these events were US based and my schedule just never allowed me to make one.

SQL Saturday #194 Exeter

With SQL Saturday #194 taking place in Exeter in March (8th and 9th March) I decided to register and I have also submitted a couple of sessions.

  • An Introduction to AlwaysOn Availability Groups
  • An Introduction to SQL Server Virtualisation

Looking at the list of submitted sessions I’m not holding out much hope of being selected to speak, there are some really great sessions that have been submitted but either way it will be great event. So if you haven’t registered yet do so now

Learn more about SQL Server Virtualization on 2013 then enrol on one of these Learning Tree courses

London: SQL Server Virtualisation and Consolidation

Toronto: SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation

New York: SQL Sever Virtualization and Consolidation

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

SQL Server Consulting–New for 2013

Today is the first full work day for me in 2013 and I though I’d use it to write a short post about the consultancy and support offerings that you get from in 2013.

SQL Server Services in 2013

We have a range of consultancy, training and and support services that you and your business can make use of in 2013. Feel free to check out our

SQL Server Consulting pages for more information on the SQL Server consultancy services that we can provide

Visit out SQL Server Training pages for details on the training courses we teach in conjunction with Learning Tree

The SQL Server Support page provides information on our on-site and remote database administration packages

And if you are a small business and need some help getting started with IT in general then we can help you with our IT Support for SMEs

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