Back from DevConnections

I spent a few days at DevConnections this week and really enjoyed the conference. The location was Aria in Las Vegas, where I’ve never been, but it was a new, really nice hotel and there was one amazing thing:

The wi-fi worked.

Not on and off, pretty much the entire time I was sitting in sessions, I had access from my devices. I think that was the first time this worked for me at a conference. Congrats to DevConnections and Aria.

The conference itself was short for me, with too many other commitments for presentations and talks, I had to cut short my time there. Tues afternoon – Thur morning, which mean I saw a couple talks on Tues, only one on Wed, and gave two Wed.

That’s disappointing. There were other things I wanted to see, and I wish I had the chance to do more. I’ll be looking to schedule less trips next year as more and more I am finding myself picking up things from really interesting sessions.

One of the great things about DevConnections is that I can get a variety of knowledge from the event. I watched a session on Azure diagnostics, as I’m curious how to actually track the performance and issues of your application. I still hope to port some (or all) of SQLServerCentral to Azure, so understanding the telemetry is something I’d like to have.

From there, I went to an interesting logical query processing talk from Itzik Ben-Gan, which I really enjoyed.  If you get the chance to see Mr. Ben-Gan talk, you should take it.

That’s hard to do at many events, where we often have the focus on one technology. There’s nothing wrong with that, and we have some amazing events in the SQL Server community. However there are times that I want to learn a bit more about development, Sharepoint, Azure, or something else. DevConnections gives you the chance to do so, as does DevIntersection/SQLIntersection (coming in November).

If you wear multiple hats, think about coming to one of these conferences in the future.

DevConnections–High Performance Encryption

The talk page is updated, but in case you attended my talk, the downloads are here:

Slides: EncryptionPerformance.pptx


There are also a few great questions in the talk. One that I certainly need an answer to is how do clients deal with the change of SSL certificates in communications. If someone knows send me a note.

For those of you that attended, the Asymmetric Encryption query was still running at 24 minutes when I killed it.

DevConnections–Continuous Integration for Databases

Thanks to everyone that attended my Continuous Integration for Databases talk today. I’ve included download links to the deck here if you’re interested.

Slides: CI for Databases.pptx

I’d also recommend that you check out a few other resources if you want to get CI working.

And remember, this starts with Version Control, so be sure you implement a VCS at your company. If you don’t have one, I’d recommend you try Subversion or Git, both of which are free.

Some great questions on testing and the entire CI process and I hope I answered them all. If not, please feel free to ask.

Keep in mind that the process isn’t about specific tools. The Red Gate tools work great, and help you get this running quickly and smoothly, but CI is about automating a process that you likely do manually already. It does it consistently and automatically, with less room for error.

If you are looking for more information, check out the CI resources at Red Gate.

DevConnections 2014

It’s time for Devconnections again, and I’m back in Las Vegas for the conference. This is a great conference if you work with a variety of Microsoft technologies, or want to learn about something in addition to SQL Server. We have some great SQL Server talks, but if you want to pop over and learn some Sharepoint, ASP, Visual Studio, or more, check out the schedule.

If you’re not here, consider coming to DevConnections next year.

DevConnections 2014

I live on a small ranch in Colorado. It’s a working ranch where we board horses, and my wife trains both horses and people. There’s a lot of work to be done at the ranch, and both me and the kids help out.


We have a variety of tools we use to deal with the various chores and infrastructure we have to manage. Depending on the task, we might choose a specific tool.


We also like to use the right sized tool for the job, especially when the job involves heavy lifting.


I often think about my career in technology, and how similar it can be to my life now. I’ve often worked with a variety of technologies, from networking routers, to Active Directory to Exchange in my career as a DBA. I’ve had to understand development languages and techniques to collaborate effectively with developers. Knowing a little bit about a lot of things has helped me often.

That’s one of the reasons I like the DevConnections conference. With so many different technologies being discussed a the same event, I can walk from a SQL Server session on execution plans to a development talk on Fiddler. You can learn about testing software and SharePoint queries along with Trace Flags without leaving the building.

Most of us work with a variety of technologies, and if we don’t, we often do work with a variety of IT pros. Learning a bit more about how others do their jobs, how their technologies might interact with yours, or even picking up a little jargon, can help you to be a better IT worker overall.

I’ll be in Las Vegas this September for DevConnections and I hope you’ll join me. It’s a good time at the Aria resort with plenty of ways to relax in the evening after a packed, educational schedule each day. And if you’re interested in Continuous Integration for Databases or High Performance Encryption, stop by one of my sessions.

I hope to see you Sept 15-19 in Las Vegas. Register today!

If you’d like to see a video promo, click below and enjoy.

DevConnections Slides and Code

I had a great time at DevConnections this week, It was a fairly quick trip for me, with lots of other events, but a good time. I presented two sessions and both went well. I had some good questions from the audience and people seemed to enjoy the talks. In order to make it easy to find the slides and code, I’m including them here:

Encryption in SQL Server

Searching Office Documents in SQL Server 2012

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Encryption and Full Text Search at The Mandalay Bay (DevConnections)

It’s just a week until Dev Connections.  This is one of the great conferences for the hybrid technology person, with a variety of technologies being talked about, all for a single admission price. I’ll be speaking at SQL Server Connections, but wandering over to the development side at times since I’m getting back into a little bit of software development as part of my job with Red Gate Software, and of course, for fun.

This fall the Dev Connections event is at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It’s a great hotel at the end of the strip with nice amenities and a good conference center. It’s easy to get to from the airport, which I like since traffic can be a pain. There’s also the Luxor next door, with Carrot Top playing. I’m hoping to sneak over there for a show.

However I’m primarily there to teach you a few things about SQL Server. I’ve rewritten a bit of my Encryption talk to add a few things and give you a good grounding in how the technology works in SQL Server.  I’ll be looking at how you can encrypt your connections, secure your physical files with TDE (don’t miss the hex editor demo) and also look at data encryption using symmetric and asymmetric keys. I’ll also be talking about full-text search. I’ve reworked my talk on searching binary data to focus on extracting information from office documents.

Both of my talks are on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, but if you are looking for other SQL Server topics, there are some great ones. Denny Cherry talks partitioning, Allen White talks Powershell and SQL Server, Tim Ford talks DMVs and Stacia Misner talks BI. There are a number of other great SQL Server speakers as well as speakers to talk Windows, Visual Studio, Exchange, Sharepoint and more.

If you’re looking for a great conference to attend soon, think about registering for Dev Connections and I hope to see you in Las Vegas.

Opportunities Abound

There are so many opportunities for many of you to learn more about SQL Server.  It’s amazing to think how many more choices we have today than I did early in my career. When I moved to Denver, we had a user group that met somewhat sporadically, an MSDN lunch hour every month, the PASS Summit, and training classes from various vendors like New Horizons.

That’s changed today and when I look at my schedule, it’s incredible to think how many of them I’m going to be a part of this fall. I’ve got a busy travel schedule the rest of the year, and I’ll only touch a small portion of the events that you could use to increase your SQL Server knowledge.

There are quite a few conferences this year. DevConnections in a few weeks, the PASS Summit mid month, and SQL Intersection at the end of October. I’ll be speaking at the former and latter, skipping the middle one this year. There are two SQL Rallys, Nordic and Amsterdam in Europe. There are also lots of pre– and post-cons and other workshops sessions around the events. There are even amazing training classes from vendors like SQLskills and Brent Ozar Unlimited that will teach you a tremendous amount about SQL Server. I’m hoping to attend one of these sessions in the next year.

If your boss won’t pay for a conference or class, there are plenty of free events as well. SQL Saturdays are everywhere, almost every weekend. I’ll be at San DiegoDenverCharlestonPortland, and Washington DC this year, but there are plenty more. Many of them offer pre-cons, at low costs. You might consider covering the cost yourself and asking your boss to pay for the time off.

My employer, Red Gate Software, is putting on some of their own events. We are doing seminars before some of the SQL Saturdays and I have SQL in the City events in PasadenaAtlanta, and Charlotte this year.  These are free events, just register and come.

If you aren’t close to any events, there are more and more online resources. SQLServerCentral should be your first stop, but there are videoswebinarsvirtual chapter meetings, and great subscriptions from vendors. If you want to self-study, there are great books you can buy as well as online challenges to help you learn.

There are all levels of costs, online, local, worldwide, etc. resources that you can use to learn more about SQL Server. I’d highly encourage you to make a plan and improve your SQL Server skills over the next year. I guarentee there’s something for every budget and situation.

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Decisions, Decisions. Fall Events

I was looking over my travel calendar this fall, and I’m somewhat amazed at the variety of events that are being held for SQL Server professionals. There are a number of SQL Saturdays, and if you can attend those, I’d highly urge you to do so. Most are free, or perhaps cost you a lunch fee, but they are great chances to see SQL Server presentations, network with colleagues, and get inspired with new ways to work with SQL Server. They take a day out of your life (they’re usually on Saturday) and there’s no break from work, but they price is right.

However if you want something a little more exotic, or with a few more frills, you’ve got some great choices out there. I’m listing a few that I’m attending, and I hope to see some of you at one of these events.

SQL in the City

I list this one first because these events are sponsored by Red Gate Software, my employer, and they’re a lot of fun. They are also the right price: free.

Like some of the paid conferences, Red Gate does a great job with amenities and food. The locations are nice, and even though it’s a one day event, it’s a lot to absorb in one day. This fall we have 3 large events, and 2 (possibly 4) smaller, seminar events taking place in the US. We’d love to have you attend SQL in the City if you can. The locations we’ve picked this year are:

  • San Diego – A seminar event, with the DBA Team, on Friday Sept 20, 2013.
  • Denver – A seminar event on development, on Friday, Sept 27, 2013.
  • Pasadena – A large event, on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013.
  • Atlanta – A large event, on Friday, Oct 11, 2013.
  • Charlotte – A large event, on Monday, Oct 14, 2013.

We’ll talk about some real world issues you face, and give you possible solutions. We do show Red Gate tools, but that’s because they’re the quickest way to show you a solution to a problem.

Register today if there’s a SQL in the City event you can come to.


devconnectionsI have spoken at and enjoyed the DevConnections events for a few years. This fall the event returns to the MGM in Las Vegas from Sept 30 – Oct 4, 2013. There’s a great lineup of SQL Server speakers, of which I am one. There’s a lot to do, a lot to learn, and a lot of fun to be had in Las Vegas. With the schedule, this is a perfect event to attend and add in a weekend vacation with family.

One of the great things about this event is that there are 5 conferences taking place together, and with your registration, you can attend any session in any one of them. This is a great event for those of you that don’t just work with SQL Server.

If you’ve never been, consider coming to DevConnections this fall.

SQL Intersection

sql-int-centerSQL Intersection is a new event, managed by SQLskills. I spoke at the event this part spring, and I enjoyed it. Like DevConnections, the event takes place in Las Vegas, located in the MGM Grand from Oct 27-30. The speakers are selected and invited, and there are some very popular and talented speakers in this group. I’m honored to be a part of the event. I think you’ll get a ton of SQL Server knowledge here that you can apply back at work.

There are 5 events taking place at the same time, so if you are interested in learning more about development, cloud computing , Sharepoint, or Azure, this might be a good choice for you. It’s also a fantastic time to take an extra day or two in Las Vegas. Halloween is truly a spectacle in that city.

Take this letter to your boss, then register, and I hope to shake your hand when you come. If you use “Jones” as a registration code, you’ll get $100 off, and I get some credit Winking smile

The PASS Summit

passsummit2013This year the PASS Summit returns to the East Coast, to Charlotte, NC from October 14-18, 2013. The first day of pre-cons overlap with our SQL in the City event. This is the most popular, and largest, SQL Server only event in the world. There is a ton of networking that takes place, and it’s a great time to get to know other people in the community.

There are a ton of sessions, too many in fact. Buy the DVD of the sessions since you’ll miss more than you attend. You can register today, and if you’re there early, look for me on Tuesday. I won’t be speaking at the Summit this year, but there are lots of other great speakers that you’ll enjoy.

The Conference Argument

I’ve got a busy fall. In addition to the events above, I have a few SQL Saturdays to attend and skiing to get in. I won’t be at SQL Live 360, but that’s another event you might consider attending. I’d love to speak there, but I need a break. Perhaps in 2014.

I love attending these events, and I’d recommend them over a specific training class. Here’s why.

If you aren’t self-motivated, you’ll waste a lot of time and not get much out of a conference. It’s easy to go to some sessions, or sit by the pool all day. However I’d argue that most of the people who aren’t looking to drive their career won’t get a lot our of week long class either.

If you are motivated, you can learn the JIT skills from a book, by yourself, or with a relatively inexpensive class like the ones Pluralsight offers. However, at a conference, you’re the person that will network with others, talk about your problems, and get some inspiration or potential solutions from those conversations. You’ll also get new ideas and inspirations from many of the sessions. You’ll recharge better than you do from a class, and most people seem to come back to work more excited about SQL Server than when they left.

If you’re a person that wants to move forward and are motivated enough to do so, consider attending one of these events this fall.

The DevConnections Schedule is out


It’s preliminary, but the fall 2012 SQL Server Connections schedule at DevConnections is out. I’ll be speaking Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012, along with Grant Fritchey (b | t), on the SQLServerCentral track.

This is traditionally the “Microsoft day” where sessions are all presented by Microsoft, but this time we’re providing an alternative to those of you attending the conference. I’ll be presenting a session on searching binary data with Full-Text Search and semantic search along with a session on Policy Based Management.

I’m looking forward to the show, and hope to see some of you there.