SQL Saturday #255 Dallas

This last weekend I went to  SQL Saturday #255 up in Dallas.   It was a great time and my first SQL Saturday to attend.  I was also lucky enough to attend the precon about Query Performance Tuning in SQL Server by Grant Fritchey.

I attended both of Grant’s sessions at PASS Summit 2012 and was sad I missed his precon.  So when I found out he was doing a precon at SQL Saturday I sign up immediately.  I enjoy Grant’s presentation style it is laid backe with him telling stories and cracking jokes.  But he stills covers a good amount of material in the time he has.

On Saturday I attend a great session by Ami Levin on Physical Join Operators.  It was a great session going in depth of the join operators in execution plans and getting a idea of what is going on.  He used two decks of cards to help his explanations of the three different join operators.  It was a fun session and one that sparked my interest to look more in depth on the subject.

Another one of the sessions I attended was Denzil Ribeiro’s on SQL Transaction Log Internals this session was great and really went in depth on transaction logs.   I will admit that my eyes did glaze over some and a little blood may have come out my ears.  It was billed as an advance session so I was not surprised by that and did pick up a few great nuggets of info.

I also attend great sessions by Rohit Nayak (Moving to Window Azure SQL Database) and AJ Mendo (Without a Trace Getting to Know Extended Events).

I was a really great event that I learn a lot at and met some great people during the day and even more at the after party.  I would like to thank all the members of NTSSUG that put this event wonderful event together.

I did not get to go to the PASS Summit this year so this was a great way to help fill in that void.

T-SQLTuesday #42 A Long and Funny Road


It is the T-SQL Tuesday time,  this month is hosted by Wendy Pastrick.   She has asked for stories about the long and winding road of our work life and technology. So here is my story.

My road to becoming a DBA and the road I take from here.

I remember as a child I always wanted to be a veterinarian all the way up to high school.  Then I played around with many ideas in high school of what I wanted to do for a living even thinking about becoming an archaeologist for a while.  Then my senior year I took physics and absolutely loved it.   So I decided to pursue a degree in Physics which then change to an Engineering Physics degree.

In college I had wonderful opportunities.   I was able to go work a few weeks at the Army Research Labs in Aberdeen working with their proton accelerator a couple of summers. I had a blast learning some much during my time at college.

After college I searched for work but had trouble finding a job.  So I took a job at Dell putting together servers.  It might have been a job that some people might turn their nose up with a college education.  For me it was my first real job out of college and I knew it would just be a first step down the road of life that I didn’t know what would be in store for me.

I worked hard and got accolades at my job but still couldn’t work my way off the production floor.  I work many long and hard hours.

I got married while working at Dell.  My wife and I didn’t get to spend much time together during my time at Dell since I was working nights and she worked days.  So on our wedding/honeymoon it was a little weird getting to spend so much time with her that I decided to leave Dell to get a day job so I could spend more time with her.

So next I got a temp job working for a company that scanned in fingerprint cards for different agencies.and put them into a database.  I started out doing a simple job of loading the cards into computer scanners but was quickly noticed by a supervisor that I had the mind and drive to do more.

So the supervisor taught me some basic T-SQL so I could help fix state issues of card batches on the floor.   I started off doing update statements in SSMS on the production database tables to achieve this at first.   Look back that seems so crazy the amount of power and little knowledge I had and the damage I could have done.  Especially since we didn’t have a backup plan in place when I first started doing this.

During my time there I built a simple command line interface with Python so users could update the state of card batches in the database.  That way I could help with other bottlenecks in the system and we would have less chance of accidently updating or deleting everything in a table.

Another fun part about this job was we were not allowed internet access because of the security risk to the data we were dealing with. So I did all my initial learning and troubleshooting through books.   Yes that is correct I had complete access to a production database but not to the internet.  What crazy rules you get from upper management sometimes.

After the company ran out of contracts of work I was let go.  So I had a taste for database work and wanted more.

I next landed my current job at TicketCity.  It has been almost 6 years now but since then I have learned show much and grown leaps and bounds as a SQL Server DBA.

This last year I went to my first PASS Summit.  It was an eye opening experience for me.

I wanted to get some training to help with getting the performance better on our servers. Also I wanted to learn some stuff outside the norm of what I work with every day.

Before I went I looked up info about the Summit and the more I found the more I got excited about going.  I discovered how awesome open and friendly the #sqlfamily was and could wait to go and be a part of it.

The PASS Summit has given me personal goals to reach for and made things exciting.

This blog is actually one of those goals.   I decided after the Summit that I wanted to be a contributor to this SQL community.

Other goals I have made for myself is give a talk to my local user group and give a talk at a SQL Saturday.

So in closing I would like to thank the whole #sqlfamily you make me want to be a better DBA and help out my fellow DBAs anyway I can.

Here we go

Hello world!!

My name is Lance Tidwell and I am a SQL Server DBA. and husband and father.   I have decided to jump into the world of blogging.

I am interested in performance on SQL Server and will blog about that as well as other things in SQL  that peek me interests.

I am not sure where this will go but this is the first step of a journey that I look forward to.