Archive for April, 2013

Blog Series – An Introduction to SQL Server

April 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I have been working as a SQL Server DBA for about six years and my interests tend toward internals. However, I've been co-president of the Chicago SQL Server User Group since July of last year and in that time I've met a number of people who have been interested in working as a DBA but don't know where to get started. This has inspired a series of posts covering an introduction to SQL Server. Topics covered will include:

  • An overview of relational databases and SQL Server
  • Downloading and installing SQL Server
  • Creating a database
  • Creating a table
  • Creating an index
  • Methods for loading test data
  • SQL Server security
  • Database backup and restore
  • SQL Agent jobs

I am planning on posting these topics once a week over the next few months. If you have questions about a post or are interested in seeing other topics covered, let me know in the comments.

Categories: CSSUG, SQL Server, T-SQL Tags: , ,

The SkreebyDBA Spring 2013 Midwest Tour Finishes Up

April 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Yesterday was SQL Saturday Chicago, and it wrapped up a week where I presented four times in seven days. Things started out with my presentation at SQL Saturday Madison last Saturday. You can read my post about that here.

The April meeting of the Chicago SQL Server User Group was Thursday and I presented on Tools to Make Make Multi-object Administration Easier. About 30 people turned out and I think it went pretty well. Each time I present, I get more comfortable using ZoomIt and my presentation remote. Thanks to everyone who came out for the meeting, especially to those who provided feedback.

The speaker dinner was Friday night at La Hacienda in Addison. The food was good and the company was better. I met Mark Vaillancourt (b|t) and Hope Foley (b|t) for the first time and was able to catch up with other members of SQLFamily.

I don't know if it was pre-presenting jitters, but I had trouble sleeping and spent a few early-morning hours tweaking my demos and learning how to use a VMWare snapshot. This is the first presentation I've used a VM and I've realized my Windows admin skills are lacking. I plan on getting much practice in the coming months.

Things were well under way when I made to DeVry at about 8:15 a.m. After talking to volunteers Bill Lescher (t) and Bob Pusateri (b|t), I grabbed some grub and made my way up to the speaker's room, joining Aaron Lowe (b|t), Ted Krueger (b|t), David Klee (b|t) and Erin Stellato (b|t). It was my first time in a speaker room and it was great being there with such a distinguished group.

I made my way down to my room as Ed Leighton-Dick was finishing up his presentation on Service Broker and was able to set up. I presented to a group of seven, I am hoping because I was presenting at the same time as Erin Stellato and David Klee. There were some good questions and I am glad to have another presentation under my belt. You can find the slides and scripts from my presentation here.

After lunch, I joined Ted Krueger and Ross LoForte to provide a group of DeVry students an introduction to SQL Server. Ted gave an overview of SQL Server, Ross got into more detail about the various SQL Server components and I finished up with how a database works. I am happy to have had a chance to give back to DeVry, as they've generously donated space for SQL Saturday the last three years.

I closed out the day with Erin Stellato's presentation on Demystifying Database Statistics. I was my second internals presentation of the week, and it reminded me what I love about SQL Server most and has inspired to dedicate more time to studying.

Many thanks to Wendy Pastrick (b|t), Bill Lescher, Ted Krueger, Bob Pusateri and everyone else who made SQL Saturday Chicago such a great event.

T-SQL Tuesday #41 – Presenting and Loving It!

April 9, 2013 3 comments


I started volunteering at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. Since then, I've been assigned as a greeter, which means I spend most of my time giving directions and answering patrons questions about the collections. Over the years, I've done what I can to learn more about the collections by spending time in the galleries, attending lectures and reading.

When the museum opened the Modern Wing in 2009, the Volunteer Coordinator asked if I would be interested in giving tours of the new building. I jumped at the chance and set out to prepare myself. I put together a list of my favorite stories about the collection and spent time walking through the galleries, honing what I would say and timing myself.

The night of the first tour, I was nervous, thinking about all of the things that could go wrong. But as I introduced myself and started the tour, I realized I knew what I was talking about and the hours of practice were paying off.

Since then, I've led several dozen tours through different parts of the collections. Every one of them has been different, but they have all been a tremendous experience and I've learned something new every time.

At this point, you are probably asking yourself, "What does the Art Institute have to do with T-SQL Tuesday?" Well, it was a little over a year ago that I gave my first presentation on SQL Server. Like the Art Institute, it is a subject I love sharing my knowledge of. Since that first presentation, I've presented at two user groups and a SQL Saturday. I am presenting at SQL Saturday Chicago this week and at FoxPASS in June.

Each time I've presented, I have had a great time and learned something new. If you are interested in getting started, I would offer a few pieces of advice:

  • Present on a subject you are passionate about. Your love of the subject will come through.
  • Practice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you'll be and the smoother things will go.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to learn the topic. You will be surprised how much you know when you get done.
  • Finally, don't get discouraged. While I've enjoyed every presentation I've done, there is always room for improvement. Ask your audience for feedback and use it to hone your skills. And take this advice from MidnightDBA (b|t) about comparing yourself to others.

Thanks to Bob Pusateri (b|t) and Adam Machanic (b|t) for giving me this opportunity to blog on T-SQL Tuesday.