Friday, April 24, 2009

LinkedIn as your Stepping Stone for Opportunities with Internationally-Oriented Organisations

 As some of you may have read already, Andy Warren‘s series on LinkedIn (part 1, 2, 3) and networking has sparked my interest by first listing down what I would like to share about this brilliant business networking utility.  And then proceeding to read his – from first glance, he’s done a great job at listing all the contact utility functionality,

The prerequisites, and why I’d like to add to Andy’s recommendations (really hoping I didn’t trump a part four Master WarrenJ)  for being able to really take advantage of this tool would be completing one’s profile to the 100% level and obtaining as many recommendations as possible.  Currently, I am at twelve, so I believe establishing credibility by means of online references is a significant prerequisite to mastering LinkedIn’s networking potential – because if you recommend someone online, they are taking a leap of faith in you, it’s something they are willing to state in front of the entire world basically.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised also, that if you describe the way you work exactly (e.g. personally, I described following Brad McGehee’s Exceptional DBA guide), or your preferred methodology, it will allow you to bring in qualified clients that have had the chance to filter out obvious signs or attributes from other profiles, such as stagnation, lack of recommendations, or territorialism, that can be undesirable (some of those may also depend on how long their profile has existed, so no hard/fast rule, each situation could be different).  LordAlex, my Flash Guru mate here, loves to describe it as a method to make a pillar of the all-important (in this net generation) Online Persona.

Further, it should be treated as a longer than usual Curriculum Vitae (or Resumé in N.A.) but in accordance to the format obviously, because perhaps if you place details in the wrong portion of your profile, an opportunity could easily be missed.  I love the way a mate here in Montreal (Martin Arvisais) describes it as a great place ‘pour vendre ta salade’ (cute local way of saying to sell your stuff). 

Another good reason to do it is, to be quite forthright, showing how you can contribute to your professional community – as Andy Mentioned in Part 2, just after ramping up your contacts within this tool.  There are several SQL Server related groups in LinkedIn, my recent contributions through the LinkedIn groups are part of the reason why Canada’s MVP Lead approached me over the past week for a nomination (also, thanks to a referral from ‘s Scott Stauffer, and frequent speaker, a SQL DBA based in Vancouver) – therefore, what more motivation could one implore to Link themselves In.


SQL Server 2005/8 Database Compression Presentation in Burlington, Vermont - April 15th

Yesterday, I drove the Smart down to Burlington/Colchester, Vermont to meet up with MVP Roman Rehak and speak to the local user group about SQL Server Row, Page and VarDecimal compression, originally touched during this post.

The final version of the presentation is here.

I had much more performance gains on the SAN before (vardecimal), so for those of you with SSDs, perhaps the test scripts may not really show a big difference for the SELECT times...however, at least major disk space at least will be gained. We started with a table of 260MB and ended up dropping its size down to 80MB.

Here are the essential parts fo the script for you to test out compression on your own databases:

-- all SQL Server internal compression is done at the table level
-- testing started on a table that was 260MB, with a check on the storage used each time
-- I/O , according to the Actual Execution Plan for a normal SELECT started at 24.17 (no compression)

--first round of compression
WITH (DATA_COMPRESSION = ROW) -- table became 180MB

--second round of compression
WITH (DATA_COMPRESSION = PAGE) -- table now down to 80MB
-- I/O cost, according to the Actual Execution Plan for a SELECT down to 7.62 (just under a third)

-- after all your compression work is done, run a single console command
– replacing the zero with the amount you want to leave free


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Activity Monitor in SQL Server 2008: an Embedded Optimisation Gizmo for the Thrifty DBA

As promised back in December ‘08, after having spoken briefly at SQL teach here in Montreal thanks to MVP Paul Neilsen (, here is an introduction to one of our favorite new Management Studio Enhancements: Activity Monitor.  To use AM, right click on a SQL Server 2005/8 instance in the object explorer and take a look, it’ll inspire you to take care of what’s bogging down your database engine and motivate you for some good ol’ Spring cleaning.

Activity Monitor Gives you a great overview of the SQL Instance, just like Rome from Villa Medicci, Bourhgese Gardens

First, let me start off by mentioning that even if you do not have SQL 2008 instances, it is worth it to install SQL 2008 Management Studio (SSMS is the client tool acronym to manage your SQL Server infrastructure) just to have this critical problem resolution feature known as Activity Monitor.  SSMS has backwards compatibility built-in; thus you can take advantage of the dynamic management views already existing in SQL 2005 while connecting from SQL 2008 SSMS’ Activity Monitor (AM).  To view the equivalent information used in the AM before, for example, I was loading information directly from the dynamic management views in Excel sheets to understand what was really going on across the specific servers’ activity. Thankfully, this is now all built into SSMS as AM and provides sortable columns, which enables exceptionally swift pin-pointing of problematic operations.

Ever since the RTM of SQL 2008 was released last summer (unless perhaps, you had beta versions) you can view real-time critical SQL Server performance details and even sort by the worst performing queries, whether it be by the number of times the offending code is run per minute, which login is running it, which database it is in, the application it is running from, the number of logical reads…you get the picture, practically everything you need to fix SQL Server tribulations – even giving the option to right click on a line in Recent Expensive Queries to get down to optimising the offending code right away!  There are four panes with graphs for each, plus collapsable details, so you can even view/filter processes, resource waits and disk activity, as well as my favorite Recent Expensive Queries.  By hovering over any of the columns within the respective information panes, one can also see which dynamic management view was used to provide the systems management information; for further investigation and perhaps even set up alerts for when thresholds are met.

If you cannot update your instances to SQL 2008 for a while, which would not be surprising considering the economic tsunami hitting the world (and now a Pandemic!), then at least you can use the updated client tools to enjoy this eye-opening and cost-effective updated feature – in my opinion a critical step in remediation.

On that note, Happy Easter / Passover to all my readers J