Archive for category Presentations

SQL Saturday in Dallas: May 22, 2010

SQLSaturday SQL Saturday is a series of free single-day conferences that’s being held throughout the United States.  Here’s some basic information about the conference from the web site:

We started SQLSaturday in 2007 as a platform for free one day training events for SQL Server professionals. We focus on local speakers, providing a good variety of topics, and making it all happen through the efforts of volunteers. Whether you’re attending one or thinking about hosting your own, we think you’ll find it’s a great way to spend a Saturday.

Events are currently scheduled through October, 2010 (see the site for details on dates and locations).  Also, if you’re interested in speaking at one of the events, be sure to submit your session early.

I’ll be presenting two SQL Server sessions (details below) at SQL Saturday Dallas 2010.  As of this writing, it looks like there are nearly 500 registered attendees.  It should be a great event!

SQL Server Basics for non-DBAs

Despite the importance and value of relational databases, many developers and administrators often have only a basic understanding of how they work.  This session covers the basic architecture of SQL Server, including basic installation and configuration of the server.  The focus will be an overview of the most important topics, including: Managing database storage, performing regular database maintenance, managing security and data protection.  Finally, we’ll conclude with some best practices for managing database schemas and objects.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their server and database management questions.

Reporting Services: Development and Deployment

This session will begin with a brief architectural overview of Reporting Services and details on getting up and running with Reporting Services.  Then, we will look at demonstrations of creating new reports by building connections and data sets using Report Builder and Visual Studio.  Reporting design features including parameterization, dynamic drill-downs, matrix reports, charts, and sorting will be provided. 

Austin CodeCamp 2010: May 15, 2010

The Austin .NET User Group (ADNUG) is holding it’s free, annual technical event in mid-May.  Austin Code Camp 2010 will include dozens of technical sessions that are focused on programming methodology (such as Test-Driven Development) and practices.  Here’s some basic info from the conference web site:

The Austin .Net User Group is proud to sponsor it’s fourth Annual Code Camp

This is one day FREE conference For The Community, By the community.

The Conference is on May 15, 2010 at St Edward’s Professional Education Center from 8 am to 5 pm. Click the link on the Location Tab for additional information about St Edward’s.

If you’re planning to attend, please be sure to use the site’s Session Voting page.  This will give organizers and speakers some help in planning room assignments and will help speakers tailor their presentations for audience size.

I’ll also be presenting two sessions at this year’s event.  Below are the details.  Feel free to respond here if you have any questions or comments on the topics, and I hope to see you there!

SQL Server Reporting Services: Develop & Deploy Reports

This session will begin with a brief architectural overview of Reporting Services and details on getting up and running with Reporting Services. Then, we will look at demonstrations of creating new reports by building connections and data sets using Report Builder and Visual Studio. Reporting design features including parametrization, dynamic drill-downs, matrix reports, charts, and sorting will be provided.

Next, we’ll look at deployment details, including scheduling reports, configuring caching, creating snapshots, and managing security. Time permitting, the presentation will include a demonstration of using Report Viewer controls within ASP.NET and Windows Forms applications. The session is intended for developers that have basic familiarity with report development (in any technology) and a basic understanding of SQL.

Practical SQL Server Performance Monitoring & Optimization

Developers can dramatically improve performance by monitoring and analyzing real world queries. This session covers SQL Server monitoring at various levels to the most impactful performance improvements. The presentation will start with an overview of different optimization tools and techniques and will be based on practical examples of real-world performance monitoring and troubleshooting. Details include the use of server monitoring tools, SQL Profiler, the Database Tuning Advisor, and analyzing query plans, Dynamic Management Views, and related methods. The overall emphasis will be on solving practical, real-world database performance problems.

This session assumes that attendees have basic familiarity with SQL Server and with writing database queries.

Live Webcast: Data Center Cost-Efficiency, Security and Compliance

IT operations groups and datacenter managers are always searching for new ways to reduce costs while still meeting security, configuration, and compliance requirements.  Fortunately, there are numerous methods by which organizations can achieve these goals.  On February 25th, I’ll be presenting a free, live webcast on the topic of The 2010 Data Center: Driving Cost-Efficiency, Security and Compliance.  Here’s an overview of the topic from the webcast’s web site:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

With the new decade comes new opportunity to implement the best technologies and practices for IT.  Join this FREE live webinar to learn how to cost-effectively plan, implement and manage a 21st century data center to drive greater efficiency, security and compliance.

You’ll hear from leading experts about ways organizations are leveraging technologies such as virtualization and configuration management to build flexible, resilient, cost-efficient and high-performing data centers for 2010.

Join now to:

• Get a blueprint to plan and implement IT best practices to modernize, consolidate, and secure your technology environment
• Hear how to cost-effectively drive improved security and compliance across your IT infrastructure while staying agile and competitive
• Learn about the benefits of a combined solution for configuration assessment with configuration change auditing for improved data center operations


The presentation is arranged by and is sponsored by TripWire.  I’ll begin the presentation with an overview of technical best practices.  Then, Barak Engel from EAmmune will provide specific information on products, technologies, and approaches you can use to achieve these goals.  We’ll wrap up by taking live questions from the audience.  The entire webcast should last under an hour.

Webcast: “Understanding and Managing VM Sprawl”

The idea of virtual machine “sprawl” – the rapid proliferation of VMs without adequate IT oversight or management – seems to be a popular one.  I have written and spoken on this topic before, but there have been enough changes in the tools and implementation methods for server virtualization to merit an updated presentation.  That’s the topic of a recent webcast that I recorded for TechTarget’s site. 

The webcast is titled “Understanding and Managing VM Sprawl”.  An archived version is available for viewing at no cost (though registration is required).  Here’s a brief abstract of the topic:


Virtualization can help address many of IT’s biggest headaches, but it can also lead to a problem known as "VM sprawl" – the rapid proliferation of VMs without sufficient IT oversight.  The result is an environment that doesn’t meet security or administration requirements, putting applications, services, and data at risk.

This webcast will provide an overview of VM sprawl – its root causes and related issues, along with ways to mitigate the main issues.  Specifically, it will provide best practices for managing the entire virtual machine life cycle (from deployment to retirement) and details related to tracking VMs in the environment.  The webcast will then describe how automated virtualization management solutions can help provide all of the benefits of virtualization with minimum administrative overhead.

The content is targeted towards IT managers and higher-level IT people.  It focuses on virtualization management strategies, though there’s a good amount of technical depth.  The presentation is roughly 45 minutes in length.  I hope you find it useful, and feel free to post questions or comments here.

Virtual Event: Next-Generation Networks

Network Computing is hosting an online, virtual event that focuses on next-generation networking technologies.  Here’s a brief blurb from the event web site:


This Next Generation Networks virtual event will bring you up to speed on networking state of the art by discussing the technologies that are going to drive network design and implementations today and in the future. You will learn from peers, analysts, and vendors about where the technologies are today and how you can prepare for a network overhaul.
Attendee Benefits:

  • Download informative research, white papers, and other resources straight to your Virtual Briefcase.
  • Access insightful webcasts  featuring industry experts, Network Computing editors, and analysts.
  • Interact with our guest speakers, other attendees, and exhibitors through real-time chat tools.
  • Visit vendor booths and browse through products and solutions in our unique, interactive and entertaining environment.

Use the Event Registration page to sign up to attend.  In addition to the virtual conference booths, you can view a list of presentations on the Distinguished Speakers page.  I’ll be attending and will try to answer as many technical questions as possible in the Microsoft booth. 

Microsoft Virtual Event: The New Efficiency

If you’ve been following some of the latest keynotes and presentations from Microsoft, you’ve probably run into the theme of “The New Efficiency”.  Microsoft has been using this term to describe the benefits of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010.  While listening to presentations can be useful, it’s also valuable to spend some interactive time with other technical professionals and experts.  To that end, Microsoft is hosting another live “Virtual Conference” on October 27, 2009.  Visit the Event Overview page to see details of the virtual conference.  Here’s an excerpt that describes what’s covered and who will be presenting:

Join renowned Microsoft technologies expert Paul Thurrott, Windows IT Pro senior technical director Michael Otey, Exchange guru Paul Robichaux, and Windows IT Pro editor in chief Jeff James for an in-depth, spin-free deep dive into the new efficiency.
In just three hours, directly from your own computer, the keynote and three technical sessions will provide you with:

  • an overview of everything that Windows® 7 has to offer
  • a deep-dive into enterprise-oriented features such as AppLocker, Branche Cache, DirectAccess, federated search, and BitLocker to Go
  • a complete coverage of all of the new features and functionality brought by Windows® Server 2008 R2, including Hyper-V virtualization with live migration and PowerShell 2.0
  • an in-depth presentation of the rich user experience, the many deployment options, and information protection and control capabilities offered by Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010
  • a clear understanding of the ways Windows® 7, Windows® Server 2008 R2, and Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010 work better together

This event is presented in an interactive, real-life simulation! You will experience a lifelike visual environment, networking and interactive tools, staffed sponsor booths, and educational chats to complement each conference session.

I’ll be available to answer technical questions in the Microsoft booth during the morning sessions (from 9:30am to around noon Central time).  Feel free to stop by and ask questions or view the materials and presentations that are available online.

For more details, see the Agenda and Speaker Info pages.  Be sure to Register – it’s free, and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home or office to attend. 

Virtual Event: The Business Case for Windows 7

If you haven’t had a chance to work with Windows 7 yet, or if you’re wondering what’s in it for business users and administrators, you’ll probably benefit from attending an upcoming virtual conference.  The “conference” will take place entirely online.  Using a browser, you can access a pretty slick online UI that allows you to do “real” conference stuff. 

The InformationWeek Business Technology Network is presenting a virtual event titled The Business Case for Windows 7.  As the name implies, it focuses on ways in which corporate users and administrators can benefit from switching to Microsoft’s newest OS (which is scheduled for general availability on October 23rd).  Here’s a description of the conference from the event’s web page:

Business Case for Win7

The Business Case for Windows 7
Microsoft’s launch of the Windows 7 operating system is one of the most anticipated technology introductions of this year, and enterprises both large and small are evaluating the benefits – and weighing the challenges – of migrating to the new platform. In this virtual event, attendees will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from the developers of Win 7, the testers who put it through its paces, and peers who are considering taking the plunge.  Experts will discuss the product’s features, performance issues, security and management processes, compatibility concerns, and more.

You can sign up to attend the virtual conference using the Registration Page

At the virtual conference, you can talk to people at virtual booths, ask questions to technical experts who are available live, and download videos, webcasts, white papers, etc.  Microsoft, Thawte, and Global Knowledge are among the sponsors.  I’ll be present tomorrow (Sept. 30th) to answer questions in the Microsoft booth.  The virtual conference will go on for two days and contains numerous events and keynote presentations.  Be sure to stop by – it certainly beats the time, cost, and frustration of having to travel to real conferences.

Austin Code Camp 2009 Presentations

Code Camps are free events that are held by and for developers.  They focus on real, practical technical information that is presented through demonstrations.  Many user groups hold these sessions on weekends to help support the best attendance and availability.  The topics focus on a wide variety of subjects that are of interest to developers.  Examples include development methodologies, specific technical features, and development techniques.  You can find more information in the Code Camp Manifesto.

Austin Code Camp 2009 is scheduled for Saturday, May 30, 2009 and will be held at the St. Edwards Professional Education Center.  Past events have had hundreds of attendees with dozens of sessions.  If you’re in the area, I highly recommend attending at least part of the event.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? :) 

This year, I’ll be presenting on three topics (listed below, with abstracts).  Each session is scheduled to last two hours and will focus on practical demonstrations.  Specific presentation times have not yet been posted, but keep checking the web site for more details.  In the meantime, be sure to register to attend and vote on proposed topics.  If you can’t make it, I plan to post the presentation slides and sample code on my web site just prior to the event.

Presentation Topics & Abstracts

SQL Server Reporting Services: Report Creation and Deployment:

Using SQL Server Reporting Services, developers can author and distribute complex reports that come from a variety of data sources. The session will begin with an architectural overview of Reporting Services and how developers can install and configure the required services. Then, we will walk through the process of creating new reports by building connections and data sets using Report Builder 2.0 and Visual Studio 2008. Reporting design features including dynamic drill-downs, matrix reports, charts, and sorting will be provided. Also included will be methods by which multiple levels of report parameters can be used to filter data and increase performance. Next, we’ll look at deployment details, including scheduling reports, configuring caching, creating snapshots, and managing security. Time permitting, the presentation will include a demonstration of using Report Viewer controls within ASP.NET and Windows Forms applications.

SQL Server Basics for Non-DBAs

Although relational databases are a critical component of most applications, many developers often have only a basic understanding of how they work. This session will describe the architecture of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and its many features can be used to improve the end-user experience. The presentation will begin with an overview of the SQL Server platform, including installation and configuration of the server. Then, we’ll look at ways in which you can manage logical databases and their constituent files. Recommendations for regular database maintenance and data protection will be covered next. Other important tasks include managing security, including techniques such as role-based security, permissions hierarchies, and data- and object-level encryption. Finally, we’ll conclude with some best practices for managing database schemas and objects. Attendees are encouraged to bring their server and database management questions.

SQL Server Performance Monitoring & Optimization

Developers can dramatically improve performance by understanding how their queries are executing in the "real world". This session will cover ways in which attendees can monitor performance at various levels, and how they can use this information to optimize queries and improve overall application performance. We’ll start with a discussion of developing a performance optimization strategy and how various tools can help. Then, we’ll walk through the process of using SQL Profiler to collect data in a real-world case: Generating a "hit list" of worst-performing queries based on execution times and frequency. Next we’ll look at using the Database Engine Tuning Advisor to make suggestions related to physical database structures such as indexes and partitions. Also included will be ways in which built-in reports and dynamic management views can be used to monitor performance of production systems. Time permitting, the presentation will include methods for reducing deadlocks and managing long-running transactions. Finally, the presentation will include an overview of analyzing query plans. The overall emphasis will be on solving practical, real-world database performance problems.

Network Design in an Uncertain Economy

It’s no secret that IT budgets worldwide have been slashed and that spending on new projects has been drastically reduced for most companies.  However, contrary to popular opinion, there’s a lot of opportunity to make cost-saving investments now.  On that topic, I will be presenting some best practices in a webcast titled Building a Recession-Proof Network (sponsored by Nortel).  From the webcast web site:

In today’s economy, ensuring you have a network that is reliable and secure 24×7 can help you to recession-proof your business even with a limited IT budget. Learn step-by-step about how your company can build a cost-effective, energy-efficient and secure network in ’09!

Join us now and learn:

  • Easy steps to build a cost-effective, energy-efficient and secure network in ‘09
  • Best practices to recession-proof your network on a limited IT budget
  • How to reduce your TCO while increasing ROI across your company
  • Low-cost ways to maximize and extend your network capabilities

The free webcast is scheduled for 10:00am Pacific Time on Thursday May 7, 2009.  My portion will focus on suggestions for justifying network improvements such as investing in Unified Communications (UC) and ways to sell that idea to the rest of the organization. 

CS TechCast on Struggling Entrepreneur

Recently, it seems that both techies and non-techies have been really interested in the pros and cons of starting their own businesses and working on their own.  With all of the economic issues and uncertainty in the U.S., it’s to be expected.  In fact, at one point, I thought about creating a blog focused on tips and advice for those that are considering working independently in IT and other industries.  It somehow fell lower on the list of priorities (making an article on time management and prioritization a good candidate for an ironic first posting).  Of course, there are numerous online resources that are provide some really good information for people that are thinking of “taking the plunge” (or for those that are already knee-deep in it).

Struggling Entrepreneur is one such site, and it has recently re-published a CS TechCast interview that I recorded a few months ago.  You can access podcast 67 – Freelance Entrepreneur as IT Consultant and Author for free online.  Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

When you have the technical skills, knowledge, abilities and experience in the ever-changing world of IT, you may have the burning desire to branch out on your own and establish your own services firm in the form of being an IT consultant–either as a specialist or generalist.

But the key questions you may have may leave you pondering:

– Do you specialize or diversify?

– What about keeping your skills up to date?

– How do you ride through the slow times during IT “peaks and valleys” of IT projects and engagements with clients?

– What about the administrative burden of running your own IT consultancy (e.g., taxes, accounting, sales, marketing, promotion, etc.)?

Hear what a successful IT consultant has done in order to stay ahead of the IT technical curve and yet keep loyal customers and accept exciting and key engagements focusing on state-of-the-art IT technologies.

Check out the full podcast and also all of the other great content on Struggling Entrepreneur.  I’m also recording a new interview with Fred Castaneda tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to it and will post a link when it’s available.  Stay tuned!

SQL Server Performance Monitoring & Optimization: Austin Code Camp Presentation

If you’re a developer that’s located in the Austin area, I highly recommend you consider attending Austin Code Camp 2008.  This free conference takes place on Saturday, May 17th, and is designed for attendees to learn about a wide variety of development-related topics without marketing hype or fluff.  Here’s the "official" description for the event:

The Austin .Net User Group is sponsoring the third Austin Code Camp. A code camp is a one day technical conference that has indepth sessions that are code focused. The sessions are given by members of the local development community for members of the local development community. If you are doing something interesting in the .Net framework, you should consider submitting a session. This is a no pressure event where you can try presenting to a group of developers that are truely interested in hearing what you have to say. (They are coming to hear you on a Saturday, need we say more about their dedication?) If you are interested in presenting then submit a session

Who can attend?: The camp is open to all individuals who are interested in learning or talking about software development on the Microsoft .Net Platform. Professional developers, Hobbiest, Students are all welcome.

Past events have been very well attended, and did I mention that it’s completely free?  You can download the complete and final schedule of sessions, if you’re planning to attend.  I’ll be presenting on SQL Server Performance Monitoring & Optimization – a demonstration-based session that shows how to optimize server and query performance.