Cool news – the pre/post-con workshops and spotlight sessions acceptance emails came out this week and we're both going to be there. We've booked our hotel all week even though we live 15 miles away in Redmond so we can be party animals too :-)

I could write a long post about why PASS is cool and worth going to, but Brent Ozar (and others) have long posts already. His post is here and it's written in a send-this-to-your-manager kind of way. Enough said. You might even get Kimberly and I to sing our dog songs or Kimberly to do a frog-fish impression.

Here's what we'll be teaching:

Pre-con workshop: SQL Server 2005/2008: Indexing for Performance (Kimberly, but I'll be there too)

  • Indexing is by far the most important aspect to database performance and health. But, do you have the right indexes? Do you have too few, or too many? And, are the indexes the RIGHT indexes? In this workshop we'll cover what makes an index useful and how to create the RIGHT indexes for a variety of different problem scenarios. In addition to looking at which indexes work for what types of queries, we'll round out the day looking at the DMVs that can help us create some of the missing indexes and drop the unused. Primary topics covered: index internals, indexing strategies, statistics and how to tell if your strategies are working! If you want better performance, as well as a more manageable database, this is the place to be – even if you cannot change your schema! (NOTE: The "SQL Server Covering: Concepts, Concerns, & Costs" session during the conference has a small amount of overlap with this workshop but the point of the workshop will be to dive into more of the internals and details of why these decisions are so critical. We will not rediscuss the specific strategies used in the session.)
  • Topics covered: Index Internals, Data Access Patterns, Statistics , Indexing Strategies, How to know if your indexing strategies are working?

Spotlight session: SQL Server Covering: Concepts, Concerns, & Costs (Kimberly)

  • Using indexes to "cover a query" is one of the most important tuning strategies possible in SQL Server. So much so that many of the best indexing performance features target specifically this – covering. We'll look at indexed views (added/improved in SQL Server 7.0 and 2000), INCLUDE (added in SQL Server 2005) and filtered indexes (added in SQL Server 2008). In this session, we'll discuss the pros and cons of covering, the different strategies possible to achieve it – as well as when it's a good idea to consider covering and when it's a must!

Spotlight session: Understanding Logging and Recovery in SQL Server (Paul)

  • Some of the most misunderstood parts of SQL Server are its logging and recovery mechanisms. The fact that the transaction log exists and can cause problems if not managed correctly seems to confound many DBAs. Why is it possible for the transaction log to grow unbounded? Why does it sometimes take so long for the database to come online after a system crash? Why can't logging be turned off completely? Why can't I recover my database properly? Just what is the transaction log and why is it there? In this in-depthsession Paul will unravel the mysteries of the transaction log – it's architecture and behavior under different recovery models- as well as how logging and recovery work in SQL Server. This is essential knowledge you need for understanding how backup, restore, log-shipping, database mirroring, and other technologies work. 

Post-con workshop: Disaster Recovery: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques (Paul & Kimberly)

  • Disasters happen – plain and simple. When disaster strikes a database you're responsible for, are you going to be able recover within the down-time and/or data-loss limits your company requires? This workshop isn't about how to achieve high-availability, it's about how to prevent or overcome the obstacles you're likely to hit when trying to recover from a disaster such as not having the right backups, not having valid backups, or not having any backups! How do you come up with a good and reliable backup strategy? How can you architect a database to allow easier recovery? What can you do to limit the damage a disaster causes? In this demo-heavy workshop, Paul and Kimberly will show you a ton of tips, tricks, and techniques they've learned from years of experience helping customers plan for and recovery from disasters.
  • Topics covered will include backup strategy, effectively using restore, partitioning, disaster prevention, using repair to limit downtime, and a lot more!

We hope to see you there!

PS You can get to the PASS site at http://summit2009.sqlpass.org/.