Conferences coming up: SQL Connections in April and TechEd US in June

SQL Connections is in less than two months now and our pre-con and post-con workshops are filling up fast – checkout my previous blog post here for the full list of what we’re presenting.

Now we’ve finalized our TechEd US sessions with Microsoft and can let you all know that we’re going to be there as usual! This time Kimberly and I are doing a joint pre-con workshop on SQL Server 2008 – so if you can only make it to one conference this year, you can choose TechEd or SQL Connections and still catch our 2008 workshop plus other sessions :-)

There’s a catch though – this year TechEd US has split into two weeks (to mirror what TechEd Europe has been doing for a while). The first week is for Developers and the second week is for IT Pros. We’ll be at the IT Pro week in Orlando, June 10-13. Here’s what Kimberly and I are doing (all jointly presented this year):

Pre-Conference Workshop: PRC21 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Overview for Database Professionals (Monday 6/9)

SQL Server 2008 offers an impressive array of capabilities for professional developers that build upon key innovations introduced in SQL Server 2005. The use of many of these will have manageability and infrastructure implications for a database—and hence the DBA! There are also enhancements to existing high-availability technologies, plus a variety of new tools to aid in managing performance, scalability, administration, and troubleshooting. This workshop helps you understand how to exploit the new toolset and how to manage a database that makes use of the new features in SQL Server 2008. Come to this workshop so your developers don’t surprise you with new demands once your company upgrades!

Topics covered include:

  • Availability Enhancements (Database Mirroring, Backup Compression, Peer-to-Peer Replication)

  • Security Enhancements (Transparent Data Encryption, Extensible Key Management, All Actions Audited)

  • Policy-Based Management

  • Troubleshooting and Throttling (Resource Governor, Extended Events)

  • New Development Technologies (Spatial Indexes, Sparse Columns, Filtered Indexes, Change Data Capture, FILESTREAM)

  • Performance Data Collection

  • Scalability Enhancements (Data Compression, Partition-Level Lock Escalation)

Session 1: Essential Database Maintenance

In this session, Paul and Kimberly will run you through their top-ten database maintenance recommendations, with a lot of tips and tricks along the way. These are distilled from almost 30 years combined experience working with SQL Server customers and are geared towards making your databases more performant, more available, and more easily managed (to save you time!). Everything in this session will be practical and applicable to a wide variety of databases. Topics covered and myths debunked include: backups, shrinks, fragmentation, statistics, and much more! Focus will be on 2005 but we’ll explain some of the key differences for 2000 and 2008 as well.

Session 2: Corruption Survival Techniques

Your database is corrupt – what do you do? Well, it depends! How critical is the data? Do you know what’s really wrong with the database? What does all that DBCC CHECKDB output mean? Should you restore or repair? It’s all about limiting downtime and data-loss when a corruption occurs – from knowing the tools to understanding the implications of choices you make. In this demo-heavy session Paul and Kimberly will give you insight into how to recover from corruption without making things worse. Most importantly you’ll get step-by-step instructions for dealing with the more common scenarios.

Session 3:  Are Your Indexing Strategies Working?

So you spent a bunch of time figuring out what indexes you should have while designing and testing your database. Now you’re in production and six months have gone past. Are your strategies still valid now? Is SQL Server using the indexes you created? Are the users issuing the queries you thought they would – or are you missing crucial indexes? More importantly – how can you figure any of this out? In this demo-heavy session, Paul and Kimberly will show you how to analyze what’s currently going on with your database and how to bring your initial strategy up-to-date. Come along to this session to help you find out what you might not know about your workload!

The whole conference line-up looks great – with a bunch of our SQL MVP friends doing sessions too. So – no matter which conference you come to, we’re really looking forward to meeting new people and seeing some of the your faces again!

Search Engine Q&A #16: Concurrent log and full backups

Here’s a question that came in – what changed in SQL Server 2005 that allows concurrent log and full backups?

First a little background, in case you didn’t know about the change in behavior. In SQL Server 2000, a concurrent log backup with either a full or diff backup (I’ll just say ‘full’ from now on but take it to mean ‘full or diff’) was not permitted. The reason is that a log backup would clear the inactive portion of the log once it’s been backed up, but a full backup may still need some of that log so it can’t be cleared (see this post and this post for an explanation). The simple route was taken of disallowing concurrent log backups with fulls.

In SQL Server 2005, the restriction was lifted, but there’s a subtle twist. You can do concurrent log backups with fulls BUT the log is not cleared when the log backup ends. The clearing of the inactive portion of the log is delayed until the full backup completes. This could cause you to have disk space problems if your log generation rate is huge and you’re relying on very frequent backups to manage the log size.

So – what changed that allowed the SS2000 restriction to be lifted? Nothing – just the code was changed to delay the log clearing and allow the concurrent backups.

Pretty cool change – but watch out for the twist.


A few short notes this morning regarding the blogs and other stuff.

We had a big outage over the weekend, which rather embarrassingly manifested itself as ‘out-of-disk-space’ errors for anyone trying to get to any of our blogs. As you all know we preach about pro-active monitoring of data and log file space, so this didn’t look good IMHO. All I can say is that it was the website and blogs log drive on the hosting company’s server that filled up, not something we have control over. Needless to say, their process has been fixed so that it shouldn’t happen again. Sorry about that (and thanks to all of you who dropped me mail to let me know).

Now Kimberly and I have recovered from six straight weeks of teaching, we’ll be making progress on other projects. I’ve had a bunch of people ask where the annotated slide decks are (see this post). We’ve been a little busy with our teaching projects the last few months (see the previous post) but we’re working on getting the first deck ready – it’ll be Disaster Recovery: From Planning to Practice to Post-Mortem.