As I sit writing this post I realize that in a weeks time Ill be in Seattle at the 2011 PASS Summit.
Like most in the SQL community who are fortunate enough to attend the annual summit I am looking forward to next Sunday. But, unlike most I am probably looking forward to this years summit for slightly different reasons. I’m definitely ready for the plethora of sessions, the great networking and all of the regular things everyone looks forward to (SQLKARAOKE!) but, when you are as heavily involved as I am in leading the Summit Program Committee, just getting it “started” is a huge relief.
For the last four years Ive looked forward to the Sunday before the Summit like ive looked forward to no other Sunday of the year. However this year is going to be different! This year will be my last year of leading the Summit “Program Committee”. Its truly bittersweet for me as Ive really loved doing this but Its time for me to focus on doing other things for our great community.
I plan on handing the reigns of the summit over to _____ after the end of this years Summit. I wish I knew who was taking over so I could tell you, but as it is no one has volunteered and PASS doesn’t exactly have a structure in place to allow for transnational hand off(more on this later). I wish I could say it will be all Rainbows and Unicorns for the next person leading the program committee but, the reality is it is a lot of work. The payoff is quite large though in knowing that you lead a group of 30ish volunteers to do a large portion of the work in making the summit a success but, even with a dedicated support staff (PASSHQ) its still a challenge. After doing every job from the bottom to the top of this small piece of PASS I feel like ive literally “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”
I’d guess Ive spent at least 10 hours a week on average working on the Summit for the last several years and this year I added on regular PASS Board member tasks and am regularly exceeding those 10 hours a week, unfortunately, its just not sustainable for me any longer. Im happy to spend the time for the community but, Its time for a new challenge and fortunately being on the PASS Board affords me all of the community challenges I could ever need (including figuring out to handle transition within PASS mentioned earlier).
If you spot me at the Summit, feel free to stop over and introduce yourself, I promise not to try and convince you to volunteer to take my PASS job!
Tom (Blog|Twitter) Asked about our favorite PASS memories for this months post. With all that I have going on trying to get the Schedule out for this years Summit, I hadnt planned on writing anything this month but I just read Grant Fritchey’s excellent post and it struck me that I really should write about this one. You see, one of the most interesting things about his post was I actually remember about 90% of the things he mentions.
My favorite PASS memory isnt actually a single memory at all, its actually the conglomeration of all the SHARED experiences I have with all the hundreds(?) of people that I have gotten to know rather well over the years. One of the most important things about our community of SQL professionals that I can never seem to put into words are those “Shared experiences”, they are what makes us unique. Some first timers will listen to the conversations and think “what in the world is so funny” or “really, did that actually happen” or more likely, “what in the heck are they talking about” and I can see that there would be some intimidation factor with that but, the reality is you just have to jump in and start making those shared experiences of your own. While some of my favorite shared experiences are from 2004-2006 that doesnt mean that I dont have some great ones from 2010 with people I had just met. My point really is those experiences (which un/fortunately become memories) whether made at the Summit, a SQL Rally, SQL Saturday, or a local UG meeting are the things that actually tie us together as a group of professionals. Sure, we all talk SQL and geek about it but, without the shared experience factor we’d all just be names behind posts on a Newsgroup/Forum which wouldnt be nearly as much fun!
just choose one
If I had to list a single memory though it would be from 2004, where it all started for me. You see I had just met Pat Wright, and Tom Larock and somehow they convinced me to attend the early morning (7AM If I recall) PASS volunteer session. Im not an early morning person AT ALL so I definelty felt some peer pressure to go but, I can honestly say sitting in that session hosted by Wayne Snyder has probably changed my professional career as much or more than anything else. Wayne is a very dynamic speaker and he had us all believing we could change the world, or at least the SQL portion of it. I really miss those sessions, and wish we could find a way to ressurect them because this introvert would have never become involved with PASS had it not been for that 1 single session (and the encouragement of Tom and Pat) Thanks to the 3 of you for that!
Its been too long since I updated this place…. I should apologize or make excuses but, I wont waste your time or mine thinking of them
This week is a busy week for 2011 Summit planning. Some things need direct community participation and Id like to draw your attention to them
- Lightning Talks (5 minute “mini sessions”) Call for speakers closes today at 6:59 UTC (11:59 Pacific)
If you have an idea that you’d like to talk about for 5 minutes, Id encourage you to submit. These sessions were well received last year and I expect the same this year
- Session Preferencing is open until 6:59 UTC on Aug 20 (Aug 19 11:59 Pacific time)
The Summit schedule creator(s) will make extensive use of this to properly size the rooms for each session. There is more art than science to building the schedule but, the more data we have the better.
- Applications for the Nominations Committee
Lots of hard volunteer work went into the forming of this years process. Please support it by offering your time if you have it to give.
Last year PASS decided to invest in the development of our own tools to manage the educational portion of the summit. This investment has proven to be an excellent idea as it has made running the program a lot simpler. In the past we had 2 or 3 different tools to manage the summit and thats not including the massive amount of excel spreadsheets that were passed around. This would create obvious problems when changes weren’t propagated through all the tools in the same way. In prior years it was a herculean effort to get the Summit program handled on time, this year however it has been markedly easier. Maybe its not herculean anymore but, its definitely still takes a great deal of effort from a large number of volunteers. Additionally, the same system we are using for the Summit in 2011 was used for both SQL Rally’s so in that way, the data and use of the system should start to form one experience for the entire community (speakers, volunteers & attendees) Sometimes its the small behind the scenes things that really make a difference on the admin side that the public may not see and in this case I cant say it enough how thankful I am the past PASS BOD made that decision to invest.
As part of this tools upgrade, we are able to do some interesting things that we may not otherwise be able to do like…
Produce an OData “feed” of event sessions
If your familiar with OData you can try it out here
If you want to see the Summit 2011 Sessions for instance, try this link. Feel free to give it a try and let me know if you see any issues, but note the sessions arent scheduled yet so those data elements wont be correct
Hopefully having a service like this will open up the data enough that it will be useful to someone out there. We have several internal uses planned for this feed including updating the mobile application we trialed at the SQL Rally “guidebook“ Yes, we will have a fully functioning mobile application for this years summit (and most other PASS events shortly)
Hopefully Ill be able to keep this place updated with something relevant way more often
(edit: somehow I forgot the Nomcom!! oops)
Huge Thanks go out to everyone who participated in this months T-SQL Tuesday.
I apologize for the tardiness of this post, its been a busy week with PASS finalizing the Summit Sessions.
As always, there were some awesome posts this month! If youve ever wondered why you need to prepare to recover your databases, or your life for that matter I suggest reading through the huge amount of content below.
The good stuff
Rob Farley (B | T) Writes us a two part post with half being technical about migrations, downtime and high availability and the other half being personal with regards to dealing with and controlling life’s disasters. Hats off to Rob for pouring it all out there. (sometimes it just feels better to write it all down and put it in perspective)
Noel McKinney (B | T) recounts a bad situation where he played the part of message queue during a human disaster where a developers spouse unplugged the telephone in the middle of the night (surprising this didnt cost someone a job)
John Pertell (B | T) tells us about times where he learned lessons the hard way about backups and restores. His stories hit home for me and im sure they will for most other seasoned DBAs. Ive lost more SAN arrays over the years to firmware flashes than I care to think about, so much so that I cringe when the SAN admin calls and even utters the word firmware.
Robert Davis (B | T) writes about backing up system configurations in the case of a complete server failure. Good info in one place here about what you would loose if you lost one of the system databases.
Ricardo Leka (B | T) turns in his post letting us know that its important to have a backup plan but even more important to have a recovery plan! (his post was in portugese so if I’m way off I blame google translate! Thanks for the post Ricardo)
Gail Shaw (B | T) does her best to remind us that disasters arent just huge events in the world but rather most of them involve smaller more isolated events. Id agree with her analysis and I live in the bullseye of hurricane country!
Thomas Rushton (B | T) Shared not one but two posts for this months edition of TSQLTuesda. He reminds us to test our DR plans and recounts a story of what was likely someone updating every record in a database with the same value. Which is a common disaster indeed.
Nick Haslam (B | T) wrote about an experience at a retail organization where a loss of power took out all of the systems. Seems its often the small things that get overlooked (not that power is small but, often taken for granted)
Nancy Hidy Wilson (B | T) who lives just up the road from me in Houston recounts her own personal story from Hurricane Ike. I learned I need a chainsaw and a tractor to recover from a hurricane. Also I was reminded just how far our modern jobs have come in that we can personally experience disaster and move a few hundred miles away and continue to work our day jobs since their systems *should* be designed for uptime!
Thanks again to everyone who participated this month!
Be on the watch for next months host and consider participating if you havent before!
Its the first week of June and for those of us living along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US, that brings the beginning of hurricane season. It also means its time for this months installment of T-SQL Tuesday.
This Months Topic
Disaster Recovery. This topic is very near and dear to me based on the fact that I live on a barrier island that was the site to the deadliest natural disaster in US history and more recently destroyed by the third costliest hurricane in history. Needless to say preparing for disasters is nearly instinctive to me which might explain why I’m a DBA but I digress. Anything you’d like to blog about related to preparing for or recovering from a disaster would be fair game, have a great tip you use to keep backups and recovers running smoothly, a horrific story of recovery gone wrong? or anything else related to keeping your systems online during calamity. We want to hear it!
T-SQL Tuesday info
Originally an idea dreamed up by Adam Machanic (Blog|Twitter), it has become a monthly blog party where the host picks a topic and encourages anyone to write a post on that topic then a day or 3 later produces a roundup post of all the different perspectives from the community.
- Your post must be published between 00:00 GMT Tuesday June 14, 2011, and 00:00 GMT Wednesday June 15, 2011
- Your post must contain the T-SQL Tuesday logo from above and the image should link back to this blog post.
- Trackbacks should work, but if you don’t see one please link to your post in the comments section below so everyone can see your work
Nice to haves!
- include a reference to T-SQL Tuesday in the title of your post
- tweet about your post using the hash tag #TSQL2sDay
- consider hosting T-SQL Tuesday yourself. Adam Machanic keeps the list, if he let me do it you’re bound to qualify!
Check back in a few days to see the roundup post of all the great stories your peers shared