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SQL Data Partners Podcast

In this podcast, I discuss a variety of SQL Server related topics mixed with a sprinkling of professional development and I talk with some of the biggest names in the industry. I want to introduce new and familiar topics and talk about them in a way you may have not considered. We are all on different stages as data professionals. I hope you will join me and Steve on the SQL trail compañeros--you won't regret it.
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SQL Data Partners Podcast
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Companeros, welcome to the SQL Data Partners Podcast, a podcast dedicated to SQL Server related topics which is designed to help you become familiar with what’s out there, how you might use features or ideas and how you might apply them in your environments.

Mar 22, 2017

Why can't we just get along? There can be a real love/hate relationship between those of us with data responsibilities and those who are responsible for SharePoint environments.  We want to provide good service to those environments, but there are SO MANY things we can't do on a SharePoint database.  To see how the other half lives, we invited Todd Klindt onto the program to give us his thoughts on how we can all get along a bit better.

Because Todd suggests the “SQL and SharePoint communities should understand each other a little better”, we will try to tackle some of the obstacles the teams face so you can be better armed to support your SharePoint team.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/02/08/episode-88-sharepoint/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Mar 15, 2017

Why do some features get all the fun?  I would like to be a fly on the wall at some of the Microsoft feature development meetings. There are many very cool features that didn't get quite enough love to get the adoption they deserve.  In this episode we are talking about Resource Governor and before you roll your eyes, you may be interested to know some of the side benefits of using the feature.  We are joined by Mark Wilkinson from channeladvisor to give us an overview of the feature and how they use it to manage SQL resources and workloads.

One interesting story is how their team won the query challenge last PASS summit using Resource Governor so it is pretty powerful. Mark will also share his experiences using Resource Governor in different working environments. He will also be discussing the basics and tips about building the classifier function of Resource Governor. Furthermore, we will go through setting up I/O caps, resource pools and workloads, and the NUMA node affinity.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/02/08/episode-87-resource-governor/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Mar 8, 2017

Based on listener feedback we got from episode 72, a request was made to have a conversation about testing frameworks and in this episode we are going to focus on tSQLt.  We are pleased to have Sebastian Meine, the creator of the tSQLt unit testing framework, on the podcast with us.  We talk about the basic principles of tSQLt Framework when it comes to unit testing. Sebastian will also be discussing about the do’s and don’ts as well as the different aspects to be considered when using the framework. Sebastian makes the case for why you should take the time to create unit tests and we discuss the challenges culture might play into the use of the framework.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/03/03/episode-86-tsqlt/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

 

Mar 1, 2017

Have you done your migration to SQL Server 2016 yet? Don’t worry—you aren’t alone. With all the glory of new features and improved performance, not all upgrades are equal. In this episode we talk with Javier Villegas who returns from episode 2 to talk about some of the issues he ran into on the upgrade to 2016. He stumbled on a process that normally runs for 7 minutes prior to the upgrade and then 26 hours after the upgrade. While it all worked out, he shares the issues he had and gives us a reminder that testing has not been deprecated.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/01/25/speedbumps/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Feb 22, 2017

The Microsoft Most Valued Professional or MVP award--while it’s hard work and dedication to be called an MVP, what are the benefits? Well, Kathi Kellenberger is a great member of the SQL community, traveling to many SQL Saturdays, speaking at conferences about SQL server, and this time she is here with us to tell us what it really means to be an MVP and the great journey it has been to becoming one.

Do you actually know the percentage between men and women MVPs in the world and US? How many posts do MVPs have on forums, helping others? How do they keep track of all the SQL Saturdays, User Groups, conferences they have been to? Kathi will be sharing her story, the process that she went through until she became an MVP, how you get nominated, and how to get renewed!

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/02/22/episode-84-mvp/ and have fun on the SQL trail. 

Feb 15, 2017

We’ve all been there – you have some data and you need to make it pretty for the report. With the all the new reporting options you have probably been tempted to find a new way to visually present information.  In this episode of the podcast, we are talking about data visualizations and our guest, Jonathan Stewart, has some issues with the way we currently go about it.  Jonathan has been on the show as a panelist and I have really enjoyed his perspective on things so we invited him on the program to discuss some ways you can go about improving the data visualization of your reports, without adding additional burden on process.

Psychology plays a big role in data visualization. To make a good report, before even starting your tool, you should be able to summarize what the report presents. One of the major aspects of psychology is color and how we perceive it. Jonathan explains how we can use this while visualizing data.  We discuss color blindness and I haven't heard this discussed too much elsewhere and I was curious to know how we can solve this problem with an easy button.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/02/15/episode-83-data-visualizations/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Feb 8, 2017

In the previous episode we discussed the basics of using indexes, what they are, how to use them, along with some common problems and solutions. One of the problems you will certainly face as time passes is index fragmentation. While indexes will certainly help your database perform well, they do require care and feeding--meaning there is some administrative overhead.

In this episode, we continue our conversation with Randolph West and discuss what we can do to take care of indexes and keep them well maintained over time. There is an option to use default maintenance plans and to do fragmentation and updating statistics, but should you use them? What are the alternatives?  We didn’t forget to consider strategies for deciding which indexes to keep and which can be dropped.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/02/08/episode-82-indexes-part-2/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Feb 1, 2017

Part of what we like to do on podcast is to present topics and discuss different ways you might use features. In this episode, we go back to basics and discuss indexes. Like most topics, we made sure to explain all the important aspects. Because this is a such broad topic, we decided to carry this over into our next episode as well. Using the phone book as an example, we chat with our guest Randolph West and explain heaps, non-clustered indexes, and clustered indexes. We also explain best practices to use them when creating new tables.

We didn’t forget to cover the problems you might run into. For example, you might not think about indexes until your data grows very large. Sure, you can attempt to resolve the problem by moving to SSD’s and increasing memory, but this will push the issue further in the future. In this episode, we will discuss considerations for indexes and why database architecture is so important.

We would like to hear your opinions. What are your strategies when using indexes? Use the hashtag #sqlpodcast and let us know!

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/02/01/episode-81/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Jan 25, 2017

When was the last time you deployed code and then found an issue with the version of a stored procedure, a setting, or even a service pack?  While we data folk don't generally have as much trouble with environment issues are our developer counterparts, it can still be a big deal.  Spinning up a VM may not be such a big deal anymore; however, most of us still have to request one and wait.  What if you could take care of the OS and the SQL Server and not worry about setting up another development environment?  Our guest today is Andrew Pruski and he talks to us about how he is using containers to support his environments and the flexibility it provides to his and his co-workers.

While the Linux containers seem to get lots of love, one unique thing about Andrew's setup is he is running Windows containers with older versions of SQL Server.  What is cool to me is there are tools out there that can help us folks running windows get up and running without having to wait on our infrastructure to upgrade to Windows server 2016.  If you are using containers, I would love to hear about it.  Use the hastag #sqlpodcast and let us know!

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at  http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/01/24/sql-server-containers/ and have fun on the SQL trail. 

 

Jan 18, 2017

Although the SSIS Catalog DB is created with management studio, it does not behave like other databases.  Our conversation in this episode revolves around the catalog, SSIS packages, and some of the complexities of migrating packages.  Steve and I are excited to  chat with our guest Andy Leonard about his thoughts on the catalog and how this feature provides some really interesting benefits for ETL architecture.

The shownotes for today’s episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/01/17/episode-79-ssis-catalog/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Jan 11, 2017

As database administrators, we will all upgrade our environments at some point; however, we don't normally have the opportunity to upgrade to the next version of SQL Server before it becomes available to everyone else.  In this weeks episode of the podcast, Steve and I chat with Brian Carrig about the journey channeladvisor took to implement SQL Server 2016 in their environment, that it was like working with the SQLCAT team, and how they go about making use of some of the new features.  Brian shares with us some of the struggles they were having along with how the 2016 version helped address these issues.

Brian invites everyone to upvote his connect item which you can find on the shownotes

The show notes are available at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/01/11/conversionto2016/ and have fun on the SQL trail!

Jan 4, 2017

We invited Paul Turley on the show to chat with us about some of the new features in SQL Server reporting services, but were pleasantly surprised to have the conversation take a different direction.  Paul talks about some of the new training available for those interested in visualizations and why this community can be hard to define--and connect with.  There are so many visualization options and even within Microsoft we have many products that overlap in functionality.  In addition to talking about the pick list items of new features, Paul gives some guidance and why you should choose certain products and what makes good use case scenarios for some of the new features.

With the new analytics features now available in SQL Server 2016 via SP1, I think there is going to be additional requirements for data professionals to provide better analytics features and this episode is a good starter for how to frame those conversations. 

Show notes for today's episode can be found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2017/01/03/reporting-improvements/ and have fun on the SQL trail!

Dec 31, 2016

Availability groups provide some exciting features in mixing high availability and disaster recovery; however, from a performance consideration, there are a few drawbacks.  With the advances in SQL Server 2016, our guest Jimmy May from SanDisk, set out to test the features and see if they could get some really high performance out of an availability group with two synchronous replicas. In this episode he talks with us about some of his findings and some of the pains associated with getting there. 

Show notes are available at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/12/31/availability-group-improvements/ and have fun on the SQL trail!

Dec 21, 2016

Storage testing and validation is something what we to add under roles and responsibilities as DBAs. Every database we ever manage is going to need one, but how often do we kick the tires? Many times we’re basically told to go verify that array or we’re doing this POC, we’re testing this new storage, but are we really only testing connectivity?  In this episode of the podcast, we chat with Argenis Fernandez about how he goes about testing a SAN array and the important metrics you should consider for your storage.  If you are still using SQLIO or even Diskspeed to test the IO for your SQL Server, don't miss today's episode.

The shownotes for today's episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/12/21/episode-75-testing-storage-devices/ and have fun on the SQL trail.

Dec 14, 2016

As the year 2016 comes to a close, Steve and I share our thoughts on our accomplishments for the year and what lies in store for 2017.

Dec 8, 2016

At some point all data administrators will have to tune their environments and there are may ways you might go about that.  In this episode, we talk with Pinal Dave about how he does performance tuning and the thought process behind the approach.

Nov 30, 2016

In the data space we're hearing a lot about dev ops, continuous integration and the programmers are getting a lot of love there with lots of tools to help them; however, if you're on the data side--not so much.  If you're running Agile in your environment and then you're trying to do data warehousing or other data development we're not quite getting the same love. Sure, there are a couple of unit testing software offerings out there, but it's a little bit cumbersome.  This episode our conversation focuses on testing automation in a business intelligence or data warehouse environment--even in an Agile system.  Our guest is Lynn Winterboer and she has some interesting thoughts at the intersection of business users, data professionals and tools.   

 

Show notes for today's episode can be found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/12/03/episode-72-testing-automation-for-business-intelligence/

Nov 23, 2016

It is easy to feel like the odd man (or gal) out in the SQL Community.  We are constantly hearing about new features, products, and architectures and our companies may not always have the same enthusiasm when we describe what could be.

This is probably even more true in the Analytics space as much of the marketing has been pointed in that direction.  Even PASS tried to create a conference just for Analytics.  While there are some amazing new technologies out there--we might--GASP--not need them in every scenario. 

Our guest today is Kevin Wilkie, a BI architect with Innovative Architects and he talks to us about some of the tools he uses and spoiler--they aren't all that fancy.  He also talks with us about how he manages the tech and business users so each feels comfortable and each can get their work done. 

The show notes for today's episode are at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/11/23/BI-Tools/ and we'll see you on the SQL trail!

Nov 16, 2016

In the keynote of PASS summit 2016 Rohan Kumar, the program manager for SQL Server proudly displayed a database restore to a SQL Server instance installed on Linux.  What makes this all even more interesting is the database was sourced from a Windows server.  While it might not sound like much, the number of operating systems SQL Server runs on has now doubled.  This is no small feat and our guest today Travis Wright is the program manager for the SQL Server on Linux migration.  While I have to admit I was not super excited about the news when it came out last year, I am definitely more interested and think there is a huge opportunity for SQL Server administrators to get access to jobs they wouldn’t have before.  I know you will enjoy this interview with Travis.

Get the Linux for the preview and other items on the show notes page http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/11/16/sql-server-on-linux/ and have fun on the SQL trail!

Nov 9, 2016

We have all been there–next, next, next–let’s just get this install done.  While there are many ways to get SQL Server installed on a server, the real impact is in the way we administer the database and when we want to get good performance.  Listener James Youkhanis asked us about our install checklist and Steve and I realized we hadn’t made one public before.  In this episode of the SQL Data Partners podcast, we talk about some of the settings we are looking for when we set up a server.  We don’t have time to reference every single item, but hit some highlights.  Your list might differ slightly, but our list has been built from the experiences we have seen over time from various installations.  We love to other opinions, so give us your thoughts!

The show notes for today's episode and the install checklist are available at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/11/09/sql-server-install-checklist/.  Have fun on the SQL trail compañeros!

Nov 2, 2016

For all of us working with data, we know that we work no only with SQL Server but the suite of tools around the SQL Server engine.  In this episode, we share some thoughts around SSIS administration, which is the most popular ETL tool in the Microsoft stack.  Just like the SQL Server engine, many times the defaults are taken and in this episode we give some thoughts around logging, package execution, and notification with our guest Ravi Kumar.  With the every expanding functionality of SSIS, Steve and I found this discussion insightful as we think about supporting an SSIS environment and ways we can educate package developers.

The show notes for today's episode can be found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/10/15/ssis-administration/ Have fun on the SQL trail!

Oct 27, 2016

Compañeros! The good organizers SQLSaturday in Pittsburgh allowed me to take a slot on the schedule and opened up the podcast for a little Q&A session and I was super happy with the results.  We had several SQL Server pros come and our conversation was around one central issue--testing in your development environment.  We came at from a setup perspective, but also from a how to compare apples and oranges when your hardware is different.  Because we had a developer ask the question, I opted to call this episode  “Dear Developer”. Hear from Microsoft MVPs and SQL Server consultants such as Allen White, Kevin Feasel, Jonathan Stewart, Tim McAliley and others give their thoughts on this subject.  At the very least you will have a few more ideas on where to start looking for potential options to your testing after listening to this episode.

The show notes for todays episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/10/15/deardeveloper/ 

Oct 19, 2016

After talking with Patrick Thomas in episode 64, I was introduced to Microsoft's newest learning curriculum, the Microsoft academy, and their first offering in data science.  In this episode, I talk with one of the lead course writers Graeme Malcolm about the new program.  Microsoft consulted data scientists along with several companies to identify the core skills they need to be successful. A curriculum was developed to teach these functional and technical skills, combining highly rated online courses with hands-on labs, concluding in a final capstone project. This episode talks about the new program and what is next for Microsoft learning.

The show notes for today's episode is found at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/10/18/professional-program/ and we'll see you on the SQL trail!

Oct 12, 2016

This week on the SQL Trail, Steve and I chat with Jason Horner about building a good data architecture. When talking about a data warehouse architecture, or even just a data architecture, people often think about building the data warehouse and specifying the server hardware, building the ETL, things like that--they tend to lose sight of the larger picture of data architecture.  Jason gives us his “four pillars of data warehouse architecture” and how each of them impacts what you are able to do from a reporting prospective.

We are super excited to have Jason on the show with us this week.  You can catch the show notes at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/10/03/data-architecture/ and we'll see you on the SQL trail.

Oct 5, 2016

Have you ever thought that Microsoft certifications were a waste of time? Depending on where you are on the experience scale, certifications still play a large role in hiring and career development.  In Episode 64 of the SQL Data Partners Podcast I talk to Patrick Thomas the program manager for the MCT and MCP programs and the role they play at Microsoft and in what way they continue to provide value, including what’s in store for data science learners and what he thinks of the Microsoft purchase of LinkedIn.

The show notes are available at http://sqldatapartners.com/2016/10/03/microsoft-mcp/ and we'll see you on the SQL trail!

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