PASS 2008 Conference – Day One

Yeah, I’m at another conference – but I didn’t have to travel far for this one! I’m at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) conference here in Seattle, Washington. OK, I did have to take a train and a bus to get to the convention center, but this time I didn’t have to take a passport.


I spoke today in a “Pre-Conference” – it’s a long, single session with a deep-dive on a technical subject. I spoke on High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HADR) with two members of the team that writes those features, and two members of our “CAT”, Customer Advisory Team. The latter two roam around the world working our large engagements or the ones that have the really difficult problems. It was an honor to be able to present with them.


I acted as the “glue” for the session. I explained our goals, what we planned to cover, and introduced each topic. I also transitioned the topics from one concept to another. We had a room full of engaged folks who wanted to learn more about HADR from a Microsoft perspective.


To make the presentation cohesive, the team and I worked for a few weeks on the flow ahead of time. We discussed the final outcome first – “what would provide the biggest benefit for our listeners?” Our idea was to explain the terms and concepts around HADR, and then explain how to create a full strategy for HADR for a business or organization. We have a lot of tactical solutions for HADR, including Failover Clustering, Database Mirroring, Log Shipping and Replication, along with backup strategies to secure data.


We make a distinction between High Availability, which roughly translates to “how available” an application needs to be, and Disaster Recovery, which has to do with how quickly you can get back to work after an “unplanned” outage. Yes, there are “planned” outages, such as upgrading a system or applying a Service Pack. Putting all the strategies together with the tactics available gives you the ability to talk to your organization about the costs and benefits of a particular level of availability and recovery.


The presentation went very smoothly, and the only “gremlins” we faced were a laptop that at first refused to recognize the external projector – hey, you have to have some sort of problem when you present or it isn’t real!


Tomorrow I’m meeting with a few folks for interviews and panel discussions. Thanks again to the amazing folks in the audience – I truly hope you got your money’s worth today! 


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