In little under a month (November 3-6), the US PASS 2009 Summit is being held in Seattle, Washington at the downtown Seattle Convention Center. The Microsoft CSS team has been speaking and working at PASS since 2003 and this year we are back again. i thought I would share with you our involvement at this year’s conference as you may be thinking about whether you should attend or if attending what presentations and activities you should go to:
This year we only have 1 pre-conference seminar (PASS this year is doing post-conference seminars but we are not participating in that). Adam Saxton, an escalation engineer in Texas, specializes in Reporting Services. Whenever I have any questions or issue on SSRS, I turn to Adam.
So he will be presenting a day long seminar called Tackling Top Reporting Services Issues. Adam in this session will explain, review, and demonstrate what he does for a living everyday. That is solve problems customers have with Reporting Services. This includes but not limited to:
- How to look at server logs, configuration settings, and troubleshooting rendering issues
- Report Design issues such as pagination
- Issues with integration with Sharepoint
- Kerberos security issues
If I know Adam, there will be plenty of demonstrations to show during the day. If you work with Reporting Services and want to avoid problems, know how to handle certain situations, or plan better for deployment, you won’t want to miss this session
Main Conference Talks
We have four main conference talks this year by CSS engineers. I’ve listed these in chronological order by date. Please note that in past conferences I’ve seen the agenda times and rooms change at the last minute, but this information is “as is” according to the posted schedule on the PASS website.
(DBA-500-SC) Inside SQL Server Wait Types – Bob Ward
Tues 11/3 10:15 – 11:45am Room 3AB
This is a “500” level talk which means it can be very deep and internal focused. However, if you have sees “wait types” show up in DMVs like sys.dm_exec_requests and wonder what some of these mean you should attend this talk. For example, I’ll be covering wait types you can generally ignore and new wait types for SQL Server 2008 called “pre-emptive” wait types. I’ll also talk about a plan for us to document all of the wait types (at least the ones that you as customers need documentation on). In this session, I’m not going to spend much time on some of the very common “waits” you encounter every day such as locks, page latches (although I will talk about non-BUF latches), and network I/O. I’ll be going into the more obscure or advanced wait types, but also talk about things like the history behind wait types and the underlying algorithm for how they work. Plenty of demos in this talk including DMVs and Extended Events. Unlike my talk last year on memory, I’m not sure this year’s talk will be as some said a 600 level talk, but I have no doubt the Windows Debugger will pop-up somewhere in the discussion<g>
A very good complimentary session to attend is Andrew Kelly’s Capturing and Analyzing File & Wait Stats. This is where you will find a discussion on the common wait types. Andrew’s talk is scheduled right now for Thursday, 11/5 at 10:45am in Room 3AB
(DBA-X69-C) Implementing and Supporting SQL 2008 Failover Clustering - Shon Hauck
Tues 11/3 1:30-2:45pm Room 4C1-2
Shon is the “goto” guy in SQL CSS for clustering and an escalation engineer based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Before he joined our team he supported Windows clustering so he has knowledge of internals of both Windows and SQL Server clustering. Shon spent a great deal of time during the CTP launches of SQL Server 2008 giving the product team feedback on SQL Server 2008 clustering so he knows the “gotchas” before and after you deploy. If you have to support SQL Server 2008 in a clustered environment, this is a talk you need to attend. Shon always covers things in his talks that are hard to find in any online resource so I think you will come away with information you can use immediately when it comes to SQL failover clustering.
(BIA-X45-C) Top customer support issues in Analysis Services – John Sirmon
Wed 11/4 1:30-2:45pm Room 2AB
Three or four years ago, all you would have seen from CSS at PASS are talks related to the SQL Sever engine. John’s talk shows how far we have come. John is an escalation engineer in our Charlotte office and brings a unique skill set that involves both Analysis Serves and Reporting Services. The full title of his talk is Top customer support issues in Analysis Services 2005/2008 and how to resolve them. This is the type of information that CSS uniquely brings to the table at PASS. We can present to you what other customers are having problems with our software and give you solutions in the form of a talk. So John here will cover things like MDX Query Performance problems, how to handle some of the more innocuous errors like “the operation has been cancelled”, and a discussion of common design mistakes that can affect performance. Whether you manage an SSAS deployment or design SSAS objects and applications there are plenty of good tips here to make your deployment and operations of SSAS more efficient.
(AD-X43-C) Troubleshooting applications accessing SQL Server - Abirami Iyer and Lakshmi Jonnakuti
Thurs 11/5 1:00-2:15pm Room 613-614
Many people don’t know but our CSS team helps developers of data “based” applications as well as the normal “server” products. So if you develop database applications you will want to attend this session. DBAs can benefit from this session as well as Abi and Lakshmi will cover connectivity and authentication issues for applications accessing SQL Server. You will definitely want to see them demonstrate some of the tools they use everyday including BID Tracing, Network Monitor (netmon), SQL Profiler, and the Windows Debugger. Abi and Lakshmi are both in our escalation services team based near Seattle in our Sammamish office. Their focus is on Developer technologies which we often call internally “WebData”. So they both know our developer data access technologies and help developers all of the time. But they both know how our providers interact with SQL Server so this is a great talk to see the “end to end” story when it comes to client/server SQL Server issues.
The SQL Server Clinic
Last year we changed the brand name of the traditional SQL Server Service Center to the SQL Server First Aid Station. We focused our efforts on simply answering your questions about SQL Server technologies. This year we are going to change the brand name again and for a good reason. The past few years, we have found that we are sometimes pointing folks who have more “design” or “advisory” questions to the SQLCAT team. And the SQLCAT team found they were telling people with traditional “problems” to see CSS in the First Aid Station. So…. this year we will be in the same room together for something called the SQL Server Clinic. And we also have moved the room to a more central location, Room 611 which is right in the “middle” of the hallways leading to the ballrooms on the 6th floor. I’ve been told our room will be larger than last year as well.
Our CSS staff will include our speakers from the conference as well other engineers from our Sammamish office rotating in each day. This is really a unique opportunity to interact with our CSS and SQLCAT teams like no other opportunity I’ve ever seen. We cannot guarantee this is like “getting a free case” from CSS, but we definitely can point you in the right direction. I think many of our engineers also like meeting our customers face to face given we spend most of our time interacting with them over the phone or email. The questions we get in the clinic range from “how does this work” to “I have a crash can you look at it?”. In some situations in the past, I have been able to use my laptop or the customer’s and demonstrate to them how to solve a particular problem on the spot or by the end of the conference. They don’t all work out that way but I would say just about everyone that comes to us a with a question or problems leaves with more than when they walked in the door.
The clinic will be open Tuesday through Thursday of the conference. We are still finalizing the hours but generally you should be able to talk to someone from a few minutes after the keynotes each day (we want to see them too<g>) until around 5 or 6pm.
Counting both US and Europe PASS conferences, this will be my 10th PASS Summit to speak and represent Microsoft. It is definitely something I look forward to every year. I would like to hear directly from many of you reading this that will be in attendance.. So please look me up after my talk, in the hallways, at lunch, at one of the evening events, or in the SQL Server Clinic. I’m open to striking up a conversation on anything related to SQL Server. Of course, sports is a big passion for me as well so if you want to also chat about your favorite sports team, it is always a great way to start a conversation with me. See you at PASS in November!