Execution plans, laundry, and a giveaway

Execution plans, laundry, and a giveaway

In just a week from now, SQL Saturday #337 will kick off in Portland, Oregon. And I will be there – the third time already for me to be speaking in Portland.

For a European, Portland is not the most logical location. But the organization over there is a pretty smart bunch of people. They figure that being close to Seattle gives them a great opportunity – so whenever they get the chance, they will reserve a Saturday just before the PASS Summit in Seattle for their own event. And then they make sure to organize this event so extremely well that people, speakers as well as attendees, will want to travel a few days early and make Portland their first stop.

SQL Mastery Sessions

But this year, the crew of SQL Saturday Oregon tried something new. They have added a day of pre-cons (or, as they call it, SQL Mastery Sessions) to their program. On Friday, October 31, three speakers will deliver a full-day session, allowing them to dive much deeper in their favorite subjects.

For the BI fans, Mark Tabladillo will present on “Self-Service BI with Power BI”. I do not know Power BI (or any BI at all), but I do know Mark and I am sure that the session will rock. Based on the abstract, I think it will be a “from zero to hero” type of day. If you want to be the one that brings self-service BI into your organization, go and sign up for this session!

If you are more DBA oriented, then you should definitely consider going to another rock star in the SQL world: Argenis Fernandez. His session “SQL Server Internals and Data Recovery” promises to give you a real deep-dive insight in how SQL Server stores data, how fate and bad karma can cause that data to become corrupted, and (in my opinion the most important skill a DBA should have, and one you hope never to have to apply to your production database) how to salvage your company’s valuable data if the unthinkable happens. Argenis will correct me if I’m wrong (see the comments below), but based on the abstract I suspect that this session is not for the faint of heart, nor for the beginning DBA. But if you are at least at medior level and want to learn how to recover from almost every imaginable disaster, then this is the session where you should be!

Both sessions sound great to me, but I am spared the challenge of choosing – because I will be presenting the third SQL Mastery Session, aimed at a target audience of both database developers and DBAs at intermediate level. In “Understanding Execution Plans”, I will explain how to read an execution plan, starting at the very beginning (like: what is an execution plan and where do I find it), and then exposing intimate details of what SQL Server is doing when your query is running. You will learn how a merge join operator processes a right anti semi join, how an exchange operator shoves data between threads, how aggregation relates to my laundry, and hundreds of other things – but most of all, you will learn knowledge that you can apply to slow queries at work, to get a better understanding of what makes them slow, and how you could fix it.

First the bad news

Earlier this week I was told that my SQL Mastery Session is already sold out. That is great for me – nothing strokes the ego as much as seeing that there are many people who do not run away screaming at the idea of spending a day locked up with me in a classroom, listening to me talking geek, but are actually prepared to spend real dollars for the privilege. But for you, the reader, this may be bad news – especially if the paragraphs above have whetted your appetite and you now also want to be there. But don’t despair, you can sign up for the waiting list and hope a slot fills up. But there is another option as well.

Then the good news

The good news is that the kind people of the SQL Saturday Oregon organization have given me permission to give away one seat to my session. If you win, you not only get a $129 value admission ticket, you even get bypass the waiting list to find yourself in the last available seat, reserved especially for you! Sounds good? Yeah, thought so. So, how do you apply?

Easy. You just have to help the SQL Saturday Oregon team and me to get all three sessions sold out. Spread the word, do the marketing! Here are the simple steps:

  1. Write on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, a web forum, or any other public place why you think that everyone should sign up for the SQL Mastery sessions in Oregon. Be original, be creative, and most of all: be convincing!

  2. Send me an email, with a link to your post. Send it from an address where you will be able to receive replies – otherwise I will not be able to contact you.

  3. Wait, pray, and hope.

On Monday, October 27, I will write all email addresses on paper slips, throw them in a bowl, and draw the winner. To reward effort, I do reserve the right to put in two, three or even four slips for entries that are especially creative, convincing, and/or original. This is determined on a purely subjective basis by an independent jury consisting of only me. But every entry will result in at least one slip in the bowl, so every participant has a chance to be the lucky winner!

I will pass the email address of the winner to the SQL Saturday Oregon team, who will them contact him or her to work out the details.

Everyone’s a winner

Only one person can win the main prize. But everyone who enters in the competition will receive a consolation prize. I will not disclose what that prize is at this time – just watch your email next week, to see the surprise.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Marc Schluper
    November 1, 2014 23:12

    Your SQL Mastery Session on Understanding Execution Plans matched the abstract very well.

    I am looking forward to a session on How To Use Execution Plans To Improve Performance. It would be very practical, and introduce properties in the Execution Plan as they are needed to help improve performance. Rather than being complete and explaining even the rarest operator, it would address the properties most commonly needed to improve performance.

    I am looking forward to receiving yesterday session’s example code.

  • Hugo Kornelis
    November 3, 2014 03:28

    Thanks for the feedback, Marc!

    You are right that I don’t focus on troubleshooting scenarios. I made a deliberate choice to focus on the building stones of the plan, and give the attendees the knowledge to understand both the individual elements, and the understanding of how they interact. Hence my analogy to learning language at the start.

    My belief is that this knowledge may take more time to process and land, but once it does can be applied in more situations. Consider it a longer-term investment.

    This is a very personal opinion, and your mileage may vary. But this is they way I have always liked to learn, and hence this is now also the way I like to teach.

    But I do understand your feedback, and I will keep it in mind.

    I have sent to the SQL Saturday organization a copy of the slides and a copy of the SSMS solution file with all the demo code (including the demos I had to skip for time reasons). I don’t know whether they have already distributed this to the attendees, but if not they will undoubtedly do so later this week.

    Thanks for your comment, and for attending my SQL Mastery Session! 😉


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