SQL Saturday Dallas (563)

I’m 3 days out from my second SQL Saturday event as an attendee and my head is still swimming!

The most memorable things from the sessions I attended…not an exhaustive list, but highlights:

Agile Leadership Skills and Building High Performing Teams – George Govantes:

I went to this one, primarily because it was the first thing in the morning and because I am a team lead for all admins here (3 including me).  Lots of great quotes and reading/viewing references.  This was not about Agile software development, rather more about the difference between a leader and a manager.  (See every third post on LinkedIn for pithy graphics from recruiters on the same).


  • Monday morning is the most popular day to have a heart attack
  • 70% of people hate their jobs.  I am not one of them.
  • “Your team is a reflection of what you will tolerate.”  Applies to the good and the bad.
  • “Nobody has time to do it right, but everyone has time to do it over.”

Data Masking and Always EncryptedSean Werick, PragmaticWorks

What admin doesn’t want to know about new ways to secure data and keep the wrong eyes from seeing it?  Sean did a masterful job of presenting the concepts…not just from a technical perspective, but personality as well.   Engaging, entertaining and he very clearly knew the tech part.  Any time someone threw an “off PowerPoint” question at him, he nailed it.


  • Data masking
    • No Architecture difference…its all in the app, raw data is not changed
    • Complements TDE and other features
    • Role based
    • Sysadmins can ALWAYS see the data
    • Supported by Azure
    • Default Masks for rapid deployment
    • Not a replacement for row-level security and/or encryption
  • Always Encrypted:
    • Data is encrypted at rest, on the fly and in use
    • Deterministic and Randomized – pick the right one for how the data is used (Grouping, joining, etc.)
    • .Net 4.6 required
    • increases storage requirements
    • Encrypt first, then mask.

Deploy SQL Server with Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine – Bala Shankar

I’ve played with Azure SQL DB and SQL VM.  I even blogged about it for TSQL2sday.  But, having never deployed or supported a production Azure anything, how can I not go listen to a MS guy talk about it?  Bala is clearly a brilliant speaker and IT person.  If you go to one of his presentations, bring a seat belt and safety helmet…it will be fast and you don’t want to miss anything!


  • VM’s built from the Azure marketplace bring the licensing costs for Windows and SQL with them.  Bring your own license is an option.
  • Server families:  A&D (V1?) level for Dev/Test, G-series for heavy loads (G for Godzilla). My notes say DS v2 for SQL, but not finding that term in Azure portal at the moment…more research required
  • Premium storage is SSD, with SLA for performance and availability
  • Standard storage is spinning rust, SLA for availability only
  • Connect through Public IP or Virtual network/sql port 1433
  • You can now have your VM Auto-patch and Auto backup the databases (30 day retention, SQL 2014 only). VM>>SQL Server Configuration>>Automated backup
  • So much more…but my pen melted…

Lunch – Fajitas, chips, ice cream later, coffee all day.  Cool.

Hi, my name is Powershell, let’s be friends! Intro to PoSH   Amy Herold

I’ve tried to learn PowerShell off and on a few times, but inevitably I get distracted and forget it all.   I went to this session to hopefully get inspired to pick it back up.  The session was fine and Amy is a very entertaining speaker who clearly knows her stuff.  But…I’m still struggling.  I’ll probably have to hire someone to teach me one on one someday, lol!


  • Amy is a mean DBA (and proud of it)
  • The Shell and the ISE have their own profiles
  • You can do all sorts of stuff with PoSH.
  • Demos break for everyone, no matter how good you are

Let’s Break Some SQL Server Availability Groups!     John Harp

John is another one of those great speakers that clearly knows his material.   Setting up clusters, AGs, etc. on a laptop for a presentation is no small amount of work.

This was a high-speed, high-energy presentation.   I put the pen down and just watched, trying to pick up a few nuggets as we went along.  John had some things break of course, since we were trying to break some AGs. The ones that broke outside of the plan were fixed/resolved quickly.

Random Acts of Senseless Databasing – Kris Hokanson

I went to this one due to its time slot at the end of the day, my brain being at capacity, and just to hear some crazy things people do.  This blog used to be dedicated to that topic!  Former name – “You want fries with that?”

Single biggest takeaway was to look into sp_executesql instead of Exec() for stored procs.   It may not be perfect for every situation, but it may also save your bacon.   Kris referenced the SQLSkills post on it here.

Funniest part of this was the actual live crickets in the room being the only sound at one point after “Any questions on this?” {crickets}…


I had a great time!  The event was well organized and well run.  The presentations started on time and the rooms were easy to find.  A wide variety of topics and well known speakers makes for a must attend event.  SQLSaturdayKC was happening the same day, and MSIgnite was firing up as well.   Its a testimony to the passion of the SQL Server Community that these did not dilute the speaker pool!

Kudos to the leaders and volunteers for a top-notch event that wore me out 🙂


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