Archive for October, 2010

What do you have planned for you future? Is your future in your reach, do you have the goals set that you need to reach the future that you want?

Think of it this way… If you need to get to a distant city in a car, are you driving the car or is someone giving you a ride, and you hope that you reach your destination?

This is what Steve Jones and I had in mind when we sat down and designed the session “Finding Your Dream Job”. So when we proposed the session to SQL Rally as a pre-conference we tried to make sure that we put a lot of emphases on why you may want to attend the session. A key point that we want to get across is that you don’t have to be looking for work to prepare yourself for your dream job. There are a number of reasons why I think you may want to make sure you attend this session even if you currently are not looking for your dream job.

Mergers and Acquisitions – In the economy today companies are folding, being sold out right and are merging with other companies just as often as they were in a good economy. Many of these transactions take place without employees knowing, many of these transactions leave staff looking for new positions.

Contract Work – A great way to increase your experience is picking up contract work, but short contract can leave you looking for a new contract a short time after you have started.

Experience – The best way to learn how to do an interview, write a resume is by doing it, seeing the results and adjusting. If you are not staying current or have not done this a number of times how do you judge if what you are doing is right? In this session we will share our experience with you to help you avoid common mistakes that people may not have even known they were making.

Your competition is doing it – When you are looking for a job, you really have an implied sales job. You are selling yourself and you are trying to show why you are better than the other options. Well the other option is the other people out applying for the same position that you are. They are honing their skills not with just SQL Server but with making sure they are positioned for their dream job.

For us to be selected as a pre conference we need your help, we need for you to vote on a pre-conference that you may be interested in, if you would like to see the full abstract for the session that can be found here. We hope to see you in Florida.


In just a few weeks I will be in Seattle gearing up for the full week up there, the summit is Nov. 8th to 11th. But what do you do if you still have some things that you want to learn, or what if you have speakers you wanted to talk to. Well there are many options for you. One of these options is a local SQL Saturday. But this year in May there is going to be a SQL Rally… It is going to be a 2 day event that will include preconference seminars as well. As I mentioned I will be at the Summit and well I am hoping I will be at the Rally. Steve Jones from SQL Server Central was willing to submit a session with me for a Pre-Conference event. At this point it looks like we have made it past the first line of acceptance. The next line of acceptance is you… Yes we need you to help us be selected for speakers during the Pre Conference. Just in case you were wondering… Here is the session that Steve and I proposed.


Finding your Dream Job

SQL Server MVP’s Steve Jones and Chris Shaw

The job market is becoming more and more competitive all the time as employees become more and more efficient at accomplishing more work and employers look to reduce their headcounts. This session will present the attendee with practical tips, tricks, and skills for enhancing their marketability. They will learn how to better use networking to their advantage, both online and offline, develop a technical blog, and build a better resume. Once someone has an interview, we provide them with techniques to prepare for the interview, and how to not only impress the potential employer, but also assess if this is the job they really desire.


  1. A technical blog not only shows your expertise but your dedication to your trade. Come out of this session learning what works well with a blog and how to leverage it in the job search.
  2. Does anyone hire without researching a candidate online? Learn how to use the internet to your advantage.
  3. Come away with a method you can use to see how well you and a opportunity match up.
  4. Spend time learning the do’s and don’ts of a resume. Bring your resume along with you for an opportunity to have it reviewed.
  5. Interviews are the decision point in most employment decisions, make sure you are not making one of the common mistakes that will eliminate your from the running.

We are really excited to have a chance to speak at the SQL Rally. If you have some time and you think this session looks like something you would like to see, please vote on the session.




Manage Your Identity

Posted: October 19, 2010 in SQLServerPedia Syndication

A couple of weeks ago there was a company that had a long and very public outage. From the information that I was able to find it appears that the outage was caused by a limit that was set in the database maybe years ago when the database was first designed. It appears that the company was using an identity on an integer as one of the columns in one of the tables. All was working well until the identity reached the 2.1 billion mark (2,147,483,647). When the next row was being inserted the identity could not insert another value because the int just could not store the value. It was out of range. I would like to say this issue is an isolated case, but the truth is I have seen this in other companies as well. As we people/companies understand the importance of data we start keeping more of it.

I spent some time looking at this issue and I was looking at some of the ways that the outage can be avoided. After looking and thinking about this for a short bit I decided that I needed to monitor or manage the values of my Identity’s. By using a table that I have blogged about before I simply ran a query to find all the identity columns and the max values they had. I then insert into this table the percentage of the identity values used. The query looks something like this.

SELECT AS SchemaOwner, AS ObjectName, AS ColName, AS Datatype,

    CASE typ.length

        WHEN 4 THEN 2147483647

        WHEN 8 THEN 9223372036854775808

        ELSE 32000

AS Size,

    Last_value AS LastValue,

CONVERT(INT,last_value)/CASE typ.length

                WHEN 4 THEN 2147483647

                WHEN 8 THEN 9223372036854775808

                ELSE 32000


    * 100)

    AS PercentFull

INTO #IdentCheck

sys.identity_columns col –sys.all_columns col

sys.systypes typ

ON col.system_type_id = typ.xtype

sys.objects obj

ON col.object_id = obj.object_id

sys.schemas sch

ON obj.schema_id = sch.schema_id

WHERE col.is_identity = 1

    AND obj.type =



FROM #Identcheck

WHERE PercentFull >= 1



INTO DBStats..MyTable


    ‘Ident Check’,


    SCHEMAOwner +
+ ObjectName +
+ ColName +
‘ Is ‘
CONVERT(CHAR(3), PercentFull)

    FROM #Identcheck

    WHERE PercentFull >= 1

Does this solve the issue? No. This will not allow me to store greater values, however what this does do for me is give me a heads up on what tables are starting to reach the point where the field value needs to be increased. This is designed to give me the advanced notice so that the outage does not creep up on me.

Ok before we go into that I have to apologize for not taking more time to sit down and do a wrap up of SQL Saturday #53. To give you a decent excuse I was sick. Not a lot more to it other than I have been sick. I could tell you about how my voice has dropped two octaves or how a friend of mine said I should be in radio with this voice, nut this is not want I want to talk with you about. I wanted to give out Kudos for SQL Saturday #53. I can tell you that I have not been to a better location for an event of this size where the fee was 0. The only place I have been to that was all like this was a conference that Stephen Wynkoop did a number of years ago in Tucson. And it’s because they had a water slide.

So the award for the best location for a SQL Saturday by my opinion is…..

This location was an old casino on a lake. The neat thing is there was a number of places to eat, the registration was easy, and well it just was easy to look at.

This was an area outside the casino where we could sit and watch the traffic and the river. But it was not all fun and games. There was a lot of work to do and a lot of people that wanted to talk with everyone around. The networking was incredible. The hosts and I hope I get them all (please let me know who I missed). Bill Grazino, Bill Fellows, Kate, and Michael Gelphman. I meet a number of friends there like Lance Hara and Kathi Kalenberger. The even was just awesome all around, I even have some new friends like Bill in KC and Wendy from Chicago. What a great event.

Andrew who spent hours working and helping at the event just could not avoid the sleep, ok honestly none of us could, I just caught him on film.

But it was not all fun and games. Andrew who spent hours working and helping at the event just could not avoid the sleep, ok honestly none of us could, I just caught him on film.


So later this week I have some more code to post and more sessions to past as well, I had a great time as did the other Colorado members, If I missed you please let me know. In turn it time to say goodby. See you next year.

Speaker Day in KC

Posted: October 2, 2010 in SQLServerPedia Syndication
  • When you go to a town you have never been to, or a town that you have not really seen from a locals stand point there is always questions on the best way to see the area. There is always the array of pamphlets at the hotels for a last ditch effort, but is that the best bet?
  • How do you treat speakers that come into town on a weekend to speak at your event?
  • What is good to eat in the area that you live, I mean we all have to eat right?

Really all this points to a handful of questions on what happens the day before SQL Saturday. It appears that Kansas City has taken this opportunity to shine. We started the day here around noon with a bus that just did not have enough clearance to get out of the drive, after a number of snickers and cheers we were well on our way. Bill Graziano was kind enough to take us around KC for a real treat. It was my first ever Bar Be Que crawl. What is that you ask???? We went from restaurant to restaurant ordering a small bit of food to give us a sample of the local favorites. I have to say I had a great time and ended up in places that I would not have normally gone to by myself. Some of the places we ate have been feeding presidents for years.

Once we finished up the crawl, we had some minor obstacles that we had to overcome before we headed to our Suite. Not the hotel Suite, the Suite at the Royals baseball game. We were had yet even more food, a great view of the game and company for hours. The water fountains in the outfield were awesome and local vendor cart that sold custer became a spot that only a few of us were able to find.

Before you know it we are back in the camper having a debate on some of the topics that we had been discussing during the day. End result is up to this point I can tell you that the KC area hosts one heck of a SQL Saturday. Thanks KC. If you will have me I will be back next year.


Well it took us 11 hours to go from Colorado Springs to KC. You may be asking yourself why the heck would 4 guys jump in one of those guys camper and drive 11 hours. If you did that is a good question. Half of us are out here to speak at a great event that has been making its way across the country. This phenomenon that I speak of is the SQL Sat. These are events that are hosted by local groups that ask that speakers come and share their wealth of knowledge. Last weekend in Denver we had over 160 people show with some great sessions delivered by a number of speakers. So if you are looking for some great free training with speakers that you may not always have a chance to see look for a SQL Saturday in your area.

But I have still not answered the question. What the heck motivated us to do this, I mean heck one of us may be getting a cold, one of us have had the nocturnal habits compared to a bear while the other two are cannot stop using twitter. Well here is the scoop. These trips are out of pocket for most speakers, so rather than spending $400.00 for each of us to get a rom and another $1,000.00 on flights makes for a combined total of $1,400.00 without food and a rental car. But when we do it together we are able to do the trip for about $600.00.


So here in the camper we have plenty of room, and for one of us at least we are used to the bed. Rather than a hotel room hall we have a nice little patch of grass and a couple in the site next to us on their way to Texas. The only thing that we are not going to be able to do that we planned on is a camp fire. But I think we are going to hit one on the way back I think.

Here in about an hour we are going to do a BBQ crawl and then over to the Royals baseball game. I would much rather attend qualifying over at the race track but I already have a ticket to tonight’s game. That and the guys I am with would much rather watch a slow baseball game than cars driving at 180 MPH. So I will post more pictures later tonight or Saturday some time.