Microsoft, SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – June 2012 Action

It’s the time for the July meetup and the June post is just coming out. Delay on my part was because of a hectic schedule. Nevertheless, better late than never, so thought of typing it now at least.

The June meetup was held on 20th June 2012 and the events lined up for the evening were,

Sanjeewa along with a demo of the installation gave some salient insights which are ignored during the process of installation. Actually, not ignored as such but rather taken for granted and how any one would blindly opt to proceed with the default settings of the wizard without digging deep. He made some recommendations for installation and mentioned the basic Software and Hardware requirements. Overall it was an informative session as I only had witnessed another installing it and actually had no knowledge of the how things worked out during installation.

Prithiviraj in his session made a comparison between Seek and Scan, where Scan would be a better option in a particular instance though Seek seemed to be the hot favourite. Finally Gogula began his session on explaining the new structure for certifications, the use of it and how one could groom their career path. This session answered a continuously bugging question in my mind which was, “Why should I go for a certification when I have a degree?” Basically, what I understood as the purpose of it is that if you’re a person who knows where you’re heading, certifications are a good way to build the road ahead of you and besides you also have an additional advantage with the “Certified” tag behind your name when you’re applying for jobs 🙂

According to where I stand, the importance of the topics discussed at the meeting were ordered in a descending order for me. Where the first session was the least important (but if I get to install in the future, it’ll definitely come handy 😉 ) and the last session was the most important (as an undergraduate who’ll be finishing the degree pretty soon and looking out for opportunities).

The July meetup is planned for today and I’m sure there will be something for everyone to get from it.

 

 

Microsoft, SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – May 2012 Action

After a month’s break SS SLUG came into action, but with a low attendance this time, probably because its the season of convocations and many of the regular attendees were missing or lack of communication about the meeting. Nevertheless, this month’s meeting was pretty concise and compact, likewise the post comes out short and early.

The meeting kicked off with two sessions that were lined up for the evening.

  • Windowing Functions in SQL Server by Dinesh Karunarathne
  • Breaking an SQL Myth in 300 Seconds – Table Variables with less data does not go to tempdb by Dinesh Asanka (MVP, SQL Server)

Dinesh K. explained that Window Function, is primarily a function that affects a particular set of rows and there are three types of Window Functions.

  1. Ranking Functions
  2. Aggregate Functions
  3. Analytic Functions

He did an in-depth explanation of each type along with a small demonstration. With regard to the third section, he went on to explain the new improvements in SQL Server 2012. A side comment was made that, this function thought it seems very useful, doesn’t come that handy with big data sets.

Next in line was Dinesh A., with a new segment, where he had to bust an SQL myth within 300 seconds. The myth for the evening was, “Table Variables with less data does not go to tempdb“. He proved a point with a demonstration on Temp Tables Vs Table Variables Vs CTE.

Overall view, this time meeting compared to the previous meetings was played at a lower key. So let’s see if June will raise the bar higher…

SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – March 2012 Action

A bit late on the post, but the March meeting memories are fresh as the dawn. It’s quite interesting to see the latest change of, effort and thought, incorporated to bring something new at every meeting. So this month’s blazing new category introduced was the “Lightning Talks“. Following was the roller coaster ride, planned for the evening.

  • Anything – SQL Lightning Talks
  • SQL Server 2012 – What’s New by Dinesh Asanka (MVP)
  • Tips on boosting your career

Ever heard of lightning not striking the same place twice? Well if you were present at the SS SLUG meeting, you would’ve seen it strike not once, not twice, but five times consecutively, at the same place and no casualties reported. The strikers were given a 2 minutes each to share their knowledge on anything related to SQL. The first striker was, Gogula Aryalingam (MVP) on the topic, My Data Mart is Better than Your Data Warehouse. The presentation was compact, concise and hit the nail. Following him was Shiham Samsudeen on Try… Catch…T-SQL Style. A simple topic, explained with easy to understand code snippets. Next was about Data Compression by Sudesh Wijayathilaka. It was a topic that would’ve been ideal for an individual session as it covered a vast area. But he tried his best to put out the basics related to the topic. Supun Thrikawala spoke of Table Variables, The good and the bad. He presented a comparison between Temp variables vs Table variables. The final striker for the lightning session was Avantha Siriwardana who spoke on SQL Server Standards. He explained on why the protocols were presented and why people should consider using them. The change was interesting and there could have been more interesting tit bits covered in the lightning talks by some more speakers.

Dinesh Asanka (MVP) took over the stage, to introduce the new features available with the new release of SQL Server 2012. Though the intention was to give a mere theoretical heads up on the new goodies, but the hype created by the attendees required a few demos and gave birth to the idea of explaining those features in individual sessions.

The next session was personally, the cream of the crop for me. It was something I was looking forward to as a university undergraduate and which I actually found quite handy. And yes, it was also more than just tips. The four maestros of SS SLUG, in no particular order, Preethiviraj Kulasingham, Dinesh Asanka, Dinesh Priyankara and Gogula Aryalingam shed some light to those of interest. It kicked off with stories directly from their bags, in order to show that, what matters is the start and the dedication you are willing to put, even if you were to start from ground zero. There was a brief up on certifications offered by Microsoft for those who are interested in building a career along the SQL route. Preethiviraj Kulasingham, mentioned four areas of focus if you really wanted to venture in this path.

The third one is at its pinnacle while the latter is an emerging field. Likewise, there were some advice on Do’s and Don’ts and what was expected from an interviewer’s perspective of both experienced and fresh graduates. What grabbed my attention was, how passionate each of them sounded with regard to the knowledge and skills required. Generally, the gamble of dollars comes to mind as you start off with career guidance tips, but this was different. It didn’t occur to anyone till the very end. For once, the emphasis was on knowledge, skill and passion.

April meeting, let’s see what they’ve rolled up in their sleeves.

SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – February 2012 Action

Very Interesting Twist this time! Follow the trail to see how their plan to climb high on the Action Meter worked well.

The evening kicked off with Gogula Aryalingam’s (MVP) session on Why OLAP? How OLAP. Lucky that I’ve read a bit or two about it prior to the session, else I would’ve ended up counting the number of chairs in the room. Before jumping into OLAP (OnLine Analytical Processing), Gogula explained about OLTP. He explained the limitations of it and how they can be overcome with OLAP. He went on to explain the basic differences between OLTP and OLAP, for instances OLAP uses the concept of Cubes over two dimensional tables. In cubes users can define multiple dimensions of data and map them accordingly. This would help in querying out results quicker, compared to OLTP. OLAP comes with a bigger advantage where one doesn’t have to break their heads over writing queries. Instead it’s a simple 2 step procedure, Drag n Drop! But if someone insists on the hard way out, they still have the option of writing queries for OLAP using MDX. He also explained that at present Data Marts are gradually replacing Data Warehouses. (Please refer Gogula’s comment on the post) The session wrapped up with a demo on how to use OLAP and proving a point that it is one of the best solutions for hard core reporting and analysis for both tech savyy and non tech savyy.

The much awaited event of the evening, Whirlwind DBA Demos by the Pearson Lanka DBA Team was up next. This was the first time they’ve incorporated something like this in the meet up I believe and it was indeed a good idea. It kind of elevated the interest of the meet up unlike the monotonous predictable routine of having 2 main sessions limited to heavy technical topics. And honestly, it was the first time I found the meet up to be very exciting 🙂

So the demos focused on the main day to day activities and issues faced. 6 presenters from the field, did mini presentations, 10 minutes each, on the following:

  1. Logical Partitioning for Better Performance by Dinesh Karunarathne
  2. Why Filtered Indexes? by Jude Pieries 

  3. Profiler as a QA Tool by Sanjeewa Jayawickrama
  4. Log Tail Backup to Recover Data by Dinesh Asanka (MVP)
  5. SQL Gimmicks by Prithiviraj Kulasingham (MVP)
  6. Reading Deadlocks by Susantha Bathige

Jude kept on emphasizing that “You should know your data” in order to get the ultimate use of Filtered Indexes. Sanjeewa spoke of the importance of Profiler for QA by providing a practical example, where there was a failure in Production because of not conducting a thorough test and how it could’ve been eliminated if they had used Profiler. Though Dinesh A.‘s topic was not a scenario faced on a daily basis, but he showed how prevention is better than cure by providing a demo. Preethi mentioned that, demos similar to the ones he showed can be found at sqlworkshops.com.

Overall the evening went well and the Demos were indeed a good add on to the meet up because they were light weighted plus very useful tips. Looking forward to another exciting event, the lightening talks planned for the next meet up.

Programming, SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – January 2012 Action

After celebrating the success of the last October meet up for two months, the first SS SLUG meet up for 2012 was held on the 18th. Last meet up had a significant turn out, where the place seemed too small to accommodate the attendees. But disappointingly, this time there was a lesser crowd.

Getting down to real business, the meet up was lined up with two sessions.

Before hitting off with his session, Dinesh A. mentioned that the content of his presentation was taken from msdn. According to which, Resource Governor, is a feature available in SQL Server, where it allows you to set limits on the resource consumption of SQL Server workloads and in turn help you manage your workload. Then he elaborated on the main concepts of Resource Governor,

  • Resource Pools
  • Workload Groups
  • Classification

What was to be noted was the mentioning of the creation of two resource pools and mapping of workload groups when SQL Server is installed.

  1. Internal resource pool and Internal workload group
  2. Default resource pool and Default workload group

The interesting part is that, the Internal group and resource pool act as the highly privileged or reserved. You cannot or should not try to modify it, because the basic commands are specified for those and are not accessible for modifications. The session ended with a comprehensive demo of how to assign a maximum and minimum CPU usage percentage for an SQL Server workload and there by monitor the CPU usage as well.

Next on stage was Dinesh P. whose session was a bit overhead for a newbie like me, but still was worthwhile for those who are well grounded in the arena. Initially he planned of getting an audience involvement by starting off an open discussion on what everyone has done to eliminate round trips. But as usual it took a fortune to get the people talking 🙂 Moving on, he spoke of the various difficulties faced and then came to the point on how to solve the issue. What I picked up was, which I wasn’t aware of, a data type called the “Table Data Type“. Dinesh did a demo on how to use the data type and Merge technique to eliminate roundtrips.

Overall rating of the session was GOOD 🙂 Am I looking forward for the next meet up?? YES, let’s see what they’ve got next time 😉

Programming, SQL Server, SS SLUG

What’s the big deal about SQL Server 2012??

SQL ServerMicrosoft SQL Server 2012 RC0 enables a cloud-ready information platform that will help organizations unlock breakthrough insights across the organization“.

Unless you were living under a rock, you must be aware of the ongoing revolution in the SQL Server world about the much anticipated release of SQL Server 2012 formerly known as SQL Server Denali. The SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate was released last week.

And if your thinking that this is gonna turn out to be another blog post on the performance of the release, you better think twice. I’m not an expert in the development of the release nor do I have a clue of what the hype is all about, but I would like to bring out what I think from an eye of an IT student by connecting the dots and and pieces of what I’ve heard and read.

Just like all software products bring in new versions by improving the flaws of the previous versions and coming up with new adornments to the existing product, the newer version of SQL Server also, successfully maintains the good old tradition. Well, according to the Release Candidate 0 announcement, what can the users enjoy??

  • Greater Availability
  • Blazing fast performance
  • Rapid data exploration
  • Credible, consistent data
  • Optimized productivity

So the buzz is all about these new/ improvised aspects of the product. If you take the track records, you can see the contribution of many tech brains to achieve its current status. But a sure thing is, SQL Server 2012, is not THE Flawless product and we could expect something better than this in the future as well. It’s just another Key milestone of the SQL Server Development!

SSSLUG
Programming, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – October 2011 Action


The October SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group meet up consisted of 3 main sessions this time.  Deviating from the conventional SS SLUG meetups, this time the team incorporated a new twist to the agenda to make the evening more interesting. Their first sign of victory was the numbers they brought in for the day.  It was the first time in the history of the SS SLUG a large number of audience gathered.

The agenda for the day was,

The performance graph of the day was similar to a cosine curve.

The first session managed to hit the mark. Dinesh A. spoke of UDFs (User Defined Functions) and also he touched on certain limitations of stored procedures that could be overcome with UDFs as well as instead of writing long lines of queries with stored procedures, how the same thing can be done using few lines of UDFs.

Progressing to the second session, Dinesh P. spoke of the upcoming enhancements made to the BI suite planned by Microsoft and if you’re doing any development for BI, how it would help you to know where you stand compared to the current progress of Microsoft. This session did not raise itself up to as the first session because there was a very small percentage of the crowd who really knew what BI was. Though Dinesh P. managed to give a bird’s eye view into BI before he began his session, as he continued the interest level on the topic dropped a bit low. He spoke of Traditional BI and the emerging trend of Self Service BI. I personally clueless about BI was looking forward for this session, because the topic on the agenda sounded pretty interesting and I assumed that it would give an overview to BI and cover some interesting areas. It was a bit of a disappointment.

Trying to gain momentum, Preethiviraj got into the field with his topic. Another session I was looking forward to. Preethiviraj spoke about what Very Large Databases were, maintaining them and some of the dos and don’ts. Since the first session started behind schedule, Preethiviraj was being hurried to finish his session sooner than the time slot allotted to him. It was a drawback that he had to cut down on his session, because all those who wanted to learn could see that he planned to deliver so much more but couldn’t because they were already behind schedule.

So hoping that next time’s SS SLUG meet up will try to improve on the shortcomings of October’s meetup and try to keep up the enthusiasm and the drive to learn in all the sessions they plan for the day.