PASS Summit Speaker Selection Changes—My Take

Published On: 2017-03-30By:

Monday PASS announced its changes to the speaker selection process, you can read the details here. This is a big change—there will be preselected speakers from a pool have folks who have a long track record of successfully speaking at PASS Summit. Is this a good thing or bad thing? I think it is a good thing, so long as it is implemented carefully. I don’t want to see new speakers get locked out of the speaking at Summit, but I also want to see good sessions from good speakers.
This change will allow PASS to better structure the conference. A good example of this is Nic Cain’s (b|t) idea for curated tracks. In order to have a “new DBA” or “new BI analyst” track, you need to have speakers collaborating with each other in order to build the complimentary track. 

Another consideration is NDA content—a good example of this was last year. I would have loved to have done a talk about SQL Server on Linux, which I knew was going to be un-NDAed by Summit, however since submission is public, I couldn’t submit an abstract on it.

My advice for new speakers who want to speak at Summit? It’s the same as it’s always been—blog (note—the blogging part of this is important!) and speak about whatever interests you. Of course, you need to be strategic about submitting to a large conference like Summit, but to a local SQL Saturday, or a user group? Those organizers are begging for speakers. Additionally, consider speaking at PASS Virtual Chapters—they are many, and they meet every month, and there is no cost (other than your time) involved with speaking there.

As you develop as a speaker and writer, you’ll get better known, and develop your own niche. You will also get rejected. Getting rejected sucks—trust me, I submitted to three Summits before I was chosen (I was also nominated for MVP like 10x before getting it, but I digress). When you get rejected look at your abstracts and try to understand how you can make them better. Have a friend or colleague review them. This is an ongoing process.

I don’t think most speakers will notice a big difference with this new process. The speakers who are preselected, were likely going to get selected anyway. The big difference is they will have chosen their topic versus being subject to the whim of the program committee. If you’re a new speaker–speak as much as you can. VCs are free, and your local user group needs speakers. If you live in the middle of nowhere, a lot of user groups will welcome remote presentations. Hone your skills. Write some blog posts (you may have noticed this is my third blogging mention, fire up your keyboard). There’s a new version of SQL Server this year. Get inspired!


Blog, please blog. Just Blog

Published On: 2017-03-28By:

My name is Denny, and I’m a blogger. I you should join me in this endeavor of writing a blog.

Blog

https://www.flickr.com/photos/christophebenoit/21854370555/

 

Why should you be blogging? Because that’s how we learn, and that’s how we share.

What Do I say in my blog?

You may think that you don’t have anything new to say, but blogging isn’t always about writing something new. It’s about putting your spin and your flare on the topic. Not every topic needs to be earth shattering, or totally new.

Where do I start?

Start by writing about something that you do at work. When you run across something interesting, or that you fix and write about it.  It’s a great way to find topics.  You can even write about something so that you have somewhere to find the information later.  (Here’s a secret, we all do that.)

Don’t worry about writing something new, write about something that you’ve experienced.

It takes so long.

It can, when you get started.  But your blog posts don’t need to be War and Piece.  This post is ~200 words.  It took 10 minutes to put together (you’ll get faster, I’ve written 1100+ posts and hundreds of articles and book pages).  They can be short and that’s just fine.

Just blog.

Blogging is expensive.

WordPress has free hosted blogging, or you can pay a few bucks and have your own domain name instead of something.wordpress.com.

Who will read what I write?

And when you start blogging, tell me the URL in the comments. That way I can read it, and so can others.

Denny

P.S. And yes, I totally stole this from Andy Leonard.  You’ll notice how we talks about everyone having their own style, this is his post in my style. Same basic information and conclusion, different format and style.  Some people will gravitate towards Andy’s approach, some towards mine.  This is why we blog about stuff that’s already been written.

The post Blog, please blog. Just Blog appeared first on SQL Server with Mr. Denny.

Azure Resource Locks are Your Friend in Development

Published On: 2017-03-24By:

One of the great advantages of the cloud computing is the ability to power off resources that are not in use to save some money. Sure, your production database servers should be running 24×7, but that VM, or SQL Data Warehouse you are developing against during the week? You can shut it down at 7 PM (1900 for the Europeans reading this) and not start it up. Azure even recently introduced an auto-shutdown feature for VMs.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 8.55.37 AM

Unfortunately, there is no auto-startup feature, but that is easy enough to code using an Azure automation job.

This sounds great, can it walk my dog, too?

Unfortunately, there’s one problem with our awesome budget saving proposal. Sometimes developers have jobs that run beyond the time they leave the office. For example, last night at one of my clients a developer had an SSIS package running after he left, and it got killed when the SSIS machine auto-shutdown at 7. That isn’t good.

The solution for this is Azure resource locks—you can put a lock on any resource in Azure. A lock can do one of the two things—first there are delete locks which simply keep a resource from being deleted. It is not a bad idea to put a delete lock on all of your production resources to prevent any accidental deletion from happening. The second type of lock is a read-only lock, and these are a little more aggressive. You can’t do anything to a resource with a read-only lock—you can’t add a drive to a VM, you can’t resize, and most importantly, you can’t shutdown the resource.

You can use the portal, PowerShell, or CLI to create a lock. It’s a fairly simple construct that can be extremely beneficial. You can get current details for lock creation from the Azure Documentation.

My developers have access to the portal (thanks to role based access control and resource groups), so I’ve instructed them on how to place locks on resources, and how to remove them. As an administrator, you probably want to monitor for locks, to ensure that they aren’t left in place after they are needed.


Accessing an Azure hosted Availability Group from On-Prem

Published On: 2017-03-22By:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/theaucitron/5810163712/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/theaucitron/5810163712/

When building an AlwaysOn Availability Group that’s hosted on VMs in Azure you may have issues querying through the Availability Group name/IP address from on-prem. You won’t see any issues when running queries from inside Azure, but you’ll see issues when running queries from machines on-prem, when connecting to Azure via a site to site VPN connection. The error that you’ll see is going to be similar to:

Msg 121, Level 20, State 0, Line 0
A transport-level error has occurred when receiving results from the server. (provider: TCP Provider, error: 0 – The semaphore timeout period has expired.)

Thankfully the fix is actually pretty simple. We just need to drop the MTU on the AG members from 1500 to 1350. Why we have to do this, I have no idea, but it works. We do this by logging onto the console of the VM and use the netsh command to change the MTU. You’ll want to schedule a job to run on the VM at startup as every time the VM restarts and moves the VM to another host the MTU may change back.

I used PowerShell to change the MTU on startup.

$AdapterName = $(Get-NetAdapter | Where { $_.Name -Match ‘Ethernet’}).Name
netsh interface ipv4 set subinterface “$AdapterName” mtu=1350 store=persistent

I choose PowerShell because the network adapter name can change (especially in Classic VMs) so we need to grab the correct name on startup.

Run the PowerShell manually, then schedule it to run at startup and the semaphore timeouts will go away. I am working with SQL Server and Azure engineering to figure out why this happens when using an AG (with an Internal Load Balancer of course) and a site to site VPN (policy based in this case) so that we can fix this and make it not happen anymore. I’ll report back when I hear back about a permanent resolution.

Denny

The post Accessing an Azure hosted Availability Group from On-Prem appeared first on SQL Server with Mr. Denny.

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As Microsoft MVP’s and Partners as well as VMware experts, we are summoned by companies all over the world to fine-tune and problem-solve the most difficult architecture, infrastructure and network challenges.

And sometimes we’re asked to share what we did, at events like Microsoft’s PASS Summit 2015.