Iowa Code Camp – Call for Speakers

This is a little late, but I want to mention that the Iowa Code Camp has put out a call for speakers. I’ve spoken with Greg, and he told me they’re still looking for 2 or 3 more SQL-related sessions. If you have a topic you’d like to speak on, please send him an e-mail!

I’ll also be speaking at this year’s Code Camp on May 2nd. Here’s a brief overview of my planned topic:

SQL Server for the .NET Developer
Most .NET developers will inevitably work with SQL Server in some form or another. Many will even be asked to create tables and stored procedures to support their applications. This session will focus on what every .NET developer should understand about SQL Server. We’ll cover the basics, such as good table design and efficient queries, and we’ll touch on some indexing concepts, too. Then we’ll wrap up with some strategies for developing high volume SQL Server applications.

Lately I’ve been trying to work on my speaking skills. So if you’re within a 4-5 hour radius of east Iowa (Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, etc.) and would like me to come speak at your next SQL event, please send me an e-mail at michelle @ sqlfool dot com. :)

380PASS Meeting – Success!

Our first meeting was a success by all accounts! We had a great turnout with 30 people showing up.

As an ice breaker activity, we had folks pair up and try to identify something related to SQL Server, i.e. commands or terms, for every letter of the alphabet. There was a 5 minute time limit, and with only 20 seconds to spare, Randy Vandergaast and Dave Brosseau turned their sheet in to each win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Chris Leonard gave the group a great overview of PASS and the PASS Summit in Seattle.

Brian Duhn then gave a comprehensive overview of how to set up Server-to-Server Service Broker. The entire slide show can be found at, under Resources.

Thanks to our awesome sponsors, we had some great prizes to give away, and everyone walked away with something.

Thanks to everyone who attended for helping us have a great launch meeting! :)


380PASS Meeting Tonight!

Our very first I380 PASS meeting is tonight! If you’ve not already registered for the event, you’re still welcome to come. The meeting’s being held at New Horizons in Hiawatha (map). Food and beverages will be provided at 5:30pm, and the meeting will start at 6pm.

Brian Duhn (MCITP), a senior DBA with, will be presenting on Server-to-Server Service Broker. Quest has generously provided food and awesome swag for tonight’s meeting.

More details can be found on our official Chapter website at

I look forward to seeing you there! :)


PASS Update


Hi folks. If lately you’ve noticed a few less blog posts than normal, it’s because I’m spending a lot of time starting up a brand new PASS Chapter. In fact, we’re only one week away from our first meeting! For those who haven’t been following the updates, we’re starting a PASS Chapter in east Iowa (Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport, etc.). Our first meeting will feature a presentation by Brian Duhn, Senior DBA, MCITP, on server-to-server service broker.

Any and everyone is invited to join us. More information can be found on

Pain of the Week Webcast

I’ve also been asked by Quest Software to give a webcast on index fragmentation next week. The webcast will air on Thursday, 12 March 2009, at 10AM CT. This will be my first webcast, so be gentle! More information can be found on Quest’s Pain of the Week website.

SQL Challenge

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Adam Machanic has posted a T-SQL challenge. Check it out… the winner gets a 1-year subscription to MSDN!

Ramblings on Super Bowl and PASS

Super Bowl 2009

As many of you know, I’m a DBA at, which had 2 commercials in this year’s Super Bowl. If you saw the commercials during the game or went to our website for the “internet only” versions, let me know; I have no control over the content of the ads, but I’m still interested in your opinions. But comments on ad content aside, the commercials continue to prove very effective for driving traffic to our website and, in turn, generating income. (Don’t believe me? Read this and this article on

We typically get some pretty large spikes the minutes immediately following a commercial airing, and this year was no exception! We spent quite a bit of time throughout the year tuning our systems to support Super Bowl traffic, especially in the few weeks preceding the big game. By all accounts, this year’s efforts have paid off; our database servers exceeded expectations. I don’t think I’m allowed to go into specifics, but I can mention some server stats. During the spikes, my primary server reached 27k transactions per second, no timeouts, and very good response times. In fact, I estimate we decreased our recovery time by around 80% compared to last year.

Why do I mention all of this? Well, there’s the bragging aspect, of course :) . But more importantly, I bring it up to give credence to some of the performance tuning articles I’ve written in the past, like:

Keep in mind, there’s rarely a “magic bullet” for performance tuning, and what worked for me may not work for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an e-mail, and I’ll do my best to respond.

If you’re interested in more information on effective performance tuning, make sure to check out the Performance Tuning Section on


I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the number of inquiries I’ve received regarding the I380 PASS Chapter (serving the East Iowa area of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City), so I’ll continue to post updates to my blog.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re now officially a PASS Chapter, and we’re currently in the planning stages of our first meeting. We have one confirmed key sponsor, Quest Software (woot!), and we’re speaking with a couple of other possible sponsors. Side note: if you’re interested in sponsoring our group, I’d love to hear from you! E-mail me at michelle @ sqlfool dot com.

We’re currently planning to have meetings on the second Tuesday of every month, with our first meeting on Tuesday, March 10th 2009. We have a confirmed speaker but not a confirmed topic, and we’re actively working on a meeting location. Please keep in mind that all of these details are subject to change. ;)

If you’re in the area and would like to attend, or know someone who should attend, please drop me a line!

Back from Vacation!

I’m back from Europe! We had a fantastic time, and saw some incredible sights, but I must say I am glad to be back home. :)

A couple of quick items to mention. First, we now have an official PASS Chapter for the Cedar Rapids area, called I380 Corridor PASS! A special thanks to the folks at PASS for all of their help. If you’re in the Eastern Iowa region and interested in attending or volunteering, please e-mail me at michelle @ sqlfool dot com.

Also, I’ve received a couple of comments about my latest codebox plugin. It appears that in an attempt to fix one issue, I’ve caused another. I plan to work on a solution this weekend, but in the mean-time, if you try to copy code from the codeboxes, you’ll need to do a find/replace on the single quotation marks. I apologize for the hassle and hope to have this resolved soon.

Finally, the very knowledgeable and prolific Mr. Denny wrote a post regarding Wordle and challenged me to post the results of my blog. I’m just now getting caught up from vacation, so I’m a little late in responding, but here it is:

Pretty neat, huh? Thanks, Mr. Denny, for sharing! And to keep the fun going, I’m tagging Brent Ozar and Jonathan Kehayias (The Rambling DBA).

The codebox plugin issue should now be resolved. Please let me know if you have any issues with it.

SQL Fool Happenings

It’s not plagiarism if I copy myself
I’m now a content contributor for the SQLServerPedia wiki!  So you may now begin to see some of my content on the wiki as well. If you’ve not heard of SQLServerPedia, you should check it out and consider contributing.

It’s like a party, but for geeks
I’m trying to start a PASS Chapter for the Eastern Iowa region. So if you’re in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, or Waterloo, and are interested in attending or assisting with PASS, e-mail me at michelle @ for more information.

I didn’t realize people still used IE
Thanks to Peter for informing me of the image distortion issue. Apparently Internet Explorer
is inferior to doesn’t handle image resizing as well as FireFox. The only solution I’ve found is to make 2 versions of each image: a smaller thumbnail and a larger “pop-up” image. I’ll work on updating past posts this week.

The more people that follow me, the better I feel about myself
Jason Massie rocked my world with his post, SQL Twitter n00bs #SQLPASS. I’ve now been using it for a couple of weeks and have found a lot of benefit in it. It helps that I try to only follow SQL or other techy, non-spamming people. If you’re new to Twitter, check out Brent Ozar‘s Twitter 101, which really helped shed some light on some of Twitter’s idiosyncrasies. Oh, and if you’d like to follow me on Twitter, you can find me at