The PASS Summit 2010 Experience

Since I came back to Trinidad I have been focusing on two very important events, Teleios Developer Day and TTSSUG last meeting for the year 2010. After both events were completed I finally got some time to do this long overdue blog post but I decided to leave it as my last post for 2010.

Last month I attended the premier event for SQL Server professionals, the PASS Summit 2010.  Many people have described this Summit as the best Summit ever and while I would agree I guess you can say that my view is a bit biased since this is my first Summit ever. This event also goes down in history as my first IT conference and also my first trip to Seattle. There are too many details and events to write about but I will try to capture as many highlights as possible in this post.
Outside the Washington State Convention & Trade Center
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TTSSUG Event Review: Building Reports using SQL Server Reporting Services

The Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG) held its third and final meeting for 2010 at the Leon Agostini Conference Room, in the Chamber of Commerce Building on December 14th. The meeting had a small turn out of 19 people which we were very grateful for because we know how difficult it is to attend these events at this time of the year.

The presenter for this event, Jason Deyalsingh, is a web architect for Clico. He is responsible for designing and developing internal and external web systems which include data modelling for web application development as well as data transformation and integration between web applications and existing business systems.
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Last TTSSUG Meeting for 2010 !

In October we had to postpone our group meeting due to storm watch warnings. Once again I would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The good news is that Jason Deyalsingh, our scheduled presenter for the October SSRS session, has kindly adjusted his busy schedule so that he may present at TTSSUG's last meeting for the year 2010. If you are new to SQL Server Reporting Services and want to know how to start building a report or if you are interested in understanding how  Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) and Report Builder 3.0 can be used to benefit you and  your organisation then I suggest you register for this event.
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Going to the PASS Summit 2010

The PASS Summit is the world's largest, most-focused and most-intensive conference for Microsoft SQL Server and BI professionals. It provides mission-critical training, education and connections you need to enhance your skill. Organized by and for SQL Server and BI users, PASS Summit delivers the highest number of technical sessions, the largest number of attendees, the best networking and the highest-rated sessions and speakers of any SQL Server event in the world.

For people who are first time attendees like me, I thought that I should share some of the links that gave some insight into what to expect and what can be done during the summit. The first and best site to check is the PASS Summit Homepage. The site provides information such as a timetable for all the events, details about each session (spotlight and regular) and each speaker, a list of networking events and also a list of the people who have registered for the event.
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TTSSUG Meeting: October 2010

On the 29th of October 2010, TTSSUG will be holding its third meeting for this year at the Chamber of Commerce building, Westmoorings.

The TTSSUG meeting would be focusing on Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), an important component of The Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform. SSRS is a server-based reporting platform that provides comprehensive reporting functionality for a variety of data sources.

The presentation will demonstrate how to build reports using Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) and Report Builder 3.0. This event is recommended for Developers, Database Developers and Database Administrators. See the invite below for more details. To register click here.

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24 Hours of PASS: Preview to 2010 PASS Summit

PASS is having another 24 Hours of PASS (24 HOP) event to give a preview of what can be expected at the 2010 PASS Summit. In case you didn't know the 24 HOP event features 24 live webcasts which provides free SQL Server education from some of the top SQL Server and BI experts from around the world. This is the third time that the event is taking place and it will be held on the 15th and 16th of September. Unlike the previous 24 HOP events which were 24 consecutive one hour presentations, this event will be presented 12 hours a day for two consecutive days. If you are interested in gaining SQL Server knowledge then check out the 24 Hours of PASS website for more information about registration for the event. On the site you will also find out about some BONUS Session from Microsoft. Separate registration is required for these sessions.

The last event was special because I achieved my goal of attending all 24 sessions. This time I plan to attend all 24 sessions and the four bonus sessions. I will also be the moderator for session 20 - “Automate Your Database Maintenance Using Ola Hallengren’s Free Script” which is being presented by Brad M. McGehee. Brad is the Director of DBA Education for Red Gate Software and is an accomplished Microsoft SQL Server MVP with over 15 years SQL Server experience. He is a frequent speaker at SQL PASS, European PASS, SQL Connections, SQLTeach, devLINK, SQLBits, SQL Saturdays, TechFests, Code Camps, SQL Server user groups, and other industry seminars.
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PASS SQL Azure VC Event: SQL Azure 101 - RESCHEDULED‏

Due to some issues that occurred, our first event had to be rescheduled to September 7th 2010(today) at 12:00 PDT. I apologize for the late update but we wanted to ensure that everything was properly arranged before sending the new date; unfortunately some confirmations took longer than we expected.

For more information about the event see my previous blog post.
For the Live Meeting link please visit the PASS SQL Azure Site.
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TTSSUG Event Review: Lifecycle of an SSIS package

The Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG) held its second meeting at the Leon Agostini Conference Room, in the Chamber of Commerce Building on August 25th. The meeting had a total of 41 attendees which included members and a few newcomers from various organisations.

We began with a small presentation to explain the mission and goals of TTSSUG and also to introduce the steering committee to the attendees. The presentation ended with an introduction of the main presenter, Gregory Chee. Gregory is an Application Consultant in Microsoft Business solutions department with Esprit Consultants Limited and has over 7 years of IT experience. His presentation, Lifecycle of an SSIS package: From development to production, gave a brief introduction to SSIS and helped people to understand the basic concepts of SSIS. Most of his session was focused on demonstrating how to create and deploy two SSIS packages. The first package was a basic ETL package which introduced Control Flow items such as Data Flow Task and Execute SQL Task. The package also showed the use of Data Flow sources, destinations and some basic transformations. The second package was create to combine data from multiple excel files and compare them to a database in order to produce a report. This package highlighted variables, looping, table lookup, output redirection and package logging. The presentation and the packages can be downloaded here.

I would like to thank Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago team for sponsoring this event and for assisting us with everything that contributed to the event. Also special thanks to Gregory Chee for coming to share his knowledge with the group during his vacation time. Last but most importantly, I would like to thank the people who attended the event and who were interested in attending the event. For more information about SSIS please visit SSIS homepage on MSDN.

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Are You Tweeting What I Am Tweeting?

Recently my involvement with various local and international groups has increased and I realise that my new activities/responsibilities along with my everyday activities is causing a delay in informing the public about upcoming events. I have come up with a solution that will allow me to give updates about events as soon as possible. My plan is to create a wrist watch that can scan my mind for events information and then send it to an application that will create a blog post and send mail to the respective mailing list. This solution will take some time to be implemented so in the meantime I will use Twitter to give people heads up on various events.

If you are interested in local and international events and you want to know what's new going on in the 'SQL World' you can follow me on twitter. I may tweet about other tech stuff that I find cool (such as the mind scanning watch) but I won't be tweeting about things like what I had for lunch and what I am planning to have for dinner.
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Community Events: TTSSUG meeting and Trinidad and Tobago Software Architect Council (TTSAC) launch

On the 25th of August 2010, TTSSUG will be holding its second meeting and Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago will be launching a new committee, the Trinidad and Tobago Software Architect Council (TTSAC).

The TTSSUG meeting would be focusing on Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). SSIS is a platform for building enterprise-level data integration and data transformations solutions and is an important component of The Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform. This meeting is recommended for Developers, Database Developers and Database Administrators. See the invite below for more details.

The TTSAC launch will give insight on how this new community can facilitate the growth of the local IT ecosystem and ignite the drive for innovation. This meeting is recommended for Software and Enterprise Architects. See the invite below for more details.

I hope to see you at both events!

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PASS SQL Azure VC Event: SQL Azure 101

PASS SQL Azure Chapter is a new virtual chapter (VC) whose goal is to become one of the best resources for anything and everything SQL Azure. As part of the leadership committee I would like to invite you to join us for our first Live Meeting event, SQL Azure 101. The presentation will introduce you to the SQL Azure world and help you to understand the benefits that it can provide. The event will be occurring on Wednesday 18th August at 6:00 PM EST and the presenters will be Scott Klein and David Robinson.

Scott Klein is co-founder of Blue Syntax Consulting, a company that specializes in Azure training and consulting. Scott has been working with SQL Server for nearly 20 years, working with companies large and small all over the United States, working in a wide scope of fields such as medical, finance, and retail. Scott is also a veteran author, having written a number of books including Professional SQL Server XML, Professional LINQ, Pro ADO.NET Entity Framework 4.0, and the soon to be released Pro SQL Azure. Scott is a SQL Server MVP and President of the South Florida SQL Server Users Group and the newly formed Azure PASS Virtual Chapter. He speaks frequently as SQL Saturday events and user groups, and was lucky enough to speak at the 2008 European PASS conference in 2008.

David Robinson is a Senior Program Manager on the SQL Azure team. David is responsible for a multitude of things including driving product features, code samples, and most importantly demonstrating to customers the value that SQL Azure and cloud computing provides. You can often find him speaking on Channel 9 or TechEd.

For the Live Meeting link please visit the site at:
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PASS Professional Development Virtual Chapter Interview

Last month, Nancy Nasso (PASS Community Coordinator) recommended me to Kathi Kellenberger, SQL Server MVP, for an interview. Kathi was interested in interviewing a new PASS chapter founder for the Professional Development Virtual Chapter, a chapter which provides information about Professional Development for people in the technology industry.

She interviewed me via email and recently posted it on their blog (An Interview with New Chapter Founder, Nigel Sammy). The information will be useful to anyone interested in starting a user group/chapter and it will also give some insight as to why the Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG) was started. Thanks Nancy and Kathi for this wonderful opportunity.
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Review of the TTSSUG Launch Event

On the 30th of June, the Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG) held its first meeting at the Hyatt Regency. This event was sponsored by Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago and catered for a maximum of 45 participants. Registrations however far exceeded the expectation for the event with over 60 persons being interested in attending the event. The TTSSUG launch attracted SQL enthusiasts from a wide cross range of industries both private and public as well as education. Other attendees represented the financial sector, trade and industry and IT providers.

I was the presenter for the introduction session which provided information about the group such as its missions, goals and why it was created. I also explained the affiliation that we have with the Professional Association of SQL Server (PASS). For more information about this presentation please review my Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group post.

After the introduction I went on to my other presentation which was titled 'Introduction to Database Administration'. We didn't want the sessions to be too advanced because there were some attendees who were new to Microsoft SQL Server. The presentations were developed to introduce people to the SQL Server world and also keep the interest of people who was already familiar with SQL Server. My presentation highlighted definitions of Microsoft SQL Server and Database Administration and also gave a brief introduction to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Analysis Services (SSAS) and Integration Services (SSIS). The majority of the presentation demonstrated some basic methods of adjusting settings for an instance via SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and concluded with the creation of a management plan to create ‘Back Up Database tasks’ and ‘Maintenance Cleanup tasks’. The deck can be viewed here.

The presenter for the last session titled 'Introduction to Database Development' was Mitra Sinanan, who is a Senior System Analyst/Programmer at Infotech Carribbean. He created a database to store data for the Round of 32 taking place in the FIFA World Cup 2010. He used this information to explain CRUD operations, Table and Column Aliasing, Inner Joins, SQL Constructs, Common Table Expressions and Complex Sub queries. His presentation and the scripts used during the presentation can be downloaded here.

The closing remarks consisted of a vote of thanks and a winner selection that was created by placing the attendees name into a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 table and randomly selecting the name with T-SQL code. Congratulations to Rellon Lawrence who won the HP Passport Drive and Gregory Chee who won the Sony Digital Camera.

I would like to thank Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago for hosting this event and also investing and believing in the vision of the group.

Also special thanks to following for making the event a success:
  • Mitra Sinanan for taking the time to share his knowledge with the group.
  • Gisselle Ramsaran and Indera Ganesh from Corbin Communications for making all the arrangements for the event.
  • Neeala Maharaj-Racha, our Microsoft Liaison, for all the time and effort that she spent in order to assist the group
  • Of course the other co-founders of the group, Anand Singh and Ruselle Seeboo.
  • Last but most importantly, the people who attended the event and who were interested in attending the event.  
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Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG) Launch Event

We, the Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG) are having our first official event at the ending of this month. You are invited to come and learn more about the goals of our group and see how you can make history by becoming the first members in Trinidad. The event will also introduce you to the world of a SQL Server DBA and a Database Developer.

This event is sponsored by Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago. See the invite below for more details.

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24 Hours of PASS : Celebrating SQL Server 2008 R2

24 Hours of PASS is a virtual event organised by the Professional Association of SQL Server (PASS). This year it was held on May 19th to celebrate the launch of SQL Server 2008 R2 which was released worldwide on May 12th 2010. The 24 back-to-back webcasts were presented by the most knowledgeable and top-rated SQL Server speakers from around the world.

This year I was able to attend all 24 sessions thanks to a few cold showers and two Red Bulls. The event was totally worth the lack of sleep; all the sessions were quite enjoyable and informative. I am now posting about the event because I was waiting for the recorded sessions to become available. While I recommend that you watch all of the sessions, the following are what I consider as 'must watch' sessions:

Session 01: Introduction to PowerPivot (Brian Knight)
Brian sells PowerPivot to you. Great presentation to get you excited about the next 23 sessions.

Session 03: What Exactly is in SQL Server 2008 R2 (Kevin Cox)
Want to know about the features available in R2 and too lazy to read my previous blog post? Then this session is for you!

Session 05:  Data Tier Applications (Jacob Sebastien)
This session shows benefits for both Developers and Database Administrators. A presentation for everyone.

Session 06:  What's Really Happening on Your Server? 15 Powerful SQL Server Dynamic Management Objects (Adam Machanic)
Adam delivers a well balanced presentation - great introduction and important information.

Session 11: Easier than Ever Report Authoring in SSRS 2008 R2 (Jessica M. Moss)
R2 features makes it easy to create Reports but Jessica makes it easier.

Session 13:  Manage Your DBA Career, Don’t Let it Manage You (Brad McGehee)
The one and only PD session that reminds you of things that you take for granted.

Session 14:  Top 10 Mistakes on SQL Server (Kevin Kline)
If you want to remain a DBA then you should learn how to avoid the mistakes shown in this session.

Session 17:  SQL Tuning - Get it Right the First Time (Dean Richards)
Should Developers or Database Administrators do SQL Tuning? View this session if you want the answer.

Session 20:  Advanced T-SQL Query Tuning Techniques (Rob Farley)
This was not one of the original 24 sessions but I was glad that it became one. Rob Farley came out of moderating session 19 and jumped into this session to show his approach to taming a 'wild' query.

Session 24:  BLITZ! 60 Minute Server Takeovers (Brent Ozar)
Perfect Session and great presenter to end the event. Brent not only shows DBA what to do when taking over a server but his session also reminds them what should be done to all their existing servers.

Thanks to all of the presenters for sharing their knowledge with us and thanks to the PASS members for all the hard work and long hours they spent to make this event a huge success.  Special thanks to PASS Board Member and 24 Hours of PASS organizer, Thomas LaRock (aka SQLRockstar).
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Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group (TTSSUG)

I will like to thank everyone that attended the Pre-Launch event on the 12th May 2010. Special thanks as well to Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago for sponsoring this event. Since I know it was difficult for some people to attend, I decided to highlight some of the information that was presented.

The Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group is a volunteer and independent organization providing a community for Microsoft SQL Server professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Mission and goals:
1. To develop a network of professionals with a common interest in Microsoft SQL Server.
2. To promote free and open communication among users of Microsoft SQL Server and related software products.
3. To establish channels for the education of TTSSUG members and the communication of Microsoft SQL Server related information to and from the members.

The group is an official local Chapter of the Professional Association of SQL Server (PASS).

What is PASS:
The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an independent, not-for-profit association, dedicated to supporting, educating, and promoting the Microsoft SQL Server community. From local user groups and special interest groups (Virtual Chapters) to webcasts and the annual PASS Community Summit – the largest gathering of SQL Server professionals in the world – PASS is dedicated to helping its members Connect, Share, and Learn.

PASS Mission:
Empower the global Microsoft SQL Server and Business Intelligence community to connect, share, learn and be inspired through networking, knowledge sharing, peer-based learning, and the ability to influence the direction of Microsoft SQL Server data platform.

PASS chapters exist to help facilitate education and a knowledge exchange among developers, architects, DBAs, users and managers with an interest in Microsoft SQL Server technologies.

For more information please view this PDF.

Even though this group is an official PASS chapter it is still very new and there are many things that need to be completed before it our first event. We are currently working on bylaws so that we can begin registering members and a mailing list will be available soon to communicate with people interested in future events.

If you have any questions or who are interested in information of future events, please email me:
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Pre-Launch of Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group

Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago is hosting an After Work Lime to pre-launch the Trinidad and Tobago SQL Server User Group. You are invited to come and learn more about the goals of the chapter and see how you can make history by becoming the first members in Trinidad. There will be light snacks and refreshments available. I look forward to your participation.

Date: Wednesday 12th May, 2010
Time: 4pm – 6:30pm
Target Audience: DBA, Database Developers, SQL Server Hobbyists and Enthusiasts
Location: Microsoft, West Moorings
Cost: Free*

* Limited seats are available so please register early.

To register for this event contact:
Mr. Nigel Sammy
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Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2

In a few days Microsoft will be releasing the latest iteration of its data platform, SQL Server 2008 R2. R2 will provide customers with a trusted and scalable platform that can increase IT and developer efficiency and deliver expanded reporting and analytics through self-service business intelligence. SQL Server 2008 R2 also introduces two new premium editions; Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse (formerly codenamed “Madison”).

Some of the new features of R2 are:
· PowerPivot (formerly codenamed "Gemini")
    PowerPivot gives the users the power to create and manage self-service business intelligence solutions.
        - PowerPivot for SharePoint adds shared services and infrastructure for loading, querying, and managing PowerPivot workbooks that you publish to a SharePoint 2010 server or farm.
        - PowerPivot for Excel can be used to assemble and create relationships with data from various sources, and then use that data as the basis for PivotTables and other data visualization objects that           support data analysis in Excel.
· Data -Tier Applications
    A data-tier application (DAC) forms a single unit which contains the database schema and some server level objects required by the database in order to support an application. This simplifies the     development, deployment, and management of the data-tier objects that support a multi-tier or client-server application
· Application and Multi-Server Administration
    SQL Server 2008 R2 introduces the SQL Server Utility, which forms a central repository for centralized management and consolidation of data-tier applications and instances of SQL Server that have     been enrolled in the utility.
· StreamInsight
    This technology deals with complex high-scale event processing. It allows the monitoring and analyzing of data in motion that may be difficult to store for analysis due to its size and frequency.
· Master Data Services
    This allows organizations to securely manage master data and maintain an auditable record of the data as it changes over time thus ensuring the integrity of the data.

SQL Server 2008 R2 also has some Database Engine and Reporting Services enhancements that increase the power and productivity of architects, developers, and administrators. It is important to remember that R2 is a minor version upgrade of SQL Server 2008, so new and enhanced features in SQL Server 2008 will still be available in R2. Customers with Software Assurance (SA) for their SQL Server 2008 license can upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2 for free. People without SA will have to decide if the features in R2 will be worth the cost of upgrading.

For more information on R2 see the following links:
MSDN: SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008 R2

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Microsoft Boot Camp 2010: Business Intelligence Summary

I was given the opportunity to be the speaker for the Business Intelligence (BI) presentation at the Microsoft Boot Camp 2010 which occurred on February 25th 2010. Just like in Microsoft Boot Camp 2009, the number of attendees was larger than I expected but presenting for the event was still fun and exciting.

I began the presentation with some information about myself and my employer Teleios Systems and then proceeded with an introduction to SQL Server 2008. This was then followed by a brief discussion about 'What is Business Intelligence' and a video of A.C. Milan: Milan Lab. The discussion highlighted where SQL Server 2008 lives in Microsoft's BI world and introduced the SQL Server BI stack: Integration Services (SSIS), Analysis Services (SSAS) and Reporting Services (SSRS). I briefly described each product (SSIS, SSRS and SSAS) and also highlighted SQL Server 2008 Data Warehousing enhancements before performing a SSIS demonstration. With the upcoming release of SQL Server 2008 R2, I decided to explained 'Managed Self Service BI' and ended the presentation with a PowerPivot demonstration using SQL Server 2008 R2 CTP and Excel 2010. Due to some time constraints I was unable to highlight some of the local BI work done by Reeza Ali, a Solutions Architect with Microsoft Consulting Services West Indies. He has recently published a series of videos on Designing and Planning a BI Project in the internationally recognized and very popular Architect journal.

The feedback that I received from a few people at the end of the event were very positive. They found the presentations very informative and were impressed with the products that was shown in the sessions.

For more information about Microsoft Business Intelligence please visit
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SQL Server 2008: R2 and Business Intelligence Presentations

Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago is having another Tech Boot Camp on February 25th 2010. The two SQL Server 2008 sessions are: What's Coming with SQL Server 2008 R2 (Track 3) and Business Intelligence for Trinidad and Tobago (Track 4). The Boot Camp offers information for ITpros and Developers so anyone interested can use the information from the invite below in order to register. Missing from the invite is Track 6 : Cloud Computing with Microsoft.

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