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June GroupBy Intermission Recordings are Online

Wanna hear the presenters talk shop? Here’s the intermissions from this month:

James Anderson, Rob Sewell, Andrew Prust, Bert Wagner, and Brent Ozar talk about why Microsoft might want to run SQL Server on Linux, presentation disasters, the DBAtools and DBAreports open source projects. At 42 minutes in, Drew Furgiuele joins and shows the High Altitude SQL Server Project’s balloon gear:

Discussing database devops, being on-call, currency exchange, car crash videos, and what it’s like being a Stack Overflow moderator with James Anderson, Bert Wagner, Daniel Hutmacher, Aaron Bertrand, and Brent Ozar:

Rob Sewell, Bert Wagner, Drew Furgiuele, and Brent Ozar talk about the SQLbits costume party, the ham radio gear in the High Altitude SQL Server Project, how they’ll calculate where the balloon will land, Bert’s car mechanic hobby, and Brent’s extremely bad taste in cars:

We talk about our guilty pleasures, Pinal Dave explains the Indian McDonald’s vegetarian menu, and Andrea Allred shows up in full princess garb:

Alex Yates and Adam Machanic debate about testing databases through the app rather than database unit testing, and then Andrea Allred, Pinal Dave, Drew Furguiele, and Richie Rump talk about princesses:

Cody Konior and Aaron Nelson talk about Jojoba and the PowerShell gallery:

Wanna hang out and chat with the presenters? Registration for September’s live sessions is open now.

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#GroupBy September 2017 Lineup Announced, Registration Open

The voting is over, and here’s what you picked:

Friday, September 1:

Friday, September 8:

Congratulations to the winners, and registration is open now. Wanna join in the fun and present a session yourself? Submit a session now for the December 1 & 8 event.

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Missed #GroupBy last week? The recordings are up now.

If you missed ’em live, now you can watch from the comfort of your, uh, wherever you are.

If you have questions for the presenters, click on the session title to hit the session page. From there, you can leave comments on the abstract, and the speakers get emails for each comment. You can rate the sessions too, or just tell the speakers how much you liked their work.

Wanna get in on the fun? Abstract submissions are open now for the December 1 & 8 events, and you can register now to attend the September events live.

Containers & SQL Server

Andrew Pruski (@DBAfromtheCold –

Continuous Integration and SQL Server

James Anderson (@DatabaseAvenger –

DBAs vs Developers: JSON in SQL Server 2016

Bert Wagner (@BertWagner –

Getting Continuous Integration Right for SQL Server

Alex Yates (@_AlexYates_ –

Green is good, Red is bad – Turning Your Checklists into Pester Tests

Rob Sewell (@SQLDBAWithBeard –

Keeping Up with Technology: Drinking from the Firehose

Eugene Meidinger (@SQLGene –

Operational Validation of SQL Server at Scale with PowerShell and Jenkins

Cody Konior (@CodyKonior –

Successful Production Deployments with Columnstore Index in SQL Server 2016

Sunil Agarwal (@S_u_n_e_e_l)

T-SQL for Beginners

Andrea Allred (@RoyalSQL –

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Vote Now to Pick the September #GroupBy Conference Lineup

GroupBy is a free online conference by the community, for the community. Anyone can submit an abstract on any topic, and then you, dear reader, get to pick the conference lineup.

Here’s the sessions in the running for GroupBy September – tell us what you want to see by voting now.

Which 10 sessions do you want to see for September

  • Why Defragmenting Your Indexes Isn’t Helping by Brent Ozar (8%, 214 Votes)
  • Inside SQL Server In-Memory OLTP by Bob Ward (5%, 142 Votes)
  • Enhancements that will make your SQL database engine roar – 2016 SP1 Edition by Pedro Lopes (5%, 131 Votes)
  • Statistics 101 by Steph Locke (4%, 115 Votes)
  • Networking Internals for the SQL Server Professional by Anthony Nocentino (4%, 115 Votes)
  • Why TSQL was the language of the year by Terry McCann (4%, 101 Votes)
  • Monitoring Availability Groups by Tracy Boggiano (4%, 101 Votes)
  • From 0 to 1bn transactions a month on a shoestring budget by Steph Locke (4%, 101 Votes)
  • How to evaluate if SQL 2016 In-Memory OLTP is right for your workload by Ned Otter (3%, 92 Votes)
  • Modern Data Warehousing – The new approach to Azure BI by Simon Whiteley (3%, 91 Votes)
  • Working with Dynamic Data Masking & Row Level Security by John Martin (3%, 89 Votes)
  • Azure SQL Database – Managing your database on the cloud by Vitor Fava (3%, 88 Votes)
  • R for reporting by Steph Locke (3%, 85 Votes)
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse : 101 by John Martin (3%, 82 Votes)
  • Is the cloud cost effective? by Steph Locke (3%, 80 Votes)
  • Architecture and Customer Case Studies with In-Memory OLTP by Jos de Brujin (3%, 75 Votes)
  • Measuring the Overhead of the Query Store by Jason Hall (3%, 74 Votes)
  • Build your first bot – no code required! by Steph Locke (3%, 70 Votes)
  • Linux OS Fundamentals for the SQL Admin by Anthony Nocentino (2%, 61 Votes)
  • We need DataOps – NOW by Steph Locke (2%, 59 Votes)
  • Azure SQL Database – Scaling In and Scaling Out using elastic pool by Vitor Fava (2%, 55 Votes)
  • NoSQL Server: JSON superpowers! by Davide Mauri (2%, 55 Votes)
  • Data + Docker = Discombobulating? by Steph Locke (2%, 52 Votes)
  • SQL Server on Linux – SQL Server vNext goes cross platform! by David Williams (2%, 52 Votes)
  • War of the Indices- SQL Server vs. Oracle by Kellyn Gorman (2%, 51 Votes)
  • Preparing your business for data science by Steph Locke (2%, 51 Votes)
  • Optimizing your SQL Server for Azure VMs by Parikshit Savjani (2%, 46 Votes)
  • SQLDockit – SQL inventory and best practices on steroids by Frane Borozan (2%, 43 Votes)
  • Analysis Services Development with Biml Studio by Reeves Smith (2%, 42 Votes)
  • TFS Database backups/restore by Uche Okoye (1%, 37 Votes)
  • Open Source PowerShell Core on Linux and Mac by Anthony Nocentino (1%, 37 Votes)
  • Get Spatial With It by Michael Henderson (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Monitoring Linux Performance for the SQL Server Admin by Anthony Nocentino (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Dapper: the microORM that will change your life by David Mauri (1%, 32 Votes)
  • Apache Zeppelin and SQL Server: two best friends by Davide Mauri (1%, 30 Votes)
  • Working with Azure Data Factory & Creating Custom Activities by Paul Andrew (1%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 352

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How to Write a Good Abstract for

Eugene Meidinger writes:

You should write like you fight. When you edit your abstract, you should be relentless, you should be merciless. Every sentence should dance. Every sentence should sing. Every word owes you rent, and you are here to collect. You, my friend, have neither time nor patience for any freeloaders. If anything does not enhance your message, ditch it. This ain’t a charity, kids. You should write like your life is on the line.

He goes on for pages in a post called how to write a good abstract for, but I’d say this is great advice for submitting to any conference.

Step 1: go read Eugene’s post.

Step 2: submit an abstract for September. Don’t overthink it: just start with the story you want to tell, and you’ll find lots of folks willing to help give you writing tips. Let’s do this together!

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#GroupBy June 2017 Lineup Announced, Registration Open

The voting is over, and here’s what you picked:

Friday, June 2:

Friday, June 9:

Congratulations to the winners, and registration is open now. Wanna join in the fun and present a session yourself? Submit a session now for the September 1 & 8 event.

Oops! We could not locate your form.

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[Video] GroupBy Intermission: Brent Demos Plan Caching

During the first intermission at last Friday’s event, I spent about 45 minutes running demos of:

  • Auto-parameterization of trivial plans
  • How even slight differences of strings get different entries in the plan cache
  • What causes the MEMORY_ALLOCATION_EXT wait type, and how to measure it with sp_BlitzFirst
  • How to make a database look corrupt
  • How to pin sp_WhoIsActive to a separate row of tabs in SSMS
  • How to free just one string from the plan cache
  • SQL Server Management Studio’s live query plans


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What Should We Change About the Next GroupBy?

The April event is going pretty well, so let’s talk about what changes were made, and how they went.

What We Changed for April

We added chat in Slack. In the first event, I didn’t really like dealing with chat happening in GoToWebinar plus Twitter plus emails, so I focused on making it easier for folks to talk in Slack. The SQL Server community Slack has gotten really popular (up over 2k members now), and if I can drive people into there, I think they’ll stick around for the activity in other active channels. So I built to make it easier to introduce people to Slack. I think that worked really well – the #GroupBy channel had over 250 folks in it.

We switched from session ratings to pick-your-top-10. Last round, we let folks rate sessions with five stars, but this time around we had them just pick 10 sessions with a list of checkboxes. I’m really, really happy with the way that worked. We had 327 voters, and no questions or complaints about the process – except one.

We required logins for a lot of stuff. To vote, attend the webcast, submit a session, or give abstract feedback, a WordPress login was required. I don’t have numbers on this (hey, it’s a spare time project) but my gut hunch based on watching activity is that participation dropped by a lot. I’m not really interested in building some kind of big master database, and the whole point of this project is to help the community, so I think we’ll pivot away from the logins.

Speakers did tech checks ahead of time. I let them book a GoToWebinar on my live calendar so we could test their webcams & audio, and get them accustomed to the GoToWebinar presenter UI. This worked extremely well.

We made the session breaks longer. We now start every 2 hours rather than every 90 minutes. I looooved this change because the event felt much less frantic. It let us have longer, more relaxed breaks, especially since I pulled in Erik, Richie, and Tara during the breaks. This probably means we’ll have less folks stay through the entire event, but more on that in a second.

We let volunteers edit the abstract transcripts. We use a transcriptionist to pull off the hard work, but then to clean up the abstracts, add pictures, and add section titles, we had an open call for volunteers. We gave them editorial permissions in WordPress, and emailed them when new transcripts were available for editing. I did a couple myself to show the standard we were aiming for, and…nope. This simply didn’t work – we didn’t get the participation we needed.

What We’ll Change for June

To lower friction, we’re abandoning logins for attendees. We’ve already gone back to a simplified webcast registration form on the home page, and the next round of voting won’t require a login either. There’s a risk here that people will stuff ballot boxes via scripts, so I’ll do some digging to see how easy that’d be to identify. Submitting a session will still require a login just because speakers end up editing their abstract over time.

We’ll tweak the site to reflect the new workflow. When I first put the site together, it was a wild experiment, and I wasn’t quite sure what process changes we’d need to make. Now, I want to make it easy for:

  • Learners who want to discover good, relevant content available right now (videos, text, podcast, apps)
  • Planners who want to register for a future webcast and help shape future abstracts
  • Presenters (and perhaps soon-to-be-presenters) who want to contribute

We’ll outsource the transcription cleanup. Look at a session with a plain transcription, and then a session page with headers & pictures, and the difference is pretty dramatic. I think the section headers & pictures add a lot of value, and I want a presenter to be really proud of their session page. I’m going to work with our AV team to figure out what it’ll cost to add that higher level of polish to the pages. Plus, as a side benefit, that means they’ll control when the session’s page is completely done: with a podcast and full transcription. We’ll be able to re-publish the session page with a fresh date stamp, put it out as a weekly email, and the subscribers might love that.

We’ve also got a lot of little long-term tweaks on the Project Status page.

Now, what else should we tweak about the event?

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GroupBy Recordings are Available Now

You can now watch yesterday’s sessions:

Thanks so much to yesterday’s volunteer presenters for giving back to the community, and thanks for all the great questions in the Slack channel!

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