What Three Events Brought You Here?

Looks like yet another chain-post going around, this time started by SQL Jedi Paul Randal on What Three Events Brought You Here? Interesting question and very similar to one of my very first posts Starting the SQL Journey? So I got tagged by not only Scott Gleason, aka @SQLScottGleason on Twitter, but also tagged by Luke Jian, aka @sensware on Twitter, and finally by Marlon Ribunal, aka @marlonribunal on Twitter. I’m guessing since 3 people tagged me I should definitely answer this one so here it goes!

Update: Ok now a 4th has tagged me, the lovely Donabel Santos aka @sqlbelle!

Update deux: Thanks for the tag Andy Leonard (@andyleonard)

As I mentioned before I’ve somewhat covered this topic in a previous post but this one is nice as it forces me to choose 3 key points.

1. YMCA Leaders Club

Eureeka! We have found it!In 8th grade I took part in an after-school flag football league put on by the YMCA. The league was ran by a guy named Chris Shraeder. Chris, in addition to working for the YMCA, also led the YMCA Leaders Club at our local branch. While playing in the league Chris asked me and a few others to come join the club. Up to this point in my life I had always been involved in some sort of leadership position such as Student Council or Safety Patrol (yeah that’s right, I wore that bright orange sash with pride!) but this was the first program truly dedicated to developing leadership skills. Leaders Club gave me the opportunity to lead various groups (teens, camp kids of various ages, even adults when I refereed adult flag football). One of the greatest things that this program allowed me to do was to really learn how to build and foster a community from the inside out and these skills ultimately helped me out a great deal to get where I am today.

2. Attending my first Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meeting

http://tampasql.comThis was huge for me as it started my path into being involved with not only the local SQL community but ultimately the SQL community around the world! My first job out of college I worked as a desktop technician for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. In this position one of the responsibilities I ultimately took on was administrating a small web server that ran our desktop inventory web app. This app was back ended by an Access database. Yeah, you can already see where this one is going. So because I took a database course in college, and I said “yes” when my manager asked me to be the secondary for the department in SQL Server. The person who was the primary was my friend Eric Byszeski, whom at the time was the desktop staff supervisor as well as my predecessor in my position. He, like me, was also an accidental DBA and I learned what I could from him. Our environment was relatively simple in that we only had one SQL 2000 server that held several databases for small systems. Eric taught me the basics such as how to use Enterprise Manager, how to do backups and restores, and check database integrity. As I kept reading blogs and articles on how to improve your SQL environments my hunger to learn more kept growing. SQL 2005 came out and I soaked up everything I could about it. Luckily I got to stand up a new 2005 instance and got the excitement of setting up a new SQL server from scratch! Looking back I’d probably slap my old self for some of the choices made but hey, that’s progress right? Anyhow, in my adventures in learning I came across the fact that there was a user group in the area so I decided to attend. I was blown away by the fact that there were so many people just in my local community with so much knowledge and experience to share! From the local meetings and events, to the various blogs and webcasts, as well as the social networking with others from around the world I was able to grow professionally and personally. When I first started attending that group a few years back I actually did a show-and-tell type presentation wherein I basically admitted to the group that I barely had an idea of what I was doing. Now this week I’m helping our user group leader organize SQLSaturday #32 here in Tampa. It’s been a hell of a ride and there’s still so much more!

3. Meeting my Wife

GiggityI know that this might seem like a cheesy “gimme” to some but for me this moment truly changed my life. Brace yourself because I’m about to do some soul-baring, Peschka-style. Prior to meeting my wife I was like many post-college kids. Towards the end of college I picked up the habit of smoking umm…glaucoma medicine…a habit which stuck with me a few years. I was also surrounded with folks around me whom I considered friends but it wasn’t until I pulled back and realized how negative they all were and I was following the same pattern. My post-college life had me jump from “relationship” to “relationship”, going out to bars and partying almost every weekend and basically coasting through life. Then I met my amazing wife Jessica. One of the great things about her is that she is amazingly positive. At the beginning of our relationship, due to the fact that I always looked at the negatives rather than positives of a situation, we had our issues. As time went on I began to learn to stop being so negative and change my thought processes. During our courtship I did a LOT of growing up and soul-searching. I stopped doing drugs, I quit getting drunk (note: addictive personalities + alcohol = nothing good), I discovered that I have clinical depression and so I needed medication to balance that out, I separated myself from those I thought were friends and found that no longer being around people with negative behaviors really makes a world of difference. Jessica has also been my greatest supporter and best friend throughout everything (which is why I married her!). In terms of my career, one of the toughest things for me to do was leave SWFWMD as I had been there almost 5 years and I was comfortable. I knew I wanted to expand my SQL skills and I needed a place where I could do that. I found an opportunity with University Community Hospital (my current employer) and I was truly scared to make the leap but with Jessica’s love and support I finally made the jump and it has made all the difference. I would definitely not be here professionally or personally if I didn’t have her in my life and for that I’m truly grateful.

Tagging Time

Well at first I was going to tag Kevin “Caesar” Kline since he got missed during the last meme rounds. So given the fact that it’s taken me forever to get this post out, and since everyone else seems to have been tagged I am opening this up to the world. If you are reading this and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged!

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SQL University Syndication

SQL University: History Week Pt. 1

stockxchng-history-lesson-3-by-lusi Well this is going to be an interesting week as we have the PASS Summit going on. What’s the PASS Summit? What’s PASS? Why are the people on Twitter so excited about #sqlpass? Well by the end of the week my hope is you’ll have an understanding of where the Microsoft SQL Server (the product) came from, where its going, what PASS is and why its important to us.

So the past few weeks you’ve been working with Microsoft SQL Server. Some of you may have worked with it for years and others may be using it for the first time. So how did this fantastic relational database product come to be? Microsoft SQL Server’s humble beginnings started in 1989 with the release of SQL Server 1.0. This was Microsoft’s first entry in to the database market and the product’s codebase was based on Sybase SQL Server 3.0 code.Eventually Sybase and Microsoft went their separate ways. Starting from version SQL Server 7.0, released in 1998, the codebase was re-written from the legacy Sybase code.

In 2000 Microsoft released the first version that did away with the previous numbering scheme and was released as (and the originality award goes to…) SQL 2000. This product marked the first time the product was available with an edition aimed at the IA-64 architecture. The IA-64 version of SQL 2000 was available some time after the x86 version. It was also a little finicky, being more prone to crashes than the x86 edition (thanks to Gail Shaw for this info!). This evolution of the product also saw the introduction of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) as an add-on in 2004. Reporting Services would re-emerge in SQL Server 2005 with many improvements in regards to end-user tools, self-service ad-hoc reporting and ease-of-usability. This release also gave us a built-in ETL (extract,transform,load) tool called Data Transformation Services (DTS).

For the 2005 release, SQL Server 2005 was considered a revolutionary release by many. Quite a few things were overhauled and improved upon. The Enterprise Manager was replaced by the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). SSMS is basically a Visual Studio shell with SQL Server components built in which made for a cohesive development/management environment for users. As well as getting a new management interface there were huge new features and enhancements to the database engine itself. SQL Server 2005 was the first SQL Server to include support for managing XML data types. Some other improvements 2005 brought were better indexing algorithms, better recovery systems, Dynamic Management Views, instant file initialization, better security (granular role/schema/object permissions), introduction of SQL CLR which allows developers to use native .NET code within SQL Server (assuming your DBA allows it, hehehe). Another huge change in this release was the replacement of DTS with a far superior and more polished ETL solution in SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).

The most recent iteration of the product is SQL Server 2008. This version built upon the leaps from its previous release and improved upon them. These improvements came in the form of new features such as Policy-Based Management, the Performance Data Collector, data compression, resource governor (which allows dba’s to restrict resources for certain queries), transparent data encryption, data auditing, server group management in the form of the Central Management Server, the introduction of the MERGE statement, introduction of LINQ, support for geospatial data, filtered indexes, new DATE/TIME data types (until this point date/time was one column and together, this release allowed you to separate the two), BI improvements, and much more.

So what’s next? Glad you asked! The next announced release is referred to as SQL Server 2008 R2. This release offers mostly higher spec bumps (such as support for more processors, more memory, etc.) but also offers a few new feature additions as well. Some of these new features include Master Data Services, SQL Server Utility (a new way of managing databases as Data-Tier Applications), Data-Tier Application capabilities (DAC), PowerPivot (formerly known as Project Gemini) and more. Here’s a full list of all the various improvements available in the R2 release.

Note: This article was heavily drawn upon entries from Wikipedia. Click here to read the full SQL Server entry from there.

Continue on to part II