DbaaS Alerts

So, this past week has been extremely hectic/busy around my office.  We were encountering some performance issues in our PaaS offering in Azure.  Clients were experiencing 30-40 second login times, 10-15 second save times.  This is pretty bad.  Of course, everybody’s first thoughts were “OMG THE DATABASE IS SLOW!!”.  So, after pulling up EVERY.DAMN.CHART/METRIC I could, I finally proved to them it was not the database.

 

Our development team finally conceded that this could be a code issue as they were seeing a fair majority of failures to our AD service when trying to connect.  They did not have enough information to go off of though, so they wanted to add some more telemtry logging.  During our routine maintenance window, they added the logging and asked if I could monitor our internal LOG database to ensure it won’t grow too large.  Well, when I looked at the initial size of our log database, I was thrown back…500GB?!?  Holy crap!  Well, after I had a cup of coffee and looked again, we were allocated 500GB but only using 3GB(reinsert tongue into mouth).  So I thought to myself, “Ok, this is a good base, let me just create a generic Azure alert to let me know if this database grows over 450GB.  Because if it does, I am going to have to get a hold of DEV and say “get your stuff and get out, because I am going to truncate”.

 

I have never created alerts in Azure before, so this was a first.  It was an easy enough process to do, but I thought I like beginner level topics, so I wanted to blog about it. Here are the steps, with screenshots!

 

Step 1) Open your DBaaS server in Azure

Step 2) Find your database

Step 3) Click on your database

Step 4) Scroll down until you get to the monitoring section, and click on “Alert Rules” monitoring

Step 5) Click on Alert rules, and you should get a blank window to the right(Unless you already have alerts created)

Step 6) Click on the + sign to “Add Alert”. This brings up the new alert page.newalert

Step 7) I normally select the Metric first, this way I can determine how to name my alert and such afterwards.  Here are the different metrics you can select:metric

 

Step 8) For this particular instance, I wanted “Total Database Size”.  I filled out my alert like so:

databasesizes

 

Step 9) I clicked “OK” to save my alert.

 

That is it!  Pretty simple right?  I am sure there are many more things to alert on.  I am going to try and write more technical blogs on Azure related topics as I keep thinking about them.  Stay tuned!

Letter to the Editor

My Wife was asked by our local newspaper to talk about being married to/life with a combat veteran.  The story was never published, but we did get to meet with the mayor of our community and submit the paperwork needed to have a banner with my photo placed on a post somewhere in the township, as they have done for many other veterans.  I wanted to share what she sent.

 

Being married to a combat veteran is hard.

“Hard” is an adjective that means “requiring a great deal of effort,” in case you were wondering. Which makes me rethink the adjective I just used to describe what being married to a combat vet is like. A better word may be demanding. At any rate, being in a romantic relationship with someone who has contributed firsthand to the atrocities of war is by no means a cakewalk.

It requires a great deal of understanding. In my experience, combat vets largely believe they are undeserving of love. I do not know why this is. In our eyes, or at least in mine, they are selfless and valiant heroes deserving of so much more. They do the jobs that most “men” cannot and will not do. These veterans do the unspeakable for the sake of their country, and the aftershocks of their violence unfortunately do not leave them once they get back home.

Beyond this, I would venture to say every combat vet has been touched by death. To them, they are undeserving of life’s pleasures because of a perverse, disproportionate logic: Each vet knows someone who was killed in the war they continued to fight, and there was likely someone they loved among those lost. A brother in the truest sense, in their eyes. Those men will never have the chance to be happy, ergo, the vet shouldn’t be happy either. In his words, anyone could have been killed. It could have been me. So why should I be happy — HOW can I be — knowing how easily our places could have been switched? It’s the most disconsolate way of torturing oneself I have ever heard of. He’ll torture you with his words: You don’t get it. You’ll never get it. You just can’t. But hopefully, it will mean enough to him that you care enough to try.

I endure many a sleepless night because my vet does. But not once have I ever complained about getting alarmingly awakened by his blood-curdling scream, or being kept up most of the night by his muttering evil memories in his sleep, or even consoling him when he is sobbing uncontrollably on the edge of the bed. Where most women might silently protest, I do not. I endure these things because I almost feel a duty to; my vet spent nearly two years in a desert so I could sleep safely at night. Even though “sleep” is sometimes an undiscovered venture, I at least know I’m safe because I lie next to him. This moves me to another point: their strength, in every sense of the word, is totally unconquerable. My vet reminds me there is no tragedy that can befall me that cannot be overcome. He reminds me that there is no one or thing that I should fear as long as he is in my life. Both his physical strength and emotional strength have all but totally abolished fear from my life. Many people choose to ignore our vets or hate them for what they’ve had to do. Many people are ignorant of what being a combat vet even really entails or means. It is an honor to be among those who respect, admire, and appreciate their sacrifices, both great and small.

Summit 2016

After having wonderful experience last year at Summit 2015, I decided I had to come to Summit 2016 immediately after 2015 ended.  I was probably on the flight home to Pittsburgh thinking of ways to convince my boss that they needed to send me back next year.  Well, this year was alot different!  I began running the In-Memory Virtual Chapter and got enough speakers and sessions booked that I got a comped pass for Summit(THANK YOU PASS!)!  This made convincing my boss THAT much easier!

Several things have changed since last year though.  My career has changed from a support DBA to Cloud Data Architect.  What does that mean SQL wise?  Nothing really, I just do more than just SQL Server.  My heart will always beat for SQL though.

I met so many wonderful people last year when I was just trying to blend in and get through the events without having a panic attack from the amount of people there.  Seriously, it was alot!

This year is no different.  After working on my PTSD with therapy, and making friends that I knew would be here and relying on them to let me glob on when I am feeling uneasy, has made this experience so much better.  I get to go out to the after parties and enjoy talking with folks.  I still have a hard time approaching people, but if they come to me, I will chat them up for hours!  I finally met a few people in person that I have wanted to for a long time: @DBArgenis, and @JasonHorner.  It really surprised me that they both recognized me without me having to say “Hi I am @SQLFlipFlopsDBA”.  Both of these gentlemen do a ton for our community and I look forward to speaking with them more this week.

There are so many folks that I still need to meet and talk with, but from the bottom of my heart, I wanted to tell all of you, THANK YOU!  My Wife challenged me to come out here last year, and make some new contacts/friends.  When I got back she asked how it went, and was blown away by me telling her all of the folks I met.  She did get a bit upset that I did not attend any of the social events last year, but she understood(Shes awesome!).

So, in closing, if you see me around Summit 2016, please come up and say HI!  Hugs aren’t needed, a firm handshake is fine, but I would like to meet as many of you all that I can while I am here.

 

Pushing On

It has been over a month since my initial post and I received a ton of positive feedback.  I had so many reservations about posting about such things, in fear of being looked at too closely.  Paranoia is an ongoing side effect that still causes me a lot of issues today.  I wanted to get some more thoughts down while I was able to since I have been laid up for a while after a hip procedure I had done.

 

I’ve had a lot of nightmares lately stemming from the first time I fired my weapon at another human being. The image of watching as the rounds shredded through his body is haunting.  It was like watching a movie, in slow motion.  I remember his eyes, the whites around them in particular.  It was almost like I could see the life leaving his body and it just become like doll eyes, glassed over.  I did not have time to reflect on it then, I had to just keep doing my job,moving and protecting my brothers around me.  It wasn’t until after things calmed I realized what I had done.  Being raised a Catholic growing up, church every Sunday, CCD, bible study, etc it was very hard to grasp what I had just done.  I took a life, me, I was responsible for that man not going home to his family that night for just doing the same thing I was doing.  I was defending my brothers in arms; he was defending his brothers, his home, and his beliefs.  As misguided as we perceived them to be, it was still a horrific thing I did in my mind.  I remember talking to my NCO’s and them telling me that everybody felt that way their first time. They assured me it becomes just a memory in time. They lied,it never goes away, it’s always there. It’s only the first you recall vividly they said; if only it were true.  I can recall EVERY life I took, EVERY face, EVERY jerking motion, EVERY sound, EVERY smell.  I carry it EVERY day.

I gave a presentation in April to our local PASS UG in Pittsburgh.  It was the first time I ever presented to a group of SQL professionals and naturally, my anxiety was a bit high.  I think I did very well, I had a great turn out and I engaged the audience.  I went home that night feeling so proud of myself.  I was so excited when I got home, my Wife decided to take me out for some ice cream.  It was such a good memory that I hated for it to go away.  But it happened.  On our way home that night, it was dark and as I was going down the road there was something lying in the lane we were in.  I immediately slammed my brakes, and froze.  My Wife would later tell me that I began to shake, and my knuckles turned bright white from gripping the steering wheel so tight.  She had to ask a couple behind us to help get me out of the seat and lay me down in the back.  I remember getting home and lying on the couch, I don’t remember the neighbor helping me into the house, my Wife calling my doctor, my parents.  She didn’t know if I was going to need to be sedated or not.  It turned out that all of this over a garbage can lid in the road.  A goddamn garbage can lid forced me into locking up so tight.  I flashed to an IED, I didn’t want to move, I was scared to move, I didn’t want it to detonate.

Every time I have an episode, I always feel bad for those around me have to see it and to help me with it.  It’s hard to ask for help for some people, I am one of them.  I later did go to my neighbors home and thank him for helping, and all he could tell me was “Semper Fi my brother”.  I never knew my neighbor was a Marine, so out of this came a positive.  Me and my neighbor now talk about our time in, and trade stories.  He never did see combat, but he knew the daily routines.

 

Several people in the PASS community deserve my deepest thanks for helping me get these published: Bill Wolf(@SQLWarewolf), Monica Rathbun(@SQLEspresso), and Kenneth Fisher(@SQLStudent144).  Thank you all so very much for helping and offering your support.

Awareness

I am usually not that open about issues, but several people I hold close asked me too.  I have also been told this can be therapeutic, so we shall see.

Majority of the community that I have had the pleasure of working with, or spoken with know that for a time I was an active member of the United States Marine Corps.  I still hold my service as one of the greatest accomplishments in my life, and I always will.  My story is about not only my time in but the struggles I endure after getting out.  I’ll begin below, but please be forewarned, this may be a bit graphic.

I was sent to Iraq in March of 2003, near the beginning of the invasion.  This would be my first combat tour and naturally, I was anxious, and my adrenaline was always high. The anxiety that I felt far outweighed the fear that I had beneath  I was always on edge at first, always wondering what that sound was, what that was moving in distance?  These things subsided after several times out away from the base.  I was able to settle in by going through the rhythm of my patrol and checking corners; my head on a swivel. It wasn’t until after the first combat action that my unit was involved with that I saw what happens in war.  This I will never forget. We lost 2 brothers that day, one of which passed after we carried him 3 miles. Losing somebody because you could not get him help fast enough, or because I could not help him myself weighed heavily on me.  I recall blood on my hands, my pants. His blood, it still is as vivid today as it was then.  I wish I could say that a thing like that passes over time or it becomes less and less vivid, but I wake up still feeling as if I still had it on me.  This man was my friend, my partner, my Brother.  Sadness turned to rage, I wanted to go back and just level the place.

Fast forward 6 months.  While travelling to our next AO, one moment we were sitting in the back discussing our lives before the Marines, the next all I felt was extreme heat, everything went black.  I woke up with my ears ringing and my right leg feeling as if somebody was burning it with a cigarette.  I looked down and found it bleeding pretty heavily.  Looking about the inside, everybody was shuffling around, trying to make sense of what just happened, was it an RPG, an IED?  We had no idea, we just knew we had to get out and prepare for an assault if it came.  I was the one with the worst wound, so they dragged me out and propped me up against the tire of the transport.  Nothing came, and less than 20 minutes later CASEVAC was there for myself, and the driver.

When all was said and done, I had 11 pieces of shrapnel removed from my right leg, hip, and knee.  It took me a few weeks of healing, and PT, but I returned to my unit. By then we only had 4 months left on our tour, which included several engagements, more casualties, but thankfully no KIA’s.  I can’t explain how many times I still think of those 4 months and I can’t imagine how we did not lose anybody with some of the things we did/saw.  Many of those images, memories are forever burned into my mind, and continuously play.

At the end of those 4 months, 90% of my unit decided to volunteer for another tour.  I was one of them.  I couldn’t leave all of my brothers here to fight and go back to the world.  Thankfully, things were beginning to calm down for us.  It was almost a year before we experienced any more enemy contact. We drilled all the time to be ready for it, but when it happened again, it was a bit unnerving how fast it came back to me on what to do.  It was like riding a bike, it was that fast.

It was coming up on 8 months into our second tour.  While out on patrol on the outskirts of a town, our patrol began taking fire from several locations to the front, and left flank.  To the right was nothing but open ground, and we knew what was behind us.  We formed up and split off, half left and half forward.  While suppressive fire was being provided on the forward location, I was ordered to move up and secure a forward position.  While advancing, I saw small flashes and then I was on the ground.  I was struck once in the chest, and once in my right leg, the flashes were those of the muzzle of the rifle firing at me.  I can still remember what the ground looked like, what the smells were around, what it felt like.  It took me a moment to realize what happened, I was on the ground and our corpsman was pressing on my chest, I remember him talking to me to keep me calm.  I remember telling him to keep his ass down…wouldn’t be any good to me if he took one.  I recollect him laughing while applying the tourniquet to my leg.  It seemed like hours before CASEVAC was there lifting me out.  I remember thinking to myself, this is it, I won’t get to tell my mother or father that I love them again, or to see my sisters walk down the aisle at their weddings.  Even writing this, I begin to shake as I fight back those tears.

Once stabilized, I was sent to Landstuhl in Germany.  My mother made it out to see me about a week later.  I think back to her , being a nurse all her life, walking into the room, and she saying was the first time seeing all of the machines hooked up actually intimidated her.  I was her baby, the youngest of three.  She never left my side, the entire time I was there.  It took several weeks before I was released.  I was found unfit for combat, and man did that hurt…I had never been told I couldn’t do something.  I remember feeling so down knowing that I couldn’t cut it.  I was given my discharge and returned home to Pittsburgh about a month later.

That is when everything began to get worse.  I became very depressed at home.  I went to the VA and they just told me this was normal, it would pass, and to take these pills.  Everything would be ok, they said.  No need to speak to anybody, just take the pills.  Pills turned to alcohol. And by alcohol I mean a fifth a day.  I worked some shitty jobs…auto parts counter help, unimart overnight clerk,and pizza delivery driver.  I had a few relationships, nothing would ever work out, I had too much ‘baggage’.

8 months into being home, in October, my oldest sister, Missy, unexpectedly passed away. I was crushed.  My oldest sister was far from my best friend, but she was still my sister.  I still miss her every day. I think of her often and I carry a picture of her in my wallet still.  My entire family was shattered for such a long time.  I found I couldn’t recover from something like that without some sort of bad habit forming.  I drank more, and secluded myself from everyone.  My parents withdrew from the world as well, living in their home, not coming to family functions anymore, not making an effort to see how the rest of us were doing.  You could tell a piece of my Mother, and Father died that day. She was,their first born, their baby.  I could never wish that on anybody.

Lucky for us, the rest of my family would not give up on us.  My aunt’s dragged me out of my home and forced me to talk to them, to try and get a sense of why I chose to be this way.  Many of my friends wanted to help, but they did not understand why it was hard to open up on such topics. How do you explain to somebody what it was like to know the trigger you pulled took away a father, a son?  How do you explain what it’s like to drag a wounded brother out of a burning transport?  The smell of burning flesh, the screams, the blood, and one cannot simply put those things into words.

The nightmares, the constant paranoia, these things are still a constant in my life now.  However, using coping mechanisms that I have learned, I am able to live a semi-normal life. I am happy to report though that I was able to overcome my drinking problem, I have made lasting friendships, and best of all, I was able to marry the love of my life. The woman who always tells me that no matter what happens, she is my rock. Not many men will admit to breaking down to their wife, but there have been too many times to count where she has picked me up, dusted me off, and cared for me when many others would have just walked away.  She will never know how much she means to me, I try to show her more every day.

My purpose for this blog post is to raise awareness for other Veterans, like myself, who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD).  This is not some made up condition that one just sucks up and moves on from.  If it were not for my family, and most importantly, my Wife, I could of been on the street; begging for money. Or worse, I could of been one of the 22 veterans a day that take their own life.

 

“So that all may enjoy heavenly freedom,
We need those few who can bring hell on earth.”

 

**There is so much more to this that I could share, but it’s a very trying thing to do to have this all written out.  I have to thank several people for inspiring me to do such things. First of all, my wife, I would never be who I am today without her.  My mother and father who have always been my beacon in life to know where home always was and to show me the way.   My friends, all of you have dealt with the symptoms in one way or another, and have still stuck around, I love you all. **

 

Here are some links regarding PTSD including organizations where donations are accepted:

 

PTSD Changes Thinking

 

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/ptsd-in-the-family.htm

 

https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=1143&ovr_acv_id=1704&campaignSource=Online&source=BS16010&gclid=CMHQzMrk-ssCFUFehgodFsAFrg

 

http://ptsdusa.org/support-u/make-a-donation/

 

Performance Issues

It’s been a while since I have posted, so I wanted to make sure I had something good to speak about.  My co-worker(Senior DBA) has been out on leave since the end of November.  Since then, I have been working on ALL SQL issues in my department. We have over 800 clients, with more than 1500 installations of SQL.  Not to mention our own internal systems, so its been pretty hectic.

 

The main thing I have been working on though constantly is performance issues.  I am not much of a performance guy, I am more of the maintenance and keeping the instances healthy and in tip top shape.  But, I’ve had to get more hands on experience since I am running solo.  I wanted to find out from folks, what things do they look at when troubleshooting performance?  I did a bunch of google searches, and pretty much, alot of them say to start with the query found here: http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/paul/wait-statistics-or-please-tell-me-where-it-hurts/.  So I run the query in there, and document the results.  I have been basically troubleshooting the top 3 wait types for each client complaining of issues.

 

The top one I have worked with is parallelism, which is shown by seeing CXPACKET waits.  When I see this I know to check the following settings and see if any tweaking should be made: MAX degree of parallelism, and Cost Threshold for Parallelism.  I generally do not like to see it with the default values of 0, and 5.  This means that it can use as many threads of CPU it likes to run the query, and the cost is 5, which isnt much. I generally have the MAX setting for half the cpu cores(IE. if they have 8, I set for 4).  And I normally set the cost threshold to 50. Now, some more tweaking can take place if needed, but that is generally safe enough for our applications.

The one I saw last night, I had never encountered before: SOS_Scheduler_YIELD. So after doing some research in our internal tickets, as long as google, I found that the client was having issues related to spinlocks.  I then remembered that a previous client of ours had issues on SQL 2012 with the same issue and they applied the latest service pack to resolve it.  I made the same recommendation to this client, but suggested it by saying that they were not on the latest SP, and they should update due to all of the bug fixes.  We are still awaiting confirmation, but I felt pretty confident in the answer.

The last one was backupio, which after doing some research its just due to a slow medium of where they back up their transaction logs to.

 

So, I am still very green and new to all of this, and was wondering if anybody else had different steps they take for troubleshooting performance conditions?  Any and ALL feedback is welcomed and appreciated.  Thanks everybody!

A U.S. Marine Christmas

After spending numerous holidays away from my family, this pulled the heart string a bit.  Each Christmas dinner, my Mother and Father both give me an extra hug and kiss and tell me how thankful they are that I am home that Christmas.

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney, with presents to give and to see just who in this home did live. As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand. On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land. With medals and badges, awards of all kind, a sobering thought soon came to my mind. For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen. This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more, so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door. And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone, Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home. He seemed so gentle, his face so serene, Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine. Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read? Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed? His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan. I soon understood, this was more than a man. For I realized the families that I saw that night, owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight. Soon around the Nation, the children would play, And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year, because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home. Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye. I dropped to my knees and I started to cry. He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice, “Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more. My life is my God, my country, my Corps.” With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep, I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep. I watched him for hours, so silent and still.

I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill. So I took off my jacket, the one made of red, and covered this Marine from his toes to his head. Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold, with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold. And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride, and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside. I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night, this guardian of honor so willing to fight. But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure, said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.” One look at my watch and I knew he was right, Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

SSIS is the devil!

So, I have been studying for my 70-463 exam for almost 8 months now.  I’ve taken the damn test twice, and failed both times.  The score remained about the same.  I’ve tried several supplemental materials to read through along with the Microsoft Training Guide.  What is crazy is, I thought this test was going to be the easier of the 3 when pursuing my MCSA!!  I thought the querying was going to be the death of me, as I still have a hard time writing out queries and actually reading code.

So, this time I am taking a slower approach.  I received a half off voucher when I attended Summit, so I am using that.  Also, Microsoft has their second shot deal going on right now, so I am hopeful to pass within that time frame!!  The biggest issue I have is, I have no business application to use this on!  We do not use SSIS in any shape, or form at my business.  Our ETL processes for our Analytics platform is all done through stored procedures.  So, me getting this certification is just a way of saying “Hey, I can do something you other guys cannot!”.

After I pass this test(and trust me, I will!), I am going to take a month or so off, then pursue my MCSE for the Data Platform of SQL 2012.  I want to be an MVP someday.  I met so many at Summit, and every time that I did…I said to myself…I could do that..I can be an MVP!   So, here I am on my Sunday evening, blogging away after studying a bit.  My Wife is downstairs watching her TV show.  I will probably get about another hour or so in tonight, and then I read it while riding the trolley to and from work.

I made several big advancements in my project at work this week.  SQL Sentry was installed, and I have my alerts configured.  I also got my baselines done.  I am about 75% done with my review of the system(Backup plans, archive times, system resource utilization) and I get to present my findings next week!!  I am hoping my boss likes what he sees and begins having me push this out to the rest of our clients!  It is always enjoyable for me to set these things up and watch how each environment differs from the other.  Even though they are on the same application version of our software, the same build of SQL, the same amount of CPU’s. same amount of RAM, same vendor for both.  Identical servers all the way to the faceplate!  It’s one of the things that makes my job enjoyable…not one day is ever the same!! It is always a new set of challenges each day, and that is what I hope makes me an MVP someday!

Until next week yinz guys!

Jim

Summit 2015

I was finally able to attend Summit this year.  The experience I had there will forever be in my mind as…AWESOME!  I had such a great time going to the sessions that I attended.  There were so many that I attended and I cannot even begin to list them all.  A few that stuck out the best were Jes Borland’s “Minimize Data Loss with Advanced Restore Methods”.  Lots of things to take away from that session that I can apply.  It had been a while since I had to restore any clients databases, but it was always good to see other ways to perform the task.

Here is a shot with me and Jes!  She is such an awesome person.  She was always willing to answer questions, grab some coffee, or in short, be awesome!

CShSixAUcAAwxRM

I got to attend the Speaker Idol in support of my local PASS user group’s session.  Bill Wolf aka @SQLWarewolf was doing his presentation on SARG-ability.  Bill was the first speaker I had ever seen for a SQL presentation.  He made his presentation so much fun to watch, that I try to catch him speak anytime he does around the local area!  He always ends up teaching me something new, even if the session is something that I have watched before.  In support of his entry into Speaker Idol, several of us wore “Wolf Pack” T-shirts that somebody made specifically for this event.  I thought he did very well with his presentation, as well as all of the other presenters.  Here is a photo of all of us after his presentation:

CShqRWiU8AAlpvp

I got to sit in the Community Zone alot and speak to potential future speakers for my Virtual Chapter, In Memory(http://imvc.sqlpass.org/).  I got to meet ALOT of Microsoft MVP’s as well during my time there.  I was so blown away by how friendly these guys are.  The folks that I see speak at these events are much like Rock Stars to me, and to be able to approach them and speak with them and not have to pay an extra fee, was something that really made me understand what PASS is truly about, #SQLFamily.

So when I left to go to Summit, my suitcase weighed 49 pounds.  When I weighed my bag at the Delta check-in on my way home, it weighed 78 pounds!!  That is 29 pounds of swag I got to bring home!  I got a ton of books from the RedGate folks, lots of gift cards from the HP folks, and TONS of tshirts!!

I cannot wait to go to Summit 2016…I am already speaking to my boss about the approval to go.  I told him all of the stuff that I was learning, and that I couldn’t wait to apply it to my current workload.  The cost of Summit was easily reimbursed with the amount of knowledge I have gained and will apply to my clients.

Background

So, I have never ever ever created a blog entry before and I am still not even sure if I have done this correctly!  But here it goes…

I graduated high school in 2000.  I knew that I was going to go into Technology for my career, but I didn’t know where at(hardware, software, development, maintenance, etc).  I was 17!!  I had no clue!!  I went to community college for a bit, and did not enjoy the classes.  They essentially had VERY dated equipment, and I ended up teaching my instructor more than he taught me!  I turned 18, and still did not know what I wanted to do.

While contemplating what I wanted to do, several of my friends went into the military upon graduation(they were old enough, I was the baby!).  I decided I wanted to serve my country and possibly find a career inside of the USMC(United States Marine Corps).  If there is one thing I can tell you about the military…if you do not know what you want to do when you enter….they FIND something for you to do!!  After getting through basic training, I wanted to go for “Force Reconnaissance”.  I got to jump out of airplanes, amphibious assaults, fast rope(rappelling from a helicopter), and so many other things.  By the time I left the Marine Corps, I was a Corporal.  I had several combat tours, but was permanently stationed in Okinawa, Japan.  I was medically discharged after receiving multiple wounds during combat.  I received a Purple Heart with one leaf.  I wish I could of continued to serve, however, I still attend as many benefits as I can for my brothers and sisters in arms.  If we ever meet in person at a SQL Event, or just in passing, and you want to talk about the Marine Corps, I am always willing to talk about my experience.  It formed my foundation for who I am today!!

Fast forward 5 years…I was working at a crappy job for a Data Center/ISP company.  I was performing rack installations/hardware setups/cabling for a very very very low sum of money(seriously. it was bad).  My best friend had been working for my current company for several years and took my resume without me knowing and got me an interview.  I was hired on the spot for Technical Support.  The money was almost double my salary doing the installations, and it did not require travel!  I went through the training and began falling in love with this company.  They have done so much in the HealthCare field, and you probably never even heard their name, TeleTracking Technologies.

I cannot say enough about TeleTracking.  The work we do every day here truly changes the world of health care.  From decreasing the time it takes to be admitted, to increasing the standards of care at hospitals, I cannot think of another company that I would want to work for.

I have been involved in numerous huge projects for TeleTracking.  The biggest so far was our Royal WolverHampton Trust project.  This project was based out of WolverHampton, UK.  Read this article(http://www.royalwolverhamptonhospitals.nhs.uk/news/hand_hygiene_sensor_technology.aspx) for an overview of the project, and I love speaking about it, so please ask me anything you want to know about it.  This is just one of the MANY projects that TeleTracking has changed the world of HealthCare with.

I am now a Solutions Engineer for the Support Services department at TeleTracking.  I am just a glorified DBA.  And by DBA I mean, Does ‘Bout Anything.  I do DBA related work, development work, process improvements, process design, SCRUM meetings, I do it all folks!

Feel free to contact me anytime!