Archive for March, 2012

#TechEdIn 2012: Vinodk_SQL Recap March 30th, 2012

Vinod Kumar

With exactly one week gone past, I am yet to recover from the mega event TechEd India 2012. Same time last week, we were partying after a successful event and the very thought we pulled it off yet another year is so refreshing. My TechEd journey started in the Year 2003 and there has been no turning back since then. The fact remains, the way TechEd is run has changed quite a bit and the content selection process is also more stringent when compared to what we had 8 years back. Just the availability of the resources on the internet makes speakers run for the money. Personally, it is close to 2+ months for nailing the session content – not to forget the reviews, rehearsals and more.

These are my perspectives – For me Microsoft TechEd is such a premier event and privilege that I want to give my best and prepare something nice and interesting that is so difficult to get via any search engines. Doing so, we add value to the event and in the process learn a lot. This year has been no different and I think people who attended my session will vouch for the same.

SQL Server Misconceptions and Resolutions

Pinal Dave has been pushing me hard every year to have this kind of session and I have resisted personally. Any two-speaker session requires tons of preparation and that has to land perfectly. The content for this session went to-and-fro for close to 20 days between us. We add a demo and scrap it immediately. We had to balance out simple concepts with compelling demo’s to our Misconceptions sessions. I think it landed well finally. We still await the final verdict (via feedbacks) from the audience but were confident we pulled this off with all the preparations behind us.

I will not try to rehash the content here. But Dhananjay Kumar did a live blogging of this session here. That gives you a quick list of what we discussed.

Peeling SQL Server like an Onion: Internals Demystified

Personally, this was the toughest session for me to prepare – trust me. I wrote a teaser on what to expect from the session before. As the name suggests it is tough to talk about the internals (as theory) with almost no demo’s around the concepts. The audiences were surely in for a surprise and the hall started to fill in from 10:30AM while the keynote was still going on – and the session scheduled for 11:15. I talked about Advanced Disk formats, SQL Server 2012 Security changes, Memory changes, Indirect CheckPoint and more.

Again the community notes were awesome, atleast it is saving me time to write all of them :). Sahal did a great job on his blog in summary.

Again, I look forward for some serious feedbacks if you want these kinda session in the future TechEd’s too? Or you don’t want these internals session and more practical sessions? Based on your shout I will plan accordingly for next year. Each and every vote count :).

Tools to manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems

This was an unconventional session for me. I generally have a tendency to play around with OS, Office, IIS, Azure and other tools and learn some of the fundamentals. So in this session my task was simple – show people how you can use SysInternals tools and learn Windows better. From usage of Memory, x86 architecture, x64, WOW mode, Page faults, Virtual Memory mapping, OOM scenario, Perf Tool, PAL tool, Logman and more. About 10 mins into the talk, realized the session had so much of theory that it is better to showcase the same via tools rather than talk in an abstract manner. This was my first time at TechEd to talk on a topic other than SQL Server.

If you have feedbacks to give me on this very session, I will be more than happy to get them. I would love to bring more of these maybe for next year too. Keep those comments flowing.

Apart from these, there were couple of other sessions in which I had my participation. But that was under the Architect Track. Will write on it separately some other time. The full roster of sessions we had in that track is available on my previous blog post.

There is also an event on April 7th in Bangalore which the Bangalore .NET Usergroup and the Bangalore ITPro Usergroup are hosting where I will talk two of the above sessions. Here is the Facebook page which you can use to come to the event.

If you did attend any of my sessions at TechEd, please take a moment to comment on your feedbacks.

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TechEd 2012: MTC India @ TechEd March 19th, 2012

Vinod Kumar

I have been posting like mad about TechEd India 2012 over my FB and twitter (@vinodk_sql) accounts – and this blog space has been no exception. With just 2 days to go – the excitement, anticipation and the feeling is really overwhelming. I joined MTC more than a year back and with that new start, I also got this new space for blogging. To know more about the type of work we do, do visit the global MTC homepage to know more about the work that we do.

MTC @ TechEd – Architecture Track

One of the primary motto around which MTC operates is to be a trusted advisors to our customers and partners. And we give them solution with choices in making the right direction in their organizations as far as technology. At TechEd we have not shied away from keeping the same mantra for our audience too.

Look at the Architecture Track, we have tried to bring the best and the right content from the right speakers in this whole track. I am highlighting them here for a quick reference, more about the speakers and the exact abstract can be got from the TechEd India 2012 site:

  1. Windows 8 Application Design – With the trend and the emphasis on the Windows 8 platform it is critical for architects to understand why, how, options, choices and most importantly what not to do while designing Win8 is critical.
  2. Beyond Scrum – The concept imported from Japan manufacturing, Kanban is an agile methodology and Stephen Forte (a great friend) comes all the way from Hong Kong to deliver this session for us.
  3. Windows Azure – Architecture Patterns – Taking off from the various Architecture patterns, there are critical aspects around data management, migration, scaleout, storage principles etc that the session will unleash. I have seem Ramkumar’s many sessions at TechEd and this one will be something not to be missed.
  4. Things that your Virtualization guys didn’t tell you – Coming from the house of MTC, Infra Architect MS Anand will be doing the honors here. I have had the opportunity to sit in many sessions of his with customers and end of the session, it will be such an information overload. And this session will be no less in that aspect with deep content.
  5. Next Generation IT Portfolio – From the heart of MCS (Microsoft Consulting Services) team. Srini and Vikas plan to share some of the roadmaps as organizations plan for their IT infrastructure and what are some of the trends to watch out for.

    On Day 2, it will be loaded with Data Centric content. This is my personal favorite and I spent quite sometime ironing out this with my team.

  6. Big Data and Elastic Cloud – We are getting Ram back for this session from Day 1 to introduce what is Big Data, where is the Microsoft investments and how to prepare Big Data on Azure. Architecture, patterns and pitfalls.
  7. Big Data Best practices applied to Market risk analysis usage – As much as the title makes one scary about the whole session, this is one session coming directly from the field. Session talks about Hadoop Map-Reduce architecture based best practices, Big Data patterns viz. Record Aggregation, Compact Object Serializations, Map-Sort-Reduce. Also Sunil and Abinasha plan to talk about configuration tuning of a typical Hadoop architecture such as Maximum Map Tasks, HDFS Block Size, Compression, Sort heap size, File system type, Disk mounting options, Disk Extent size.
  8. Infuse agility into your ERP – The Microsoft Surround Story –This comes from the house of MTC, Architect Abhisek will talk about how Enterprises have the problem of heterogeneous systems and how these data can come under one roof when it comes to BI practices. In a typical scenario of consuming SAP data from the various Microsoft BI tools and what are some of the best practices around the same.
  9. Performance, Scalability Patterns – Do we scale-out, scale-up or mix-match on Data Architecture?  – This session comes from our two senior MTC Directors with vast amount of real world architecture design knowledge. I plan to quiz them around a number of scenario from – Distributed Cache, Scaleout Biz layers, When not to think Cloud, Network Optimizations, Passing data across layers, Designing for mobile, Database scaleout etc. So don’t miss this action packed session.
  10. Designing secure enterprise application using on-premise SQL Server – Well, this session also comes from the MTC house from your’s truly :). What I plan to cover in this session is purely based on a practical Separation of duties understanding of SQL Server and various Security enhancements.

    Day 3 –is much more of a free flow Architecture track with topics ranging from technical to soft skills.

  11. Applying Concept Visual principles to designing mobile UX and aesthetics – For this session we are bringing exclusively Sanjay Vyas for the session to talk about the principle of visualization and how we can apply it to the UX and aesthetics of mobile apps such that user can interact with the application on the run.
  12. Using JavaScript in today’s world – This is a different session of a kind where as architects we are seeing a trend of using Java scripts as front-end across many devices and form factors. This session will demystify the frameworks and alternatives of frontend programming with JS and reasons to use Nodes.js at the backend.
  13. Architecting and Maintaining a Polyglot environment – We get the expert Dhananjay here to explain Polygot systems. Polyglotism also helps programmers better understand different paradigms and perspectives and be able to sometimes even simulate the idioms of another language when appropriate. Heterogeneous environments are not accident, but a choice enterprises make. This session explains the experiences and learnings from such systems.
  14. Architecting your life –This is a softskills part, where we bring Ranganathan S again into the Architect track. Consistently the highest rated speaker at TechEd in the past, this topic was something different and unique for everyone. You need to be in person to experience the thoughts that this session will unleash.
  15. Panel Discussion –There is so much to share and with just 60 mins, we don’t think we will be able to answer every single query. Hence we set aside some time for discussion on all the above topics and anything related to architecture.

Phew – that is quite a lineup of content to expect at TechEd Architecture Track. I know we missed some of the area’s but we have made the best attempt to give the best from the best people in the industry.

MTC – Architects @ TechEd

Apart from this, you will find MTC Architects doing other sessions too.

  1. Choosing non-relational data stores – We get Govind Kanshi our MTC – Technology Director doing this talk on Day 3. I had the opportunity to see the content and it is like – “NoSQL for the SQL guys”. Search store, Key store, Distributed store etc etc, the content is loaded with tons of best practices and simple yet compelling demo’s.
  2. Tools to manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems – Under the Windows Client track, I will be doing this session. The session takes simple 3 tasks around monitoring CPU, Memory, Storage and Network on Windows systems. I will talk also about using some of the SysInternals tools to understand the concept.
  3. Peeling SQL Server like an Onion: Internals Demystified – I will be doing this session on Day 3 under the SQL Server Administration Track. Since I wrote a blog post around this before,I will refrain from rehashing the content again here.

Exclusive MTC @ TechEd Lounge (Get Solutions)

If you get to the Events Tab –> Other Events category, we have a tab called as MTC @ TechEd. This is an exclusive MTC area that we plan to have and you will have the MTC Architects hanging around to answer your critical architectural doubts. There will be a pattern to who will be around at what timings.

Keep track of activities from #TechEdIn (hashtag) or follow me on @vinodk_sql handle.

  1. This is invite ONLY engagement / time you get with the concerned MTC Architects.
  2. Your architecture problems can be around
  1. Front end systems design
  2. Business layer or Service layering
  3. Performance tuning or Scalability
  4. Data Architecture
  5. Network or Infrastructure Architecture
  • You will need to block our Architect’s time and meet them.
  • Write your current architecture and the problem statement (1 pg max) and send it to mtcbang [at]
  • You will be intimated of the appropriate time slot. Also send us your twitter handle so that we can keep you updated.
  • One of the important premise of MTC Architects will be to help you with your architectural problems when you are at the TechEd India 2012 Venue in the quickest possible way. This is your best time to block some exclusive time with the architects and get the best out of the event. We are here to help and solve real world problems.

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    TechEd India 2012: SQL Content Extravaganza March 16th, 2012

    Vinod Kumar

    Alt-FixWith the TechEd India 2012 fever getting hotter day by day, we are just T-5 days away from the event. We thought we will talk about some of the content that is getting lined up from a SQL Server perspective. There are 2 main tracks on SQL Server on Day 1 and Day 2 where you will also get a chance to meet me too. My co-author Pinal Dave is taking the battalion of driving content for these tracks this year.

    We also have a Data Track under the Architecture track and we will talk about it little later blog post. A teaser about the Architecture track session from MTC is available here.

    What to expect?

    In this post, let me walk you through some of the sessions lined up around SQL Server as the content is getting rehearsed and frozen the speakers are doing really a great job. Don’t miss the opportunity.

    1. T-SQL Rediscovered with SQL Server 2012 – This session is going to bring some of the lesser known enhancements that were brought with SQL Server 2012. Can tell you with confidence that the session is loaded with tons of interesting Demo’s.
    2. Catapult your data with SQL Server 2012 Integration Services – Some of the content covered will be as per the Books-Online, but knowing Praveen for close to a decade, he is surely going to mesmerize you with some interesting insights on SSIS performance too.
    3. Processing Big Data with SQL Server 2012 and Hadoop – Stephen known for his mind blowing demo’s and on a content that is lesser known, this is going to be bring out the nuances of why “big-data” and show you some practical usages of these concepts. I wrote about Big Data and MS story in a blog post.
    4. SQL Server Misconceptions and Resolutions – This is a session I am truly looking forward to meet you folks in-person. We plan to show close to 10+ misconceptions and showcase with demo in this session with Pinal Dave. If time permits, we are going to show you more content. I will be the time keeper to make sure none of the misconception takes more than 5 mins – we are setting aggressive deadlines to keep the content crisp, interesting and interactive.
    5. Securing with ContainedDB in SQL Server 2012 – Contained databasesare an interesting addition to SQL Server 2012 and it opens up some interesting scenario’s for application deployment administrators need to know while developing applications. We will show how to move databases and the related artifacts across servers and Contained Databases enable this option.Now to look at what is lined up under the SQL Server – Administration track lined up on Day 3. This lineup is going to be fun and power-packed in my opinion.
    6. Peeling SQL Server like an Onion: Internals Demystified – I have writing about this extensively on my other blog post and will not try to repeat it here. But I am super excited about this session content where I talk about some Memory Internals at length.
    7. Speed Up – Parallel Processes and unparalleled Performance – This session is done by Pinal Dave and I just got a chance to review the content to see an amazed 40+ slides and 7 rocking demo about parallelism. Pinal has blogged about a teaser for this session over his blog.
    8. Keep your database available – AlwaysOn – Balmukund will be doing this session and will show this new addition to SQL Server 2012 arsenal. You can see some really solid content from the CSS team on their blog too. Availability groups, Listener, Clustering, Failover, Read-Only replica etc all will be demo’ed in this session. This is really heavy content not to be missed.
    9. Lesser known facts about SQL Server Backup and restore – This session will be done none other than Amit Banerjee. He has already blogged about this and this topic is going to be interesting. A successful restore strategy for applications is as good as their last good known backup. Amit will demystify some of the common myths and demonstrate some interesting demo.
    10. Top 5 reasons why you want SQL Server 2012 BI – Business Insights with SQL Server is a critical building block and this version of SQL Server is no exception. Praveen plans to take a tour of some of the BI enhancements introduced in the new version. A truck load of content to get compressed inside a 60 minutes window.

    Also to get to know from the SQL Server Track Owner Pinal Dave – Also visit his blog where he talks about the Misconceptions session.

    Also TechEd India 2012 has a Live streaming of some content and this can be watched here. The TechEd Team is planning to have some really good exclusive content in this channel as well.

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    TechEd India 2012: Online Indexing Enhancements March 12th, 2012

    Vinod Kumar

    Indexing is a core concept inside SQL Server and with the next version of SQL Server 2012, this only enhances to the next level. Let me take a moment here to talk about one of those enhancements inside SQL Server 2012 from an Online Indexing implementation.

    Also worth mentioning is one of our latest video based course for your reference. There are tons of basic concepts that we made it happen into that course and drop me a note via comments if you want to watch the same. All feedbacks and mutual learning helps us get better.

    Now with TechEd India 2012 count down started, we have a session lined up around “SQL Server Misconceptions and resolutions”. And this session has tons of interesting demo around Indexing concepts. So don’t miss to attend, if you are at TechEd India 2012.

    SQL Server 2012 Online Indexing

    Online re-indexing operation was introduced in SQL Server 2005 as a way to improve the re-indexing functionality for those environments which cannot afford downtimes on regular intervals for maintenance activities. But there were certain limitations of this feature, significant one being that it could not be used against indexes that included columns of LOB data types (including Varchar(max), NVarchar(max)). This restricted the usage of online re-indexing for some scenarios, such as clustered indexes when tables included LOB data types.

    Msg 2725, Level 16, State 2, Line 1

    Online index operation cannot be performed for index ‘<Index name>’ because the index contains column ‘<LOB column name>’ of data type text, ntext, image, varchar(max), nvarchar(max), varbinary(max) or xml. For non-clustered index the column could be an include column of the index, for clustered index it could be any column of the table. In case of drop_existing the column could be part of new or old index. The operation must be performed offline.

    The Error message is quite self-explanatory and at this moment want to point you to this BOL reference – Guidelines for Performing Online Index Operations.

    What changed?

    With introduction of this feature with SQL Server 2012, you can now rebuild indexes online for tables, which uses varchar(max), nvarchar(max), XML or varbinary(max) LOB data types for its columns.

    Restrictions continue to exist for tables, which include columns of TEXT, NTEXT, FILESTREAM and IMAGE data type. You will receive following modified error message to indicate the limitation:

    Msg 2725, Level 16, State 2, Line 1

    An online operation cannot be performed for index ‘<Index name>’ because the index contains column ‘<Column name>’ of data type text, ntext, image or FILESTREAM. For a non-clustered index, the column could be an include column of the index. For a clustered index, the column could be any column of the table. If DROP_EXISTING is used, the column could be part of a new or old index. The operation must be performed offline.

    This is an interesting improvement with SQL Server 2012 and feel free to use the same if you are an Administrator.

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    TechEd India 2012: SQL Server Internals March 8th, 2012

    Vinod Kumar

    SQLInternalsTechEd India 2012 is one event I wait in anticipation every year and the challenge to myself is to give audiences (like you) something really unique. In this constant struggle to feature, educate and exploring technology, I am so thrilled every year to give this unique perspective. Till last year, I preferred to talk around the “SQL Server – Disaster recovery” scenarios – with backup, without backup, with DBCC commands etc. Those were wonderful experiences and I still know for the three years you have associated me with that trend. This TechEd, I plan to start the next trend of sharing – “Peeling SQL Server like an Onion: Internals Demystified”. Yes, this is the topic I plan to talk at the SQL Server Administration track on Day 3 (March 23rd).

    What to expect in this session?

    Personally, I don’t plan to give away so easily what all you will find in this session. But I can assure you some wonderful insights and working of SQL Server 2012 in this session.

    1. Storage alignment – Have you heard about 512 Vs 512E? Does this affect SQL Server?
    2. Security Changes – though there is a session around Contained Databases, that will talk about the indepth details of security. Here I will bring you to light some of the other security changes inside SQL Server 2012.
    3. Checkpoint Changes – There are some interesting changes to the process of Checkpoints inside SQL Server and we will discuss these internal changes.
    4. Memory Changes – This is the meat of the topic. There are tons of interesting changes to the multi-page allocator, VAS changes etc that will get discussed.

    And not to forget you will get tons of demo and almost the session flow is out here (not all :)). But wait for surprises at the session something not to be missed too.

    I am also open to hearing from you too if you plan to attend my session and want some content to be included. Feel free to send me a note :).

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