Introduction to the SQL Server Community

Let’s begin.

Hello, World! ( “a DBA story” )

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New Domain

Spinning in the chair thinking about what to name this blog. What will I write about? I have always wanted to start a blog, but never got around to it. It had been sitting there, mocking me, on my priority list. After returning from my first PASS Summit (an experience I’ll summarize later in the post), I was inspired to find new ways to connect with the SQL Server community while continuing to grow as a database professional.

My name is Chris LaGreca. I’m a DBA, developer, architect, and systems administrator (refer to figure 1.1). Basically I, “fix computers”. That’s what my neighbors and friends call it anyway. This blog will be about a lot of things. I’m not exactly sure yet which direction it may take, but for now I’m planning on using this platform to acquire new skills, to refine my current skills, and to share my knowledge and challenges with the community.

Figure 1.1 Chris LaGreca's roles translated to a donut chart. My very first PowerBI Dashboard!

Not Shy, Maybe Socially Awkward

So here is where I usually have trouble -> starting the conversation. I’m fine once it gets going or I find somewhere to jump in. And also names… names are hard. Forgive me, I’m good with computers. I’m aware of my difficulties in #breakingtheice. So here’s what I did:

I thought it would be funny to approach anyone I talked to at the PASS Summit with the following greeting:

“Hi I’m Chris. I work with SQL Server. How about you?”.

You would be surprised how many people found that funny. And the worst part is, I have no idea why. We literally all work with SQL Server. Sure some had the look of “are you dumb” on their faces, but honestly most of them laughed and opened the door to great conversations. Talk to people at the conference. Get out to the after-session events. This is my advice. Because it’s awesome! And also because…

We literally all work with SQL Server.

For better advice, check these out:

Inspired by PASS Summit 2018

Ah yes, the PASS Summit. I had imagined what this conference would be to me. Completely surrounded by crowds of incredible SQL Server professionals, a bunch of nerds, just like me. This was my first year in attendance and I had an incredible experience: learned a ton, met my SQL Server heroes, and made some new friends. Seattle is an amazing city and I can’t wait to go back next year.

Some of the highlights of my trip include:

  • Selfie-ing with the Star Wars cast at the welcome reception
  • Stealing Buying a beverage from Amazon Go
  • Meeting Brent Ozar, Kendra Little, Denny Cherry, Grant Fritchey, and Hugo Kornelis.
  • Getting a signed copy of Grant Fritchey’s SQL Server Execution Plans.
  • Awesome food. Biscuit Bitch. If you haven’t tried it, make it a priority for next year.
  • The Gum Wall.
  • Bush Garden. Very very different from the theme park I know and love in Florida.

And some of my favorite sessions in no particular order were:

  • Brent Ozar – “Getting Better Query Plans by Improving SQL’s Estimates”
  • Allen White – “Get Near Real-time ETL with Service Broker” (very elegant solution)
  • Bob Ward – “Inside SQL Server with Containers”
  • Bob Ward, Ryan Stonecipher – “Inside Columnstore Indexes” (melted my brain in a good way)

What’s Next?

I plan on attending many more events. I really had no idea what I was missing out on until I went to my first PASS Summit. Sure I have attended an occasional SQL Saturday and sprinkled in a handful of local meetups, but I really had no idea how awesome the SQL Community is. My goals are to become more involved in the community one way or another and share my knowledge in a new way.

I want to thank Catherine Wilhelmsen, Bob Pusateri, Brandon Leach, Ginger Grant, and Eddie Weurch for the great conversations and advice. Thank you Lisa Bohm for introducing me to #SQLFamily. Thank you to the PASS Community. It was through you all that I was inspired to start this blog in the first place.