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Interview with David Pless, presenting “Enterprise Management and Monitoring Solutions with SQL Server 2012/2014” Training Seminar for SQLSaturday Orlando


Last week I posted up an interview with Jason Horner [b|t], our seminar speaker for the Friday prior to our next SQLSaturday here in Orlando. This week’s post is an interview with our Thursday seminar presenter, David Pless [b|t]. 

One of the main reasons why we split our seminars (aka precons) into two different days is because we’ve found that many of our attendees want to be able to make it to both training sessions. This helps make the choosing easier for the attendees, as they can make it to both.  Another way we keep the two events from competing for attendance is choosing subject matter that is focused on different audiences. Thursday’s training typically being targeted to the DBA, and Friday’s training being more in line for the BI professionals. While each of these will get a good amount of single sign-ups, having them on adjacent days helps those DBAs out there who are being leaned on to know more about BI and the data within the companies they work for.   


Covering the DBA training this year will be David, who has presented for our local user group earlier this year (Orlando PASS), but I was able to get to learn more about him last week.    

How long have you been working with SQL Server, and what you brought you into working with it? 

I have been working with SQL Server since 6.5 / 7.0. 

I worked for an external Help Desk company in Atlanta and was one of the guys doing general help desk support. I started report development with Seagate Crystal Reports which was my entry into the database world. I had to figure out how to take data from McAfee Help Desk and compare it to other stores of data for internal and external reporting. I was amazed with what you could do with data and even more excited to see how you could create formulas and expressions to make the reports dynamic. The next step was getting involved with the SQL Server / database level as there wasn’t a DBA at my small company. At the time we had a mix of SQL Server 6.5 and 7.0. I started with the basic DBA tasks and started writing reports to take advantage of the queries I found useful as a DBA. At my next company, I was the DBA supporting application databases, primarily SalesLogix where I also supported the application. The SQL Server environment grew dramatically over the next seven years where I got experience rolling out and supporting replication, clustering, working on performance issues, and building monitoring systems on SQL Server 2000 / 2005. My next step was consulting for two years where I came to Microsoft through a relationship I established with a Technical Account Manager (TAM) from Microsoft. 

So, I have been working with SQL Server since 6.5 / 7.0 and was brought to SQL Server through reporting and my fascination data. 

The training you are doing, Enterprise Management and Monitoring Solutions with SQL Server 2012/2014, what do you hope attendees will gain from it? 

The class we are doing is all about enterprise management and performance troubleshooting. We wanted to focus on the tools and processes we use in support and at the same time show some creative uses of monitoring SQL Server. We will walk through the key tools we use and will walk through what you should look for when troubleshooting SQL Server. I am going to go into detail on creating your own custom counters, creating SSRS dashboards for monitoring, troubleshooting concurrency issues, Reporting Services performance, Resource Governor, and more. 

My colleague Pankaj Satyaketu is going to cover enterprise management with policy based management and PowerShell. Scripts will be provided for both scenarios! We are looking forward to it. 

I see you are an MCM (Microsoft Certified Master). How long and what exactly did it take to get this high level industry recognition? 

I started the MCM in the beginning of last year. So, I was one of those that started the MCM a bit late though I had done the MCSE certifications in the past. I really liked the idea of a certification built by the industry’s best that gave folks a pinnacle to work toward. My study efforts were centered around using the videos that were provided online and building as many labs I could think of around the scenarios described. I did a lot of breaking, tearing down, and troubleshooting, though I can say there isn’t much that could prepare you for the lab exam except for experience with SQL Server. 

What do you feel are the top 5 most exciting features to have come out in SQL Server over the past 3 years? 

It’s hard to narrow it down to 5 since there has been so many awesome features in the past several releases. In no particular order these are the ones that come to mind: 

1). PowerView / PowerBI

2). AlwaysOn Availability Groups

3). SQL Server on Azure / IaaS

4). Columnstore Indexing 2012 / 2014

5). In Memory OLTP 

Being local to Florida, what are some things you like to do for fun here at home in the Sunshine State (the non SQL side of David Pless)? 

Sports. My kids are all in soccer, I have 4 kids in 3 different soccer clubs. So we are pretty consumed with tournaments, fund raisers, and more. Of course, I can’t just watch.. so, I have built websites and even created logos for my kids soccer club. I think fishing is a requirement in this state so I am also fulfilling that obligation as much as I can. 🙂 

I also love my dog. I try to do fun stuff with her. She is a good partner to take with me on trips with the family and especially the beach. 

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know. 

I am an artistic type though opportunities to use that aren’t plentiful in our field. So, I make them happen. I love drawing and enjoy creating logos and cartoons. I have a little Bob Ross in me, so even when I am creating a report I feel like I am creating ‘happy little clouds’. I like the attention to detail. 

Thanks David for your time, and we look forward to seeing you here in Orlando next month! 

On a personal note, I’ll have to find out from David just where the best fishing is down in Central Florida, because Rodney and I have not had very good success since moving from Pensacola.   

Get full details here on David’s seminar on Enterprise Management and Monitoring. For Jason’s training on Dimensional Modeling, visit here. You’ll see on these websites that we are offering a $20 discount if you sign for both day’s seminars, but seats are filling fast, so get your seat reserved today!

From → SQLSaturday

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