Sep 2014 ~ What the VLF? ~ Mike Hillwig

Presenter: Mike Hillwig
Topic: What the VLF?
Downloads: Available at

Experienced DBAs know that SQL Server stores data in data files and transaction log files. What is less commonly known is that the transaction log file is broken up into smaller segments known as Virtual Log Files, or VLFs. Having too many VLFs will cause performance to suffer.

And having too few will cause backup performance to suffer. How do you strike the right balance? In this more advanced session, veteran DBA Mike Hillwig will show you what VLFs are, how they’re created, how to identify them, and how to strike the right balance between too few and too many.


Native Pittsburgher and Boston resident Mike Hillwig is a senior SQL Server DBA for a provider of private cloud-based solutions for the financial industry He’s been working with SQL Server since version 7 and has a background in infrastructure and networking.

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Aug 2014 ~ SQL Server Statistics: The Secret Sauce ~ Tim Harkin

tim_harkinPresenter: Tim Harkin
Topic: SQL Server Statistics: The Secret Sauce

Learning how to write a query is a basic SQL skill. Eventually, a curious developer wants to know how SQL actually returns the data. Statistics are the “secret sauce” that SQL uses to create a query plan to get your data. In this session, the basics of how SQL creates and maintains statistics will be discussed, and the impact that the this has on query plans. Other topics covered will be what happens when statistics are wrong (and how that can happen), as well as when to take statistics maintenance into your own hands.


Tim Harkin has been working with SQL since SQL 2000 and has worked in a variety of database environments from multi-terabyte data warehouses to high volume OLTP applications and everything in between. Tim also helps run the Fairfield\Westchester SQL Server User Group. Currently he is the Senior DBA for Toluna, USA, a pioneer in the dynamic world of market research, data collection, reporting and visualization.

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July 2014 ~ Building a vision for IT ~ Dave Ramsden

Atrion_LogoPresenter: Dave Ramsden
Topic: Building a Vision for IT

…is about creating a vision that will make IT more strategic as we move into the dramatically changing IT landscape of the first digital decade. The overall theme stresses focusing on business outcomes in order to gain strategic influence. It specifically calls on IT leadership to understand the major changes going on in the industry, leverage personal passion to accomplish change, and to understand and work within the context of their organization’s business goals and strategy. A big component involves demonstrating how our organization, Atrion Networking Corporation, created an intelligence function rather than just implementing a technological BI solution. I contend that BI is a valuable tool, but certainly not an outcome. Moreover, I argue that it takes an Intel Function using a full Intel Cycle to lead to meaningful outcomes. We examine the implementation of this model and demonstrate the results, further supporting the assertion.


David Ramsden is currently the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Atrion Networking Corporation, Inc. He has worked in the technology industry for 20 years, and for 15 of them has held leadership roles in Professional Services, Operations Management, Competitive Intelligence and Strategy. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in English. He is a member of the society of Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and has earned their Competitive Intelligence Professional (CIP-I) Certification. He is a member of American Mensa, and has published numerous articles on increasing the strategic influence of IT within an organization. David lives with his wife and 4 children in Massachusetts. Proud to be an Aspergian, Dave is active in raising Autism Awareness both within and outside of the technology community. He is a member of the Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) and has spoken publically on living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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June 2014 ~ In-Memory tables: Working with Millions of rows ~ Andy Novick

Presenter: Andy Novick
Topic: SQL Server 2014 In-Memory tables, Working with Millions of rows

Memory optimized tables are one of the cool new features in SQL Server 2014. They’re being marketed as a high transaction throughput solution for OLTP. We’ll take a look at that and at how do they work when you try and work with millions of rows in situations more like data warehousing. This presentation will explore the issues and demonstrate where it can be made to work and where it can’t.


Andy Novick is a SQL Server Developer in the Boston area with 25 years of database and application development experience. His consulting practice focuses on building applications, including software products that use SQL Server’s capabilities to the maximum. He has developed both OLTP and data warehouse databases with multi-terabytes scale. He has particular expertise in automating data management for such large databases. Other recent projects have included ETL, Security and SQL Injection prevention. Andy is the originator of the popular “SQL Server Load-fest” event conduced in Waltham, MA.

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May 2014 ~ Advanced Tabular Development ~ Christopher Schmidt


Presenter: Christopher Schmidt
Topic: Advanced Tabular Development

In this session, we’ll cover some of the more advanced concepts in tabular databases. First we’ll take a look at things like partitions and perspectives, and how we can use them to assist in management and maintenance of an Analysis Services database. Then we’ll look at implementing dynamic security into our solution, and finally we’ll briefly explore the types of query modes available to tabular.When should In-Memory, DirectQuery, or one of the hybrids be used?


Chris is a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant with Pragmatic Works and has more than 5 years experience in developing business intelligence solutions. He lives in Raleigh, NC and is an active member of the SQL community. Chris is extremely passionate about business intelligence, and helping companies achieve insight through data. An avid sci-fi fan, when he’s not watching his beloved Manchester United play, you’ll frequently see Game of Thrones, Doctor Who and BattleStar Galactica reruns on his television. Chris also blogs at

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April 2014 ~ A brief introduction to Power Tools? ~ John Miner


Presenter: John Miner

Topic: A brief introduction to Power Tools.

Downloads: Available on

In recent months, there has been a big push for self service business intelligence tools by Microsoft. The center of this universe is Microsoft Excel, a common application used by the typical data analyst.
The following four products started off as add-ins for Excel. Now, some of them are an integral part of MS Office 2013.

  • Power Query
  • Power Pivot
  • Power View
  • Power Map

It is not surprising that these four business intelligence products have a cloud offering in Office 365.

Today, we will explore how a typical BI request on the Adventure Works 2012 DW database can leverage these tools.

I will be covering the following topics in this presentation:

  • Grabbing data with Power Query.
  • Transforming data with Power Query.
  • Storing data with Power Query.
  • De-normalizing data for speed.
  • DAX language is in the tabular data model.
  • Power Pivot tables and charts.
  • Adding slicers to Power Pivot.
  • Adding the WOW effect with Power View
  • Various Power View reports.
  • Filtering vs drill down.
  • Using the map to plot real world data.
  • Story telling with tours.


John has over twenty years of IT experience including a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Rhode Island with concentrations
in database technologies and programming languages. He also has Microsoft Certificates for Database Administration (MCDBA) and System Administration (MCSA).

John is currently a Senior Platform Engineer at Atrion. He is the PASS chapter
leader for Southern New England SQL Server Users Group.

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March 2014 ~ Mind your language!! Cursors are a dirty word ~ Steve Simon

[Steve Simon]


Presenter: Steve Simon
Topic: Mind your language!! Cursors are a dirty word



Although many SQL Server folks become irate at the thought of using cursors, like anything else in life there is a time and place. In this hands-on presentation, we shall be looking at practical cases where the utilization of a cursor can prove to be the most efficient and effective solution and THIS is based upon actual execution plans.


Steve is a SQL Server MVP and a Senior Business Intelligence Development Engineer at Atrion Networking Corporation. He has been involved with database design and analysis for over 25 years. Steve has presented papers at eight PASS Summits and one at PASS Europe 2009 and 2010. He will be presenting a paper on Master Data Services at the PASS Amsterdam Rally Nov 2103 . He is a PASS Virtual Chapter mentor & chair of the Oracle/SQL Virtual Chapter.

Contact URL:

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Feb 2014 ~ Advanced Transactional Replication ~ John Flannery


Presenter: John Flannery
Topic: Advanced Transactional Replication

We will cover several advanced topics in Transactional Replication including how to make a ddl change to one table in the publication without reinitializing the publication; how to make a ddl change to a table without having to snapshot; creating replicated tables on file systems other than Primary – including partitioned file systems; and bidirectional replication. And hint – we will be leaving the wizard in Redmond!! Bring a copy of SQL 2012 Developers Edition with AdventureWorks2012 if you want to play along.


John is the Data Architect at Evolution 1 in Avon Connecticut – and Adjunct Professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. He has 33 years industry experience; working with SQL server since version 4.2 on OS/2, Oracle since 7.3.4. John holds a Master of Science – Computer Science degree from Rensselaer (1995). Publication List: A Strategy for Implementing SSIS in Clusters; SQL Server Magazine; March 2010, page 15.

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Jan 2014 – The PowerShell Database Cookbook: Best Recipes ~ Bryan Cafferky

Presenter: Bryan Cafferky
Topic: The PowerShell Database Cookbook: Best Recipes
Downloads: Presentation Bundle

Maybe you’ve heard about all the great features of PowerShell, Windows scripting language, but thought, Ok, so how do I actually put PowerShell to use? In this presentation, Bryan will walk you through some ready to use PowerShell scripts while explaining the PowerShell language and integrated development environment (IDE). We will also discuss the best places to use PowerShell and when another tool is a better choice. So whether you’re a PowerShell newbie or experienced with the language, you’ll come away with new knowledge and some handy utilities. And if you’re asking yourself, what is PowerShell, you definitely need to attend this presentation.


Bryan is an experienced Business Intelligence engineer who has been developing solutions with SSIS since it was first released. He has been developing for and administering relational databases since 1987 and started working with SQL Server in 1998. He has written a number of articles on and leads The Rhode Island Business Intelligence User Group which he founded. Bryan currently works as Senior Business Intelligence Engineer with Smarter Travel Media, a TripAdvisor Company. He has worked in the insurance, banking, utilities, and ecommerce industries.

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Dec 2013 ~ SSIS Design Patterns for Better Performance ~ Matt Batalon

Presenter: Matt Batalon

Topic: SSIS Design Patterns for Better Performance

These days ETL developers face two common problems:
1: They are managing more and more ETL processes that have to complete in a shorter time window, and
2: their data is continuously growing. Today, more and more data has to be extracted from multiple sources, transformed, and loaded into its intended destination faster than ever before. SQL Server Integration Services is a robust product with lots of different options to choose when building an ETL package. Of course speedy hardware helps when it comes to performance, but have you ever wondered how the decisions you make when developing a package can affect the package’s performance? Come to this session to explore how SSIS handles memory, and have a better understanding of how certain tasks and transformations can affect your package’s performance.


Matt has 15 years of experience in the Information Technology field with a focus on software development and database administration. For the past ten years, he has worked extensively with Microsoft SQL Server and the .NET framework.
He has a Bachelors Degree from Bryant University with a concentration in Computer Information Systems, and also holds the Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP) Certification in Database Administration.

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