October speaking schedule: Two Saturdays and a Summit

October is going to be a very busy month for me!  Three conferences and a pre-con are on the agenda.

This weekend, on October 3, I’ll be in Kansas City for SQLSaturday #444. This will be my third trip to KC for their event, and it’s always a treat. I’ll be speaking at 9:00a about using AlwaysOn Availability Groups for disaster recovery – always a great topic! They’re in a new facility this year, which I hear is fantastic. (And did I mention that they have BBQ?)

On October 9-10, I’m heading north to Minneapolis for SQLSaturday #453. This one has also become an annual tradition for me. This year, I’m giving one of the pre-conference sessions on Friday, October 9 – “SQL Server Security Master Class”. This is a full-day, soup-to-nuts overview of SQL Server security, including a deep-dive into the built-in security mechanisms, current threats and defenses, and monitoring. The session in Omaha was fabulous, and this one should be even better!

On Saturday, October 10, I’m presenting my session on encryption at 1:35p. This has been a popular topic all year, and I’m looking forward to presenting it again in Minnesota.Unfortunately, this SQLSaturday is sold out, but there are still seats left in all of the pre-cons (and all pre-con attendees are guaranteed admission to the Saturday conference!). If you’re not into security, there are three other pre-cons by great presenters: Power BI by Mark Vaillancourt, Hadoop by Bill Preachuk, and a session titled “Building World-Class Data Organizations” by Pragmatic Works.

And finally… I’ll be finishing out the year at the PASS Summit. This is the world’s largest SQL Server conference, and I’m thrilled to say that this year, I’ll be among the speakers for the first time! I’m presenting a session with my friend David Klee about building a virtual test lab for SQL Server. We’re scheduled for 3:30p on Friday, October 30, in room 611-614. It’s a fitting way to end the conference – after you’ve filled your brain with all of the new things you want to try, we’ll show you ways that you can try them safely, with options ranging from free to not-too-expensive, from a VM (or several!) on your own machine to a full-blown test lab in your home or office. If you’re going to be at the Summit, stay until the end and come to our session!

Whew! That’s a lot of travel in a short time, but I’m really looking forward to all of the conferences. If you’re in the area, come out and say “hi”!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Omaha

In just one week, I’ll be traveling west to Omaha to speak at SQLSaturday there.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to one, so I’m really looking forward to it.

On Friday, I’ll be presenting an all-day pre-conference session on SQL Server security. This will be an A-Z overview of the topic. We’ll start with a solid foundation of authentication and authorization, followed by a series of topics teaching you how to apply them. My goal is that by the end of the day, you’ll have an understanding of how you can configure SQL Server’s security in your organization. There’s still a number of spaces left in the class – go to their EventBrite website to register.

And then Saturday, I’ll follow a fantastic set of speakers by speaking about encryption in the last slot of the day:

We’ve all seen the recent news stories about companies whose data has been stolen by hackers. What was once a rare event has become all too common, and companies large and small are at risk. While it isn’t always possible to prevent intrusions, you can reduce the risk by encrypting your data. In this presentation, I’ll show you the four ways that SQL Server provides to encrypt data: hashes, cell-level encryption, database-level encryption (also known as transparent data encryption), and backup encryption. We’ll also discuss the keys required for each type of encryption and discuss how to protect the keys themselves.

If you’re in the area, join us!  It should be a great weekend!

Speaking at 24 Hours of PASS

24HOP_GOC_SpeakerButtonI’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been selected to present as part of the next 24 Hours of PASS! The theme this time is “Growing Our Communities” – only those who have never been accepted to speak at PASS Summit were eligible to submit abstracts. From the submitted abstracts, twenty-four were selected to present a one-hour webcast during the event on June 24 and 25. The full schedule was announced today, and I have to say, I’m in great company. I’ve met many of the selected speakers over the last couple of years – they’re fantastic presenters, and I’m honored to be part of that group.

I’ll be presenting one of my current presentations, “Protecting Your Data with Encryption”, at 10:00 AM (CDT) on June 24.  If you’d like to attend, you can register now at the 24 Hours of PASS site.  I’d love to see you there!

Monitoring Your Backups [T-SQL Tuesday #66]

T-SQL TuesdayCathrine Wilhelmsen (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, and the topic she chose is monitoring. All of us, whether a DBA or a developer, internal resource or consultant, monitor something on a daily basis. The hardest part for me was deciding what to write about. In the end, I decided to write about monitoring backups.
Continue reading Monitoring Your Backups [T-SQL Tuesday #66]

SQL Server 2016 announced… and it’s gonna rock

In what spare time I’ve had this week, I’ve been watching the news coming out of Microsoft Ignite (formerly Tech Ed).  SQL Server 2016 was announced during Monday’s keynote.  And it sounds like it will be awesome.

Just a few of the highlights I’m interested in so far:

  • Always Encrypted
    SQL Server has had encryption capabilities for quite some time – except in memory. Always Encrypted is a new feature which promises to allow us to perform operations on data without decrypting it and without storing the key in the database. SQL Server never sees the unencrypted data. For those of us concerned about security, this is a major win.
  • Row-level security
    Other database platforms have the native ability to allow a user to see some rows in a table but not others through permissions. Azure SQL Database finally gained this capability last year, and now it’s making its way into the on-premises product.
  • Dynamic data masking
    Data masking is the ability to mask all or part of the data in a field using Xs (i.e., XXX-XX-XX12 for a Social Security number). This is increasingly important, both from a security perspective as well as a compliance perspective.
  • Improvements to AlwaysOn
    AlwaysOn was a fantastic addition to SQL Server’s HA/DR features when it was introduced in SQL Server 2012, and SQL Server 2014 improved it. SQL Server 2016 will apparently improve this yet again, adding multiple synchronous replicas and secondary load balancing.
  • Native JSON support
    JSON is one of the latest data interchange formats, replacing XML in some circles. I was first asked about SQL’s support for it a couple of years ago – the lack of JSON support was the one thing stopping this person from adopting SQL Server over a competing NoSQL platform. I’m glad that Microsoft is catching up.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft’s posts have mentioned a number of other features, and they said that more will be announced as the release date gets closer.

A TechNet post mentioned that the first public preview will be out sometime this summer. I’m already on the list, and I’ll be testing out some of these features as soon as I can.