Teaching Databases at SoftUni

softuni-bulgariaSome months ago I delivered a 3-hour seminar for the students at SoftUni. Back then we talked about their first steps with SQL Server and we covered the basics – how to set up an instance, configure the security, create the databases they need and connect their application to that. Now, however, it’s time for the students to pass a whole course on databases and I am happy to “announce” that I will join the trainers team that is lead by the founder of the university – Svetlin Nakov(t|b). I will cover just two of the topics during the course – the one on performance tuning and the one on concurrency – really important topics as some of you know. The course will start on the 2nd of February and I am already looking forward to seeing the students! Stay tuned as more interesting information is coming up really soon…

SQLHangout #31 Optimizing PowerPivot and Tabular

Number 31 is here and yes, it was a great one(just wanted to say it from the start!)! I was joined by a friend of mine – Johan Brattås(t|b) who I met in Oslo last year at their fantastic SQLSaturday event! What we discussed and what you can learn from Johan, who has some serious experience in the Business Intelligence area, is how you can actually make your PowerPivot workbook or Tabular model faster. He shared some really practical advices on how to dramatically speed your BI solution, but didn’t stop there because I actually asked him about QlikView and Tableau too! Enjoy watching and I hope you will find that useful….

And yes, don’t forget for the webinar which Johan will deliver in February! He will talk about Azure, Tabular and PowerBI, so watch out for an invitation from PASS soon!

SQLHangout #30 Being a DBA in Healthcare: The Specifics

SQLHangout 30! A special number and some amazing content for you to watch! This time I was joined by a friend of mine – Enrico van de Laar(t|b) who works as a DBA for the healthcare industry and yeah, you guessed it right – it’s different to work for such customers. What we discussed and what I believe will be of extreme interest to you are the specifics of the healthcare business and what we as DBAs have to know, understand and be prepared for if we are for one reason or another going to work for such clients. Watch Enrico sharing really interesting things from his day-to-day work which will also prove you how far ahead is Netherlands in delivering quality healthcare services to its citizens! Enjoy!

Speaking at SQLBits XIV, Superheroes, London

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SQLBits. Probably one of the most well-known and anticipated SQL Server events during the year. I am extremely pleased to share with you that I was selected to be one of the speakers of the conference which is going to be held in London between 4rd and 7th of March. I am going to do a partially new session for me – Deep Dive into Isolation Levels – and am I definitely already looking forward to it. Wish me good luck or even better – come and join the conference(it’s in London at the end of the day)! You will have amazing time and you will see, chat and learn from the best speakers in the SQL Server world. It’s worth at least thinking about it, right?

Hope to see you all there!

T-SQL Tuesday #62
Healthy SQLs in 2015

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Here we are in 2015 and the T-SQL Tuesday cannot start in a better way than this. The question, this time coming from Robert Pearl(t|b), is what each one of us will do to improve our SQL environments in 2015 and I have to say – that’s a really great question and something to write about especially for me – a person who changed roles last October.

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SQLHangout #29
Security Issues From the Field

SQLHangout 29 is here and this time I was joined by someone who you may already know from articles on SQLServercentral – Kenneth Fisher(t|b). We talked about issues that we have seen in securing data inside SQL Server, so expect to hear some real-world cases that we both faced and how we approached them. Kenneth also shared some great tips on how you can improve your security and the fact that he actually written two really nice scripts to help you understand your security configuration – you can find those here and here. Enjoy watching and let us what you think in the comments!

SQLHangout #28 From DBA to Consultant?

Welcome to the first SQLHangout of 2015! By no mistake is this one the first one though! What you are going to hear from Matan Yungman(b|t) and William Durkin(b|t), 2 friends of mine that have both been already twice at the SQLHangouts, is their experience(OK, mine too…) of the career move they did some months ago – from DBAs to Consultants. What you will learn is what you should expect and what will actually change for you if you decide to switch to a consulting job and what are the differences between being a DBA or a developer and being a consultant. Enjoy watching and I hope you’ll find this useful!

Speaking at SQLSaturday #374, Vienna

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I am extremely pleased to share with you that I am yet again going to speak at the local SQLSaturday event in Vienna. Baring in mind how great the last year’s event was and the fact that the audience there rated one of my sessions as the best one at the event, I am really looking forward to 28th of February, 2015! I am going to speak about what I consider 5 great T-SQL improvements and I really believe that this session will be of great help to the community there! I am also bringing some Pluralsight presents, so… see you soon!

2014 by the numbers…

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2014.

Here is what I will remember it with…

  • Spoke at 10 countries
  • Spoke at 4 local events
  • Recorded 2 courses for Pluralsight
  • Recorded 17 more SQLHangouts with SQL experts from all around the world
  • Delivered 2 webcasts
  • Participated in 1 podcast
  • Delivered 3 in-house courses
  • Was awarded with 3 prizes – MVP, MCSE: Business Intelligence and MCT
  • Rated twice as best speaker and once as the second best
  • Participated in my first MVP Summit in Seattle
  • Infinite number of work hours were spent at the blog(especially for the redesign)
  • More than 12 000 people from 111 countries visited it
  • 70 new blog posts
  • 1 change of my job and company
  • 1 new partnership – with ApexSQL
  • Completed my first BI project
  • Completed 2 huge sport events – LegionRun and Sofia’s ½ marathon race
  • Lost 6 more kg.
  • Traveled to 3 countries with my girlfriend
  • A lot more…

So that’s it about 2014. Now let’s see 2015. Huge things coming on my end, so wishing you all the best and have a great, great year!

Cheers!

Hangout #27
Master Data Management?

The absolute last, but only for 2014, SQLHangout is here and I should say it was quite an interesting one! I was joined by Kenneth Nielsen(t|b), a friend of mine from Denmark, who is a Business Intelligence consultant and has quite some experience with implementing MDS or Master Data Services – the topic of the hangout. Kenneth shared his experience on Master Data, why is it important and what are the differences between the feature inside SQL Server 2008R2 (back then when it was initially released) and the 2012 version. What’s more, he shared some of the limitations of the product and how they can be workaround – by using custom workflows – something that is not an easy task as you will learn watching. So enjoy the video! What else can I say…

Introduction to
Presentation Design:
My Second Pluralsight Course

Introduction_to_Presentation_Design_Course_PluralsightThe moment I have been waiting for from a long time. I am extremely happy to share with you that my second Pluralsight course is now published and no, it’s not related to SQL Server. This course is on a topic that is somehow very close to me and one that I really take very seriously – presentation design. What I have did and what you can expect from the course is to learn 10 fundamental, but game-changing principles that will raise the quality of your presentations to another level. I hope that with this course I will be able to change the minds(for good, of course) of many, many people who continue to think and claim that presentation design is not important and “it’s the content that’s important”. I have always disagreed and I will continue to disagree with this. Design is important and has always been and I hope that speakers, trainers, people that are doing their first steps in public speaking or are considering going in that direction will spend one hour and a half and watch this course. I just believe and know that it will help them in the same way it helped me…

Before putting the full stop of this blog post, however, I want to say a huge thank you to three very important people who helped me a lot:

  • Viktor Samokishev – a SQL Server professional and a colleague of mine who helped me deliver this course with a really great audio quality
  • Edwin Sarmiento(t|b) and David Peter Hansen(t|b) – two SQL Server MCMs who allowed me to show just some of their incredible designs as part of the course
  • Joanna Beer – my Pluralsight mentor and editor who was helping me all along the way with feedback, advices and some very advanced video editing tips.

I am leaving you here. All the best in the upcoming 2015 and I hope you will be able to see the course. Would love to discuss it with you!

MCSE: Business Intelligence

MCSE Business Intelligence

The last goal for this year is accomplished! I now hold the MCSE certificates for both the Data Platform and the Business Intelligence tracks. I have to admit I expected the BI certification exams (70-466 and 70-467) to be a bit easier, but Microsoft has done incredible job in preparing those exams. I am quite impressed by the questions asked and the number of scenarios and case studies they put every candidate in. As you may know, I have stepped in another role this year  and the first project I did for my new company was a BI PoC for the biggest telco in my country. This PoC was very successful and I learned tons of stuff as we actually used Teradata as a source for our data, SharePoint and Excel Services, SSAS Multidimensional, Excel and PowerView. That was also the main reason for me to push and learn even more for Microsoft’s BI stack and go for this certification…

So that’s it for now. One more HUGE blog post and update is coming on 29th of December, so stay tuned! Until then – have a great, great holidays!

Hangout #26 BIML in the real world!

SQLHangout 26 is here and I suggest we call this “The Christmas SQLHangout”! This one is special and it’s special because of one simple reason – I had not one, not two, but 4 guests with me – Cathrine Wilhemsen(t|b|h), Regis Baccaro(t|b), Rasmus Reinholdt(t|b|h) and Joao Lopez(t|b)! Some of you may have already seen the hangouts with Cathrine and Rasmus, but trust me – you have to see this one. In number 26 we discussed BIML and how it was used in a real world projects. So enjoy watching and enjoy learning about BIML – a technology that will be part of every business intelligence project very soon…

 

T-SQL Tuesday #61 –
Giving Back

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Giving back. Community. Words that we in our SQLFamily use a lot. What’s more – we not just use them because they are cool, we fill them with meaning because I bet there is no other community that shares and helps each other that much. I know there are a lot who do that, but as much as we do – please show it to me.

This month’s #TSQL2SDAY is all about how each one of us plans to start or continue his contribution and here is how I see this aspect of my life(sounds serious, huh?) as there are a lot of things coming for the new year…

During 2014 I did amazing number of international presentations – around 20! I did all of those all on my expenses, but I regret NONE! I also did a lot of Twitter #sqlhelp stuff, blogging and of course – I continued the SQLHangouts videos. For 2015 I will keep it simple – I will just continue all of those above. I am just not completely sure whether or not I will be able to travel that much, but let’s hope I will be. “It depends” on a lot of stuff as we like to say. The cool thing is that if I am not able to travel, it will be because of a seriously cool reasons that I am keeping in secret for now.

So that’s my plan for 2015. SQLFamily will continue to be a priority in my list and let’s hope we will continue to see more and more amazing professionals joining, giving away and helping it too.

Thanks, Wayne for hosting and have a great holiday days, all! I have one more SQLSaturday to cover! Hope to see some of you there! :)

The MVP Interview and Me

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Some time ago I was recognized by Microsoft with their MVP award and since then a lot of time passed by and so many wonderful things happened! I learned a lot form all of the MVP folks and I was able to travel and speak at a lot of conferences. Today Microsoft published an interview with me on their MVP website in which I talk about the award itself, what are the benefits and why one should strive to get it. You can read it here. Let me know what you think! :)

Speaking at SQLKonferenz 2015, Darmstadt

SQLKonferenz DarmstadtI am pleased to announce that I was selected to be one of the speakers at the great SQLKonferenz in Darmstadt, Germany! The 2-day event will be held on the 4th and 5th of February and is organized by PASS – the biggest SQL Server organization in the world. Watching at the agenda, I can only say that this conference is one of those you definitely don’t want to miss. Just take a look at the speakers and you will see what I mean!

Hopefully you will be able to join! See you there!

Visio Stencils for SQL Server and IT Pros

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Are you a consultant, architect or just the person who is responsible for designing the solutions in your shop? If so, you were probably already been asked to create a diagram to “describe”(or let’s say visualise) it. Visio can be your best friend in situations like this as it specialises in the creation of all kinds of diagrams. However, in order for you to be able to create the ones that you are interested in – related to IT architecture, databases or cloud solutions, you will need specific stencils because Visio does not have all the possible “images” that you may need. So here is my “present” for you – below you will find 4 of the stencils(free ones!) I use in my day-to-day work and because I was asked by a colleague MVP recently (Argenis, yes, I am talking about you) and he found those useful, I thought you may also like them. Here’s the list:

  1. Windows Azure Stencil -> Windows Azure Pack & Windows Azure Visio Stencil
  2. Virtualization 2008 -> Virtualization Stencil
  3. BI SQL 2012 Stencils -> Visio Shapes for SQL 2012
  4. Office Stencils (there are good ones for Databases and Servers here) -> New Office Visio Stencil

Again – those are free, so download them and see what they offer. Let me know what you think and if you have other stencil(s) that you are using, please feel free to share them in the comments.

Hangout #25 SQL Server Indexing

SQLHangout #25 is a special one as I was joined by Tim Ford(b|t) who you may already know for one reason or another. If you don’t know him, however, Tim is the founder of SQLCruise, President of PASS and much, much more! In this hangout we talked about indexing strategies and Tim shared some really practical insights from his experience of troubleshooting and fixing performance problems. We also talked about 3rd party apps, filtered indexes and companies that are trying to make everything work with 2GB of RAM. Last, but not at least we discussed the fact that SQLCruise is actually coming to Europe! I really think you will enjoy the video, so free up 30 minutes from your busy day, watch and let me know what you think.

T-SQL Tuesday #60 –
Learning…

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At the moment of writing this blog post, I am at the MVP Summit in one of the hundreds of buildings of Microsoft in Redmond. I am listening to a very interesting session on how organisations collaborate with their partners and yes, I am learning some new things. However, I want to focus on something else in this blog post and not on what I have learned recently, even though I learned quite some stuff and quite interesting (some of which I cannot even talk about). So here’s the deal… Read More

Speaking at Java2Days 2014

Java2Days 2014I know. I know. Java? SQL Server? How can those be related!? It was hard for me to understand that too, so bare with me! Java2Days is the leading Java conference in Bulgaria from years. I remember how I went there when I was still a student and I was taking courses on programming with Java. That was years ago. Now, however, the event grew! What they are doing this year for first time is that they will held one track that will be dedicated to “different than Java things”. Let’s call it this way. How they got me as speaker, though, was also cool. My new company is one of the major players on the market when we talk about consulting and doing project work. We do that successfully because we have an amazing team of people and that’s true because together with all the other folks, we are 5 Microsoft MVPs. So, I think it is a logical decision to ask a company like ours: “Hey, can you help deliver amazing content”? Of course, we said a huge “Yes” and that’s how I got to this page.

Going back to the event, but this time as a speaker, will be fun for sure, so hope to see you Developers there! I am speaking for SQL Server and some cool T-SQL improvements in the SQL Server 2014 release, so see you there!

Update: I have to say I am pleasantly surprised! I had around 20 people in my session on SQL Server! Not only they were all engaged during the presentation, but they were also quite knowledgable about SQL Server in areas I did not expect. Unfortunately I was not able to talk with any other speaker as I had to go back to the office, but probably will do that next year.

For the attendees – here are my scripts that you all asked for and the slide deck from the presentation is below! Thanks for attending and hope to see you soon!