Q&A about my SQLBits precon

September 1, 2010

I received an email from someone who’s trying to decide whether or not to register for my precon at SQLBits 7 next month. He’s already coming to the event (which should be a given for anyone who can make it), but he was trying to work out a few things about my precon, which is called “Fixing Queries through Advanced T-SQL Techniques”.

He wrote:

Hi Rob,
I’m trying to decide on my SQLBits 7 choices and am looking at your Precon Thursday session hence I had a few questions.
I’ve (mostly) administered and developed in sql server for 10 years hence trying to gauge the level / suitablility.
How much do you go into execution plans?
Will there be any printed material for the course?
I find I learn from repetition hence dont want to do a course and forget it all by the next day!
Is there any reading you suggest?
Sorry to be fussy, paying from my own pocket not a company training budget you see!

I don’t think he’s very fussy at all. Paying for training out of your own pocket can be scary. Last thing you want is to feel like it’s a waste. So I replied:


Execution plans will be a major part of the day. Just about every aspect of the day will look at the effect of various constructs on the plan, as the plan is where many performance issues can be seen.

As far as printed material is concerned – I wasn’t planning on giving much out before the event, because the day will be so focussed on queries and seeing how things are reflected in the plans (and I find this can be much more easily expressed verbally and with hand-waving than in written form). I will certainly provide the queries that are used, but was looking to focus on making you think, not read. The key points will be inserted as comments in the queries, so I do expect that you’ll have plenty of material to remind you what was seen once you get back to work – hopefully this will be more useful than giving you notes ahead of time. Plus, I’ll always answer emails about the content.

For reading material, I’d make sure you’re familiar with basic execution plan concepts, as that will probably give you an advantage over many of the people in the class. My hope is that you’ll leave the day with the skills to be able to evaluate the plans that your queries are producing, and have learned ways to improve them. There is an excellent chapter on Execution Plans in the book Inside Microsoft® SQL Server(tm) 2005: Query Tuning and Optimization – but I will also be explaining the key points for those less familiar with plans.

To really work out if this precon is for you, watch the video from SQLBits V at http://sqlbits.com/Agenda/event5/Designing_for_simplification/default.aspx. If this is stuff that interests you, and you want more (and in particular, looking at real queries), then definitely come along.

Hope this helps,


And if you (the reader) are trying to decide whether or not to do a precon (particularly mine), then I hope this helps you too. I can’t answer tonight’s questions for the other precon presenters, I can only comment on the type of things that I’ll be covering, but I can thoroughly recommend all of the things on offer. The list of presenters is tremendous, and I think this really helps demonstrate that SQLBits is very much a world-class conference.

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