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My PASS Summit 2016 Session Submissions Feedback

I’m excited to say that I will be delivering a session in this year’s PASS Summit in Seattle later this year! The session is called “MongoDB for the SQL Server Professional”.

More about the session in the future. For now, after Brent Ozar and Steph Locke published their abstract review feedback, now it’s my turn.

All You Need to Know about SQL Server in the Cloud (Not Accepted)

Length: Pre-Conference Session (full day)

Track: Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment

Topic: Hybrid-solutions

Level: 200


The cloud is here, and you want to start working with it. When starting to work with SQL Server in the cloud, there are many things that need to be taken into account.

Through extensive demos on both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, this full day seminar will take you through the steps of moving SQL Server to the cloud the right way. From choosing the right cloud model, to architecture and performance considerations, and finally to performing the actual deployment.

By the end of the day, you will have a firm understanding of the options for running SQL Server in the cloud, when and how to use which, how to do it the right way, and how to leverage the benefits of the cloud.

The seminar will cover:

  1. How to choose between SQL Server as a service and SQL Server on a virtual machine

  2. How to choose the right hardware for your workload

  3. Performance considerations and best practices

  4. How to work in a hybrid environment where your data is both on-premise and in the cloud

  5. Backup, restore, high availability and disaster recovery options

  6. Security considerations

  7. Scaling options

  8. What to watch out for

  9. How does SQL Server fit in the cloud ecosystem

  10. How to automate your work

  11. How to cut your expenses

The seminar will include a deep dive into both the PaaS options (Azure SQL Database and Amazon RDS) and IaaS options (Azure Virtual Machines and Amazon EC2).

Whether you plan to migrate a current project to the cloud or start a new one, this seminar is for you.


  1. Experience working with SQL Server


  1. Understand the difference between running SQL Server on a VM and SQL Server as a service

  2. Understand the benefits and limitations of running SQL Server in the cloud

  3. Get insights about different ways for getting the optimal performance when running SQL Server in the cloud


  1. Cloud as always (from last few years) is on the top of sessions. This pre-conf looks really good and it’s interesting.

  2. Abstract: The outline and detail for this abstract are well written and cover pretty much what the audience will get out of this pre-conference. Topic: This is a hot topic. More organizations are preparing their infrastructure to utilize cloud offering and this will be a great session for any DBA/System Engineer to learn Subjective: I will attend this subject

  3. The outline seems well developed. The outline seems to clearly describe the contents of the presentation. The topic and goals should be compelling to attendees. The topic appears to be timely, new and relevant. There appears to be a reasonable amount of live demonstrations in relation to the topic being presented. The topic and goals appear to deliver an appropriate amount of material for the time allotted.

  4. Abstract: detailed, well written Topic: relevant Subjective rating: interesting

  5. Abstract: Clear and well written abstract. Seems to cover a wide range of cloud technologies. Topic: Great trendy topic that will attract attendees. Subjective: Sounds like a fun full day session.

My Thoughts:

I submitted this abstract even though I knew it wouldn’t get in.

First, I assumed I needed a little more international speaking experience to get in (I’m working on it).

The second and main reason is the list of prerequisites for a pre-conference speaker, which one of them is delivering a pre-conference session in events like PASS Summit, SQLBits and SQLSaturdays. I totally respect that and understand the rationale behind it, as it’s very important to maintain a high standard of precons. I also have LOTS of respect to the good people who are in charge of the review process – they have a very hard job.

The only feedback I have about it is that PASS needs to make sure it doesn’t turn the precons into a closed club where no new members can get in. Getting a precon at a SQLSaturday, for example, is very tough, as they have the same problem too, and many of the SQLSaturday precons are closed behind the scenes without opening it to everyone with a call for speakers.

So why did I submit it? For me to have it ready for other conferences, and in case something changes for some reason, and speakers who hadn’t yet delivered a precon would be considered.

As for the abstract comments, I feel I did a good job and the review team seem to have liked it. Hopefully next year.

It’s 2016! Stop Doing This! (Not Accepted)

Length: General Session (75 minutes)

Track: Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment

Topic: Database Maintenance

Level: 200


Many years ago, some SQL Server related operations were considered as best practices, and since then we’ve been implementing many of them automatically.

The problem is that things have changed. Some of them aren’t considered a best practice anymore, some of them are not suited to the hardware and software changes that have occurred over the years, and some of them were overrated from the beginning.

In this session, we will go over those best practices, explain where they came from, explain why they are not relevant anymore, and where your time, effort and money should actually be spent today.

Among others, we will cover your index maintenance processes, your code, plan reuse and recompilations, your disk layout and your thoughts about where the time goes in your queries.


  1. Experience writing T-SQL and administrating SQL Server databases


  1. Understand why some old best practices are not relevant anymore

  2. Understand why relying on old and outdated best practices is not a good use of your time

  3. Understand where your time should actually be spent and where you should focus


  1. I would attend this session.

  2. Abstract: not detailed Topic: new, very interesting Subjective rating: it seems a really cool session

  3. Abstract: Clearly written abstract. Topic: Title is fun and should get people to bite. Subjective: Sounds like it could be a great session, I’d attend it. Could also end up being too broad and not technically deep enough, if too many topics are covered.

My Thoughts:

Didn’t have too much hopes for this session. It would be a nice, provocative one, but I assumed other ones in the category will be more appealing to the reviewers.

MongoDB for the SQL Server Professional (Accepted!!)

Length: Half-Day Session

Track: Application & Database Development

Topic: .NET Framework Integration

Level: 200


NoSQL databases are on the rise. Today, many data-oriented applications use a NoSQL database and not a relational database like SQL Server.

MongoDB is the leading NoSQL database today. It provides a rich set of features and supports many programming languages. Many organizations move from SQL Server to MongoDB, and many DBAs and database developers are required to know it in addition to SQL Server.

In this session, we will talk about:

* The reasons for the rising popularity of NoSQL databases

* What a Document Database is and the use cases for using it

* MongoDB terminology compared to SQL Server terminology

* How to setup and configure a MongoDB cluster

* How to load and retrieve data from MongoDB

* Performance tuning with MongoDB

* Do’s and Don’t Do’s with MongoDB

* Hybrid solutions combining SQL Server and MongoDB

* How to run MongoDB on Azure

MongoDB is here. It’s time to know how, when and why to work with it.


  1. Experience designing tables and writing queries against SQL Server


  1. Understand the different types of NoSQL databases and the reasons for their rising popularity

  2. Understand what a Document Database is and the use cases for using it

  3. Understand how MongoDB works, how to set it up and how to perform various data loading and retrieval operations using it


  1. I don’t think that the topic selected is correct for this session, since it has nothing to do with .NET. Level of detail provided is good for a 3 hour session, hope that everything listed can be covered appropriately in the given session length.

  2. Abstract is a bit rough but good enough to capture attention, describe the topic, and provides reasons why someone should attend.

  3. Very interesting and current topic for developers. Abstract is well written and gives decent insight into session contents. Goals are clear and tangible. Demo % is good for a half day session.

  4. I would have liked to see a comparison to Microsoft’s brand on NoSQL database in this session. That would have made it a perfect 5 for me.

  5. I think this could prove popular as it is a good basic introduction to different technology.

  6. Unique and could be of interest to large group

  7. Outstanding topic. Would seriously considering going to this session for a 1/2 day. The bullets in the abstract are effective.

  8. Subjective: I would certainly attend this just based on the abstract itself…

My Thoughts:

I was pretty confident this one will get in. First, because it was the only submitted session to cover MongoDB. Second, I thought I did a good job in the abstract – detailing why would a data professional should be interested in attending the session and what he will get from it. The combination of the two, in addition to other factors of course, helped this session make the cut.

Performance Tuning with Management Studio Code Snippets:

Length: Regular Session

Track: Enterprise Database Administration

Topic Performance Monitoring / Tuning / Extended Events / Waits

Level: 300


How many times have you needed to search for a script you already ran many times, but just didn’t remember where you put it?

SQL Server Management Studio has a secret yet powerful feature called Code Snippets, which can save many hours of repetitive work.

In this session, we will cover what code snippets are, how they can be used and how you can create snippets of your own that will make you much more productive.

In addition, we will use snippets to demonstrate how to approach common performance troubleshooting scenarios like slow running queries, blocking, IO latency, wait statistics, deadlocking and indexing.

Join this session to see how snippets can make performance tuning quick, efficient and fun.


  1. Basic experience of SQL Server performance tuning


  1. Understand what snippets are and how to use them

  2. Understand how snippets can be used for quickly identifying performance problems and solving them

  3. Learn a methodology for SQL Server performance troubleshooting


  1. I would attend

  2. Level is ok for prereqs and goals. Maybe a little high for the code snippets topic, but reasonable for performance troubleshooting. Topic appears to be a mix of ‘other’ (snippets) topics with performance troubleshooting added-in. Abstract is well written and interesting overall. Only concern is that it reads like 2 small presentations that have been merged into one larger session.

  3. Abstract: Abstract is sufficient, though I do not buy the implied connection between snippets and perf tuning. Topic: I like the topic, but this is definitely not a 300 level session. Subjective: There is nothing about this sessions which jumps out at me. On the contrary, I have concerns.

My Thoughts:

Snippets are near and dear to my heart, and I use them every single day for performance tuning. However, I didn’t do a good job explaining the connection between the two, why it will be appealing to attendees, and why this session should be a 300 level session. The feedback is right to the point.

SQL Server 2016 Features for Execution Plan Lovers

Length: General Session

Track: Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment

Topic: New Features of SQL Server 2016

Level: 200


SQL Server 2016 adds a few impressive features that enhance the performance tuner’s ability to understand, interrogate and enforce a certain execution plan.

During the session, among others, we will talk about Query Store, Live Query Statistics, execution plan comparison, the addition actual number of rows read and other DMV columns, and explain how each one of them can help with understanding query executions and making our servers run faster.


  1. Experience working with execution plans


  1. Understand what the Query Store is

  2. Understand what is the Live Query Statistics feature and how it can help analyzing currently running queries

  3. Learn about new columns that were added to performance-related DMVs


  1. Topic: Excellent topic Abstract: Abstract is well written and concise. Just right for a level 200 session. Goals are clearly defined. Subjective: This sounds like a great session on this topic, of which there are many. Though listed as 200, it seems like a good introductory session into these new features. This is the type of session that will draw crowds over the attempts at deep dives on similar topics.

  2. This is a What’s new session. People may be interested attend this session.

  3. Abstract: good abstract, informative, covers session contents well Topic: accurate to abstract Subjective: sounds like a good session

  4. The level of detail seems low – more detail might help attendees decide on value of attending. The topic and goals should be compelling to attendees. The topic should be timely, new and relevant.

My Thoughts:

The last comment is what I think about my abstract. I didn’t give enough details that would help attendees decide to show up.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Length: General Session

Track: Application & Database Development

Topic: Database Modelling / Database Design

Level: 100


In the past, things were simple. Almost every system sat on top of a relational database. Today, in the age of the cloud, NoSQL, Big Data, and others, things are much more complicated, and many DBAs, database developers and data architects are required to work with other data systems and not just SQL Server.

In this session, we will take a step back and explain the new world of data.

We will talk about:

* The three major recent revolutions that brought us here: Cloud computing, distributed computing and the NoSQL movement

* The various new data models, database systems and the use cases for using each one

* Machine Learning and its use cases

* How to build a robust data solution from those various systems

* How the relational database fits in this new world

* What does a SQL Server professional need to do in this new world


  1. Experience working with data


  1. Understand the revolutions and industry trends that brought us here

  2. Understand the various new data models and database systems

  3. Understand what a SQL Server professional needs to do in this new world


  1. Abstract is a bit rough, but good enough to capture attention, describe the topic and reasoning why someone should attend.

  2. Abstract: Well written and to the point. Topic: Title is not obvious – until one reads the abstract. Made me _want_ to read the abstract, so is a good hook (no change needed). VERY relevant topic, ideal for all levels of Data professionals, be they DBA, BI, BA or managers.

  3. Bad session name. great abstract just need a better title.

  4. topic seems interesting but session seems to be more theoretical in nature – not sure how much appeal/interest it may have with developers. abstract has adequate details on what to expect from the session. goals are a bit generic and could benefit from more tangible details. demo % seems low

  5. I think this is too broad. Maybe just talk about NoSQL (which is about 4-10 different ideas)

  6. Thank you for including the appropriate detail of what your session will cover, but I worry that you cannot cover all of that in 75 minutes.

  7. I don’t like the title. It conveys nothing of what the session is about. Not everybody gets these analogies. I get the sentiment of the title but feel that it does not work.- is distributed computing really a recent revolution? – what is the author calling recent? A think the title and abstract should be reworked – this could be a great session but is badly let down – mainly by the title but also bu the abstract itself.

My Thoughts:

I knew this title would raise a discussion, and I left it as is even though I was advised to change it before submitting. I wanted to see what happens. It seems one reviewer really liked it, but two really hated it. As for the abstract, I feel I could do better building the story of why should a data professional attend this session.


Generally speaking, my abstracts are a factor of how much work I put into them. It really shows where I did my best and where I cut corners and didn’t work hard enough. Take that into account when you write yours.

Also, if you’re not yet in the first line of speakers, you need to think about a topic that can be relevant to many people but don’t have lots of competition, like I did with MongoDB.

What do YOU think about my abstracts?




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