I delivered my "Leveraging PSSDiag/SQLDiag for Efficient Troubleshooting" presentation yesterday morning, here at the PASS Community Summit 2009 conference in Seattle, Washington. The talk went quite well—I had fun and felt like there was good interaction with the audience (including many questions during and after the talk). I also have a great sense of relief now that the presentation is complete!
Based on the great feedback that I received from my several public presentations and rehearsals, I made major changes to the talk over the last few days. I removed most of the material from the introduction and troubleshooting methodology sections, so that I could get to the demonstrations (and eye-candy) as quickly as possible. The edits made a big difference; I didn’t bore or overwhelm the audience with too much conceptual material, plus I didn’t have to race through the case study and demonstrations.
Here are a few highlights or observations:
- Prior to the start of the session, my friend Tim Mitchell (blog, Twitter) made a special point to come encourage me and offer any assistance that might be needed… even though he had another session to attend!
- I also appreciated the support of my friend Patrick LeBlanc (blog, Twitter), who was in the audience
- There was a very good turnout, far larger than I expected. I printed out fifty copies of each handout but there were not enough to go around. I didn’t have a chance to get an exact count, but I would estimate that about seventy-five people were present!
- I had a problem with one of the demonstrations (creating a SQL Server Agent alert for launching SQLDiag). I developed it against a default instance but was demonstrating it against a named instance, so the performance object name was wrong. Fortunately the audience was helpful in fixing the problem
- I was actually working on addressing this problem on the flights to Seattle (by retrieving the appropriate name from the [sys].[dm_os_performance_counters] DMV), but I neglected to finish it after getting here. It will be fixed before I post the code
- My other gaffe was that, early on, I decided to walk down and in front of the dais to be closer to the audience. I got over to the stairs before realizing that this just wasn’t a good idea and turned back. I’m sure that it looked awkward (and amusing)
- Because of the restructuring, I was able to stop and solicit questions at several key points, which helped to draw the audience into the talk
- I got to use "it depends" to answer one of the questions!
- Tim Mitchell also slipped in at one point to snap a picture of me talking. I brought my camera to the session, but forgot to ask for a volunteer to use it, so I was pleasantly surprised by his thoughtfulness
- I didn’t end up having time to cover the "’Strategies’ to Avoid" slide. I’ll write a blog post that explains the terms
- I only had time to cover a fraction of the original material… I could teach a full-day on this topic! It’s going to be important to publish quite a few blog posts to supplement the material
- Still, my main goal was realized: I managed to introduce many people to these invaluable, free tools that Microsoft’s engineers have developed (specifically PSSDiag, SQLDiag, PAL, SQL Nexus, and the RML Utilities)
- I hope to hear from many audience members as they have a chance to start experimenting with these tools and leveraging them at work
- There was a really good group that stayed around after the talk to ask questions
- While answering those questions, the lamp in the projector blew out. I was very fortunate that it waited until after my presentation ended!
- Tim Benninghoff (blog, Twitter) came up and introduced himself. We have interacted a bit on Twitter and I helped him with a PowerShell script back in May. This was great, since he was on my list of people that I was hoping to meet at the PASS conference!
- Only one person was playing #SQLBingo, which was a little disappointing!
- I have spoken to both Colin Stasiuk (blog, Twitter) and Greg Larsen (blog, Twitter) about delivering the talk as a webcast for their user groups (the Edmonton and Database Administration virtual chapters, respectively)