Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vote for Our SQL Rally Pre-con


Vote here:

Honestly, I want each of reading my blog to vote for our Pre-con(Full Day Business Intelligence Workshop).  However, as with any voting process you have choices. most cases you do.  We often feel or believe that our vote does not count.  I really believe that this is going to be a little different.  I am really excited about the SQL Rally and more excited that our Preconference seminar was selected as one of those that are now being voted upon.  So, why should you vote for our Pre-con?

I have been referencing the pre-con as "Ours", that is because four individuals will be delivering the conference.  The team of presenters/authors include Adam Jorgensen, Mike Davis, Devin Knight, and myself.  I am not going to list the credentials for each person, but I will say that each presenter has taught full day courses in building Data Warehouses, SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS.  In addition, we are all regular speakers at various SQL Server events, including SQL Saturdays, Users Groups, and PASS.

Still not convinced?  Each member of this team has designed, created and delivered solutions that encompass each of the tools that will be presented during the Precon.  First, we will spend time teaching you how to transform your Operational database to a data warehouse.  Adam Jorgensen will take a deep dive into Dimensional Modeling and all the techniques required to create you data warehouse database.  In the next three sections, which are all very demo-centric, you will learn from Devin Knight, Mike Davis and myself how to build SSIS Packages to load your data warehouse fully or incrementally, then we will show you how to create and maintain an SSAS cube and finally we will use SSRS to create visually appealing reports for your end-users.

This may seem like a lot to accomplish in one day, but we will be taking a very explicit and focused approach in regards to each technology.  For example, we are not going to discuss every transform in the SSIS control and data flow toolboxes.  However, we will provide detail explanations of the tasks that are vital when building and ETL solution.  At the end of the day you will leave with the knowledge and tools needed to build a complete data warehouse solution.  As an extra touch, we will not be using the traditional Adventure Works database for our demonstrations.  We will be using some real world data that will enhance the discussions and potentially create a more engaging learning experience for all attendees.

So with that, I am not going to restate our abstract, nor am I going to talk about how good all the other sessions are.  What am I going to say is that as a part of the community and a potential attendee of these Precons, go and vote so your can make a difference!  Hey, I kind of sound like a politician, maybe I will run for the PASS board next year ;).  See you all at the PASS Summit in two weeks and hopefully next year at our SQL Rally Preconference Seminar.

Go make it happen! There's a lot of good seminars, go read about them here:

BI Sessions:

DBA Sessions:

Developer Sessions:

Misc Sessions:

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, founder

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1st Houston Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group

Tyler Chessman of Microsoft has started a Business Intelligence Users Group in Houston.  The group will meet online  and onsite quarterly.  If you are interested in attending here are the meeting details:

Houston – Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group

We would like to invite you to the very 1st Houston Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group.  This event will take place on Wednesday October 20th, 2010 from 11:15 – 1:00 p.m. at the Microsoft Houston Office  (location and map below).   LiveMeeting will also be available for remote attendees.

Learn the latest and greatest in BI - along with practical advice for getting the most out of your existing technology investments.

No RSVP needed.


This is a free event; lunch will be provided.

Who should attend

BI Practitioners from both an IT &  business background should attend.   We’ll have two presentations (see Topics below) of interest to both IT and business analysts/power users.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010.  11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


One Briar Lake Plaza

2000 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. S. #350

Houston, TX 77042

Phone: (832) 252-4300

See map and/or driving directions

Live Meeting Link for Remote Attendees - Join the meeting

Make sure the Office Live Meeting client is installed before the meeting:

· I am connecting from inside the Microsoft network

· I am connecting from outside the Microsoft network


· Introducing SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services (MDS):

Master Data Management is a key enabler in improving the timeliness, quality and reliability of BI with the ultimate goal of improving business performance.  This session will be a primer on how to get started with Master Data Management using MDS.

Speaker:  Satheesh Kumar is the principal/lead consultant for Catapult Systems, a Microsoft-focused IT consulting firm. Satheesh has been developing with Microsoft technologies since 1996 and has deep experience in web applications, business intelligence and business analytics. He is currently focused on providing professional solutions using the latest technologies, including the Microsoft BI technology stack.  He has an MBA from RICE University, interested  in data mining research. He can be reached online at

· Excel Tips and Tricks - Working with External Data

In this talk, Jim is going to share tips/tricks for working in Excel, specifically how to build flexible data extracts from relational databases, including passing parameters from Excel to SQL Server or Access.

Speaker:  Jim Cline is a Senior Manager of Ad-Hoc Reporting at Service Corporation International, the world’s largest funeral home and cemetery consolidator; he has been with SCI for about 14 years.  Jim’s department creates ad hoc reporting in Excel, Access, SQL Server, and web-based reports and applications.  Jim has a strong business background and mastery of Excel, including:

•         Previously with Arthur Andersen as a tax accountant and real estate appraiser (7 years).

•         Degree from the University of Houston with a BBA in Accounting and Taxation.

•         Founded ClineSys, an Excel and Access training system.  Currently has two Excel courses (2003 and 2007) and two Access/SQL courses (2003 and 2007). .  ClineSys is approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and CPAs can earn 40 hours of CPE credit by taking the Excel (2003 or 2007) course.

Come out and support the new group. 

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, founder SQL Lunch

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Monday, October 18, 2010

MDX Puzzles (New Author)

Well I am sure most of you noticed that I haven't posted an MDX puzzle in some time.  After much consideration I have decided to pass the torch to someone that I feel will devote the time needed to help you all continue with your learning.  So with that, I would like to introduce or re-introduce you all to Dustin Ryan the new MDX Puzzle guy.  Dustin is a consultant for Pragmatic Works and a regular blogger on  He is also very skilled with MDX. 

I am not quite sure when Dustin is going to start posting the puzzles, but I am sure it is going to be soon.  Thanks Dustin for stepping taking in over. 

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc (form MDX puzzler), SQL Server MVP, MCTS and founder SQL Lunch

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

SQL Lunch #40 - Mirroring: The Bear Necessities

I am excited to announce a new speaker to the SQL Lunch, Ryan Adams.  Ryan will be discussing Database Mirroring and how it has become an integral part of high availability and  disaster recovery planning.  See the following meeting details:

Lunch Image

Speaker: Ryan Adams

Meeting URL:

Add To Outlook: Add To Calendar

Date and Time: 10/19/2010 11:30:00 AM CST
BIO: Ryan is a highly skilled Microsoft oriented administrator and has worked for a Fortune 100 company for 12 years. In his time there he has supported everything from desktop to server. Most recently he has served as a senior Active Directory Architect and Identity Management (MIIS, ILM, FIM) Consultant. He is the sole SQL Server DBA for his group, supporting both vendor databases and custom databases. His primary focus is database design and performance, but also works with SSRS report development, and SSIS ETL. He enjoys being involved in the SQL community and serves on the board of directors for the North Texas SQL Server User Group. He is well versed in many core Microsoft technologies, has implemented and supported them both nationally and internationally for a company of 250k+ users, and holds the following certifications: MCP MCSA MCSE MCDBA - SQL 2000 MCTS - SQL 2005 MCITP - SQL 2005

Topic: #40-Mirroring: The Bear Necessities
Mirroring can be an integral part of your high availability and disaster recovery planning. We’ll cover what mirroring is, how it can fit into an HA/DR plan, the rules surrounding its use, configuration via the GUI and T-SQL, as well as how to monitor mirroring. This presentation is designed to not only give you an overview of mirroring, but to also walk you through a basic implementation. At the end you will have learned what mirroring is, how it can fit into your environment, what business requirements it solves, and how to configure it.

See you at Lunch,

Patrick LeBlanc, founder SQL Lunch, SQL Server MVP, MCTS

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Speaking at SQL Saturday #49 Orlando

After making the trip last weekend to Houston for Houston Techfest with the kids I am off again, but this time alone.  On Friday I will fly into Orlando for the Speaker dinner, which is always a lot of fun.  On Saturday I will be presenting two sessions.  The first is a mini session on Speaking and the second is on using Change Data Capture and SSIS to load a Slowly Changing Dimension.  This is my second time speaking at SQL Saturday in Orlando.  If you are in the area stop by.  Registration is still open.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, Founder SQL Lunch

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why do I contribute to the SQL Server Community?

As an active speaker and volunteer in the SQL Server community I am often asked why do I do it?  Sometimes, I actually ask myself that question, but when I think about how the community as a whole operates (quick to answer questions and join discussions) any doubt is quickly removed.  Think about this, in what community can you post a question on twitter or send an email to someone you met at a community event and before you know it, you have several responses to your question.  I became active in the community almost three years ago and I was embraced (not physically, well maybe by a couple) by several people who I considered to be some the of the top SQL Server professionals in the community.  So why not give back?  If I had to list the TOP (5) reasons as to why I do it, it would hard for me to narrow it down.  Fortunately, I am always up to a challenge so here are my TOP 5 reasons:

1.  Contributing to the community, continually increases my knowledge about SQL Server and all of it's components.

2.  Allows me to meet a bunch of really talented SQL Server professionals.  Networking, Networking, Networking....

3.  Can't forget about job opportunities, because I landed my current job with Pragmatic Works at a SQL Saturday event where I was speaking.

4.  Allows me to travel to places that I have never been (a selfish reason) ;).

5.  Honestly, I enjoy it.

So why do you contribute?  Write your own blog post and share it with the community.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, Founder SQL Lunch

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Speaking at South Florida SQL Server User Group

I will be speaking at the South Florida SQL Server User Group on October 13 via Live Meeting.  My topic is Introduction to Change Data Capture with SSIS.  If you have some time logon and watch the meeting.

Meeting URL:

In thisLeBlanc presentation I will Introduce Change Data Capture and show how it can be used to incrementally load a Slowly Changing Dimension.  Hope to see some of you online.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, Founder SQL Lunch

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October SQL Server & .Net User Group Meetings

October .NET & SQL User Group Meetings

This month the Baton Rouge SQL Server and .Net user groups are holding a joint meeting.  We will be meeting at our usual location.  If you are around Baton Rouge on Wednesday October 13th stop by.  The meeting details are as follows:

Location:  Lamar Advertising, 5551 Corporate Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA

Date and Time: 10/13/2010 5:45:00 PM
Sponsored By: Sparkhound
5:45 - 6:15 pm: Networking and Refreshments
6:15 - 6:30 pm: Lightning Round
6:30 - 7:45 pm: (.NET) Visualize Data in a “geo way” with WP 7 and Silverlight
6:30 - 7:45 pm: (SQL) Building Spatial Data Reports with SSRS 2008 R2 and Powershell for the DBA
7:45 - until: Open Forum for questions and Raffle

Lightning Round (Lamar Kitchen)
Topic: Introduction to the Pomodoro Technique
Overview: For many of us time is an enemy. The anxiety triggered by “the ticking clock” and deadlines to be met leads to ineffective work and study habits and procrastination. In this lightning round we’ll look at how the Pomodoro Technique can help transform time into a valuable ally.

Speaker: Stacy Vicknair, VB.NET MVP, MCTS

BIO: Stacy Vicknair is a development consultant working for Sparkhound and a Microsoft MVP for two years running in Visual Basic. Stacy blogs at his website,, about .NET and other general development topics. He is active in his local community as a committee member for the Baton Rouge .NET User Group ( and
a co-founder for the Baton Rouge Architecture Group (

SQL Server User Group (3rd Floor Conference Room) Two Topics

Session One

Topic: Building Spatial Data Reports with SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services Overview: Microsoft introduced spatial data types in SQL Server 2008 and since has enhanced the reporting capabilities in the following release of SQL Server 2008 R2. This session will introduce the concept of spatial data types in SQL, provide some tips and tools for getting spatial data into SQL, and show different methods for including spatial data in SQL Reporting Services Reports.

Speaker: Mark Verret

BIO: Mark Verret is the Systems Administrator for the LSU Highway Safety Research Group.  He has over 10 years of experience in the IT field.  He has presented at the past two SQLSaturday events in Baton Rouge.  He has functioned as DBA for the past 3 years working with SQL 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2008 R2. 

Session Two

Summary: Powershell for DBAs- introduction and examples of how Powershell 2.0 can make you a more versatile SQL Server Administrator

Speaker:  William Assaf

Bio: William Assaf, MCITP-DD, is a Senior Development Consultant and Team Lead for Sparkhound, Inc. in Baton Rouge, LA.  He blogs on SQL Server at, where you can find the slides and code examples of this presentation.

.NET User Group (Lamar Kitchen)

Topic: Visualize Data in a “geo way” with WP 7 and Silverlight Overview: Geospatial data is being used everywhere these days, from social media, to citizen reporting 311 applications, to tracking government spending. This talk will discuss design tips and go over the requirements for creating a better user experience and how to visualize data in a “geo way” for Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight applications.

Speaker: Al Pascual
BIO: Company: ESRI
Al Pascual was born, bred and educated in Barcelona Spain,. He moved to England as a young lad to work as a developer in start-ups in the technology field. After seven years working in many small companies, Al moved to California with dreams of stock options to work for another start-up and enjoyed the world of low-level C and C++. After spending a few years working as a consultant, when .NET came out, Al helped companies be more productive. He became a pure web developer, believing that HTTP will rule the world and ASP.NET had nothing to do with classic ASP. Finally growing up and joining the corporate world
to be part of the matrix, Al now has a wife, 3 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 rats, 1 turtle and a mortgage. He’s happy to work for a big company like Esri as a senior software developer working mainly in Silverlight and ASP.NET.

See at the User Group

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, SQL Server Chapter Leader

SQL Lunch #32: SSIS Design Patterns, with Andy Leonard

Don't miss SQL Server MVP Andy Leonard on the SQL Lunch, Monday, October 11th.

#32-SSIS Design Patterns 1c: Variables, Events, and Automated Custom Logging Patterns

Lunch Image

Speaker: Andy Leonard

Add To Outlook: Add To Calendar

Live Meeting URL:

Date and Time: 10/11/2010 11:30:00 AM CST
BIO: Andy Leonard is an Architect with Molina Medicaid Solutions, SQL Server database and Integration Services developer, SQL Server MVP, PASS Regional Mentor, and engineer. He is a co-author of Professional SQL Server 2005 Integration Services and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives. Andy blogs for His background includes web application architecture and development, VB, and ASP; SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS); data warehouse development using SQL Server 2000, 2005 and 2008.

See you at Lunch

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, Founder SQL Lunch

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Speaking at Houston Techfest

I am heading down to Houston, TX to speak at the Houston Techfest this weekend.  Being a Houston native makes this trip even more exciting.  This is a free event that offers a diverse set of sessions.  The sessions range from What's new in Java to Introduction to Window Azure.   I attended the event last year and if my memory serves me correctly there were only two SQL Sessions.  Fortunately, I was able to convince the event coordinator, Michael Steinberg, to include a full SQL Track at the event. This year the event will host at least 7 SQL Sessions.  I will be giving two presentations.  The first is a presentation on Backup and Data Compression and in the second session I will be introducing the use of Change Data Capture with SSIS. 

This event attracts approximately 1000 people from all across the state.  If you are near the Houston area this weekend I recommend that you try to attend.  Not only is it a great chance to learn something new, but you may even win a Trip to Las Vegas.  One thing I forgot to mention was that lunch is FREE.  So I hope to see you all there.  Also, if you attend my second session of the day you will have a chance to win Knight's Microsoft Business Intelligence 24-Hour Trainer, which I co-authored.  Hope to see you there!

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS, Founder

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

Monday, October 4, 2010

SQL Lunch One Year Anniversary

I am very excited to announce the 1 year anniversary of the SQL Lunch. Last year around this time I was getting the site up and trying to find a couple of speakers to ensure that we had a good start. I was able to convince Tim Mitchell to speak and the rest is history. Thanks to everyone that has attended all of the lunch events and thanks to all of the speakers who gave their time to make the site a success.

During the first year I gained a co-host (Adam Jorgensen) and several new friends along the way. I also hired the first SQL Lunch employee, Patrick Jr. (my son). He and I are working hard on improving the site and the notifications. Thanks again to everyone and see you at the next SQL Lunch. As always, we are looking for speakers so email us at if you are interested in speaking.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS

Founder SQL Lunch

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Maintain Change Data Capture Configuration when restoring a database

I have been working with a several clients that are leveraging Change Data Capture (CDC) as a tool for incrementally loading their Data Warehouse.  In most cases the clients are using database restores from various environments to create test environments.  When databases with CDC enabled is restored to the same server with the same database name, CDC remains enabled and all related meta data is persisted.  However, when restoring the database to another server or to the same server, but with a new database name, CDC is disabled and all related metadata is deleted.  To retain the CDC configuration when restoring, simply use the KEEP_CDC option when restoring your database.  The following script shows an example of how to accomplish this:




The key item here is to specify KEEP_CDC as an option of the restore.  As always, if you have any questions concerning this post please comment here or send an email to

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS

Founder SQL Lunch

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

SQL Saturday #57 (Houston) Call for Speakers and Registration is Open!!

So many people have been waiting for a SQL Saturday in Houston and now it’s finally here. As a native of Houston I was surprised that it wasn’t one of the first SQL Saturday venues. Well the wait is over. Thanks to Nancy Wilson, the local SQL Server User Group Chapter Leader, Jonathan Gardner and Malik Al-Aminthe, the first Houston SQL Saturday (#57) will be held on January 29, 2011. Several great sessions have already been submitted, but they are definitely accepting more. In a city the size of Houston they are expecting an overwhelming number of attendees for this event. If you are a speaker that has never given a presentation at a SQL Saturday this may be a good place to get your start. Go here to sign up. If you are not quite ready to speak, but would like to attend click here to register. See you in Houston.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS

Founder SQL Lunch