About Me

I now work for Microsoft Federal in Chevy Chase, MD.

Dedicated to providing customer-driven, results-focused solutions to the complex business problems of today... and tomorrow.

At SQLTrainer.com, LLC  we understand that the technical challenges faced by businesses today are much greater in both scope and complexity than they have ever been. Businesses today are faced with understanding both local IT infrastructures as well as cloud-based technologies.

What is SQLTrainer.com?

Founded in 1998 by Ted Malone, SQLTrainer.com is a technical consulting, training and content development firm dedicated to the following core principles:

  • Technology Alone is NOT the Answer! - Implementing a particular technology because it is interesting or "cool" will not solve customer problems.
  • Technology Solutions do NOT need to be Overly Complex! - Many times developers and technical practitioners will attempt to build the most clever solution possible. While this serves to stroke the egos of those involved, it doesn't provide a maintainable solution.
  • Consultants Should be Mentors First! - When looking to hire an external consultant, businesses should look to the consultant who's willing to train themselves out of a paycheck.

Why the name, SQLTrainer.com?

SQL (pronounced See-Quell) stands for Structured Query Language, which is at the heart of every modern-day relational database system. Since many technology solutions today rely on some form of database storage or interaction, it was only logical to find a way to incorporate SQL into the name of the organization. Given that one of our core principles is to be a mentor/training above everything, the name SQLTrainer made sense. Since we also wanted to represent our embracing of the cloud, it seemed logical to add the ".com", referring to the biggest "cloud" of them all.

Live Feeds

Friday, October 17, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Author: Shaun Connolly
VP Corporate Strategy - Hortonworks

Data growth threatens to overwhelm existing systems and bring those systems to their knees. That’s one of the big reasons we’ve been working with Microsoft to enable a Modern Data Architecture for Windows users and Microsoft customers.

A history of delivering Hadoop to Microsoft customers

Hortonworks and Microsoft have been partnering to deliver solutions for big data on Windows since 2011. Hortonworks is the company that Microsoft relies on for providing the industry’s first and only 100% native Windows distribution of Hadoop, as well as the core Hadoop platform for Microsoft Azure HDInsight and the Hadoop region of the Microsoft Analytics Platform System.

This week we made several announcements that further enable hybrid choice for Microsoft-focused enterprises interested in deploying Apache Hadoop on-premises and in the cloud.

New capabilities for Hadoop on Windows

Hortonworks has announced the newest version of the Hortonworks Data Platform for Windows  - the market’s only Windows native Apache Hadoop-based platform. This brings many new innovations for managing, processing and analyzing big data including:

  • Enterprise SQL at scale
  • New capabilities for data scientists
  • Internet of things with Apache Kafka
  • Management and monitoring improvements
  • Easier maintenance with rolling upgrades

Automated cloud backup for Microsoft Azure
Data architects require Hadoop to act like other systems in the data center, and business continuity through replication across on-premises and cloud-based storage targets is a critical requirement.  In HDP 2.2, we extended the capabilities of Apache Falcon to establish an automated policy for cloud backup to Microsoft Azure.  This is an important first step in a broader vision to enable seamlessly integrated hybrid deployment models for Hadoop.

Certified Hadoop on Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Increasingly the cloud is an important component for big data deployments. On Wednesday October 15 we announced that the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) is the first Hadoop platform to be Azure certified to run on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. This gives customers new deployment choices for small and large deployments in the cloud. With this new certification, Hortonworks and Microsoft make Apache Hadoop more widely available and easy to deploy for data processing and analytic workloads enabling the enterprise to expand their modern data architecture.

Maximizing Hadoop Deployment choice for Microsoft Customers

These latest efforts further expand the deployment options for Microsoft customers while providing them with complete interoperability between workloads on-premises and in the cloud. This means that applications built on-premises can be moved to the cloud seamlessly. Complete compatibility between these infrastructures gives customers the freedom to use the infrastructure that best meets their needs. You can backup data where the data resides (geographically) and provide the flexibility and opportunity for others to do Hadoop analytics in the cloud (globally).

We are excited to be the first Hadoop vendor to offer Hadoop on Azure Virtual Machines and we look forward to continuing our long history of working with Microsoft to engineer and offer solutions that meet the most flexible and easy to use deployment options for big data available, further increasing the power of the Modern Data Architecture. 

Read more information as follows:

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Yesterday at Strata + Hadoop World, Microsoft announced the preview of Apache Storm clusters on Azure HDInsight.  This post will give you the ins and outs of Storm.

What is Storm?

Apache Storm is a distributed, fault-tolerant, open source real-time event processing solution. Storm was originally used by Twitter to process massive streams of data from the Twitter firehose. Today, Storm is an incubator project as part of the Apache Software foundation. Typically, Storm will be integrated with a scalable event queuing system like Apache Kafka or Azure Event Hubs.

What can it do?

Combined with an event queuing system, the combined solution will be able to process a large amount of real-time data. This can enable many different scenarios like real-time fraud detection, click-stream analysis, financial alerts, telemetry from connected sensors/devices, and more. For information on real world scenarios, read how companies are using Storm.

How do I get started?

For Microsoft customers, we offer Storm as a preview cluster in Azure HDInsight. This gives you a managed cluster where you will have the benefit of being easy-to-setup (within a few clicks and a few minutes), having high availability (clusters are monitored 24/7 and under the Azure SLA for uptime), having elastic scale (where more resources can be added depending on need), and being integrated to the broad Azure ecosystem (ie. Event Hubs, HBase, VNet, etc).

To get started, customers will need to have an Azure subscription or a free trial to Azure. With this in hand, you should be able to get a Storm cluster up and running in minutes by going through this getting started guide.

For more information on Storm:

For more information on Azure HDInsight:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 10:00:00 AM

This morning at Strata + Hadoop World, Microsoft announced the preview of Apache Storm clusters inside HDInsight as well as new machine learning capabilities in the Azure Marketplace.

Apache Storm is an open source project in the Hadoop ecosystem which gives users access to an event-processing analytics platform that can reliably process millions of events. Now, users of Hadoop can gain insights to events as they happen in real-time.  Learn more from here:

As part of Strata, Microsoft partner, Hortonworks announced the next version of their Hadoop distribution HDP 2.2 will include capabilities to orchestrate data from on-premise to Azure.  This will allow customers to back-up their on-premise data or elastically scale out using the power of the cloud.

Finally, Microsoft is offering new machine learning capabilities as part of the Azure Marketplace.  Customers can now access ML as web services which enable scenarios like doing anomaly detection, running a recommendation engine, doing fraud detection, and a set of R packages.

Read more of Microsoft’s Strata announcements on the Official Microsoft Blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 10:15:51 AM

Got SQL Server 2005 running on Windows Server 2003?  We have fantastic pre-con and general sessions to help you plan your upgrade and migration strategies.

Interested in the new Azure data services like Azure DocumentDB, Azure ML, and Azure Search?  We have awesome people lined up to give you all the details.

Want know the nitty-gritty about Azure SQL Database? We got you covered.

It is PASS Summit time and we are counting down the days. We have Microsoft experts from our Redmond campus, field experts flying in from Italy and the U.K., and we’re bringing customers to share their stories – just to name a few.  Check out the Microsoft sessions below and add them to your PASS Summit session builder along with great community sessions. 

7 Databases in 70 Minutes: A Primer for NoSQL in Azure, Lara Rubbelke and Karen Lopez

Analytics Platform System Deep Dive (APS), Paul Dyke

Analytics Platform System Overview (APS), Nicolle Whitman

Analyzing tweets with HDInsight, Excel and Power BI, Miguel Martinez and Sanjay Soni

Application Lifecycle Management for SQL Server database development, Lonny Bastien and Steven Green

Azure CAT: Azure Data Platform: Picking the right storage solution for the right problem, Kun Cheng, Rama Ramani, and Ewan Fairweather

Azure CAT: Azure SQL DB Performance Tuning & Troubleshooting, Sanjay Mishra, Kun Cheng, and Silvano Coriani

Azure CAT: Deep dive of Real world complex Azure data solutions: Lindsey Allen, and Rama Ramani

Azure CAT: Running your Line of Business application on Azure Virtual Machine Services, Juergen Thomas

Azure CAT: SQL Server 2014 Gems, Shep Sheppard

Azure CAT: SQL Server 2014 In-Memory Customer Deployments: Lessons Learned, Michael Weiner and Stephen Baron

Azure Search Deep Dive, Pablo Castro

Azure SQL Database Business Continuity and Auditing Deep Dive, Nadav Helfman and Sasha Nosov

Azure SQL Database Overview, Bill Gibson and Sanjay Nagamangalam

Azure SQL Database Performance and Scale Out Deep Dive, Torsten Garbs and Michael Ray

BI Power Hour, Matt Masson and Matthew Roche

Building a Big Data Predictive Application, Nishant Thacker and Karan Gulati

Built for Speed: Database Application Design for Performance, Pam Lahoud

ColumnStore Index: SQL Server 2014 and Beyond, Sunil Agarwal and Jamie Reding

Connecting SAP ERP and Microsoft BI Platform, Sanjay Soni

Data-tier Considerations of Cloud-based Modern Application Design, Scott Klein

Deep Dive into Power Query Formula Language, Matt Masson and Theresa Palmer-Boroski

Deploying Hadoop in a Hybrid Environment, Matt Winkler

Deployment and best practices for Power BI for Office 365, Miguel Llopis

End-to-End Demos with Power BI, Kasper de Jonge and Sanjay Soni

HBase: Building real-time big data apps in the cloud, Maxim Lukiyanov

Improve Availability using Online Operations in SQL Server 2014, Ajay Jagannathan and Ravinder Vuppula

In-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2014: End-to-End Migration, George Li

Interactive Data Visualization with Power View, Will Thompson

Introducing Azure Machine Learning, Raymond Laghaeian

Introduction to Azure HDInsight and Visual Studio customizations, Matt Winkler

Just in Time Data Analytics with SQL Server 2014, Binh Cao and Tomas Polanco

Leveraging SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines Best Practices, Scott Klein

Life in the fast lane with Azure DocumentDB, Stephen Baron

Making the most of Azure Machine Learning end-to-end, Parmita Mehta

Managing 1 Million+ DBs-How Big Data is used to run SQL Azure, Conor Cunningham

Match the database to the data – from on prem to the cloud, Buck Woody

Microsoft Azure SQL Database – Resource Management, Mine Tokus

Migration and Deployment Principles for SQL Server in Azure VMs, Selcin Turkarslan

Polybase in the Modern Data Warehouse, Artin Avanes

Power BI Hybrid Data Access via Data Management Gateway, Luming Han and Mini Nair

Power View with Analysis Services Multidimensional Models, Kasper de Jonge

Real world Healthcare BI transformations in the cloud, Matt Smith and Michael Wilmot

SQL Server 2014 AlwaysOn (High Availability and Disaster Recovery), Luis Carlos Vargas Herring

SQL Server 2014 in-Memory OLTP - Memory/Storage Monitoring and Troubleshooting, Sunil Agarwal

SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP Query Processing, Jos de Bruijn

SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP Transaction Processing, Jos de Bruijn

SQL Server 2014: In-Memory Overview, Kevin Farlee

SQL Server Hybrid Features End to End, Xin Jin

SQL Server in Azure VM Roadmap, Luis Carlos Vargas Herring

To The Cloud, Infinity, & Beyond: Top 10 Lessons Learned at MSIT, Jimmy May

Upgrading and Migrating SQL Server, John Martin

What's New in Microsoft Power Query for Excel, Miguel Llopis

Who Dunnit? A Walk Around the SQL Server 2014 Audit Feature, Timothy McAliley and Michael Ray


Still want more? No problem. Check back November 5th for additional sessions and speakers.

Only 28 More days until PASS Summit. You won’t want to miss it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 11:01:00 AM

Thank you for participating in our Twitter sweepstakes.

As always, the creativity of our community never fails to amaze.  Congratulations to @dragonfurther for the winning haiku.


Notable mentions include entries from @John_Deardurff and @sdevanny




We look forward to seeing everyone at PASS Summit 2014.  Can’t make it in person?  Don’t miss the live streaming of the keynotes on November 5th and 6th at www.passsummit.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:12:19 AM

Faster transactions, faster queries and faster analytics. Sounds like nirvana right? Just imagine it… your customers can find what they want from your large product catalog more quickly and purchase without huge lags. Your business divisions can perform timely analytics highlighting product, web site, and data trends. It’s all possible with in-memory technologies, and Microsoft SQL Server 2014’s in-memory is the secret speed sauce you need to realize these benefits.  

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 offers optimized in-memory technologies for transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing and data analytics built right into the product. We have a long history with in-memory technologies in SQL Server (more on that in a subsequent blog post), and the enhancements we’ve made to the In-Memory ColumnStore provide greater data compression and increased performance, resulting in world-record benchmarks on industry standard hardware.

So what does all this mean for you? Significant performance gains for starters. Microsoft’s in-memory solution leads to up to 30x faster transactions, over 100x faster queries and reporting, and easy management of millions of rows of data in Excel. The following video highlights just how in-memory can help speed your business:

Of course, gains vary by situation, but check out a few of our customers and how they’ve benefited from the latest in-memory improvements in SQL Server 2014:

  • Nasdaq was able to decrease query times from days to minutes, while at the same time reducing storage costs by 10x.
  • Bwin, using our in-memory technology on standard commodity servers, was able to boost performance gains by 17x and queries by 340x.
  • EdgeNet realized near-real time inventory updates and higher customer satisfaction because of the 7x faster performance our in-memory gave them.

Best of all, Microsoft’s in-memory solution is included in SQL Server 2014 at no additional cost. It can be used on industry-standard hardware, without the need for expensive upgrades, and there are no new development tools, management tools or APIs to learn. We invite you to visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/solutions/in-memory.aspx where you can see more about our in-memory solution, how customers are using it to speed their business, and how you can get started.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Microsoft is pleased to announce the release of SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 3 and SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4 . The Service Packs are available for download on the Microsoft Download Center. As part of our continued commitment to software excellence for our customers, this upgrade is available to all customers with existing SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 deployments.

SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 and SQL Server 2008 SP4 contain fixes to issues that have been reported through our customer feedback platforms.  They contain Hotfix solutions provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 cumulative updates up to and including Cumulative Update 13, and SQL Server 2008 cumulative updates up to and including Cumulative Update 17. The Service Packs also include the security bulletin MS14-044.  SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 are now in extended support, which means there will not be Cumulative Updates for these Service Packs.

For more on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3, please read here. For more on SQL Server 2008 SP4, please read here.  To obtain SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 and SQL Server 2008 SP4 please visit the links below:

SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3

SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 Feature Packs

SQL Server 2008 SP4

SQL Server 2008 SP4 Feature Packs

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Contest time! Need a pass to PASS Summit? Tell us why with 140 characters in the form of a HAIKU. Contest starts Friday October 3, 2014. Read the official rules below.



These are the official rules that govern how the Microsoft “Why I should win a pass to PASS Summit 2014” Haiku Contest promotion will operate (“Contest”).

In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Microsoft Corporation, the sponsor of this Contest.  “You” refers to an eligible Contest entrant. 


There is no purchase or product ownership required to enter.  This is a skill-based Contest.  The object of this Contest is to create the best (as determined by Microsoft judges) haiku about why they should win a pass to PASS Summit 2014.

All eligible entries received will be judged using the criteria described below to determine the winners of the prizes described below.


This Contest starts at 8:00 AM PT, Friday, October 3, 2014 and ends 8:00 AM PT, Saturday, October 4, 2014(“Entry Period”)


You are eligible to enter this Contest if you meet the following requirements at time entry:

  • You are a legal resident of the 50 United States and District of Columbia, and are 18 years of age or older.

    • If you are 18 of age or older, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you should ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Contest; and

  • You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and
  • You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest; and
  • You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.

This Contest is void outside the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.


Write an original haiku about why you should win a pass to PASS Summit 2014.

To enter, you must do all of the following:

  1. Sign in to your Twitter account. If you do not have an account, visit www.twitter.com to create one. Twitter accounts are free.
  2. Once logged into your Twitter account, follow the links and instructions to become a follower of @SQLServer
  3. From your own account, reply your response to the question tweeted by @SQLServer 
  4. Your tweet must contain the #SQLHaikusweeps hashtag to be eligible for entry

Limit one entry per person, per session.  For the purposes of these Official Rules, a “day” begins 8:00 AM PT Friday, October 3, 2014 and ends Saturday, October 4, 8:00 AM PT (“Entry Period”). If you reply with more than one Haiku you will be automatically disqualified. 

We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason, or for entries that do not include your Twitter handle.

We will automatically disqualify:

  • Any incomplete or illegible entry; and
  • Any entries that we receive from you that do not meet the requirements described above.

All eligible entries received will be judged using the criteria described below to determine the winners of the prizes described below.

Limit one entry per person.

We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

We will automatically disqualify:

  • Any incomplete or illegible entry; and
  • Any entries in excess of the entry limit described above.


To be eligible for judging an entry must meet the following content / technical requirements:

  • The haiku must contain 140 characters or less
  • The haiku topic must be about “Why I should win a pass to PASS Summit 2014”
  • The haiku must be submitted in English for English speaking judges

In addition:

  • your entry must be your own original work; and
  • your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and
  • you must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry; and
  • your entry may not include any third party trademarks (logos, names) or copyrighted materials (music, images, video, recognizable people) unless you have obtained permission to use the materials. You may include Microsoft trademarks, logos, and designs, for which Microsoft grants you a limited license to use for the sole purposes of submitting an entry into this Contest.

Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:

  • is sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic;
  • promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;
  • is obscene or offensive;
  • defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
  • communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law;

We reserve the right to reject any entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we determine does not meet the above criteria.


Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry.  However, by submitting your entry, you:

  • are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; and (ii) feature your entry and all content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Contest (including but not limited to internal and external sales meetings, conference presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the Contest entry in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed)  

  • agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above;

  • understand and acknowledge that the Sponsor(s) may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry;

  • understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your entry.  By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law;

  • understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules

Please note that following the end of this Contest your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website.  We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website.  While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry.

If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Contest.


On or around the close of the Entry Period, a panel of Microsoft judges will review all eligible entries received and select two Grand Prize winners based upon following judging criteria:

  • 30.00% - Creativity
  • 30.00% - Entertainment Value
  • 40.00% - Relevancy to “Why I should win a pass to PASS Summit 2014”

In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, an additional judge will break the tie based on the judging criteria described above.  The decisions of the judges are final and binding.  If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries meeting the entry requirements, we may, at our discretion, select fewer winners than the number of Contest Prizes described below.

Contest Prizes

(1) Prize:  One Full 3 day pass to PASS Summit 2014.  Approximate Retail Value each US $2295.

Prize does not include meals, travel or hotel accommodations.

If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following completion of judging.  If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award to a runner-up.

If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Contest. If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf.  If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select a runner-up.

If you are confirmed as a winner of this Contest:

  • You may not exchange your prize for cash or any other merchandise or services.  However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and
  • You may not designate someone else as the winner.  If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we may award it to a runner up; and
  • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize; and
  • If you are otherwise eligible for this Contest, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and
  • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions. 

We will only award one (1) prize per person.


By entering this Contest you agree:

  • To abide by these Official Rules; and
  • To release and hold harmless Microsoft and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Contest, or any prize won; and
  • That Microsoft’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Contest; and
  • That, by accepting a prize, Microsoft may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Contest, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.


This Contest will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Contest.  


If someone cheats, or a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Contest, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Contest.  This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Contest, we reserve the right to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Contest.

If you attempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Contest by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Contest, so please play fairly.


  • We will post the names of winner on @SQLServer

This list will remain posted one month after October 2, 2014


Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052


Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:07:00 PM

A common practice on-premise to improve the performance of SQL Server workloads is storing TempDB and/or Buffer Pool Extensions (SQL Server 2014) on SSDs. The former improves the performance of workloads that use temporary objects heavily (e.g. queries handling large recordsets, index rebuilds, row versioning isolation levels, temp tables, and triggers). The latter improves the performance of read workloads which working set doesn’t fit in memory.

Now you can do the same in Azure VMs using the new D-Series VM Sizes.

Important: The SSD drive is transient

The SSD drive (D:\) is not persistent, so its contents and permissions will be lost if the VM moves to a different host. This can happen in case of a host failure or a VM resize operation.

  • Do not store your data or log files there. Use (persistent) drives from Azure Storage.
  • If using TempDB and/or Buffer Pool Extensions, SQL Server requires accessing the directory specified to store them. The following section describes how to store SQL Server TempDB and/or Buffer Pool Extensions on the SSD drive and automatically recreate directory if the VM moves to a different host.


Configuration Steps

1) Create a folder in the D:\ drive

This is the folder that you will store TempDB and/or Buffer Pool Extensions in, for example as “D:\SQLTEMP”.

2) To move TempDB to the SSD

Using SSMS connect to your SQL Server instance. Execute the following T-SQL commands to change location of the TempDB files:




ALTER DATABASE tempdb MODIFY FILE (name = templog, filename = 'D:\SQLTEMP\templog.ldf')


2) To configure Buffer Pool Extensions in the SSD

Using SSMS connect to your SQL Server instance. Execute the following T-SQL commands to configure the Buffer Pool Extension, specifying the location and size of its file. The general recommendation is to set the size to 4-6 times the size of the VM memory. For more details read the documentation.



( FILENAME = 'D:\SQLTEMP\ExtensionFile.BPE' , SIZE = <size> [ KB | MB | GB ] )


3) Configure the Start Mode of SQL Server and SQL Agent startup as Manual

Using Configuration Manager set the Start Mode of SQL Server and SQL Agent as Manual.


4) Create a Powershell script to recreate the folder in D:\ if needed and start SQL server

Copy and paste the following script and save it as a Powershell file in the C:\ drive (OS drive), for example as “C:\SQL-startup.ps1”. If needed, modify the D:\ folder to the one you specified in Step 1.

$SQLService="SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)"
$SQLAgentService="SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER)"
if (!(test-path -path $tempfolder)) {
    New-Item -ItemType directory -Path $tempfolder
Start-Service $SQLService
Start-Service $SQLAgentService


5) Change the Powershell Execution Policy to allow the execution of signed scripts

From the Powershell console execute Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

6)      Create a schedule task at system startup to execute the Powershell script

Using Task Scheduler create a Basic Task that executes when the computer starts and executes the script in the Powershell file. For this, specify:

  • Program/script:                powershell
  • Arguments:                  –file ‘C:\SQL-startup.ps1’

7) Test the setup

Restart the VM and verify using Configuration Manager that the SQL Server service is started.

This guarantees that if the VM moves to a different host SQL Server will start successfully.


Try the D-SERIES VM SIZES at the AZURE PORTAL today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 10:00:00 AM

PASS Summit 2014 is right around the corner!  Register by September 26th 2014 to take advantage of the PASS Summit discounted pricing.  PASS Summit is not only a great opportunity to attend the highest rated technical sessions but it’s also one of the best times to get certified.

Why should you get certified at PASS Summit 2014?

1. Certifications help grow your career

With Microsoft Training and Certification you can keep your skills relevant, applicable, and competitive, and with the Certification Central onsite at PASS Summit, you’ll have the chance to learn, practice, and even talk one-on-one with the training experts on a variety of technologies. Microsoft Certification is an industry standard recognized worldwide.

2. Only PASS Summit attendees get special pricing

All Microsoft certification exams will be offered at 50% off the regular price to registered PASS Summit attendees! Take advantage of this great opportunity to fulfill your certification requirements at a 50% discount during PASS Summit 2014. This opportunity is only available to registered PASS Summit 2014 attendees – at just $75 USD per exam, it’s like getting two exams for the price of one.   

3. Free exam prep sessions and practice test only at PASS Summit


In order to secure your desired testing timeslot, pre-registering for your exams is always preferred – but of course you can register for your exams onsite. Visit us at Certification Central to find out which exams and certification paths are right for you, and register to take an exam.


Not sure you’re ready for that exam yet? Come over to The Study Hall, a dedicated, quiet environment where you can study on your own, take a FREE Practice Test, and select from hundreds of on-demand training.


Join us for a brand new kind of introductory certification session at PASS Summit. Updated from the original Certification 101 session, we’ll help you navigate through the new certifications, the new question types introduced in 2012 and 2013, the migration paths for individuals already certified, and the benefits of certification in your career. Want to get certified?  This is the place to start!


Get ready for your next certification test with these interactive study groups led by MCT Ambassadors onsite at PASS Summit. Your leaders will guide you through the most desired exams to ensure you’re prepared. Check the event session guide for exact dates and times – if you’re planning to take an exam, make sure you fit these into your week!


You don’t have to miss sessions or the parties – Wednesday, November 5th will host extended exam hours. The Exam Room and Study Hall will be open until 8pm on Wed night.  Space will be limited.



Certification Testing Center Hours:

Study Hall/Information Desk Hours:

Exam Prep Sessions

*subject to change




 No Exams











10:15 AM - 11:30 PM

Microsoft Certification and Your Career

1:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-410, 70-411, 70-412 – MCSA: Windows Server 2012 

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-461 – MCSA: SQL Server 2012




10:15 AM-8:00 PM



10:15 AM-8:00 PM



10:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-410, 70-411, 70-412 – MCSA: Windows Server 2012

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-462 – MCSA: SQL Server 2012

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-463 – MCSA: SQL Server 2012




10:15 AM-6:00 PM



10:15 AM-6:00 PM



10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Exam Prep Session for Exam 70-483: Programming in C#

1:30 AM - 2:45 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-464 and 70-465 – MCSE: Data Platform

3:00 AM - 4:15 PM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-466 and 70-467 – MCSE: Business Intelligence



10:30 AM-5:30 PM


 10:30 AM-5:30 PM


8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-461 – MCSA: SQL Server 2012 (Repeat)

9:45 AM - 11:15 AM

Exam Prep session for Exam 70-331 and 70-332 – SharePoint Server 2013

Don’t wait to register for your preferred exam time at PASS Summit 2014!   Follow these simple step-by-step instructions.

  1. Start your registration here with Pearson VUE
  2. Click:  Register for an exam
  3. Select  the exam you would like to take
  4. Click:  "Schedule with Pearson VUE"
  5. Confirm personal information and Select:  Submit
  6. Select:  "I will be scheduling for a future date at a test center"
  7. Click:  Next
  8. Select Language (if applicable)
  9. Verify Exam Details
  10. Click:  "Schedule this Exam"
  11. Select Test Center:  Microsoft Event Test Center
    Note:  You may need to search for: Seattle Washington first
  12. Click:  Next
  13. Select Date and Time
  14. Verify Exam order details
  15. Click:  Proceed to Checkout
  16. Verify Personal Information
  17. Click:  Next
  18. Select:  Microsoft Policies box
  19. Click:  Next
  20. Click:  "Add Voucher or Promo Code"
  21. Add promo code:  sqlpass
  22. Click:  Next
  23. Click:  Submit Order
  24. Click:  Return Home


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