Now that I’ve finally started a new job (explains why I haven’t blogged for a while) I can discuss my interview experience over the last two years starting in the Summer of 2012. I have left out the company names out purposely because this is not a post to damage any reputations or for me to express my bitterness in. Rather, this post is to help future job seekers in getting a great position and not falling into a job that they could potentially hate. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that during my own interviewing journey I was also a hiring manager doing interviews to fill a position that reported directly to me. So I will be giving my advice based on both the perspective of a job seeker and hiring manager. The stories are roughly divided up by paragraph and I’ve provided a small summary of points below the stories in case you just want to skip ahead to the advice and not bother with my stories. I won’t be hurt or upset I promise 🙂
Author Archives: Ayman El-Ghazali
Being in Philadelphia this past weekend was fantastic! I got to meet a lot of old friends, spend time with family, and make new friends in the SQL world. This SQL Saturday was especially important for me since I lived in the Philly area for almost 10 years. I got to reconnect with my colleagues from Johnson Matthey out in the Wayne PA area and pass by my old desk where it all started. It is especially hard to get started this morning since I really do miss the great experience I had around this SQL Saturday.
Less than a week left and I’m extremely excited about SQL Saturday in Philly on June 7th, 2014 and the Precon the day before (I signed up for Allan Hirt’s). I lived in Philadelphia for about 10 years during which I went to college, had my first two full-time jobs, and my first to kids were born in that area. This SQL Saturday is going to be a blast from the past for me. The actual event takes place in Malvern PA which is off of 202 in the Northwestern Region of the Philadelphia suburbs. It is part of the “mainline” and close to Valley Forge, King of Prussia and other historic/tourist attractions. I used to work in the Mainline area for Johnson Matthey in Wayne (and part time in Malvern) so I’m very excited about taking this trip back to visit friends and family.
For those of you that don’t know about SQL Saturday it is a fantastic event. Here are some of the reasons I’ve encouraged people to attend SQL Saturday events:
Welcome back for part 3 of my SQL Snack Pack on Table Partitioning! If you have not watched the first two videos, I would highly encourage you to do so.
I’ll be doing double time over the next two weeks with Two Presentations on SQL Server Internals. It is essentially just a repeat of the same presentation but with two chances to attend 🙂
Here are the details of the timings for both presentations:
April 29th @ 12 Noon EST – Dell Software
I will only cover the first half of the slides during this time slot
Click here to Register
May 6th @ 12 Noon EST – PASS DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter
Click here to Register
Welcome back for part 2 of my SQL Snack Pack on Table Partitioning! If you have not watched the first video, I would highly encourage you to do so.
I hope you’re hungry for another SQL Snack! In fact, this will be one of a series of snacks (dare I call it a SQL Snack pack?). Table partitioning is a fantastic feature that is easy to learn and can significantly improve your OLTP and Data-warehouse environments. It can be a little intimidating because it is tricky to get started with, but once you get the basics down you’ll realize it’s pretty straight forward and a very useful feature to have. I will be providing the code and outline for each of the SQL Snacks related to table partitioning so that you have a chance to practice on your own. Happy partitioning!
Thank you for all my readers that have supported me and allowed me to be recognized in this way. I hope that the quality of my work continues to grow and I hope that I can meet your educational needs as much as I can. I have been blessed to have great teachers and mentors, and I only hope that I can igive back a fraction of that to the Database community.
Once again it is an honor to attend such a great event and meet up with other like minded geeks. It’s an honor to be selected to speak and a privilege to deliver a session without any problems. I enjoy writing about my experience to encourage others to attend, and for those that could not attend, maybe they will get some insight as to what can be learned from such events. I wrote about my experiences at the DC SQL Saturday late 2013.
This is a special edition for SQL Snacks. It is one (of many hopefully) SQL Snacks that has been recorded with the intention of fulfilling a request by a SQL community member looking to learn more about SQL Server. It is straight forward, very basic, beginner level information about Joins with a few examples.
SQL Saturday has been a fantastic experience for me here in the DC area (I blogged about it here) and I hope for the same thing in Richmond. This is my first time to attend a SQL Saturday in a city outside my area of residency, and I will also be speaking there. This is a bit of a new journey and one that I think I will enjoy.
This is a new experience and one that I have been excited about since speaking with Wayne Sheffield about it at the DC SQL Saturday in December 2013. I have him to thank for encouraging me to spread my wings and I hope for a smooth ride upward from here. That is the embodiment of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) after all; to establish life long learning and grow the community by giving back. I think I could probably do a commercial for them or be a PASS spokesperson. Seriously though, I’ve learned so many things that have helped my career for free or a very low cost.
For this SQL Saturday, I’m also planning to attend the PreCon event scheduled for the day before. There is still time to register by going to the main site for the event here. I’ve selected to go to session by Robert Davis for my PreCon and it was a hard choice because the “Murder Thy Wrote” PreCon was very appealing as well and I hope to catch that one at the next SQL Saturday I attend.
Instant File Initialization (IFI) is an interesting topic with regards to how SQL Server works with storage. It is an easy feature to turn on and can improve the performance of your server; specifically with creation and growth of data files including TempDB rebuilds with SQL Server restarts. There is a slight security risk where a professional data thief could potentially recover bits of data that have not been over written since IFI was turned on, but the chances of that happening are slim. Plus, if they have physical access to the hard drives on your server, you will have bigger problems to fix.
So without further ado here is the next delicious SQL Snack for Instant File Initialization:
There are many features/options we sometimes overlook and then wonder later what went wrong. The COPY_ONLY option with backups is one that I felt is important to highlight to SQL Server DBAs. This backup is independent backup that is not part of the regular cycled backups that you perform; hint if you’re not performing regular backups please get up and schedule them NOW! Sorry for yelling 🙂
Using this option when doing backups allows you to take backups that do not interfere with your regularly scheduled backups in order to move them off to a QA, Development, or Staging area where you can test against that database or fix bugs without interrupting your production environment. Many times, I have seen that off-cycle backups are taken which become part of the backup set and then are deleted. This can cause negative consequences when doing restores as I will demonstrate in today’s SQL Snack:
Code is provided below if you would like to test it yourself. Please watch the video in order to understand how to test this yourself:
In December 2013 I presented at a SQL Saturday event in Washington DC. My presentation was about Backup and Recovery Fundamentals which I had done before for the PASS DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter. This time around, I decided to add a Tail Log (Active Log) Backup and Recovery demo to enhance my Presentation. The presentation went quite well, and so I’ve decided to put a short video together to demonstrate how to do a Tail Log Backup and Recovery.
***Make sure you change the backup, database, and log file paths to match your configuration***
Code for demo below.
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To snack lovers every where now you can consume SQL Learning the same way, in Snack Size! Introducing the new way to snack with 0 calories intake, a simple solution to your learning cravings and available 24/7 from the click of a button!
Late last year I introduced my YouTube Channel with a short video on Hyper-V followed by a 10 hour series of teaching SQL Server in Arabic. This year, I hope to continue with those projects and in addition to that add to my newest delicious invention, the SQL Snack. The idea of this video series is to provide short videos to teach SQL Server content; and other technologies relevant to SQL Professionals on a daily basis. This allows for people to grab a snack and enjoy a short learning experience instead of having to sit down for a long drawn out lecture. Real snack is optional and not provided by me… sorry!
Below is the SQLSnacks Playlist you can also access it at the top menu by hovering over “Videos” and selecting it.
Please enjoy and please feel free to suggest topics you would like to see in the comments and I will try to do my best to accommodate your requests.
Today I will be reviewing the product ApexSQL Log which is a tool designed for Transaction Log discovery and recovery.
The team at ApexSQL were very friendly and offered me lots of support and help in using the product. I opted to do everything myself just to see how easy it is to learn and use the product. It took me about 30 minutes to get fully acquainted with it; although I’m not an expert now I know my way around the product very well. It’s always great to have a product with an easy to use interface that does not have a steep learning curve.
Note: this is not a product endorsement
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الزملاء الأعزاء من العالم!
السلام عليكم و رحمه الله و بركاته
أقدم لكم دورة تمهيدية شاملة في SQL Server 2012. وتقدم هذه الدورة التدريبية باللغة العربية، وتهدف إلى المساعدة فى التقديم للمفاهيم الأساسية للمهنيين المتخصصين فى قواعد البيانات عامه وبخاصه SQL Server في محاولة متواضعه منى لنشر هذه المعرفة والعلم بين اخوانى الناطقين باللغه العربية.
تهدف هذة الدورة التدريبية الى تلبيه فضول واثاره اهتمام المتخصصين فى مجال SQL Server وعلى وجه الخصوص DBAs و كذلك Developers كما ان هذة الدورة مبسطه الشرح خاصة فى الدروس الاولى لكى يسهل على المبتدئين فى مجال SQL Server متابعتها واضعا فى اعتبارى انه لا يوجد الا القليل من المواد فى هذا المجال باللغة العربية. فقررت بعون الله وتوفيقه ان ايسر هذا العلم بين ايديكم لعل الله ينفع به احد من اخوانى و اخواتى فى اي مكان فى العالم. اسال الله عز وجل ان تنال هذه الدروس اعجاب الجميع و خاصه المهتمين بمجال SQL Server ارجو من جميع الأخوة والأخوات ان يذكرونى فى صالح دعائهم
و لاتترددوا فى مراسلتى و ابداء ارائكم و مقترحاتكم البناءة لتطوير هذا العمل الخيرى باءذن الله تعالى
ديسمبر2013 فى واشنطن- الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية
Dear Colleagues of the Database World!
I present to you a comprehensive introductory course in SQL Server
2012. This course is presented in the Arabic language, and is
intended to introduce core concepts to Database Professionals that are
trying to acquire knowledge in SQL Server. The course is geared
towards those that aspire to become DBAs, Developers, or those just
interesting in learning the basics of SQL Server. Since there is very
little material in Arabic, I decided to try to use my skills to bridge
the knowledge gap for my SQL Family that communicates in Arabic. I
hope you enjoy the classes and please feel free to share and leave
Thank you and good luck future SQL Server Professionals world wide!
Special thanks to my friends Mohamed Elsharkawy, Jihad Abouhatab and my brother Islam El-Ghazali for their help and support with this production.
That’s right, it’s time to take this blog up a notch! Last week I posted a video about using Hyper-V on Windows 8 to design your own SQL Lab. I’m starting to like the whole concept of adding video to my blog. If a picture is worth 1000 words so a video at 30fps should be about 30,000 words per second. Well I guess you can’t do the math like that but it was worth a try! Now you don’t have to just read my posts anymore, you can enjoy the sound of my voice speaking geek at you while clicking all over the screen to show you how things are done.
So how do I get to this YouTube channel you speak of? Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/TheSQLPro or you can just click on the top navigation menu where it says “Video.”
There isn’t much up on the channel yet but later this month I will be releasing a very special video series. No hints, that’s all I’m saying. This is just the start with hopefully a lot more quality content to come in 2014.
A huge thanks to all my blog readers/supports/subscribers for their support and feedback over the last 18 months. This is blog post #60 and I just wanted to say thanks for being the driving force that keeps me blogging!
This past weekend I attended SQL Saturday #233 in Washington DC. I presented a session this year titled “Backup and Recovery Fundamentals.” There was a great turn out of the session, with the room filled. Although there were some technical issues at the start but I got great support from the volunteers there. The feedback from the session was excellent, which means people learned and my goal was achieved. As for myself, I attended three sessions that day and I learned a lot more than just technical information.
Alright, I’ve got your attention. You’re probably thinking “who is this crazy guy that is using the word Love with Windows 8 in the same sentence?” Honestly though, I have not had many problems with Windows 8 and I’ve been happy running it for a long time. I’m actually disappointed that I don’t have Windows 8 at my job, so I can only use it at home. It has been extremely beneficial for me for my SQL Server related work. Why? And why am I stalling to answer your question? And why am I going to change the subject to Hyper-V?
If you’re still reading, then great, you’ve got the patience for what is coming next. Windows 8 Pro includes a Hyper Visor in it (Hyper-V to be exact). I’m not talking about software to connect to virtual environments, I’m talking about an actual Hyper Visor that allows you to create and manage virtual machines. Once you enable the option you’re ready to go after a restart, it’s that simple.
So what does this have to do with me as a SQL Server Professional? Well, how else are you going to build your own lab environment at home or at work where you can play around, build and break things, and be your own domain admin (warning: power may go to your head on that last one). It’s all part of your life long learning journey and your drive to become a better SQL Server Professional and get the latest and greatest version on your machine to test out without ruining your OS. It so happens that I’m a nice guy, and I’ll show you how to get your environment setup and how to create “templates” for future VMs with this Hyper-V Tricks for the SQL Professional Video I put together.
Are you ready to push SQL Server to it’s limits, test things you’ve never tested before, build and break environments without losing your job? If the answer is yes then this video is for you! When you’re done with this video make sure you check out my Virtual SQL Server Lab with Clustering post to enhance your own Virtual playground.
PowerShell Scripts mentioned in video (Remember to rename your VM if you like and to change the paths to match your setup):
new-vm -Name “SQLPS” -MemoryStartupBytes 2048MB -Path R:\HyperV\
new-vhd -ParentPath “R:\HyperV\SQL 2012 Template\SQL2012 Template Drive.vhdx” -Path R:\HyperV\SQLPS\SQLPS.vhdx -Differencing
Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName SQLPS -Path “R:\HyperV\SQLPS\SQLPS.vhdx”