SQL Saturday 250 – Pittsburgh – Advice for My Presentation on Monitoring and Baselines

I’ll be presenting at SQL Saturday 250 in Pittsburgh on Baselining and Monitoring. This is my first public presentation, and I could use some advice to make sure my presentation is the best it can possibly be for both myself and the audience.

First, my presentation. Anyone who’s been following my blog won’t be surprised by anything they see. I’m going to hit all of the the statistics I watch and why I watch them. The whole thing is a pep rally for what, why, and how it will change your job. How to do it will be completely skipped for the reasons below.

  • Brent Ozar told me to in point 13.
  • Trying to take notes on the how would be too intense for any audience member.
  • What and why are more exicting, life’s too short for boring!!!
  • I already did the how, it’s on my blog, and I’ll tell the audience all of the hows are already listed here in both my opening and closing statements.

The points I’m hitting are:

  • Traces (with mention of Extended Events)
  • Wait Stats (sys.dm_os_wait_stats)
  • Blocking (sys.dm_os_waiting_tasks with LCK% type)
  • Query Stats (sys.dm_exec_query_stats)
  • Index Stats (sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats)
  • OS Perf Counters (sys.dm_os_performance_counters)

In all of these areas I’ll go through why I watch these and how monitoring them over looking at the values you can get at any point-in-time has changed my life as a DBA. After going through each section I would like to ask the audience for questions in the middle of the presentation so the topic of the questions is fresh in everyone’s minds and more likely to be taken to heart. How you capture these will be completely documented on my blog to the point that you can practically copy/paste the code to develop a customized monitoring setup on your servers from one source.

Baselining is built directly into my monitoring and how I use my results. Instead of having a static baseline that I took on a certain day, I’m a huge fan of comparing today’s incidents to yesterday and last week with a rolling baseline. I find it to be an impressive way to handle things.

The slide deck still needs a bit more work, but it’s literally just going to be a couple words (Steve Jobs style!!!) with the information coming from what I say instead of the audience’s attention being divided between me and the screen behind me. They’ll see the topic on the screen with a picture of what it means to me while hearing my views.

This presentation is almost complete on my end, but I’m flexible enough to say I’m wrong on anything and make changes. Some questions I have for your are:

  • Is this a presentation you would enjoy seeing? Why or why not?
  • Do you feel this is a complete list of items to monitor? What would you change?
  • Are questions in the middle of a presentation a good idea?
  • How do I make this public, both assisting the audience as much as possible while keeping in mind my rights and possible future use of this presentation? I would consider posting the full thing on the internet, even a recording of me doing it, but I don’t want to think about it a year from now and think that I just shot myself in the foot doing it. I don’t know what to expect, thus the call for help.
  • Anything else you have to add will be greatly appreciated. Adding that information before September 14th would raise the level of my appreciation! 🙂

I’m extremely motivated to do this, and I want to absolutely kill this presentation! The only way to hit my expectations is to prep for it, and the best way to prep for it is to take in as much positive and negative criticism before it goes live as I possibly can.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!


6 thoughts on “SQL Saturday 250 – Pittsburgh – Advice for My Presentation on Monitoring and Baselines

    • Hey, wait, you’re one of the people who’s been through this the most! You can’t just leave with saying good question, can you? My biggest concern is how public do I make the presentation? Throw it on YouTube, or just put out the slide deck? I’m not looking to make money from this now or in the future, but I don’t want to leave with any unforeseen regrets either.

      • HAHAHA, sure. I used to put my stuff on SlideShare, but I realized my decks don’t really stand well on their own. (I tend to use a lot of pictures in the background, and then I talk and riff on the pictures.) If you believe the deck is a good educational unit by itself, then yeah, upload it to SlideShare and record audio over it. Even better, record a screencast of it and put it on Youtube – there’s a huuuuge audience over there.

        In the beginning, when you start doing a presentation, you end up changing it a lot after the first couple of deliveries. Putting it out in public gets you better feedback faster.

      • Thank you! I’ll definitely record audio over it before I throw it up there. One piece of advice you gave was that the audience will focus on one thing, and if there’s words on the screen then they’re focusing on reading instead of listening. My slide deck on its own will consist of few words and a pic that describes my feelings on it.

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