Monthly Archives: October 2010

PASS 2010 Photowalk!

PASS 2009 PhotoWalk-33

That’s right it’s time again for a PASS Summit which means it’s time for a Photowalk!   All the details you need to know are listed below.  This is also getting posted on the SqlPASS site and will be mentioning it on twitter.

PASS 2010 Photowalk!

We are pleased to inform you about the PASS 2010 Photowalk. For those that have never been on a Photowalk or understand how they operate here is what you need to know.

The only rule we have is that you must have a camera. This can be as elaborate as a DSLR or as simple as a camera phone. Any experience level is welcome as long as you have some sort of camera.

Photowalking was designed to socialize with other photographers so you can see the many different ways people see the world around you. It is common to ask other photographers how they are setting up or why they are choosing that location during Photowalks. This helps us to socialize and improve our photography skills. The goal will be to make friends that we can socialize with later in the week at the PASS Summit. We have created a loose based schedule and route. You are welcome to follow with us or set out on your own. If you have other commitments or needs please feel free to leave the group and head back anytime.

Route info

The photowalk will take place Monday November 8th 2010. For those early risers out there that like Breakfast a group led by Tim Ford (Blog | Twitter) will be leaving from the Sheraton Hotel Lobby at 8:00 to head down to Le Panier a bakery/breakfast location in pikes place. After breakfast they will be heading back up to 3rd and Pike Street where they will pick up the #26 bus to Gas works Park.

Google Map to Gas works via #26 Bus:

If you’re not into Breakfast early in the morning you can meet Pat Wright (Blog |Twitter) in the Sheraton lobby at 9:00 so we can head down to 3rd and pike to meet up with the other group and catch the bus. The bus will cost 2.25$ One way. You may be able to get a bus Transfer just in case planning on spending $4.50 for total bus fare. We plan to stay at Gas works for at least an hour. We will then head up towards the Seattle Troll (link) and Freemont Street.

Google Map to Breakfast Location:

The bus leaves at 9:15. If you miss the bus or want to join up with us at a later time please feel free. We will use the hash tag #passphotowalk so you can track the progress of the group on twitter. Pictures from the photowalk can be uploaded to Flickr through the PASS Photowalking group or you can also tag the photos with SqlPASS.

Here is the location to the pics for last year’s walk.

If you have any Questions feel free to contact

Hope to see you there!

SQL Saturday #54 Salt Lake City Utah

Tomorrow is the big day for us! It’s the first SQL Saturday in SLC. We have lots of great sessions and prizes to give away. You’re not going to want to miss these excellent sessions and learning we have planned! You can find all the details about location time and getting registered at we would love to see you out at the event!

SLC and MLC NAND Chips for Fusion IO Cards

On Wednesday I attended a training put on by Fusion IO. The training is a pre-cursor to a future certification program for Fusion Cards. It was the first time the training was being given so in a way we were beta testing the training program. I have been testing the cards for about a year now and have had them running in Production servers for about 6 months. So I had a good working knowledge for the cards and how to use them but I was eager to learn some more of the internals of how the cards worked and some of the things I should look for when working with them.

The training did not disappoint. As I mentioned this was the first time anyone was going through the training so we had minor speed bumps but our Instructor Thom did an excellent job presenting and really showed that he knew his stuff and was passionate about the product. I love to see presenters that really enjoy what they are talking about because it makes for a great presentation. I don’t have all my notes from the event yet summarized but I did want to get some information out that I learned at the session.

Fusion Cards come in 2 flavors. SLC and MLC, the NAND chips specifically come in SLC and MLC flavors.

SLC = Single Level Cell – 2 states per memory cell

MLC = Multi Level Cell — 4 states per memory cell

The primary differences between the chips are speed, storage and Life of the card. The SLC memory cell has only 2 states Empty and full. This means that it has a better performance than MLC because it can conserve energy when managing the electrical charge during operations on the memory cell. MLC has 4 states empty, 1/3, 2/3 and full. MLC must expand more energy to maintain the states of the data causing it to have slower performance.

MLC does have the advantage when it comes to Storage. Being a Multi-level cell it means they can have more storage capacity. For the Fusion line this usually means the 320 and 640 cards are the MLC cards.

The MLC card will wear out quicker than an SLC card will because it is expending more of its energy to get the state of the data.

So let’s look at the pro/con here

SLC –Pros

  • Better performance/lower Latency
  • Longer Card life

SLC – Cons

  • Smaller size

MLC – Pros

  • Large size

MLC – Cons

  • Slower performance more latency
  • Less Card life

Now let’s put some things in perspective. When I say lower latency I’m talking about microseconds. We didn’t get quoted a number on the difference but I do have plans to re-run my original fusion tests with an MLC card compared to the SLC card I originally used (in these tests) . Basically if you want the max performance your best bet Is the SLC cards.

For storage you’re talking about Double or triple the size for MLC cards. Again if you need the extra storage you need to look for the MLC cards to cover your needs.

For the life of the cards it will really depend on how much they are used and how frequently they are written to. Both SLC and MLC are rated in the 5+ years range before they even start to degrade in most normal applications. I know I have hard drives that have gone over 5 years of use but I know many more hard drives that haven’t made it over 3 years of use.

An MLC card is still going to squash any conventional spinning media you have in performance numbers. The question you should ask when you’re looking to buy is the same question you have for hard drives. What ratio of performance to storage do I need and I can afford for the project? When someone asks me what to buy with standard disks I always suggest to buy the smallest fastest disks and as many of them as you can if you have performance needs for the disks. If you need space and can suffer some performance then buy the larger disks and get fewer of them. That still holds true here. The difference when you look at the Fusion drive is that an MLC card can do much more than what a normal set of drives can do. So even at its worst performance it’s better than the standard drives. Another important thing I learned at the training was keeping up to date on the drivers.  The new 2.0 driver from FusionIO increases the speed of the cards .  I need to get upgrading and re-running my tests.


I got an email yesterday letting me know about the upcoming plans for the Pass Organizing committee. Thomas Larock (Blog | Twitter) will be heading up the committee. The goal of the committee is to help the people that have never attended a PASS summit before. I’m really excited about this since I’ve been hoping for a program like this for years. I’ve always organized/helped with the ambassadors at the pass summit and been very involved with them and so I’m really hoping this is going to work well. The basic idea is that people that have been to the summit before will help those that have not. The people that volunteered to be on the committee and help out will each be assigned 8 individuals that have not attended the PASS Summit.

My plan for this is to start with an email introducing everyone to each other and to me. I’m going to list out some of the ways they can find out about what’s going on during the PASS summit besides just the normal sessions. Here is the list of key sites/places to look.

· PASS Listing of places to connect.

· PASS After hours happenings

· PASS Summit Info Created by MVP Joseph Guadagno

· PASS Forums

· Following /Adding a column for the #sqlpass hashtag on twitter

· Photowalk on Monday!

· SqlKilt day on Wednesday!

The next goal is a meet and greet with them before the PASS summit begins probably on Monday since most of my day will be spent driving and drinking on Sunday(not at the same time!). At this meet and greet I hope to get to know them and show them around and get a good start on how the conference normally works. We’ll discuss sessions and schedule and some key points not to be missed.

I’m already getting started on helping a new person to the summit even before I was on the committee so I’m getting a good start on questions they may possibly ask. My friend Robin (@SqlSchizo us crazies stick together) will be attending his first summit and we will be driving up with me from Portland on Sunday. Plenty of time to discuss the many great activities you can attend at the PASS Summit.

I don’t think a blog post really does justice to how excited I am about the PASS Summit. I’ll be really excited once SQL Saturday #54 is complete and then just a few weeks after will be heading up to Seattle!

Two weeks with a Netbook

I’ve been away from Blogging this week since I have been working hard planning Utah Code Camp and SQL Saturday #54.  Things should pick up for me again next week when I’ve got some of my to-do items done for these events.

I spent the last two weeks with my netbook as my primary mobile computer. My screen went out on my laptop and the turnaround time was less than reasonable on getting the screen fixed. I wish I could say this was Dell’s fault but that wouldn’t be the truth.

To give some background when I’m home I typically do everything on my laptop. My primary home desktop is my family computer and rarely do I use it for work. Basically everything I do at home is done on my laptop. Without it I found myself using my netbook all week-long. So if you’re thinking of getting a netbook here are some good and bad things about it.


Keyboard is small. I’ve gotten use to this and don’t have too many issues with this. Except

1. The HOME and END keys require you push the Fn key to make them work. These are keys I use frequently and still cause me problems to not have them easily accessible.

Screen size. My netbook is a 10.1” screen and RDP’ing into machines is less than optimal. The clarity is fine but many windows don’t resize well with this small of a screen. It’s ok to write SQL on the netbook but doing so in an RDP window is pretty difficult most of the time and I tried to avoid it as much as possible.

Power. I don’t mean the battery life. My version only has 1GB of ram and really can’t handle most intensive applications. I think by adding another GB that will probably help but this machine is still not intended for any major processing.

Sound The sound card is incredibly weak. Listening to a movie or anything on headphones is not very loud. It cannot get over the sound of a plane in case you like to watch movies on a plane like I do.


Power I do mean battery life here. The netbook can go 5-6 hours without blinking even longer sometimes depending on what it’s been doing. While I normally keep it plugged in when at home when I’m in the office I use it throughout the day and in meetings and still have plenty of battery life when I get home.

It’s very mobile which is the point right? Its small lightweight and I can get data access anywhere because of a built-in Verizon card. It has a webcam and everything I need right on the spot to be able to do any task I need. This makes it a great tool for me to use anywhere.

I used my netbook for a couple of presentations now and it’s worked very well. It shows SQL code just fine and does slides very well.

If you are looking for a netbook then make sure you are buying it for a mobile purpose. A netbook is not a replacement for a laptop. I would suggest a netbook if you want to be very mobile and you can handle a smaller keyboard. If these are things that you would have issue with then you should look into a full size laptop.

Here is a link to another review and more detailed specs.