PASS Community Summit 2009: Post-Conference Sessions (Database & Application Development)
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Advanced Relational Database Design
Paul Nielsen (www.SQLServerBible.com)
Louis Davidson (CBN)
A good data model reduces the overall aggregate workload of the database the key to performance, data integrity, extensibility, and usability. In the SQL Server community two MVPs consistently speak up for excellence in schema design Louis Davidson and Paul Nielsen. In this post-con they team up to go through the gritty details of normalization and database design. They show how to find the generalization sweet-spot to avoid the pit-falls of rover-simplification and over-complexity. And, they demonstrate how to design an extensible data-driven database that thrives under change instead of becoming the organizations roadmap road block. Complete with theory yet ripe with real-life examples, if you love tinkering with data patterns then this post-con is designed for you.
Q&A with Paul and Louis
Q: What challenges do SQL Server pros face in doing excellent database design?
Paul: Database design today faces three interrelated threats. One, management seems to have less respect for database design. The thought seems to be “Get it done fast—with today’s hardware, we don’t need perfect.” Two, more and more databases are being developed by application developers who don’t understand data modeling or the need for data modeling. And three, data modeling is starting to be perceived as a gray-haired practice; the younger generation simply isn’t studying data modeling, nor is there much new research being done.
Louis: I can reduce most of what Paul said to "time" and the rest to "respect.” Time in that no one has time to do things right but seemingly infinite amounts of time to do it over. Getting it done is way more important than getting it done right. The funny thing is that getting it done right might add 20-30% to the overall cost of a project. The only real problem is that to do it right, you have to know what right is.
This leads me to respect. As a database professional, I’m almost always outnumbered in any design session. I sit and listen about this new technology or that new pattern as if it’s a new religion. And then you have database design and implementation, which is largely based on a 30-year-old theory that is extremely solid. Although it has had lots of exciting technological improvements, database design is still fundamentally based on Codd's 12 rules for an RDBMS. So you have people excited about their new stuff, and they have to do some of this other work in databases, and it seems so boring. When I took my first job in databases, my best friend told me that it would be horribly boring. Seventeen years later, here I am...
Read the rest of Paul and Louis's conversation with PASS here.
About the Speakers
Paul Nielsen is a hands-on database developer, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, and trainer specializing in data architecture and database development using Microsoft SQL Server technologies.
Active in the SQL Server community, Paul is the founder of Colorado PASSCamp. Paul presents around the world at conferences such as Microsoft Tech Ed (Dev), SSWUG Virtual Conference, SQL Teach (Canada), SQL Open World (Denmark), and devLINK (Nashville), and PASS Summit.
Besides holding several certifications, Paul is an instructor with Learning Tree, served on the Microsoft Education Domain Objectives panel for SQL Server 2005, and was the Design-SME (subject matter expert) for the Microsoft Official Course, 2784: Tuning and Optimizing Queries using Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
Paul has been developing data-centric solutions since 1982, and was the Enterprise Data Architect for Compassion International, a SQL Server instructor with Learning Tree, the technical editor for a database magazine, and a U. S. Navy Submariner (Data Systems Tech Petty Officer).
Besides just being interested in databases, Paul is focused on fighting poverty in developing nations and he is currently developing a software solution designed to enable organizations to more effectively serve children in developing nations.
Louis has over 15 years experience as a corporate database developer and architect. Currently he is the Data Architect for the Christian Broadcasting Network and NorthStar Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Nearly all of Louis' professional experience has been with Microsoft SQL Server from the early days to whatever is the latest version currently in beta. Louis has been the principal author on four editions of a book on database design, including one for SQL Server 2008. Louis's primary areas of interest are database architecture and coding in T-SQL, with experience designing many databases and writing thousands of stored procedures and triggers through the years.
See the other sessions Paul and Louis are presenting at PASS Community Summit 2009 here.
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