Thomas LaRock

Thomas LaRock

Technical Advocate

Springfield, Massachusetts, United States


Thomas LaRock is a Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Data Platform MVP, VMware vExpert, and former Microsoft Certified Trainer. He has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry in roles including programmer, developer, analyst, and database administrator.


Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • All things data
  • Databases
  • database security
  • Data Security

Data Science with Missing Data

Data analytics is hard enough, but with incomplete or missing data doing proper analytics may prove impossible. In this session I will discuss why missing data is a problem, the different types of missing data, and what you can do to solve for them.

Database Design: SQL Server datatypes

Great database performance starts with great database design. During the design process it is important to select your SQL Server datatypes wisely. Failure to do so will result in wasted disk space, additional I/O overhead, and decreased performance. There is also the risk that your design will not scale as well as it should. Unless you have unlimited hardware purchasing power, size matters.

Attend this session and learn how smart, effective database design will ensure your databases perform at their peak efficiency. You will learn how to choose the best performing datatypes, how to measure their effectiveness, and how to correct bad datatypes decisions (decision that were not, of course, made by you.)

SQL Server Data Security and Privacy Features

SQL Server has introduced a handful of new security features designed to help customers tackle their toughest data security and privacy issues. SQL Data Discovery and Classification, Vulnerability Assessment, and Threat Detection are three new features available from Microsoft to help protect your data. Attend this session and see how these features will benefit your enterprise.

Cardinality Estimates in Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server 2014 introduced a new cardinality estimator. This feature allows for statistics to be calculated differently than previous versions of SQL Server, often (but not always) resulting in better query performance. Attend this session and understand how, why, and when SQL Server uses statistics and how this new feature will help improve performance.

You will learn:

The differences between legacy and newer cardinality estimators
How to know if cardinality estimation is causing performance issues
How to revert back to the legacy version if needed

SQL Server Audit and Threat Detection

Beginning with SQL Server 2016 SP1, all editions of SQL Server now support SQL Server Audit. SQL Server Audit is a feature that allows for administrators to capture and track activity at both the database and server instance level. Built upon Extended Events, SQL Server Audit will log details of events each time the audit action happens.

Attend this interactive session for an overview of SQL Server Audit, learn how to create and configure audits, and discuss the best ways to consume, centralize, and analyze audit logs.

Locking, Blocking, and Deadlocks

In this session we will review the fundamentals of database concurrency, the differences between locking and blocking, and how to identify when concurrency issues exist. We will also discuss steps you can take to resolve performance issues.

Performance Tuning Without Changing Code

We all know that great database performance starts with great database design.

Unfortunately, your database design stinks.

We all wish we could change the database design or T-SQL code, but there are times when it is not possible. As database usage patterns push poor database designs to their performance limits, DBAs are handed an impossible task: Make performance better but don’t change anything.

Attend this session and learn about the options available to help you fix database performance issues without touching code.

AWS versus Azure: Data Services Comparison

As the leading public cloud platforms, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer a large variety of data services. So many services, in fact, it is hard to comprehend how to compare without a scorecard. So, that's what I put together, and what I will share with you during this session. We will discuss the data platform offerings for both Azure and AWS, and how to compare and contrast features such as capacity, compute, and cost. Attend this session and leave with a better understanding of how to architect your enterprise to use these public cloud providers.

Data Security and Privacy Techniques for Modern Databases

Data security and privacy is big challenge. With so much data flowing in and out of servers it’s easy to understand how data breaches take months to discover. For decades our industry placed a value on performance at the cost of security. Those days are over. Data security and privacy are now at the forefront of any project.

In this session we will examine available tools and methods to protect data at rest, in use, and in motion. Topics for discussion will include:
- Data discovery and classification
- Data encryption
- Data masking
- SQL injection
- Audit and threat detection
- Penetration testing

Attend this session and leave with confidence knowing you have the ability to lower the risk of suffering an expensive data breach. Don’t wait until tomorrow, start securing your data today.

Advanced Data Protection: Security and Privacy in SQL Server

In this advanced workshop, we cover data security and privacy protection for SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. With demonstrations and several exercises, this workshop uses group labs to cover database and data protection techniques, including threat analysis and remediation.

DataGrillen 2019 Sessionize Event

June 2019 Lingen, Germany

Thomas LaRock

Technical Advocate

Springfield, Massachusetts, United States


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