SQLskills SQL Server Immersion Training: A Retrospective

Last week I attended the inaugural training event of the new four-week SQL Server Immersion Training offered by Kimberly Tripp and Paul Randall of SQLskills.com. The four available training weeks include:

  • Internals and Performance
  • Performance Tuning
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Security, PowerShell, and Development Support

I attended the Internals and Performance class in Dallas, and I will also attend the Performance Tuning class in March, also held in Dallas. While these classes can be used to help you prepare for the MCM, they are designed to be taken by any DBA who wants to deepen their understanding of SQL Server. In fact, only a handful of the 29 attendees at the Internals and Performance tuning class were interested in pursuing the MCM. Most of them, like me, just wanted to gain a deeper level of understanding of SQL Server.

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How Do You Work When You are Not at Work?

From my Database Weekly editorial.

Most of us DBAs don’t work in a standard 40-hour a week job. We often have to work late, work weekends, and be on call just in case a problem arises. If you’ve been a DBA for a really long time, you still remember the days before the Internet, VPN connections, and cell phones. Back then, many DBAs carried a pager when on call, or took phone calls over a land line. In many cases, the only way to resolve the problem was to physically go into the office and check out the problem in person, no matter what time of the day it was.

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When Times are Tough, Do You Rise to the Occasion?

This is a reprint of my editorial in Database Weekly.

Scenario One: The new third-party application, purchased by your company without your involvement, is performing poorly on SQL Server. As the DBA, you are getting a lot of flak from users and management, but your hands are severely tied as to what you can do to fix the problem.

Scenario Two: The IT budget has been cut, one DBA position has been lost, and the money promised to replace your aging hardware is nowhere to be seen. And, by the way, you now have to take over all the duties that the laid off DBA used to do.

When faced with difficult times such as these, what do you do? Do you:

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Are Your Backups Really Safe?

This editorial was originally published in the Simple-Talk newsletter.

Imagine for a moment if you will. As a DBA, and as the protector of your organization’s data, you have implemented many safeguards to protect your data. You have set up periodic jobs to back up your databases; you check daily to ensure that the backups were actually taken; and you periodically perform test restores to ensure your backups work. In addition, you have established an appropriate backup retention policy and you store backups offsite. With all of this planning and hard work, you are confident that your organization’s data is safe. But is it?

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Please don’t Tweet this, but…

This is reprinted from my editorial in Database Weekly.

During some recent conversations, I’ve noticed an increasing tendency for people to precede a disclosure or opinion with a proviso such as “Please don’t tweet/blog about this, but…” It’s an interesting indication that, with the advent and growth of social media, has come an increasing concern that today’s private conversation may turn into tomorrow’s world-wide Tweet.

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As a PASS Member, Don’t Forget to Vote in the 2010 PASS Board Elections

I just received my e-mail from PASS, which says, “As a PASS Member in Good Standing, you are entitled to vote in the 2010 PASS Board Elections.” I am not sure exactly what a “PASS Member in Good Standing” means, but I guess I qualify as the e-mail provided me with a link to vote. If you are a PASS member, and did not get an e-mail allowing you to vote, please contact PASS immediately to ask them why you did not receive the e-mail.

This year there are three spots available on the board and there are five candidates, including:

  • Mark Ginnebaugh
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Allen Kinsel
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Andy Warren

You can find out more about these candidates at the SQLPASS Board of Directors web page. You can also find interviews with the candidates at Andy Leonard’s blog.

In selecting three candidates I voted for, I had a great difficulty as I personally know four of the candidates, and I would have liked to have voted for all four of them. These include Mark Ginnebaugh, who is a great PASS user group leader and businessman; Geoff Hiten, an outstanding SQL Server MVP and PASS user group leader, and a person who is not afraid to speak his mind; Andy Warren; who has been a long-time supporter of the SQL Server community, and who has shown in his last term of office that he is working towards greater PASS Board transparency; and Allen Kinsel, who has dedicated large amount of his time to the PASS program committee the past several years. All four of these are great candidates, and I can recommend all four of them to anyone who is still deciding on who to vote for.

So if you did get your PASS Board Elections e-mail, be sure you carefully review all of the candidates and select people who you think will lead PASS to a brighter future.

It is Great to Get Feedback From My Readers

I get a lot of emails from people who read my blog, books, articles, and from people who have attended my presentations. I recently received the following email, which I particularly appreciated. While he has kind words to say, what really impressed me about this email was that the writer had taken my recommendations, and then used them as a checklist to follow. While I am not suggesting everyone follow my checklist, I commend the writer on taking the initiative to advance his career by following a specific plan. I think everyone who wants to control their career needs to create and follow a plan, whether it is one created by someone else, or created by themselves. Good work Rodrigo!

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