DBAs have been asking me, “Brent, why do you have a book of Lady Gaga photos on your standing desk?”
Also, “Brent, why are you guys offering training for developers instead of training for DBAs? Have you lost your minds? Why have you crossed over to the other side? Have you forgotten that we know where you live and where you walk your dog?”
Reason #1: A lot of shops don’t have DBAs.
A good database administrator is hard to find, and when you find ‘em, they’re expensive. We’ve got clients who have been trying to hire a DBA for over a year – in some cases, two years! They’ve given up on all the crappy job candidates who can’t tell the difference between their elbow and their LDF file. It’s cheaper and quicker to take one of their savviest developers and train them to become a SQL Server DBA.
Except that it’s not, because it’s really hard to find training to do that.
There’s local training companies who just take Microsoft’s certification curriculum, but what if your goal isn’t to get certified? What if your goal is just to get good, practical advice for real-world database administration as quickly as possible? What if you don’t want to learn about a dozen nearly useless features just to check a box? What if you want to spend more time on the most vital features, like, say, indexes?
That’s where our training comes in – we focus on giving developers the stuff they really want to know about SQL Server to make it faster and more reliable.
DBAs, that’s really the only reason. You can close the browser now. Or if you’re bored, go check out the Lady Gaga photo book – it’s on sale. My favorite photo is the one of her and Ellen DeGeneres in an elevator at the MTV VMAs. I’d give you the page number but like any indecipherable Terry Richardson work, there’s no friggin’ page numbers.
Are they gone?
Okay, good. Developers, here’s the rest of the reasons.
Reason #2: You can’t get time from your DBA.
If your shop has gotten big enough to hire a full time DBA, they’re probably overwhelmed with work just keeping things running, dealing with backups, managing security, and making sure there’s enough free drive space.
You’ve got questions about making your queries faster, and you’ve got the feeling that the answers are nearby, but just out of reach. You’ve tried the Index Tuning Wizard & Database Tuning Advisor, but they’re out of options.
Reason #3: Maybe you wanna be a DBA.
I used to be a developer myself. After going through four languages in three years (Topspeed Clarion, VBscript ASP, VB.NET, Java), I decided I wasn’t dedicated enough to stick with it. I switched over to the database side because there’s only one language to learn – SQL is basically the same across not just versions of SQL Server, but across different platforms like PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Oracle. Even the new kids on the block like Apache Hive use similar syntax.
Learning the basics of performance tuning on any database will help you everywhere. Index tuning, isolation levels, and sargability are universal concepts.
Reason #4: A lot of shops don’t need DBAs.
I’m not saying you don’t need a DBA’s advice now and then, but you don’t have enough work to keep a DBA busy full time. I know this because a lot of our clients – and I mean a lot of them – don’t have DBAs, and after our initial SQL Server Critical Care™ session, they only need to get our advice about once a quarter.
Your questions aren’t complex, but you’re tired of Googling and getting answers you don’t really trust. You want clear, concise training that teaches you the important parts of indexing, query antipatterns, isolation levels, and performance troubleshooting. You don’t want boring best practices – you want to cut to the chase.
Sound good? Check it out.
On our SQL Server for Developers training page, we list the class abstracts. At the bottom, there’s a business justification PDF to help you convince management that the training is worth the money. And speaking of money, it’s cheaper than a conference or a week-long local training class taught by somebody who’s never actually been a DBA, much less a Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master. Come join us and have a good time while we poke fun at DBAs.*
* – Did I say poke fun at DBAs? I meant sing the praises of DBAs. Listen, I told you to go look at Lady Gaga pictures, and why are you still reading this, DBA?
Hoowee, we’ve got a lot of good stuff lined up! You know the routine: click the links, check boxes, and get smart.
Kendra Little, Technology Triage Tuesday
Whether you’re planning a major migration, a code release, or an update to Windows security patches, there’s always the risk that something may go terribly wrong. How can you prevent disaster? In this 30 minute webcast, Kendra will share the top three elements to planning a successful change for SQL Server. Register now.
Brent Ozar, Technology Triage Tuesday
When you create tables and insert data, what’s SQL Server doing behind the scenes? How do your rows become part of the files on disk? This session isn’t about solving problems – it’s about just going fishing inside SQL Server to see what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ll use undocumented commands like DBCC PAGE to track down your data. Register now.
Jes Schultz Borland, Technology Triage Tuesday
Log shipping is a tried and true method in SQL Server for keeping a copy of your data on a secondary server. If you haven’t worked with this feature yet, join Jes to learn the basics, such as what log shipping is used for, what the moving pieces are, and how to set it up. Register now.
Before you join us in Atlanta for our 2-day training class (or if you’re just thinking about it), let’s talk about your environment. In this 30-minute session, we’ll give you some vital statistics to check in your SQL Server before you leave work, and we’ll explain how our upcoming training class will help you improve those metrics.
Jes Schultz Borland, Technology Triage Tuesday
Log shipping is a tried and true method in SQL Server for keeping a copy of your data on a secondary server. You have your primary and secondary server set up, and it’s working great. Are you monitoring it? Do you know what to do if you need to fail over to the secondary? Join Jes to find out! Register now.
Jeremiah Peschka, Technology Triage Tuesday
Session state frequently ends up on a busy SQL Server. What seemed like a good idea in development turns into a problem in production. While there are valid business reasons for persisting session state to permanent storage; there are equally valid reasons to avoid using SQL Server as the permanent storage. We’ll investigate why session state poses problems for SQL Server and cover an alternate solution that allows for persistent session state. This talk is for developers and DBAs who want a better way to safely track ASP.NET session state. Register here.
Brent Ozar, Technology Triage Tuesday
Get frustrated when you read conflicting opinions on the web? Me too – I can’t go to sleep when someone’s wrong on the Internet, but it’s tough to correct everybody. In this 30-minute session, I’ll explain the most common bad advice that I see, explain why it’s wrong, and show you how to set up your SQL Server for speed, not slowness. Register now.
Can’t be there on time? Yeah, we know how “busy” you are – you can catch recorded versions of past webcasts in our First Aid video archive.
You’re a developer stuck managing a SQL Server that you don’t really understand. Why is it slow? You’ve got a hunch that it’s not really your queries, but you’re not quite sure. You’ve tried adding indexes, but you’re not confident that they’re the right ones. The hardware guys say they don’t see a problem, but are they right?
After two days with us, you’ll go back to the office equipped to:
- Quickly improve the performance of your databases
- Diagnose current problems in your T-SQL and database schema
- Build a prioritized to-do list to share with management
- Use powerful scripts and tools to get the answers you need
Why You’ll Love Learning with Us
We love presenting at user groups and conferences, but we wanted to host a more structured class. See, conferences are all over the place – one minute you’ve got five classes you’re trying to decide between, and then one minute you’re bored because none of the sessions are relevant to your job. We wanted to run something with a structured agenda to teach you the most important things, in order, and get you back to work smarter than ever.
Who Should (And Shouldn’t) Go
If you control the queries, indexes, and tables for an app that stores data in SQL Server, and you’ve never had formal training for SQL Server, this class is for you. (Not that this class is formal – no bow ties here. Expect the same sense of oddball humor that you get here in the blog.)
If you’re a full time database administrator, you might also find this class useful – but just be aware that we won’t be discussing production administration tasks like how to set up a new SQL Server, how to implement HA/DR, etc.
About the Event
Classes will be held at the Embassy Suites in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday and Friday, May 9-10, 2013. Bring your laptop/tablet/Moleskin/Etch-a-Sketch and your endless curiosity. We’ll feed you lunch plus coffee and snack breaks in the mid-morning and afternoon, and if you’re staying with us at the Embassy Suites, your room rate also includes breakfast too.
The class price is $1,595, but the first 20 registrants get in for just $1,395, plus a special bonus – a personalized, signed copy of Pro SQL Server 2008 Internals and Troubleshooting from Brent.
First things first: don’t register for this until after January 31st, because otherwise, you’ll have to deal with a free Microsoft Surface RT, and you know how I feel about those.
Now, about the conference – this new conference covers SQL Server, Visual Studio, ASP.NET, HTML5, mobile, and Windows Azure. It’s great for developers because they need to work with (and sometimes manage!) SQL Server, but they don’t really want to go to a 100% SQL Server conference. This one show covers both development and databases. It’s at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 8-12, 2013.
I’m especially excited because for the first time in history, the conference has track MCs. MCs, y’all, with real working microphones, and you’re looking at MC BrentO. I’ll be stationed in the HA/DR room throughout the conference, carrying a microphone around. I’ll facilitate Q&A for the speakers, plus take your questions and run small mini-sessions during breaks. Costumes? We can
neither confirm nor deny that there will be costumes.
But enough about fun – let’s talk about learning:
This Year’s SQL Server Setup Best Practices
All-Day Workshop with Brent Ozar, $449
You don’t build a lot of SQL Servers, but this year, you need to build one for your company – and it’d better work. You need it to be reliable and fast the very first time. Unfortunately, everything keeps changing, and yesterday’s best practices don’t cover solid state drives, FusionIO, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and clusters without shared storage. In this all-day session, Microsoft Certified Master Brent Ozar will bring you up to speed. He’ll teach you how to pick storage, when it’s okay to use virtual servers, how to turn business requirements into clustering/mirroring/AlwaysOn/log-shipping, and where to put your data files, log files, and TempDB. This session is for developers and DBAs who need to pick SQL Server hardware and aren’t sure about the options today.
Scale Up or Scale Out: When NOLOCK Isn’t Enough
All-Day Workshop with Brent Ozar, Jeremiah Peschka, and Kendra Little, $449
Partitioning, replication, caching, sharding, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, Enterprise Edition, bigger boxes, or good old NOLOCK? You need to handle more data and deliver faster queries, but the options are confusing. In this full-day workshop, Brent, Kendra, and Jeremiah will share the techniques they use to speed up SQL Server environments both by scaling up and scaling out. We’ll share what features might save you hundreds of development hours, what features have been a struggle to implement, and how you can tell the difference. This workshop is for developers and DBAs who need to plan long term changes to their environment.
BOTH WORKSHOPS, the Whole Conference,
AND A MICROSOFT SURFACE RT: $2,294
If you register by January 31st, you can get BOTH our Monday pre-conference workshop and our Friday post-conference workshop, plus get three days of great sessions in between. You can pay with credit card, company purchase order, or check. Register now.
But then you’ll have to deal with a Surface RT. Maybe you should wait until February 1st, just to be safe.
Holy cow, have we got a lot of upcoming free training – both in person and online. Check these out:
November 15 – SQL Server Memory & Virtualization
Brent Ozar with Quest Software
In this session, leading SQL Server gurus Brent Ozar and Jason Hall will explore why memory is more complex in a virtual environment than a physical one. Then they’ll discuss the questions you should ask to ensure you’re efficiently allocating memory in your environment. Brent and Jason will also show you how to:
- Determine when you have enough memory
- Change memory on the fly when it turns out you don’t have enough
- Use special Windows memory
- And much more
November 20 – “Don’t Touch That Button!” Four Dangerous Settings in SQL Server
Kendra Little, Tech Triage Tuesdays
Every software product has its gotchas. SQL Server has some settings which sound like a great idea but can cause major problems for performance and availability when used improperly. In this free 30 minute webcast, Microsoft Certified Master Kendra Little will give you a tour of SQL Server’s most dangerous settings, from priority boost to lightweight pooling. She’ll explain why you need to be cautious and how you can check if your SQL Servers are configured safely. Register now.
November 27 – SQL Server Management Studio: More Than Meets The Eye
Jes Schultz Borland, Tech Triage Tuesdays
SSMS is the standard tool for working with SQL Server databases. It does the job well. But if you’re using the default settings, you’re missing out! You can enable word wrap and number the lines. Change the settings when you script objects out. Filter through objects. Let Jes guide you through the world of hidden SSMS settings! Register now.
December 13 – SQL Server CPU & Virtualization
Brent Ozar with Quest Software
In this session, leading SQL Server gurus Brent Ozar and Jason Hall will help you figure out how much CPU each of your VMs needs. They’ll also show you to implement effective capacity planning. Plus, they’ll present tricks and tips for working with highly transactional systems, BI systems, and parallelism. Don’t miss this chance to learn techniques for achieving optimal performance on virtualized SQL Servers from two of the world’s top experts. Register now.
Hi Brent -
I would imagine you get many of these notes of appreciation for what you do but I just couldn’t leave the office for the day without say “Thank you so much”. I would have never have thought that my personal investment would have paid such dividends.
Today, armed with the awesome information, knowledge and suggestions you provided in your SQL Server for VMware training, I headed into what I thought would be a rather contentious meeting as we have been experiencing some serious performance issues for almost a year and the discussions just never went anywhere.
To make a long story short – it was amazing, I was able to bring them on board, got my reservations, got access to the ESX Hosts for checking performance and an admission that maybe the SAN could have been better configured for SQL Server.
I have been a fan for years – thanks again and I look forward to reading and hearing more from you, as always.
Wanna know what Kelly was raving about?
My 3-hour training session is half off until October 25. SOLD OUT!
Strong development practices don’t spring up overnight; they take time, effort, and teamwork. Database development practices are doubly hard because they involve many moving pieces – unit testing, integration testing, and deploying changes that could have potential side effects beyond changing logic. In this session, Microsoft SQL Server MVP Jeremiah Peschka will discuss ways users can move toward a healthy cycle of database development using version control, automated testing, and rapid deployment.
Tools Mentioned in the Webcast
- SQL Server Alerts - Having basic SQL Server alerts in place can give you warnings of possible hardware failure.
- tSQLt – A database unit testing framework for SQL Server.
- Fixed database roles and user-defined database roles help define granular security.
- Many libraries exist for performing database migrations – they’ll typically be bundled with an ORM. Even Entity Framework supports database migrations!
People bring me in when they’re having data problems. They can’t store data fast enough, they can’t make it reliable enough, they can’t hire people to manage it, etc. When I’m in the conference room, it’s because there’s a fire in the
You know how it is as a DBA, though – DBA means Default Blame Acceptor. Everybody thinks the fire started in the database, but often it’s the SAN, VMware, crappy code, bad third party apps, or any number of combustible materials. The company gets more and more concerned about the growing smoke, and they ask the DBAs, “Who’s a SQL Server expert you can call to put this fire out?” The DBA thinks about my crazy blog posts and blurts my name out – mostly because he wants to find out if I’ll show up in the Richard Simmons costume. (That costs extra.)
Now put yourself in my shoes: I show up in a conference room or on a WebEx, and there’s a huge problem somewhere in the infrastructure. Everybody involved is pointing fingers at each other, and they’re all armed with volumes of reports proving that it’s not their problem. In a matter of 3-4 days, I need to:
- Find the real root cause of the problem
- Prove it to everyone involved using their own language
- Show a few possible solutions and recommend the right one
- Convince them to implement it as quickly as possible
SQL Server isn’t the only fire extinguisher, and I have to know how to put out data fires with other tools. Amazon’s got a ridiculous list of services that are easy to get started with, including:
- Relational Database Service – point, click, and deploy Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL instances. Amazon manages the backups, patching, and security. The MySQL ones even support readable replicas and replication to multiple datacenters.
- DynamoDB – super-fast NoSQL database hosted on SSDs. You pick how fast you want it to go, and Amazon makes it happen.
- Glacier – store your backups in the cloud for $.01 per gigabyte per month with no cost for incoming data.
- Import/Export – ship them a USB drive, and they’ll hook it up to the cloud. For folks with slow upload links, this is the fastest way to move your data online.
That’s why I’m in Dallas, Texas for a few days attending Amazon Web Services Architect Training. It’s a three-day design session that covers how to design solutions with their services. It’s not going to make me a Certified Master of Cloudiness across their broad range of tools, but that’s not the point. Clients don’t usually want me to do the work myself: they want me to find the right answer fast, get the staff on the right page, and let the staff knock out the work together.
If you’re a data professional, and you’re frustrated when people keep saying it’s a database problem when it’s not, what are you doing to bridge the gap? Are you frustrated that The Other Guy doesn’t know anything about SQL Server? Or are you reaching out to learn The Other Guy’s technology to help him to see where the smoke is coming from?