What’s Covered in the Senior DBA Class of 2016?

You’re a SQL Server DBA who is ready to advance to the next level in your career but aren’t sure how to fully master your environment and drive the right architectural changes. That’s about to change in one week of learning and adventure with me, Brent Ozar.

Join me to learn how size, architect, maintain, and troubleshoot your SQL Servers.

During the training, we’ll provide you with breakfast, mid-morning breaks, lunch, and afternoon snacks. Dinner is on you, but during the training, we’ll organize Birds of a Feather groups so you can dine with fellow folks who share the same interests.

Schedule subject to change in the event of natural disasters, food poisoning, exploding demos:

Monday – Enterprise-Grade Processes

Building an Inventory and Support Matrix – You have dozens of SQL Servers, and you don’t have the time to dig into each one of them to understand what’s going on. You need a fast way to explain to management, “Here’s what we’re up against, and here’s how much time I need to get us to a safe place.”

Architecture Deep Dive for High Availability and Disaster Recovery – You’re building a new SQL Server, and you need to protect it. You want to learn when it’s right to use clustering, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, virtualization, or storage replication. You don’t have an unlimited budget, either, so you need to learn how 2014-2016 licensing impacts these choices.

How to Test Your High Availability and Disaster Recovery Setups – Once you’ve built your new HA/DR setup, you need to test planned failovers, unplanned failovers with data loss, and planned fail-backs without data loss. Get Brent’s battle-tested checklists for testing high availability inside the same data center, plus disaster recovery failovers to another data center.

Activity: Deciding Between Availability Solutions – You’ll play architect, and Brent will give you a set of requirements. Work together in groups to sketch out what you believe is the right HA and DR setup, and then see Brent’s recommendations. We’ll discuss the options chosen by different groups, and their pros and cons.

What’s New in SQL Server 2014 and 2016 – Microsoft is pouring on new features – even in service packs! You’ll get a fast-paced tour of what’s new, understand the drawbacks, and learn when you should consider – or avoid – each of the new features.

Tuesday – The Plumbing: Hardware, Storage, and Virtualization

Performance Workload Analysis – Before you try to guesstimate how much hardware a SQL Server needs, you need to understand its workloads. You’ll learn how to analyze an existing server’s Perfmon counters and DMVs to determine whether it’s doing OLTP queries, DW queries, or what the rough mix is between the two.

Server Hardware Sizing – Armed with details about your workload, now you can make a better prediction about the kinds of hardware required. You’ll see the differences between 2-socket and 4-socket servers, learn how much memory Enterprise Edition needs, and understand when local solid state storage is a better fit than shared storage.

Shared Storage for SQL Server DBAs – Your data lives on the SAN, but…what does that even mean? Learn the components of shared storage, what connects them together, and how to do real performance testing to identify the bottleneck.Understand shared storage and its impact on SQL Server, including tiering, snapshots, replication.

Advanced SAN Features – Shared storage offers automated tiering, snapshots, and replication. Learn how these features work, discover why the data and log file choices are different, and understand when these features make sense for your SQL Server sizes and workloads.

Virtualization Management & Troubleshooting – Virtualization changes the way you build, size, and troubleshoot SQL Server. Understand the basic differences, and learn how to use wait stats to identify the most common VMware and Hyper-V bottlenecks.

Activity: Size Your Environment – Give them a list of client requirements, and pick the right hardware size, VM vs physical, local or shared storage, SQL Server version and edition.

Wednesday – High Availability – Clusters, AGs, Mirroring, Cloud

How to Design Quorum for Windows Failover Clusters – Before you touch anything with AlwaysOn in the name, you need to understand how cluster quorum works and how it can bring your SQL Server down. Learn how dynamic quorum and dynamic witness should be configured and see 3 real-world scenarios.

Triaging Failures in Availability Groups – You’ve built an AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and it hasn’t failed yet – so what’s the big deal? Watch as Brent deals with a broken Availability Group, stepping through his thought process during a failure, and get a glimpse into just how complex clustering can become – even with a simple 2-node AG.

Field Medic’s Guide to Database Mirroring – Sure, database mirroring is technically deprecated – but it still works just as great as ever, and it’s still a good option for single-database failover scenarios. You’ll see why we still recommend it, discover a few common implementation gotchas, and learn how to test your failovers before going live.

Cloud HA and DR Options – Your executives have mumbled the terms “AWS” and “Azure” at meetings, and you want to know how to react. Running a SQL Server up there really is different, and just knowing what HA and DR options exist can help you talk more comfortably with management.

Activity: Recovering from Failover – You just failed over from one data center to another – how much data are you really going to lose? Can you get any of it back? You’ll role-play a scenario from Hurricane Sandy using simple pieces of paper and see exactly how aftermath recovery really works.

Thursday – The Daily Grind: Backups, Maintenance, Monitoring

Troubleshooting Backup and Restore Problems – You’re already familiar with full, differential, and log backups – but what happens when someone says they accidentally deleted 15 records an hour ago? What happens when one log file backup disappears? What happens if you need to restore to an exact point in time? Learn some surprising answers before you get bitten by a real emergency.

Optimizing Transaction Log Shipping – In theory, log shipping is easy: just restore your transaction log backups. In reality, you need to understand how to deal with unplanned failovers, reversing log shipping the other direction, and fixing a lagging secondary.

Optimizing CHECKDB – DBCC CHECKDB is easy with small databases – just run it every day. But as your database grows, this quickly stops becoming an option, and you need to start cutting corners. Learn how to cut them safely by running DBCC CHECKDB at a realistic frequency, discover how to run it faster, and see which SQL Server options like backup checksums and page checksums can give you CHECKDB-like protection without the long maintenance windows.

The Right Counters for Monitoring Performance and Availability – Managers say things like “We want five nines of uptime” and “We can’t build an SLA, just make queries fast.” Senior DBAs are stuck in the middle between screaming users and moaning managers. Learn what metrics to monitor in order to reduce the noise.

Index Maintenance for Enterprise Environments – You’ve learned over time that maintenance plans are the wrong way to go, and you’ve implemented index maintenance scripts from Ola Hallengren, the MidnightDBAs, or Michelle Ufford. However, you’re not really sure exactly what you’re fixing, or if it’s the least invasive way to improve performance. Learn the difference between internal and external fragmentation, see how fill factor destroys performance, and discover a simple set of parameters that can keep everybody happy.

Activity: AlwaysOn Availability Group Backup and CHECKDBs – You’ve decided to implement AlwaysOn Availability Groups, but now the really tricky part starts: where should you run backups and DBCCs? You’ll get a set of client requirements, design your own maintenance strategy, and then Brent will throw surprise curveballs at your design to see how it handles various real-world emergency scenarios.

Friday – Troubleshooting and Building Health Check Reports

Design Your Troubleshooting Process – When the brown stuff hits the fan, reach for an easy-to-understand, time-tested troubleshooting checklist. You’ll get a starter document that Brent Ozar Unlimited hands out to their own clients, learn how to use it, and see how to modify it based on your own environment. When you get back to the office, you can give this same checklist to your junior staff and sysadmins in order to make your on-call rotation easier.

Building a Health Check Report with sp_Blitz® – Your end users, managers, and sysadmins want a simple, easy-to-read report that shows whether or not their SQL Server is screwed. Learn the easy process we use every week to build assessment reports for clients around the world.

Building a Performance Check Report with sp_BlitzFirst®, sp_BlitzCache®, and sp_BlitzIndex® – You’ve got a slow SQL Server – but what’s the primary bottleneck? You don’t need in-depth performance analysis, T-SQL tuning advice, or index improvements, but you just need to know where to focus your efforts. Learn how to use our completely free stored procedures to get started performance tuning.

Afternoon: Open Q&A – Bring your toughest senior DBA questions, your project requirements, and your end user complaints. As long as you can talk through your evidence in front of the group, Brent will discuss his approaches to the problem. Everybody learns from real-world scenarios. (Or, if you need to fly out early, that’s fine too.)

Here’s the 2016 Cities and Dates

  • January 11-15, 2016 in Newark, NJ – at the Hilton Penn Station, an easy train ride from the NYC area
  • March 7-11, 2016 in Chicago, IL – at one of our favorite training spots, Catalyst Ranch downtown
  • May 2-6, 2016 in Denver, CO – at The Curtis Doubletree, a really fun, funky hotel downtown with lots of great eating options in walking distance
  • August 1-5, 2016 in Philadelphia, PA – at the Hilton at Penn’s Landing

These are the only cities & dates for that class in 2016, so if you’re interested, here’s your chance to burn up the last of your 2015 training budget – or next week, jump in to make sure you get a seat with your fresh 2016 budget.

Register now. See you there!

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13 Comments. Leave new

  • Do you have group rates negotiated with any of the hotels?

  • Would love these web casted as an option to attend from outside the US. I am in Australia, so a webinar style class would be great 🙂 or buy the course later for download and watch later. Just a thought.

  • None on the west coast 🙁

  • In this class, will you help these older DBAs understand that CLR integration enabled is now a requirement for the SSISDB and thus modern and robust SSIS development, actually improving the security by decreasing the need for direct server level file store access, package file management, deployment, inherited backups and TDE, as well as logging and troubleshooting of SSIS execution data which simply is otherwise difficult to see visually without the built in reports from SSISDB, to say nothing of C# scripting inside packages?

    When you come to DC next, please tell these other DBAs to stop stonewalling it, especially when they run mixed mode, have no auditing, and no TDE or SSL.

    SQL Server DBAs are crippling modern SSIS by refusing to enable the SSISDB.

    • DC DBA – I can see you’ve got passionate feelings about this topic, and it’s going to be tough for me to do justice to this topic in a blog post comment.

      The short answer is that I don’t actually agree with you. CLR is a really powerful tool – but it’s also really hard for most DBAs to debug. If you need the power that C# provides, I’m all for empowering you – but that should be on your application server, not in the database server. See, at $2,000-$7,000 per core, SQL Server is one of the world’s most expensive application servers. It’s just not a cost-effective place to put ETL business logic. Instead, I’d rather do that kind of C# work in an app.

      It sounds like you’ve got a really strong viewpoint, though, and that’s the kind of time when I encourage folks to start a blog and share their experiences. If you write up compelling use cases there, you can start changing minds and making a difference.

      Give it a shot! It can really advance your career.

      • You entirely glassed over the SSISDB functionality, the primary reason virtually every senior SSIS developer is so angry about prohibiting CLR. The fact that you suggested to make an app to do ETL logic vs doing it in widely used script tasks already prevalent inside SSIS and widely used without CLR, again already inside the SSIS package. That is is utterly shocking to me, and I think Microsoft product teams as well as the SSIS community whole heartedly disagrees. I think you should reconsider this. Your answer implies that CLR is required for SSIS C# is not accurate, it is readily available and used constantly.

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