Foundational Material: Microsoft SQL Server Book and Blogs From The Past

SQL Server

What Did Dinosaurs Watch On TV?

These are some of my favorite books and blogs from Microsoft from the way-back machine.

I can’t say every bit of information is still 100% true and should be followed to the letter, but hey, that’s what happens.

This is stuff I consider foundational material, though. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I think most people who use SQL Server regularly would benefit from reading them, if they haven’t already.

They’re mostly long defunct, so don’t hold your breath on comment replies.


  • Craig Freedman: This blog is amazing. I wish Craig still wrote things. Anything, really.
  • Conor Cunningham: Should need no introduction, and has the best blog title of all time.
  • Bart Duncan: Bart was blogging about some pretty crazy problems back before a lot of people even knew these problems existed.
  • Query Optimizer Team: This preceded the current Query Optimizer Team blog, and bonus points for Microsoft’s first attempt at automatic indexing.
  • Ian Jose: Not the longest or most in-depth blogs, but I like me some straight and to the point wisdom too.
Storied History:


Yes, I own all of these. The bottle of wine over there is empty, but it’s one of my favorites.

Do The Worm
Ken Henderson:

Ken’s books are amazingly detailed and still surprisingly relevant.

Practical Troubleshooting was a group effort, and features a chapter from Bob Ward.

Now, I have to point something out, here.

Bob is a badass.

This book was published in 2007. That means Bob has been working with SQL Server for like 25 years.

Bob deserves some kind of award.

Kalen Delaney:

These books are totally worth it for the pictures alone.

Aw lookit the baaaaabiesss

Back To The Future

These aren’t the only SQL Server books I own, and there’s a lot of great, newer stuff out there that you should probably read too.

With SQL Server’s new rapid development cycle, we’re not likely to see this kind of in-depth technical book about a specific release or technology. It would simply become outdated too quickly. Even online documentation becomes difficult. A good blog one day could be mooted by a CU the next.

It’s even more frantic in the cloud, where Azure routinely has features added and removed.

Thanks for reading!

Previous Post
Building SQL ConstantCare®: Now Free for Consulting Customers
Next Post
It’s Time to Improve DBCC CHECKDB.

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Charlie Arehart
    August 21, 2018 1:14 pm

    Another great trip down memory lane, folks. Thanks. And yep about both Bart Duncan and that Practical SQL Server Troubleshooting book. It was his chapter there and his related talk at Pass 2006 that opened to me the whole world of procedure cache/plan cache/parameterization issues, and the various troubleshooting/options that were being considered to address it then and since: optimize for (in tsql), plan guides, forced parameterization, optimize for ad hoc, and so on. Of course, many still struggle with such issues, now over a decade later. The more things change…

  • I remember reading ken’s books on the Amtrak going to and from work, and learning something every day. When the practical troubleshooting book was released, I did an interview with Ken, you can find it here if you are interested

  • Natalie Davies
    August 22, 2018 12:20 pm

    That’s a blast from the past – I had the two Microsoft Press books. ‘Inside the storage engine’ was surprisingly engaging given the subject, a really excellent guide that I referred to a lot!

  • ken henderson’s books were literally life-changing for me (they occupy a privileged position on my bookshelf as well).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.