Welcome to the DBA Training Plan.

Foreword: 8 years ago, I launched an email series with a 6-Month DBA Training Plan. I sent one email per week, bringing people up to speed on the most important topics that nobody taught ’em along the way. It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years! This month, I’m revisiting the emails, updating their content, and publishing ’em as blog posts too to make ’em easier to find. Buckle up: here come 24 straight blog posts to take you from zero to…well, at least a hero who’s smart enough to wear the underpants on the inside.

I learned to be a DBA the hard way. The hard, crappy way. Our SQL Server was in trouble, and I was the kind of person who would roll up my sleeves and figure out whatever was broken. Next thing you know, I was the one responsible for managing it.

And boy, did that suck.

I didn’t know about any free videos or blogs or e-books. I didn’t have the budget to go to a class, and even if I did, I didn’t know where to find a good one. DBA wasn’t in my job title, and it wouldn’t be for years.

I want to make your learning experience much better than mine was.

Every Wednesday for the next six months, you’re going to get an email introducing an important DBA topic. We’ll cover the basics of the topic, plus link to our favorite free training material on that topic.

Your journey will start with Ozar’s Hierarchy of Database Needs – like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but it’s more about databases than pooping. (Although we’ll probably sneak in a few poop jokes.)

In the next six months, we’ll take you from the bottom of the pyramid up to the top. You may not be able to fix everything in your environment during those six months, but at least you’ll understand the work involved and how to confidently get started. It’s all about making your journey to Professional Database Administrator easier than ours was.

If You Have Questions

Oh, and you will! When you have questions about what you’re reading, start by Googling your questions. It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how much good stuff there is out there to help. (I’m not being sarcastic. This is exactly how we get started whenever we have our own questions.)

If you’d like to post a question, try DBA.StackExchange.com or SQLServerCentral’s forums. Yes, both of these require registration, but they’re totally worth it. On both of these sites, there’s hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people who are itching to help answer your questions. They react fast, too – make sure to go back and revisit your question every 10-15 minutes for the first few hours to see what’s happening. Answer their clarification questions, and include as much detail as you can. For more instructions, read Getting Help with a Slow Query.

If you still can’t get the answers you need, hit Reply to any of our emails. They come from a real email address manned by, uh, me – Brent. This isn’t one of those emails where it says, “Don’t hit respond because nobody cares.” Seriously, I care, and that’s why I put these emails together. Just please don’t use that as your FIRST resort – there are only so many hours per week that I can spend answering questions. By using the above methods first, you’ll be able to leverage the whole community’s expertise instead of just me. I’m all about teaching you how to fish.

On to Part 1: Building a Server Inventory

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34 Comments. Leave new

  • Brent … 6 months is too long. Make it in 2 months ( 3 topics a week). Thanx

    • I feel like 6 months is reasonable, he’s a busy man providing free content.

    • Sam – the posts will come out here more often. It’s just the email newsletter that’s trickled our over time. Next time maybe use the word “please” though. 😉

      • Apologizes Brent … Thank you for doing this !!!

      • Robert A Mark
        July 15, 2019 10:40 am

        Can’t Sam assume you will make the change by saying “Thanx” instead of hoping you will with a “please”! ? Just kidding . . . I can’t wait for each email!

      • Raphael Samy
        July 19, 2019 5:05 am

        And that is how a true #hero replies, thank you brent for your amazing “job”(i quoted because you make so much for us for free that its not fair to call it a job)

  • Thanks Brent!

    The information that you and your team share with us is pure gold. you have make my life a lot better!

  • I cannot put in words how thankful i am to what you do.

    I pray your journey brings you joy, success and health for a long time.

    Thanks Brent!

  • Siva Ramasamy
    July 16, 2019 4:29 am

    Brent, Your service to the SQL Server community is priceless. Thank you very much for making our jobs easier..!!

  • My undying “thanks”! Hardly a week goes by that I don’t use something I’ve learned from your site … and use something from FirstResponder.

  • I like the author way of explanation but my question is according to Maslow theory the highest need of human being is self actualization w means when you maximize your potential doing the best that you are capable of doing. even there is a few ppl they can achive self actualization lke ? Albert Einstein, Abrham Maslow.. but everyone or any DBA are they can preventing DB Problem by using so may kinds mechanism and why the author correlated s. actualization and preventing tomorrow’s problem why the author is correlated the physiological need like air ,food shelter and house e.t.c with buck up ? ???

  • can’t wait to see more .. i’m a fairly senior dba (i’m 42 and have been doing this for 22 years) and sometimes it’s helpful to rethink my systems and look at the “brent period of needs” (I call it the boyce-codd period of needs)

    Brent (and steve jones) inspired me to do a session in front of 700 people on database tuning. A lot of what I will present is my twist on their advice

    • Awesome, that’s great to hear!

      • I do have one comment though.. we backup our databases by default (sql agent etc) , no one ever plans security or capacity (unless they are as grumpy as myself), so we normally skip straight to performance and constantly skip future proofing by making short term patches.

        if you rewrote that triangle as a timeline i’d put future proofing and security as the first 2 items, backups as the last item (as it’s only once it’s near live you need to think about that)

  • I like your “Whiskey & Yoga” shirt! Well, the first half anyway 😉

    Thank you, sir, for all your work in the SQL Server community over the years. It is greatly appreciated.

  • Uhm…did you miss a spot with all this, Brent?

    Where’s the SQL Server / Windows Licensing topic?

  • […] of it all. Complex topics are explained in a way even the most inexperienced DBA can understand. He also does a 6 month training plan, for free, which he’s recently re-engineered from emails into blog posts to aid discovery. […]

  • on the subject of t-shirts, where can I get a “Whiskey & Yoga” shirt?

  • I’m sorry , but “apocalypse meow” had me – just a shame that i’m in the UK and the shipping time will be horrendous over the Christmas period. interested if anyone has a database t-shirt?… I saw a baby jersey that said ” my daddy is a dba, my mummy is his data model.. this makes me his resultant data set”… I walked past it wearing a t-shirt that said ” I hate babies” – both of us laughed

  • I’ve passed this particular set of training on to other DBAs before as a great way to build skills. It’s also a great way for us to check our knowledge if we’ve been at this for a while. It’s easy to get buried in the stuff we’ve always done and not see that there might be a different or better way to do things.

  • Thanks to you and your team. I am a new in this stuff, not by accident, i’ts something that grow inside me meenwhile i worked as a developer. Now, i want to become a dba because i like to suffer equal or less than all your team have done or all the people that make comments here. i think that the Newtons words apply here (Shoulders of Giants). Because i think that your team, and the others in the same generation (SQlSkillsm, SqlAuthority, Stackoverflow, SQlHack and many others. “For those about SQl Server we salut you”) as you, have build a strong bank of knowledge in the internet for the people that are behind you. I have to thank you, because i honestly have known you in the last month, but a ilearned a lot of your blog, the videos, and other comunities that try to do our life better, doing the stuff professionally and with heart. Sorry about my English. Greetings from Colombia.


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