Mark Your Calendars: Free Live SQL Server Training Classes in October & November.

This fall, I’m going to teach you the fundamentals of Microsoft database performance tuning, live, for free.

The first class is my How to Think Like the Engine class. It’s already free online in both video and blog post formats, but this fall I’m updating and expanding it to a 3-hour version. You could totally start watching the recorded version now, but…I know how it is. Some folks prefer watching live because they can ask questions as I go along:

Now, we start getting to the fun stuff – things that normally cost $89 for each class’s recordings. These are all-day classes. On Tuesdays, I’m teaching them in Europe-friendly times, and on Wednesdays, I repeat the same class in America-friendly times.

Register here to attend all of those, for free. The Americas-friendly classes will be 9AM-4PM Eastern US time, and Europe-friendly classes will be 8:00-13:00 UTC. (How to Think Like the Engine is only a half-day class though.)

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After you’re registered for class, set up your server.

All of the Fundamentals courses except Fundamentals of Columnstore have the same prerequisites. Set yourself up a SQL Server:

  • SQL Server 2017 or newer, either Developer Edition or Evaluation Edition. Download pages are linked from Express Edition, Azure SQL DB, and Amazon RDS won’t work, unfortunately.
  • Use the default collation during install, SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS (don’t get fancy with binary collations)
  • Apply the latest Cumulative Update
  • Install the most recent SQL Server Management Studio

To follow along with the demos, download the 50GB Stack Overflow 2013 database (10GB 7z file). I’ll be using the medium-sized 50GB StackOverflow2013 database, and it’s vital that you use the same one. Query tuning and parameter sniffing is all about getting different behavior based on your query’s parameters, so I need you to have the exact same data distribution that I’ll be working with onscreen.

Fundamentals of Columnstore has more ambitious prerequisites because columnstore is about bigger data. You don’t have to follow along with the class demos at all – it’s totally optional, and you can just watch me do them on the screen – but if you do want to follow along, here are the columnstore prerequisites.

Register now – attendance is limited to the first 1,000 students who get in. See you in class!

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14 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Brent. Do you have a NZ/Oz/Asia pacific friendly time?

    Cheers. Pete

  • I am from Europe but because of my working hours I will probably join US trainings.
    I took index tuning and columnstore fundamentals so I will be waiting for query tunung and temp db.

  • Zachary Comer
    August 20, 2021 5:00 pm

    Hey, Brent. When/how will we know if we’ve made it into the first 1,000? Will I get an email or should I keep checking the MyCourses section?

  • Hey Brent,

    You mention that Express edition won’t work but will Standard? Are we going to cover Enterprise-only features during any of these? I have a SQL Server 2019 Standard edition VM I was hoping to reuse for this.

    • Standard requires production paid licensing, so I would never recommend spending $2,000 per core on that.

      I’m sure you’re using it legally and paying for it, right?


      Then let’s get you legal. Switch to Developer Edition, which is free.

      • Your sarcasm never fails to make me smile. This is a production-licensed instance that is barely used, no one will be using it during the classes, and yes, we’re paying for it. Assuming there’s no other reason to use Developer/Eval edition?

        • Since you have to restore and restart database repeatedly during class, no, this is not appropriate.

          Do me a huge favor: I’m telling you how to set up to follow along. Can you follow those instructions rather than trying to negotiate with me? I appreciate it. 😉

  • No parameter sniffing?

    • Correct, I’m only doing the 12 days of free training classes you see in the post. For other classes, keep your eyes peeled for discount sales during November. Cheers!

      • You are doing a great work with these trainings for free. I am waiting for November for discounts on Master clasess.


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