It’s pretty cool to look at a blog post and see, “Last updated: 21 years ago.”
It’s pretty fun to see old pictures of me in the media library, too.
When I first started blogging over two decades ago, it wasn’t a business. I just did it because I enjoyed writing, sharing, and being part of an online community. It was a fun outlet, a way to contribute something in my spare time, and a method to record my life in a way that might enable me to look back later and see what I’d been doing years ago.
For example, 20 years ago:
- I built a computer for my car, and gazed wistfully at Ferraris
- Bought pantyhose to build my own aquarium filters
- Published articles in the biggest computer user group’s magazine
- Wrote my own RSS feed
By 15 years ago, I had already started to focus mostly on SQL Server:
- Explained Amazon Web Services offerings for a sample client
- New StackOverflow database server coming, and log shipping it to Amazon S3
- Talked about how fancy new SSDs were the “world’s fastest storage”
- Still shared random pictures, like my dog wearing two coats
By 10 years ago, BrentOzar.com was a full-fledged business. The blog posts not only targeted tech exclusively, but the post titles were now aware of the importance of search engine optimization:
- 7 Things Developers Should Know About SQL Server
- SQL Server Table Partitioning Tutorial – including videos, because we’d learned the importance of video training
- We launched our first in-person class in Atlanta
- sp_Blitz was a popular thing, although at the time it was still copyrighted and closed-source
- The company grew to the point where we held corporate retreats
By 5 years ago, we were deeply focused on technical SQL Server issues, but also covered technologies relevant to the DBA space:
- We did industry salary surveys, and started asking tough questions about the data
- We were working on getting sp_Blitz to work with the fancy new Managed Instances preview
- We explained why DBAs might want to learn DevOps
- We were building SQL ConstantCare® on AWS Lambda
Over the last few years, during the pandemic and up to today, I focused a lot of the blog content on live streams & recorded videos.
I wanted to give people a community where they could see a friendly face – even when the world wasn’t open for business, and faces were covered with masks. Database work is often lonely because so many of us are the only person in our company who does what we do, and the pandemic and remote work only made those things tougher. Many of the data professionals I know are struggling with burnout and loneliness.
Those of us who’ve been lucky enough to be around other people again, whether it’s work-related stuff or friends, have started to recover. Free regional in-person events like SQL Saturdays and Data Saturdays are starting to come back to life, and big ones like SQLBits and the PASS Summit offer hope that we’ll be able to do family reunions on a more regular basis again.
However, the data community is like a river: you can never step in the same river twice. Not only have the places and ways we meet up changed, but the members of the community have changed, too. Over a decade, many of us transition to different adjacent technologies, different lines of work, or switch to management.
I took December-February off to step back and think about what I personally wanted to do next, too. Was it time for me to transition? Had I done everything there was to do in Microsoft’s relational database engine, and was it time to move on? (I certainly don’t know everything in Microsoft’s data stack altogether – the product list is huge, as is the depth of each product.)
I came to the conclusion that it was time to go back to the start, and take a fresh look at Azure SQL DB and SQL Server. The products are still widely used, and every day, more people start using them for the first time. I’m not aiming to teach new things to folks who’ve read the blog for the last 20 years – but rather, teach things in fun, friendly new ways, helping people solve database problems faster.
I was at that first in-person class in Atlanta! Had to pay for it myself too. I started to write StatisticsParser.com on the flight back home. Good times.
AWWWW YEAH! That was awesome.
Along the lines of your goal of teaching SQL in a fun way, this demo you did on statistics is still one of my favorites. I love when presentations come at a concept in an interesting way and are able to break down the concept in such an easy way for almost anyone to understand.
Thanks! I really enjoyed that too, and I want to get back to creating that kind of content.
That SSD blast from the bast was cringy haha.
I remember constantly fighting with salesman on the idea of using them – who took every bit of vendor propaganda hook, line and sinker, as absolute gospel. The clients who like to read about the latest and greatest were even more challenging.
I remember the arguments pointing to the limited performance of SCSI or SATA 1 as ‘evidence’ for why PCI SSDs were so critical even when very few servers were still available with either SCSI or SATA 1 when SAS 1 and SATA 2 were long ubiquitous at that point in time.
I remember it being pointed to as a solution to avoid paying for a SAN and fibre channel infrastructure by putting enough of them into a box, but this was well before PCI 3 and equipping a machine with enough of them wouldn’t leave enough lanes remaining for redundant network cards or tape drives.
Those pitches often also ignored the performance limitations of northbridge and that under some usage scenarios would only get a tiny fraction of the promised performance.
There were definitely cases where they were practical, but were so niche that I think I only implemented them maybe 1-2 times before 2013 or 2014
Hahaha, yeah, it’s been all over the place over the years.
I have been enjoying your posts/recorded sessions for just shy of 1 decade and am glad you are continuing your journey in the SQL Server realm! I have learned lots from you, and all of it has been fun! Thanks!
I haven’t touched SQL Server since 2012. Why do I still read you?
Because, in a sea of marketing disguised as articles, clickbait and auto generated content, it’s a pleasure to read incisive, opinionated and concise technical content.
The article on Hekaton you recently revisited is an example.
Another example is your comment on ChatGPT, which everyone is losing it about.
I’ve seen so many things that were supposed to put me out of work, come and go over the decades
When I am able to leave the house for an extended period without my laptop, I’ll believe ChatGPT is a threat to steady employment in the development community! I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Your comment was, “AI is not going to replace your job. It’s just gonna empower you to do more, just like improved tooling always has”
In a nutshell, in the best traditions of brentozar.com
Keep up the good work!
Awww, thanks so much for the kind words! That’s awesome to hear!
My career blog isn’t as old, though the personal one started in 1998. Sadly, some of that one is lost 🙁
However, here’s one of my first articles, from 2001 – https://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/process-tracking
I think 21 years ago I:
– had my 3rd kid
– had a startup fail from under me, but learned after 8 weeks as a stay-at-home Dad that I needed a different job.
– found an amazing job at JD Edwards that led to some incredible friendships
– bought a 914 late that year
Woohoo! Congratulations, man. It’s amazing how much things have changed over the last couple of decades.
That class at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago was one of the best things I ever signed up for. Such a cool experience that *really* launched my career
Aww, that’s so great to hear, man!
The training courses – those are licensed per person correct? (rather than a ‘seat’ license)
Correct, per person, like a movie ticket. Cheers!
21 years of Brent Ozar… no one realizes how blessed we all are!
Awww, thanks sir, and same with you as well!