Hi, Brent here! I’m really excited to welcome you to How I Use the First Responder Kit.

Read this whole page: there’s a lot of stuff in here for you.

To prep, watch How to Think Like the Engine.

Before we get started, I need to make sure that we’ve covered the basics. In my free 90-minute How to Think Like the Engine class, you’ll learn the foundations of clustered and nonclustered indexes, statistics, memory grants, and sargability.

That alone doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to keep up in class, of course – but if you hadn’t at least learned this much before starting, then you’d have been totally screwed, hahaha.

Make sure your SQL Server is ready.

Pick one SQL Server that you’re going to concentrate on during this class. I’m going to be giving you advice on that particular server, and I need you to focus on just one rather than jump around between servers. It needs to be a real SQL Server – not Azure SQL DB or Amazon RDS for this particular class. (I love the cloud – but we’re going to be doing things that require specific diagnostic table access, and the cloud just doesn’t always provide that, sadly.)

You’ll need sysadmin (SA) level access on the server to see the live diagnostic information. This class simply doesn’t focus on development servers, full stop: this is about making performance better, and to see why it’s bad, you’ve gotta run diagnostic queries on the production instance.

Install the First Responder Kit scripts on the server – the Install Core Scripts file is fine. If you’re on 2016 or later, you can use the with-Query-Store version, but we won’t be using Query Store in this particular class.

If you’re attending live, join Slack.

To ask questions and talk to the other attendees, get an instant invite to Slack here, then join the #BrentOzarUnlimited channel. This way attendees can help each other with their questions during the live labs. (We don’t use the GoToWebinar Q&A or chat because you can’t see each other’s chats.)

In the rest of my classes, I publish the slides so you can follow along. Here, there are just some intro slides, but in case you want ’em, here is a PDF of the intro slides. (last updated 2021-01-24)

And that’s it! You’re ready for class – let’s find out what you can do to make your SQL Server faster and more reliable!

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