SQL Server and Other Topics


I got my start with SQL Server in 1997 with SQL Server 6.5 at BellSouth Cellular. From that point on I've had the opportunity to work on Versions 6.0 to 2014. I specialize in Performance Tuning, High Availability and SQL Development. Contact me through this site or through my Twitter handle @SQLDiver

Have you ever been memory constrained do to physical hardware constraints (or budget constraints)? Well Microsoft has decided to help us out a little bit. The addition of the Buffer Pool Extension, adds the ability to extend buffer pool to nonvolatile random access memory for instance an SSD. 

This functionality allows the buffer pool manager to use the NAND memory from the Flash Storage to maintain a pool of lukewarm pages (Microsoft term not mine). In effect the buffer pool manager is using the Flash Storage as Level 2 buffer pool that only writes clean pages for safety purposes. 

Although the buffer pool extension can be up to 32 times the size of RAM, the recommendation is to maintain a ratio between 1:4 and 1:8. As usual, the optimal ratio can vary, so test as is always the recommendation.

Refer to the following technet article for more information.

Lets start with, "where do I go to find help?" 

I have my favorites I've followed for years, the go to guys that have always be very informative and even more important accurate. I like to start all of my consulting engagements for performance tuning at the Server and disk configuration. If you don't have a solid foundation you won't have a solid architecture. You won't be able to scale as the product grows. For instance, in my current engagement, they don't know if they have a scalability issue or not (they do) , so the work is finding all of the potential issues.

Disk IO is critical to the SQL Server performance. It can be a major contributor to performance problems and everyone talks about it. My favorite bloggers that blog about storage include Wes Brown and Denny Cherry. Both blogs have a wide variety of details about many different topics. 

Performance Tuning is one of my favorite topics. If you don't love working on a process that takes minutes to complete and tuning it to sub-second then you're not living. My favorite performance tuning bloggers is pretty huge (and includes Wes and Denny): Grant Fritchey, Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp (and SQLSkills team), Brent Ozar (and team),  and much more. 

How about server, windows, and/or database configuration? Here some more (besides the guys above): Linchi Shea, Joe Chang, and many more. 

This is a lot of information, and  a good place to start. Don't trust just anyone, there are some really bad recommendations out there that will get you into trouble. Stick with the guys that come up with an idea, test it, discuss it and admit when they got it wrong. 

The next part will talk about certifications...do we need them? What is their value? How do I start?


On May 3, 2014, the always popular, highly attended SQLSaturday #285 will be hosted! Atlanta is known as being an awesome venue with many sessions at all levels of experience. 

Watch Twitter hash tag @SQLSat285!

Link to registration page and information.

Register Now!

Add to your calendar!

To achieve a position as an operational DBA is not hard these days, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. The hard part is reaching the competence level of senior DBA where you are able to handle any issue that is encountered.

Nothing is more frightening than receiving that first call in the middle of the night, "the database is down"! Holy $#!^ what do I do now? It is going to happen, it is going to be frightening, but if you work hard to expand your knowledge before you get here, you'll be alright.

So this brings me to the "expand your knowledge" talk. There are several things you can do that will force you to expand your knowledge:

  1. Take a SQL Server Class. Well, if you're like me, and you don't have a good understanding about what it is you're trying to learn, it isn't going to help much. You just spent hundreds of dollars trying to increase your knowledge.
  2. Trial by fire, this is the Oh Shit class, where as an accidental DBA you learn from your experiences.
  3. Mentors. With a mentor (or mentors) you will benefit the most. Having experienced, smart people around you, you will have the opportunity to learn from others mistakes. I've had some great mentors over the years, many of them subordinates that worked for me. 

    There are rules about asking questions of your mentors:

    1. Google the question first and try to figure it out on your own first. You will learn more by trying to find the solution yourself first.
    2. Write down what you found out and try to describe how it is related to your issue.
    3. Discuss the issue with the mentor. Talk through it at a white board so you can walk through it afterwards. Understand the solution. 
  4. The SQL Server Community. I can't explain enough how important (and different) the SQL Server Community is. Let me start by saying the Professional Association of SQL Server is a differentiator and an advantage over the competitor software. They sponsor the PASS Summit every year, PASS Rally every year, 24 hours of PASS and many SQL Saturday events every year (including my favorite SQL Saturday Atlanta).
    1. The people you will meet will be life and career changing: Karla, Rob, Geoff, Denny, Paul, Phil, David, Kimberly, Jen, Julie, Audrey, Mark, Susan, Stuart, Aaron, Erin... and on and on! 
    2. The SQL Saturday and 24 Hours of PASS training is FREE.
    3. PASS Summit and SQL Rally are phenomenal, the training is constant, for all levels of experience and the organizers don't get enough kudos for the work they do. It is worth every penny spent.
    4. Local users groups, most affiliated with PASS, are great places to meet on a monthly basis to discuss SQL Server, usually involves a presentation and is also FREE.
  5. READ, READ, READ... 
  6. Online training... love PluralSite. Your head will pop from the knowledge you can obtain from PluralSite.