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

In 2014, I started off the year struggling with half of January on the bench, looking for my next contract. Being an independent consultant has many huge benefits that I love, but there also comes the part many people struggle with of finding work. 

I'm blessed with many friends in the SQL Server Community with a solid footing for consulting. I jumped into consulting after drowning in the political BS frequently found in an enterprise organization. I had been developing my "side work" contracts planning on jumping into consulting when it was appropriate. One day in 2013, the Director of HR was reminding me why they refuse to pay out vacation banked by employees when they leave. I reminded him of the propensity of the employees to either use up their vacation then give notice, or give notice (less than a week) because they have nothing to stay for (vacation pay). So managers lose the transition period expected with an company that pays out the vacation. I digress. That day, I decided it was time to work for myself, and the day before a good friend of mine Geoff Hiten @SQLCraftsman called be to offer me a 3 month contract through MSC in New York City. It was a tough decision to leave the security of my position, not knowing what the next contract would be... but I felt it was a sign from above.





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?


Having worked for very large enterprise corporations, I expected the effort to gain access to the environments to be quite difficult, but its still frustrating.

I've been brought in with the task of performance tuning post migration from Sybase to SQL Server 2008. The migration will continue on through the time my contract is up. Two weeks in and I'm not sure what the environments look like. Their UAT environment is an exact copy of production  according to the database team.

The team seems to be quite competent and very willing to help.

First lesson, patience. More to come once I dig into it.

Today I take the leap towards joining many of my friends in the big world of consulting. Having worked my whole life for "the man", an opportunity appeared that pushed me out of my comfort zone doing something I really enjoy doing, SQL Server.

The contract, starting August  12th, out of the gate is with Barclays Capital in New York which should last about 90 days.

I'll check in frequently to let you know how it is going.