Supporting WIT – Win a Seat in the Upcoming Mission Critical SQL Server Class in Chicago

By: on June 24, 2016 in Mission Critical SQL Server, SQLHAU, WIT | No Comments

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s been a bit busy in SQLHAland, and I’m getting caught up on a lot of stuff. One thing I do over the years is to give back when and where I can. Max and I were talking about this recently, and we thought the upcoming Mission Critical SQL Server class in Chicago was a great way to do something we have in the past – give a seat to someone deserving in one of our classes (similar to Chicago in 2013 and Boston in 2014).

However, this time we decided instead of opening it up to everyone, it’s not gone unnoticed that Max and I do not see a lot of women on the infrastructure side of the house when we work with customers. This time around, the seat we will give away is to support WIT.

Good luck if you enter!

The Rules

  1. No males. Sorry guys!
  2. Send an e-mail to sales at sqlha dot com with the subject WIT Rocks and tell us why you think you deserve the seat in Mission Critical SQL Server and how it would impact you. You really have to demonstrate that you truly would benefit from attending. You do not have to send a tome, but one or two lines won’t cut it either. The grammar police won’t hold it against you if your e-mail is not up to snuff; we prefer heartfelt over perfect. Having said that, see #10 of The Fine Print. There is one exception.
  3. Entries must be in by Friday, July 15, at 5PM Eastern. A winner will be chosen and notified on Monday, July 18.
  4. Do not make or send a video, write a Word document, etc.; that will disqualify you. This should be e-mail only.

The Fine Print

  1. One entry per person per class. Entry is only good for the class submitted. You must submit individual entries for different classes.
  2. Winners will not be eligible for a free seat in a future class and are ineligible for winning any other free SQLHA LLC giveaway for 12 months after winning the seat in the class (excluding any giveaways in the class). If you cannot attend the class where you are chosen as a winner, you forfeit the prize.
  3. Do not enter if you cannot attend; it is not fair to those who can and a waste of everyone’s time.
  4. You (or your company) are responsible for all travel and expenses including, but not limited to: airfare, taxis, food, hotel, and so on. If you cannot meet this obligation for the class you are thinking of entering, please save it for one you can.
  5. Entries without the proper subject will be disqualified. Sorry.
  6. While we do not have delicate sensibilities, keep your entries clean.
  7. You are responsible for any taxes you may need to pay as a result of winning this contest.
  8. You must be eligible to win. For example, some who work in certain jobs or roles (such as some government agencies) would be ineligible. Know if you can before you enter. I apologize in advance if what you do rules you out, but we don’t want to waste anyone’s time or cause issues for you OR us.
  9. All entries must be in English.
  10. While we understand that writing is not everyone’s forte, anyone who uses text speak such as ur will be disqualified as well.

Special WIT Discount

Everyone who enters will also get a special discount code so if you don’t get the free seat, you will get a great price if you want to attend. If you are a woman and don’t want to enter the contest but would like to attend, contact us and we’ll get you that WIT only discount code.

PASS Summit, VMworld, and More – Oh My!

By: on June 23, 2016 in Conference, Mission Critical SQL Server, PASS, PASS Summit, Pre-conferece, Presenting, Speaking Engagement, SQL Server 2016 | No Comments

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done a blog post, but we’re in the midst of a few heads down customer engagements. We’re also busy in other ways and the second half of the year and the early parts of 2017 are already filling up. Besides the already scheduled Mission Critical SQL Server class in Chicago from August 8 – 11, I will be presenting at the Chicago SQL Server User Group on the 11th to wrap up my week in the Windy City.

In a few weeks, on July 12, I will be presenting for the PASS High Availability and Disaster Recovery virtual chapter doing an all new SQL Server 2016 topic which should be a lot of fun.

If all of this wasn’t enough, I’m very honored to have been selected to speak at PASS Summit once again, and for the first time, I will be speaking at VMworld, VMware’s annual conference, later this summer. At VMworld, I will be doing a high availability talk as well as a panel discussion with some other folks you know. At Summit, I will be doing a pre-con on Monday as well as a half day session, and I’m very proud to say that Max will also be speaking at PASS Summit with two lightning talk. Of course, we’ll be in our Consultant’s Corner booth, too.

There may be a handful of other things popping up on the calendar for the second half of 2016, too.

Looking ahead to 2017, the first confirmed dates are for my Mission Critical SQL Server class in London in March. There will be much more in 2017 – we’re just getting started.

As an aside, I will be doing a blog post specifically about the book in the upcoming weeks since so many have asked what is going on.

See you online or in person soon!

Seats Limited – June Philadelphia Mission Critical SQL Server Class

By: on May 9, 2016 in SQLHAU, Training | No Comments

Hello everyone. I’m in week two of my tour of the UK and Europe, and at my last (and third) conference – Join! over here in Warsaw, Poland. However, that does not change the fact that we’re four weeks out from both SQL Saturday Philadelphia on June 4th and the start of my 4-day Mission Critical SQL Server class on June 6 at the same venue – the Microsoft office in Malvern, PA. Going down to Philly is always going home for me – I grew up in the area.

While there are no more public discounts, there are a few seats left for the Mission Critical Class. If you want to grab one of the remaining seats (and you should want to!), use the discount code PHILLYFLASH for a 30% discount. If you want the best high availability and mission critical training around, and also get the hands on experience with labs, this is the class for you. You can even give your manager this this letter to help them understand why getting this training will help you.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in the class as well as at SQL Saturday Philadelphia.


Ding, Dong – SQL Server’s Dependency on .NET Framework 3.5x is Dead

By: on April 15, 2016 in .NET Framework 3.51, .NET Framework 4.6, .NET Framework 4.6.1, Setup, SQL Server 2016 | No Comments

Hello everyone. I’ve been pretty heads down with a lot of customer work, teaching my Mission Critical SQL Server class (with Philly on the way in June), preparing for three upcoming conferences in Europe (including three pre- or post-conference sessions, one of which will have updated labs), and working on the book. Yes, I’ve really been working on it and you’ll see some things shortly. You may have noticed our site got hacked, and I’ll probably do a post about that at a later date, so that’s taken up some time as well. I did lose the post on Distributed Availability Groups which I will rewrite soon. Needless to say, blogging has not been my Number 1 priority. I would rather put that energy into my customers, the book ,and making sure my upcoming speaking appearances go off without a hitch.

Having said that, SQL Server 2016 RC3 was publicly released today and I felt this was important to put out there. There is a major change that actually came in with RC2 that no one seemed to notice. I already talked about how from a server perspective, SQL Server 2016 is 64-bit only and I had a lot to do with that. That was a massive change to SQL Server. This next one is also just as big. Many of us (not just me) have been asking to remove the reliance on the older version of .NET Framework (3.5x), and it’s finally happened. Starting with SQL Server 2016, it is no longer a requirement.

Let me give you a little bit of backstory. For every version of SQL Server from 2008 through 2014, SQL Server required that .NET Framework 3.5x was installed (or enabled as the case may be depending on your version of Windows Server). How to enable .NET Framework 3.5x on Window Server 2012 or later is not apparent to everyone. I even wrote two blog posts (one and two) on how to get this task done. There is also a lot of confusion on why the older .NET Framework version is needed if the later version in the 4.x tree is installed. The short answer is that 3.x (which is the same branch as 2.x and 1.x) is different than the 4.x branch. Parts of the engine still relied on the old .NET Framework so the SQL Server development team could not just rip it out easily.

Some of us knew this was coming, and when I pinged someone around the time of RC1, I was told it would definitely be in RTM. We got it a little bit earlier. This was some hard work on the dev team’s part. If you think this is a hoax, it is not. Figure 1 shows all of the SQL Server features selected but look at the highlighted section – the only dependency is .NET Framework 4.6.

Figure 1. All SQL Server features selected, no dependency

Figure 1. All SQL Server features selected, no dependency

In Figure 2, the Command Prompt window is showing sqlcmd running a SELECT @@VERSION command with its output (RC3), and imposed on it, the output of showing that the older .NET Framework is not installed, yet SQL Server 2016 is running. Huzzah!

Figure 2. SQL Server RC3, no .NET Framework 3.5x

Figure 2. SQL Server RC3, no .NET Framework 3.5x

Couple that with the other changes to Setup introduced in the RCs by splitting out the tools install, installing a SQL Server instance is a more streamlined process … and much, much quicker. Getting an instance up and running is almost a pleasant experience. I have my issues with the new tools install, but I’ll take that as a first world problem.


Remember That You Matter, Too

By: on December 28, 2015 in Advice, Mission Critical SQL Server | No Comments

As we wind down in 2015 and head towards 2016, a lot of us look back and take stock of both the good and bad. 2015 has been a pretty good year, but this is not “that” blog post.

In 2014, we got hit with a lot of snow in the Boston area. According to that report, in February alone we got nearly 65 inches. That is just about as tall as me (yes, I’m not very tall ha!). It seemed like it snowed every day for about two months. There was nowhere to put it. Now, those of you that know me know that I don’t mind cold weather or snow, but when you are getting hit day after day, at some point enough is enough. There is nowhere else to put it.

Anyway, what I didn’t talk about with many people is that I slipped twice on ice while shoveling, once landing myself in the emergency room after one of the February storms. That was the second fall. That second fall put a chain of events in place where basically I have not felt right for quite a long time. Things bothered me enough that I went to the doctor in the summer of 2014. I was dealing with the effects of falling until late spring/early summer of this year. It got to the point where I was in quite a bit of discomfort and pain. It was literally uncomfortable to stand, sit, or lie down; no position worked. To be honest, for the better part of 2015, I’ve been miserable.

Unfortunately, my schedule since going to the doctor in 2014 has been pretty crazy. I have been on the road a lot, and I did my best to not make it show, but I was suffering quite a bit. It was a challenge to be on planes for 6+ hours, and even worse, I basically could not sit still while working. When it really was exacerbated to the point of it affecting work, I knew it was time to take care of this problem. I’ve tried not to let it show, but I can say there have been private moments where my pain was excruciating to the point of tears. Now, imagine standing up and teaching a class for four days or doing a preconference session at PASS Summit. By the time Summit rolled around, there were times I had to sit. Summit Squared (PASS and MVP) was my final breaking point; I had to do something. It was hard to work this way, let alone do anything normal. Having to take things like Aleve just to get through the day is not my modus operandi. Some of you may have noticed me walking with a slight limp at one of the Summits. Now you know why.

This is the first time anywhere I’m talking about any of this outside of a small circle of friends and family. I’m not looking for sympathy. There’s a point to all of this. As an aside, those of you who have been asking about the book, here’s the major reason I didn’t get it done by Summit as much as I wanted to. The pain was too much. I’m honestly surprised I made it through 2015 and got as much done as I did looking back.

The good news is that post-Summit Squared, I was going to be off the road for a bit. I made a doctor’s appointment, and am now getting treatment. For the first time in nearly two years, I’m feeling better and closer to normal. I have a way of dealing with what’s wrong. I joke it’s suffering for my art, but I literally left this alone from the time I first saw the doctor in Summer 2014 to fall of 2015. In that time, clearly things got worse. I ignored my body. That was not the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done.

Now that things are back on track, don’t be like me. To be the best you, a big part of that is being healthy. There’s mental health (i.e. needing to take a vacation to recharge the batteries; I’ve blogged about this in the past) and there is your physical/general health. That’s what I’m talking about here. You’re no good to anyone if you are sick, run down, in pain, etc. Sure, you can put a brave face on it, but silently suffering doesn’t work long term. Take it from someone who has been there and is now doing what I should have a year ago.

As you look toward 2016 and your resolutions, take stock of where you are mentally and physically and make sure you carve out time to take care of yourself in the new year. It’s hard to do with all of our personal and professional obligations, but you have to do it. I’m glad I finally did. The difference really is night and day.