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CONTEST – Win a Seat In Next Week’s Mission Critical SQL Server Class in Boston

Posted by on October 14, 2014 in SQLHA University, SQLHAU, training | 0 comments

I know this is last minute, but we’ve decided to give away a seat for next week’s Mission Critical SQL Server class in Boston just like we did for Chicago last year. This time the rules are going to be slighlty different. I really do believe in giving back to the community, and I think this is a perfect way of paying my good fortune forward.

Good luck!

The Rules
Send us an e-mail to sales at sqlha dot com with the subject Boston Rocks as to why you think you deserve the seat and how it would impact you. I really would prefer the seat go to someone who truly needs this, such as learning new skills, switching jobs, etc. You are not bound by that, but you really have to demonstrate that you truly would benefit from attending.

I am not asking for a 1000 word essay, but don’t send a one line e-mail either. The grammar police won’t hold it against you if it’s not up to snuff; I would prefer heartfelt over perfect. Having said that, see The Fine Print. There is one exception.

Entries must be in by Thursday, October 16, at 5PM Eastern. A winner will be chosen and notified on Friday, October 17.

Do not make or send a video; that will disqualify you.

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 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.
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The State Of The Book – October 2014

Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Book, conference, Mission Critical SQL Server, PASS Summit, pre-conferece, training, whitepaper, Windows vNext | 3 comments

Long time, no speak everyone. I haven’t been blogging much this year because I have been heads down doing a lot of things. Here’s a partial list: running SQLHA with Ben and Max (we’re busy!), customer work including spending two weeks in the Toronto MTC in September, the Jewish holidays (tonight starts Yom Kippur, arguably the holiest day of the year), wrote a whitepaper for Microsoft, spoke at SQLbits in the UK, am preparing for my pre-con at PASS Summit in a month (which is close to max capacity – don’t miss out!) which will have hands on labs, my Summit presentations, preparing for my class in Boston in a few weeks (Have you registered yet? If not, use the discount code AHBOS350 to get $350 off; a few seats left), and oh yeah – writing Mission Critical SQL Server. As if I need more on my plate, I’m writing a book. I always joke but it’s true – if you’re in it for the money, don’t write a book.

If there is one question I wish I could make go away it is “So when is the book going to be done?” The easy answer is “well finish it and it will”. Sigh. Let me make one thing clear: it’s not done yet. I’m working on it, and today, if you have access to it, you will see the first of many technical chapters. It is the first of two chapters dedicated to WSFC quorum. Yes, you read that right – two chapters on quorum spanning roughly 100 pages. I had a lot to say! Part two is coming if not today before the holiday, before Monday. I still have some screen shots to grab and put into part two. I am very proud of this chapter and I believe it’s one of the better things I’ve written in my career. <shameless plug>In fact, I love the topic of quorum so much, I’m doing a session on it at PASS Summit on Friday, November 7 in room 6E. Don’t miss it! </shameless plug>

Those of you who have purchased the book in any form as a subscription (updates or pre-release content), check your e-mail for one from Content Shelf regarding access to the content and other things regarding your subscription.

UPDATE 10:15 AM – For everyone who has purchased the book only and not the access to the pre-release content or the updates, I have made one chapter available as a free preview.

I know progress has been painfully slow. No one is more frustrated at this point than I am. I usually have a bit of a slow down in terms of customer load in the summer (slowing down is always relative), but that hasn’t happened this year. I’ve been flat out since the beginning of the year. The good news is that the one customer whose work has consumed most of my year is winding down, and I’m almost done all of that prep work, so I’ve had more time to focus on the book. I’m working on the hardest chapters right now, all of which are in various states of completion (quorum, networking, storage, security, troubleshooting clusters). The easy ones will roll out like a factory pressing CDs once those are done.

So what’s the new ETA? At this point I’m not going to nail down a hard date, but let me put it this way: I am taking a vacation planned over a year ago in late November (which will also be a nice birthday present to myself), and if most, if not all, of the primary writing is not done by then, I will not be happy with myself. Also realize that the chapters also need to be reviewed, reviewer comments incorporated, edited, and then made pretty. I don’t want to minimize what’s ahead: it’s a LOT of work. But I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now that content is really start to come down the chute.

Let me put all of this in perspective – my 2005 book (Pro SQL Server 2005 High Availability) took a year to write. I’m just over a year since I put the preorders up (July, 2013), and this book will be bigger than the 2005 one was. Hell, the two quorum chapters alone are 1/8 (about 100 pages give or take) of the 2005 book! Add to that the process of actually putting the final product in your hand – which I am managing myself – and it’s a big undertaking. I believe my model for independent publishing with updates will work.  I just need to get v1.0 out the door.

Speaking of updates, I know that Windows Server Technical Preview came out this week for the next version of Windows Server (aka Windows 10 Server – no final name yet). There is a chance some of what’s in there may make v1.0, but realistically given the fact you guys want the content and I want v1.0 done, it won’t be. But the update model accomodates that and you can be sure that one of my first tasks post-v1.0 is to incorporate any changes that vNext. That’s the beauty of the model I’ve put into place, I just need to execute on the vision. I’m doing that, just not at a pace I’ve liked or you have for that matter.

Someone basically said to me recently if it’s not done by PASS Summit, it won’t be worth doing and it’ll basically be a joke and that people are talking. I disagree on the former point; the landscape hasn’t changed and by then a lot of the content will be done – just not finalized. The latter comment, however, clued me in that I have a bit of a PR problem here since I am also on Twitter and such, and it may look like I’m goofing off. I’m sure some folks have said to others “Why is it taking so long? He said it’d be done.” I’m not dumb. I know people talk.

Howver, every waking moment can’t be and won’t be spent on the book. If that’s your expectation, let me reset it for you. I’m not going to apologize for taking breaks or being social from time to time. I also have to eat, sleep, and not think about it from time to time. Other times when I’m not actively writing, my brain is often working on content organization or how I want to approach things; it’s a fluid process. I also need to have a bit of a life, too. Chaining me to my laptop isn’t the best way to get things done. That would be a funny picture, and please, no memes.

I also want to be crystal clear on one point: anyone who has purchased the book is a customer. That is the same as a student in one of my classes or a precon, or one of my consulting clients. Whethe you spent $50 on just the book (which will be v1.0) or purchased a subscription, I have disappointed you, and for that, again, all I can do is offer my sincerest apologizes. I haven’t absconded with your money, either if there’s any thoughts I am doing some cash grab (see earlier comment about books and money). It’s needed to pay production costs and that’s what it’s earmarked for and siloed away.With tonight ushering in Yom Kippur, my apology is oddly appropriate if you know anything about the holiday (which is relative, because I don’t know about you, but atonement and fasting isn’t exactly a party). I know an apology may not be enough for some, and I get that. I really do. I would say this a case where enthusiam met reality, and reality won. In fact, it kicked my ass. Mea culpa.

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Happy Anniversary (To Me), Training and Book Updates, and Other Thoughts

Posted by on August 12, 2014 in advice, PASS Summit, speaking, SQLbits, SQLHA | 1 comment

It is hard to believe that in August of 2007 I made the leap and went independent. Seven years (now starting number eight) later, I’m still doing my thing. It’s hard to imagine how scary it was leaving the confines of regular paychecks to the unknown. I’ve said it many times, but if you don’t have the stomach (or money to pay someone you trust) to run a business, don’t go independent. Having skills to do the job is not enough to make it. When I make the leap of faith and invested in myself, I said I’d see where I was after a year. Then two … and now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Have I had my share of problems in this tenure? You bet, but as they say, adversity makes us stronger. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses, kids.

SQLBits XII was great and there’s not much to say that hasn’t been said by others. It’s one of, if not the, favorite conference of mine. And I do like PASS Summit, but Bits is just always spectacular. If you ever get the chance to attend or speak, and can – do it!

I am cannot wait to deliver my availability groups precon at PASS Summit in November, and am excited to have everyone do the labs. Let’s see if the Washington State Convention Center’s WiFi holds up :) Have you registered? If not, what are you waiting for?

My plans for delivering my 4-day Mission Critical SQL Server class are coming along. I’ve got dates in Boston in October (before Summit), March 2015 in Philadelphia, and September 2015 in London (with Technitrain again). I am close to solidifying dates in Dallas in early 2015 as well as some other stuff. Stay tuned!

The book is finally coming along nicely. I’ve made great progress over the past few weeks and you guys will see a lot of content soon. I also think I may have found the right editor which is key to making things look pretty for you guys.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have seen that Robin Williams tragically passed away today (this was written on August 11th). I loved Robin Williams – he was one of the few people that could consistently make me laugh. He was a very talented individual, and I agree with the cries that if it truly was suicide due to depression (at the time of writing, that has not been officially stated), this will hopefully shed light on true issues that people have both apparent and hidden. Robin certainly had other demons which took him to places I cannot fathom. My thoughts are with his family at this time.

Looking at this from an outside point of view, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to be Robin Williams. People expect you to be the Genie or some manic character improvising all the time. There is no way you could lead anything approximating a normal life if the expectation – even if unrealistic – is to be “on” 24 x 7. Don’t get me wrong – he was a comedic genius. I don’t use that word lightly; he truly was. But that has to weigh on you; how can it not? Money and fame do not buy happiness. I didn’t know Robin, and I could be totally off base here, but knowing what I experience even on a small level, I’m not sure I’m not.

A good case in point – see my post about presenting at Summit after my friend Mike died shortly before the conference. August 28th of this month will mark the third anniversary of his passing which makes this post more poignant. In hindsight, there is no way I should have been presenting that pre-con or spotlight session; hell, I probably should not have even been at Summit. I will freely say that now. But I felt an obligation to everyone who paid for that pre-con. So I tried to put my best face on and brave it. I’m sure people would have understood but it would have been hard for everyone involved – including myself – since there would not have been a lot of time for PASS to do something. It was not about the money; I would have gladly traded whatever I was paid to have Mike back. I thought I was doing the right thing for all involved but I wasn’t – at least for me. I needed to grieve.

And let’s face it, in our social media-conscious age, if you have a negative interaction with someone, in minutes – if not seconds – it would be blasted to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram – you name it. I know when I am at conferences I realize that I need to be “on” regardless of the type of day or week I was having. The last thing I need is to have someone call me this, that, or the other because you know if it’s on the ‘net, it must be true! As an independent consultant any ding is not a good one if it persists. We all have our bad moments, except this time it can leave a lasting impression. This is why when you see me at a conference, during a training class, etc., I am “on”, but when I’m not there, I’m not. That is not to say I am a different person – I am not. But even I need some time not to be answering questions about clusters. I’m not writing my book because I hate the topic! My brain needs to do other things from time to time. I know, shocker.

I lead a life currently filled with first world problems. I am very, very lucky to be fortunate to have a roof over my head, food in my mouth, and clothes on my back. Anything else – including material possessions – is a blessing (and I would be lying if I said I hated some things … like laptops …). I count my blessings every day to have good friends and family and an excellent support system where I can reach out to for advice of all kinds, or just to chat. With that, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to my colleagues and customers, along with my family and friends, who have made these past seven years great. Looking forward to many more.

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The TSA Ruined My Demos … Sorta

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in demos, development, presenting, SQLbits | 0 comments

When flying rules affect demos …

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Farewell, Sony Vaio

Posted by on February 6, 2014 in hardware, Sony, Vaio | 1 comment

The Vaio is dead.

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Wherefore Art Thou Mission Critical SQL Server Book?

Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Book | 4 comments

So where is that book, Allan?

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Announcing SQLHA University

Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Recent News, SQLHA, SQLHA University, SQLHAU | 0 comments

SQLHA University opens its doors to the public

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The SQLHA University Backstory

Posted by on in SQLHA, SQLHA University, SQLHAU, training | 0 comments

Why is Allan all excited about SQLHAU?

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CONTEST! Win A Seat To Allan’s Mission Critical SQL Server Class in Chicago

Posted by on November 14, 2013 in mission critical, SQL Server, training | 0 comments

Want to win a seat in Allan’s Chicago Mission Critical SQL Server class? Read on …

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