Unless you were hiding in a witness protection plan today, you may have heard two of the biggest splashes so far from Microsoft’s TechEd North America conference – the official announcements of both Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014. I’m pretty excited about both releases, and will be saying more in the upcoming weeks as more information becomes official. This is the problem

Having said that, you also may have noticed Microsoft’s release cadence is changing. This will not only affect how we think about deploying, upgrading, and patching, but for people like myself who write books, it may get near impossible to keep up, especially since I need to cover two products – Windows and SQL Server. It’s not like a book on mission critical SQL Server can only touch one. SQL Server and Windows are on different cycles, making it even more challenging.

This is one reason I’ve been a bit slower with the book – I’ve been sorting a lot of these issues out. I know the content is needed and people want it; that’s not my problem. The problem is finding a way to make it work where traditional publishing won’t work so you guys get updated stuff when you need it. By the time you write about one thing and get it out in the world, it may be too late. I need to be more agile than that. A little while ago I think I solved the problem. With the announcement of the platforms, now is a good a time as any to let you know what’s going to happen.

The content will cover SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, most likely SQL Server 2008 R2 (to a degree … still TBD) as well as Windows Server 20008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. That’s a lot of ground to cover. Now you see why I’ve been hedging a bit. I need a content delivery model that can be updated.

What will this delivery mechanism be? There will be different things. For those who just want a more traditional “book” so-to-speak, I will be making that available and will ultimtately have it for sale in multiple places (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). That is what I would deem more “static’ and won’t be updated nearly as frequently. What I’m really excited about is how I will be updating the content and making it available.

It’s no secret that a topic such as mission critical didn’t want to be picked up by most of the publishers I talked to because they didn’t want a big book – and I understand that. But I also know the topic needs the space to breathe. Just a clustering book wouldn’t cut it now or in the future since everything is so intertwined; clustering by itself is not a solution. Having control over content and the publishing model, I can try new approaches. And what that new thing is will be a content subscription model. For that to work, I need a solid base to work from – hence me taking my time on the v1 content so I can build and update it when necessary.

What you also have to realize in all this is that self publication, while very liberating, is also very challenging. I’m figuring this all out as I go and trying to write and sort out the financials is not easy. Editing will not be cheap. Getting the content converted potentially to ePub and .mobi formats with as many graphics as I have may cost me an arm and a leg, and I’m not looking to charge you a ton, so I’m reconciling all of that. This is why I haven’t said too much but things are finally coming together.

How will it work? Well, some people may just want the “book” and no updates. I can accomodate them just fine. They can purchase the big thing when they feel there’s an update they need. However, for those who want access to the latest and greatest, there will be a yearly subscription only available exclusively via SQLHA.com that will provide any updates to chapters (or new chapters, for that matter) and such as part of that. No more waiting years in between book releases; once Windows Server 2012 R2 is out, I can finalize content and make it part of the book and you get that content as it relates to SQL Server right then and there. SQL Server 2014? Same thing.

I’ll also make beta content available prior to the v1 publication for a slight charge for those who buy direct on SQLHA.com.

I’m finalizing the pricing model but I promise it will all be reasonable and worth it. There will also be some early bird discounts, so the earlier you sign up, the cheaper it will be. I know some have been waiting for the updated SQL Server 2012 book, but what will be released is going to be much more than that. I plan on having pricing information and preorders up within a few weeks, and for those who sign up for it, beta content available soon thereafter.

I’m excited, and I hope you are too. This has been a long haul figuring all of this out, but I want the content out there just as much as you want to consume it. I mean, who else is going to be nuts enough to spend too much time talking about fun topics like quorum in depth? 🙂