If you haven’t noticed, SQLHA has undergone a facelift. It’s something that has been a long time coming.  Don’t get me wrong – I liked the old site and made it myself. It served me well for over four years. However, sometimes you can reach the point where you need to call in a professional who really does this for a living to do it right. Much like people call me for consulting, it was time to belly up to the proverbial bar and have this site redone properly. My days of enthusiast hacking around in Dreamweaver and putzing around with various blog platforms are over.

The new SQLHA was soft launched last week during PASS. Of course, I managed to screw things up towards the end of PASS and put the site in a weird state. That has all been fixed and all of the kinks have been pretty much worked out (and we’re sorting out the final few), including the fact that all of my old blog posts should now resolve to the new structure automatically.

The new site design has a much cleaner aesthetic I always wanted but could never achieve on my own. I love how the homepage switches between two different designs. We’ve got different SQL Server tips on the bottom of many pages. You can click on the top level (such as “Why SQLHA?”) as well as the sub-menu items. There’s quite a bit of content, and more will be added. I’ve updated things like all of the Resources links. This isn’t just a simple cosmetic upgrade.

And the biggest change: I’ve got a new partner. When I started/founded SQLHA as my branding in 2007, I had no delusions of grandeur. I was just getting started and had no designs on growing much beyond just me. I was looking to survive and take it day by day, month by month, and hopefully year by year. When you go independent, you have no idea how it’s going to go. I was hoping I’d make it. Just having started year five, I think I can say I’m doing OK, and I’m very thankful to each and every one of you who has attended a class, used me for consulting, etc. One thing I’ve realized is that I’m only one person, and there’s only so much I can do. Somewhere along the way after I started on the marathon and ditched the sprint, I really thought about partnering with someone. That person is Ben DeBow (Twitter).

I’ve known Ben for years. We’ve worked on engagements together, presented at PASS together, etc. We have some intersection in terms of what we like to do in the SQL Server world which allows us to work together well, but we’re also very different people. For example, where I generally don’t do much performance tuning of things like queries (not that I can’t, I’m just so busy doing the other stuff), Ben does. I didn’t need another “me” exactly; I needed someone who complimented my skills where we could tag team on an engagement if necessary and be doubly efficient, or pursue other/different work so SQLHA can provide a wider range of services that alone I just did not have the bandwidth to do. Ben may not currently be one of the household names in the SQL Server world, but he’s worked on some of the largest and most complex deployments out there. He’s a rock star – you just don’t know it yet.

Please join me in welcoming Ben to the SQLHA fold. He’ll also be blogging here, and I know I look forward to what he has to say.