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 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.