Hello everyone and welcome to the revamped online home for SQLHA. Besides the heavy customer workload, helping to run a company, writing the book (more on that in a bit), trying to eat and sleep every now and then, as well as all of the training/speaking, I’ve spent the past few months working with our website developer on this massive update. If you are wondering why I haven’t blogged since February, it’s because we put a code freeze on anything with the website until it was complete to ease migration. It was not lack of interest on my part – trust me. Now that the site is live, expect more regular updates from me including a review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3!

In other news, SQLHA will be out and about over the next few months. I’ll be heading over to the UK to speak at SQLBits XII in a few weeks. I’ll be speaking all three days, including delivering a full Training Day (“The A to Z of Availability Groups”). Over the past few months I’ve done some pre-conferences at SQL Saturdays with labs to test the feasibility, but this will be the first major conference I’ll be doing a pre-con where I will also have the labs. It’s bring your own device (BYOD). I’m really excited to get back over for Bits as it’s one of my favorite SQL Server events and I haven’t been in a few years.

Ben will be presenting at IT/Dev Connections in September,  and the whole SQLHA team will be attending PASS Summit 2014. I will be delivering a pre-con (“The A to Z of Availability Groups”) on November 4, and both Ben and I will be doing a regular session during Summit. As with Bits, the goal is to have my pre-con have the lab component as well. I’m working closely with PASS to ensure that this happens, but at the scale we need, we need to ensure that the Ts are crossed and Is dotted. Having a lab will change the game at a conference like Summit. I cannot wait. If that wasn’t enough, we’ll once again have The Consultant’s Corner booth along with Denny Cherry & Associates as well as Heraflux. Max will definitely be in there, so remember to say hi to him, too.

This week I was also renewed as a Cluster MVP. I never assume from year to year and it’s always an honor.

Due to popular demand, I have been locking down dates for my 4-day Mission Critical SQL Server class. I’m very humbled people want to take it! Right now there are confirmed dates for Boston (October 20 – 23, 2014), Philadelphia (March 30 – April 2, 2015), and a return to London England (September 28 – October 1, 2015). Other cities are being finalized, and I’m looking at the southern as well as the western United States for now. My goal is to have as many locked in dates well in advance so you can make your training plans for late 2014 and 2015. Also keep in mind that the earlier you register, the cheaper the class is (Boston and Philadelphia have nice discounts at the moment …).

The online plans for SQLHA University are also moving forward, so we’ll have some stuff there, too (won’t spoil all of our plans just yet in that arena, but know that we’re planning some cool stuff if it all works out). That’s my next big thing to tackle once the book is done (outside of any customer work), which brings me to the last order of business: the Mission Critical SQL Server book.

This has been my biggest personal disappointment; I’m not going to lie. I really wanted it to be done and out by now, but given everything on my plate, it just isn’t complete yet. Most of my books have taken anywhere from 6 – 12 months to complete, and this one is appearing to be no different. This one is also larger than nearly every other one, complicating matters. Trust me when I say I want it done arguably more than you guys want it in your hands!

I knew when I started down the self-publishing route there would be bumps in the road. Nearly every one has been eliminated at this point. The biggest problem now is quite literally time. My plan was to have time to complete primary writing of it in May and June, but we have been working on a big customer engagement and that hasn’t left me much time or energy to work on the book. I sleep very little as is. This isn’t an excuse, just reality. Anyone who has ordered the book is also a customer, and I take that very seriously. Things are stabilizing a bit, so the reality of what I’m looking at is to finish writing this summer, have it edited, made pretty, and hopefully out and done well before PASS Summit. Editing and production are unknowns at the time, but fingers crossed it will all go smoothly. Remember I’m also having this reviewed (it’s not just me writing it), so I need to ensure I get at least a few reviews in on each chapter to know I’m not only technically correct, but I haven’t missed anything. There’s a process. I will not put out a crap product, but I also know it needs to get done  and in your hands. You paid for it, you deserve it.

I know an apology may not cut it for some of you – and I truly am sorry about this. I know this to be true, but I really am being totally up front here; I have no ulterior motive. If you’ve read my other books, you know what’s coming. If you’ve subscribed to updates, don’t worry. I’ll take care of you. I am a man of my word on this.

There’s also upside to this: SQL Server 2014 content is definitely in now. Maybe not everything, but that’s what the updates will have and once the base is done, I’ll be updating the content hopefully on a pretty regular basis. v1 is always the hard part.

So I’ve been busy … and so has SQLHA! I’m very proud to work with Max and Ben here, and can’t wait to see everyone on the road over the next few months.