2013 was a year of incredible growth, change, and challenge for me. This last year has been an amazing roller coaster of emotions and life changes. Reflecting on this past year has my head spinning because of all the frenetic twists and turns along the ride.
This past year was certainly not all rosy and perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Extended family members had a number of unexpected medical issues which added a lot of stress and worry. A crazy travel schedule, sleepless nights, and stress from all angles helped to run me down and forced me to slow down and take things in stride. The challenges always seem to work themselves out, but it’s always stressful while they are happening. For those out there who supported me through some of these difficult times, I cannot thank you enough.
In 2013 I achieved something I only dreamed about – becoming a VMware vExpert for the first time. It’s a community award, similar to the Microsoft MVP award, and only about 570 people worldwide received the honor. I’m very humbled and grateful to the community for valuing my input on the topics that are near and dear to my heart.
Next, I was fortunate enough to be selected to speak at a wild 13 SQL Saturday events in 2013! I had a blast traveling from coast to coast to speak to groups from Sacramento to New York City and Washington DC. I come from a family of teachers, and I am quite addicted to speaking and teaching at these events. For the last SQL Saturday of the year, I even got selected to present my first all-day preconference training session at the December Washington DC SQL Saturday. I had a great time and the attendees were very pleased.
The SQL Server User Groups and SQL PASS Virtual chapters, both in person and via the Internet, were also tremendous fun. I always enjoy presenting, and enjoy the questions and feedback from the attendees. I strive to be the best presenter that I can be, and every time I present I learn more and feel that I am growing as a presenter.
The SQL PASS Summit was an event that I will always remember. I received great reviews from the attendees of my spotlight session, and treasure the networking that I spent almost all the hours of every day engaging in. I simply will not miss this event each and every year from this point going forward. I consider it the best event for SQL Server professionals in the world – period.
The most dramatic life change that I have had in recent memory was the decision to go independent as a consultant in September when I started Heraflux Technologies. The immediate association with Linchpin People was unbelievable as well, as this group of upstanding professionals and I just ‘click’ and are moving forward with quite a bit of fun and exciting projects and initiatives. This alliance has just started, and I am extremely eager about the future possibilities!
My most popular blog posts
Thank you so much for taking the time to frequent this blog. This blog continues to get more and more hits each week. I enjoy sharing the knowledge that can be so valuable to IT professionals out there, and the following blog posts from this last year constantly receive the most traffic on the site.
This article describes the extreme impact of a common problem (err – design choice) with virtualization platforms – that of CPU overcommitment – and it’s impact on your Tier-1 business-critical workloads.
Quickly and repeatedly benchmark and baseline your overall SQL Server performance with this free utility from Dell. This walk-through shows you how to setup and automate your instance benchmarks.
Better align your NUMA-aware virtualized application workloads with the underlying hardware configuration by tuning the properly VM.
This blog post describes the new features that shipped with SQL Server 2012, and talks about the best practices when installing the new version on your VMware environment.
My goals, past and present
I generally set some pretty unrealistic goals for myself, as I am a glutton for punishment and push myself pretty hard most days. (If you have ever taken the Gallup StrengthsFinder, my top strength is Achiever.) Most of the time it works out for the best.
I wanted to achieve the Microsoft Certified Master for SQL Server this past year, but with Microsoft announcing the retirement of the certification, I felt that my educational efforts would be better suited in focusing on the new business and the expansion of the technologies I am looking to support. I feel confident that Microsoft will replace it with another updated highest-level certification in the future, and I intend to be first in line for that certification path.
I also intend to continue to work towards VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX-DCV). With the release of vSphere’s stepped 5.5 release instead of a major 6.0 release this past September, I have a bit more time to work on it, so it became a goal for 2014.
I continue to work towards a mastery of Microsoft’s Hyper-V platform, Azure SQL Databases, Azure Virtual Machines, VMware’s hybrid cloud services, and the upcoming VMware vSAN product. The In-Memory OLTP feature of SQL Server 2014 is also greatly intriguing and on the list to explore.
The upcoming year
Looking forward to 2014, I feel a growing sense of satisfaction that a lot of events from the last twenty years are continuing to help guide me in the right direction. The start of my business in Q4 2013 helped solidify my resolve and determination to keep on the right path, and reflections on the wild pace of 2013 is helping me to slow down, think straight, and develop a more steady pace in the progress of my interests. I know my travels will take me all over the country, and I cannot wait to go see more of this great world.
(I’m still doing a lot of SQL Saturday events this year, though, as I cannot think of a single continuous thing that makes me that happy!)
The challenges of the past year constantly remind me to stay humble and keep the things that matter the most to me – family and close friends – always in the forefront of life.
Thank you, community, for coming back to this site and supporting me in my various interests and endeavors. I would not be able to do this if it were not for you.
Onward into 2014!