Sep 072017
 

Greetings everyone! We had so many people stay after our SQL Server on VMware sessions at VMworld USA to ask great questions, I thought I’d extend an offer to everyone at the European show coming up in a week! Let’s talk SQL Server! We are going to crash the VMvillage hang space on Tuesday, September 12 at 3pm local time to hold an open-ended SQL Server on VMware Q&A session. This unscripted and unofficial session is for you, has no official agenda, and marketing is strictly off-limits.

Our illustrious experts include:


Michael Corey, Founder – Corey and Associates

Thomas LaRock, Head Geek – Solarwinds

Argenis Fernandez, Principal Architect – Pure Storage

Niran Even Chen, Double VCDX, VMware Corp.

… and me!

Mark your calendars, and bring your questions, specific challenges, or discussion points, and let’s do this! Anything goes – performance, availability, setup and configuration, conflicts between best practices for SQL Server and VMware, anything!

Jul 012016
 

microsoft mvp wide - 140I’m extremely honored to be named Microsoft Data Platform MVP for the third year in a row! I thank the technical community that allows me to speak on topics that I am truly passionate about. A community award like this is never an expectation or an entitlement, and is never an assumption in my book. I’m humbled to say the least. As always, I’m going to continue to do what I do – spread knowledge around the convergence of infrastructure and SQL Server to help people make their data more available and perform better – and hope that I’m making a difference!

Thank you Microsoft!

Sep 162014
 

vmwareThis past week I was fortunate enough to attend a three-day special session at VMware Corporation’s corporate campus in Palo Alto, CA, specifically designed to help educate and inform SQL Server MVPs with some of the most detailed training on the convergence of the VMware ecosystem and SQL Server. This was not a vendor wine-and-dine, dog-and-pony show. This was the deepest, most technical training session that I have ever had since I attended the SQLskills Immersion Events. It’s everything that I need out of a technical training environment, without any of the persuasion or marketing that you usually expect with vendor-sponsored training.

The criticality of the convergence between the infrastructure and the database is evident with today’s converged and hyper-converged virtual infrastructures. Businesses depend on the data that these systems are delivering, and if the system has an inefficiency or misconfiguration in any one of the layers in the stack, everyone suffers. If the issue is large enough, the business can fail. The education of this group of individuals is key, as this is the group that is in the position to share the knowledge with the SQL Server communities.

Attendees

The DBAs attending this event are among the best technologists in the world, and have incredible skill and years of experience with maintaining their customers systems. However, virtualization and the infrastructure around it is usually a black box and inaccessible. What VMware is trying to do is educate the people in the SQL Server space with the nuances of the VMware ecosystem and its direction, who can then share this knowledge with the community. Education is key to removing the mystery and unknowns around the virtualization technologies, and VMware did an incredible job bringing together the right people and topics to make this event a complete success.

The attendee list for this inaugural event is simply amazing. VMware recruited a select list of folks from the SQL Server community who are hands-on and neck-deep in infrastructure technologies.

Technical Hands-On Experience

Not only was it a large number of technical deep-dive sessions with key VMware leadership and technical staff members, but we also had hands-on labs. VMware used a specialized set of packages around their HOL platform to provide us customized content targeted to this audience. No explicit directions were given for any of the labs. It was more along the lines of an end-state and a technology to explore, and we were left to our own devices to get there.

I loved it. I felt like I was back in my home lab exploring a new technology over a weekend, except their equipment was a LOT faster and we had teams to facilitate group learning.

Discussions

Again, these sessions were incredible. From a candid and quite frank with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger (and thank you for a wonderfully insightful and candid response to the blunt question that I asked that has been in my head for years) and Pure Storage CEO Scott Dietzen and VP Matt Kixmoeller, to the key internal teams responsible for some of the features that I use in all of my mission-critical virtualization initiatives, the speakers were from all over VMware’s ranks and represented the best of breed from the company.

grant fritcheyThe discussions were not only centered around educating the attendees on the technical abilities and limitations of the core vSphere features, the speakers were also actively questioning us on how their products and technologies were being used, and each and every one of them wanted feedback on the features we wish could be improved and directions for future development. They wanted to know how things were being used in the field, what our primary observations were, and the scale of the systems being virtualized. I think we shocked them with the scale of some of the systems that we work on.

We also had a few outings at the end of the first two days, such as supper on the VMware campus front lawn, and then a SF Giants baseball game. Nice touch!

att park

Amazing

Now you all know by now that I am a huge proponent of complete SQL Server virtualization. I have attended and spoken at a number of SQL Saturdays, webinars, conference sessions, and post a lot of blog posts on this topic. This class has taught me even more about the inner workings of the platform and products that I have come to embrace and endorse. The fast pace of the sessions, the energy from the coordinators and other attendees, and the rush of knowing that you are helping to guide and improve one of the most important technologies on the planet, kept a smile on my face the entire week.

Thank you VMware. Your commitment to the platform and the applications that make your platform shine has never been more evident to me. I’m excited for the directions that your products are going, and am eager to continue to show the world that virtualizing mission-critical applications should just be an assumption instead of a point of contention.

Jul 032014
 

If it were not for the SQL Server community, I would not be where I am at with my career today. Period.

Some of you know me personally but a lot do not. I come from a hard-working family of teachers and educators. We’ve had our struggles over the years, just like any other family, but we always push hard (sometimes to a fault) to try to make our dreams a reality.

Ever since I was in grade school, I knew I was a geek. I got my first computer when I was five, and built my first computer for my parents when I was nine. I was building networks when I was in middle school. I loved technology but always got a thrill out of being able to put it to use to solve problems. But, there’s the conundrum that was always in the back of my head. When you are a technologist, how can you cross that chasm into the business world?

About eight years ago I discovered the SQL Server community through the very first Omaha SQL Server Users Group meeting that John Morehouse (t | b | l), a great friend of mine, first launched. It was an incredible experience, and because of the fantastic sense of community that the first meeting brought me, I decided to become the best SQL Server professional that I could be. I really enjoyed the technology, but the community was the biggest factor. The community accepted me for the person that I am in ways that non-techie groups wouldn’t understand.

Somewhere around this time I had a few jobs that were up and down and kept me on the tech side. I wanted more ability to make a positive difference on business and people. But how? How can a tech make any sort of impact? Making the impact helps to cross the bridge. Fortunately, the community helped to steer me along the right path.

About three years ago I decided that it is time to start giving back, and struggled to find the avenues to do so. I never thought I would enjoy it until I played a bit part to help coordinate the first SQL Saturday in Nebraska back in 2010. I had always been the person to quietly get the job done but never one to be in front of people. I think the teacher part of my upbringing came out for the first time with my SQL Saturday session at that first event. I found that giving back helped me feel more complete. Giving back helped me feel like I could make a difference. And it grew from there…

My commitment to the SQL Server and other technical communities that I am a part of is simple. You helped originally steer me in this direction. You helped mentor and guide me over the years. You supported me when I launched my own consulting company in ways that continue to astound and amaze me. I want to give you everything that I can in return. I want to help others any way that I can.

Today I am honored and humbled to be awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for my efforts in the SQL Server community over the years. To have Microsoft acknowledge the work that I have done is incredible and amazing and very much appreciated, but the impact to the communities and people, and the friends that I have made for life as a result, is the best reward.

#SQLFamily – This award is for you, because of you. As my friend Argenis Fernandez wrote so eloquently a few days ago, now the real work begins for those of us who were selected for this award, past and present. But it does not have to just be me or the other folks who are visible in the community today. Speak at community events. Blog. Tweet. Nominate anyone you know that is an unsung hero in this community for MVP. Continue to grow the community participation and give back. You never know how fulfilling that it can be unless you give it a shot!

microsoft mvp wide