What a wild year this has been. There have been ups and downs, but the ups have been incredible. To call it busy is an understatement. I traveled over 125 days this year for my role as Solutions Architect for my previous employer, worked on some really rewarding projects with customers ranging from small shops all the way up to Fortune 100, and spent a lot of time getting involved in the SQL Server community. What a year!

Community Focus

This year I pushed to really get involved in the SQL Server community. I’ve blogged before about how strong the SQL Server community worldwide is, and my involvement with helping to coordinate the SQL Saturday Omaha event in October of 2011 really helped drive home my desire to start contributing. 2012 was the year where I took the reigns and started down that road. And… WOW – the community reception was unbelievable!

SQL Saturday opportunities were the first area that I decided to tackle, and I was lucky enough to be selected to speak at eight SQL Saturdays in 2012.

I gave a free four-hour training session on Virtualizing Business-Critical SQL Servers through House of Brick.

I also gave my first PASS virtual chapter webinar presentation at the Winter 2012 Performance Palooza on Virtualizing Business-Critical SQL Servers.

I finally landed at Twitter (after resisting for quite some time) and have really enjoyed the #sqlfamily comradeship!

The most surreal experience of the year was speaking with Kevin Kline at the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle on my favorite topic, Managing SQL Server in a Virtual World. I am very honored to be asked my Kevin to present with him, and absolutely loved speaking to a completely packed room of conference attendees.

Content Development

Life tends to get in the way of writing and blogging, and this year is a solid example of that. Every once in a while I could actually complete something useful!

  • SQLIO Analyzer – I release the first rev of my SQLIO Analyzer, a free tool that helps you baseline your storage devices and performs the analysis for you, saving you hours of time (now offline due to circumstances outside of my control).
  • Why SQL Server DBAs Need Access to VMware vCenter – Your DBAs need direct access to VMware vCenter. At a minimum, they need read-only access to the performance statistics for their virtual machines hosting their database server, as well as the host that they reside upon. I consider a requirement for all DBAs to have vCenter performance statistics access in environments where I have any sort of say in the matter, and here’s why.
  • CPU Overcommitment and its impact on SQL Server performance on VMware – A solid study of CPU overcommitment when virtualized, how to measure and record it, and how to manage it properly.
  • Virtualizing Your Business-Critical SQL Servers – I completed a six-part blog post series on my previous employer’s site outlining the path to complete SQL Server virtualization and everything that you, the DBA, need to know about it.
  • Found and resolved a VMware vCenter 5.1 quirk and had my solution make its way into the VMware knowledge base.

Professional Development

Earlier in the year I attended both IE1 and IE2 classes from the wizards known as SQLskills. I cannot speak highly enough about these classes. I consider the classes a requirement for the folks on my professional team, and feel that they are a pre-req for anyone thinking about taking the MCM exam series.

I also attended the SQL PASS Summit conference and learned quite a lot, as always! It’s on my must-do list each and every year, regardless of anything else going on.

I have pushed very hard in my home lab to grow as a SQL Server and VMware infrastructure professional. The lab continues to evolve and change, but serves its purpose quite well. Education is key in my world, and self-education justifies some infrastructure to play with so no one yells when I break stuff.

About an hour ago I also opened the letter from Microsoft informing me that I passed the SQL Server 2008 Certified Master Knowledge Exam 88-970. That news was possibly the best news of the year!

2013 Goals

Of course, no proactive geek is complete without forward-looking goals. My goals from this year were mostly met. Let’s see how my goals for next year stack up!

  • Complete the SQL Server 2008 MCM certification by passing the lab exam 88-971.
  • Pass the VMware VCAP5-DCA, and start working towards VMware’s equivalent to Microsoft’s MCM, VMware VCDX-DV.
  • Start working to pass the SQL Server 2012 certifications required for the upgrade to SQL Server 2012 MCSM.
  • Speak at more SQL Saturdays. I have quite a few selected for 2013, and I hope I have the opportunity to speak at all of them that I can!
  • Dive headfirst into Microsoft’s Hyper-V. I feel it’s solid enough now with the 2012 release that I can really start diversifying my virtualization focus and embrace the right tool for any job.
  • Speak more at webinars and user group meetings. These are always a blast, and I love teaching.
  • Release more free tools for efficiency and more blog and whitepaper content. I have a number of items I’m working on that I plan to release soon!
  • Get more free time to travel and to take photos. We’ll see about this one 🙂

A special thanks goes to my wife for being the most caring and extremely understanding person that I know. Thank you for putting up with all of the days away from home, the late nights and long weekends when I am home, and the drive to handle life events for me so I am not as distracted.

Thank you everyone for helping me make 2012 the best year of my career. Let’s see what 2013 brings!

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