Mar 032014
 

IMG_1605My wife, Molly, is one of the smartest (non-technical) people I know. Although she has learned a lot about what I do through osmosis as well as from reading in her spare time, she’s talented in many other ways besides understanding what SQL Server actually is and the difference between virtualization and cloud computing. We both have very entrepreneurial spirits; she ran her own music studio for a number of years, and that’s a small part of why we’re such a good fit as husband and wife as well as running Heraflux Technologies as business partners. Besides making sure that all the pieces of our business are running smoothly seven days a week, in her spare time she dabbles in storytelling, and she had a great accomplishment come from her talents a few weeks ago – a short film she co-wrote that was produced last summer was accepted in the Omaha Film FestivalMens Rea. Over 600 submissions were processed, and she made the final list! We recently spoke about her inspiration for the film and what it’s about.

“I have a strong interest in subcultures. This interest coupled with North Omaha’s extremely high rate of poverty and crime led me to tell this story with Amber Sue Greser (Molly’s writing partner for the short). Mens Rea, which translated from Latin means Guilty Mind, explores two different but also similar people. Nia, who works nights to be able to attend school and take care of her alcoholic mother, has grown up in poverty. She’s striving for something better, which I believe most people attempt to do with their lives, but the reality can seem impossible for many people to pull up the proverbial bootstraps if they don’t start out with boots or even socks. The second main character, Marcus, has also grown up in poverty, but unlike Nia, doesn’t work and watches his single mother work two jobs to support the both of them. On the surface, Marcus could be labeled as a “bad person,” but he’s avoided the neighborhood gangs, dealing drugs, and going to prison. His lack of motivation is due to his observations about what it takes to get ahead. We tried to create a script that hopefully removes some of the black and white thought processes behind interpretation of a situation like Nia’s and Marcus’. The short is a very serious and dark drama with an ending that unfortunately echoes many real-life situations.”

Molly’s co-written short plays in Omaha at Village Point Theatre on Friday, March 7th at 8:30pm. For more information about the film festival, which runs Wednesday, March 5th through Sunday, March 9th, or to purchase tickets go to — http://omahafilmfestival.org/  

Omaha Film Festival 2014

Jan 022014
 

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.

Challenges

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. 

Community

vmw_logo_vmware-expertIn 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.

sqlpasssummit2013logoThe 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.

Going Independent

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!

Heraflux-Logo-Color-SM linchpin people

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.

CPU Overcommitment and Its Impact on SQL Server Performance

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. 

Benchmarking Your SQL Server Instance with DVDStore

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.

SQL Server Virtual Machine vNUMA Sizing

Better align your NUMA-aware virtualized application workloads with the underlying hardware configuration by tuning the properly VM.

Installing SQL Server 2012 on VMware vSphere

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!

 Posted by at 4:23 pm
Sep 032013
 

If you live life in the manner that I do, life is all about change and self-improvement. To me, life in technology means constantly keeping up with the exceptionally rapid evolution of the IT industry. This constant change has helped drive me personally and professionally, and is continually reshaping my career.

autumn-lane-1244920-mOver the last fifteen years, my professional path has gotten more and more refined. The progression started as a generalist system administrator, with periods of software development, network and security tasks, and eventually database administration and development with a heavy emphasis on virtualization. Like every career progression, the path has had its ups and downs, but has always moved forward towards growth as a technologist and professional.

In more recent years, my decision to focus on business-critical data has led me into uncharted waters, which is quite exciting as well as uncertain. But… the goal is to always move forward in the emerging technologies that I feel are so critical to the future of business. Fast forward to now, and this constantly changing life has led me to adjust the path so I can continue to sharpen my focus.

Every exit becomes the next entrance. Today I walk through the next door of my career.

Heraflux-Logo-Color-SM

It is with great pleasure that I officially announce the launch of Heraflux Technologies, a consultancy designed to focus on your organization’s business-critical data and the platforms that power this data.

The goals of Heraflux are to focus on improving the stability, performance, and flexibility of the data that is so critically important to any business. I have created a seven-step methodology that will help guide an organization towards the total operationalization, or streamlining every facet of day-to-day operations and usage, of its data. By embracing the methodology, an organization’s data system can now truly and efficiently move at the speed of business.

linchpin people

In addition, I am now also a Teammate with the Linchpin People. The Linchpin People members are some of the best SQL Server professionals on the planet, and I am extremely proud to be a part of this group. I am working to boost this organization’s world-class offerings by leveraging my unique skills to complement this elite team.

My community involvement is also going to increase. Over the last two years, my participation in the Microsoft and VMware communities has grown from very little to speaking at the SQL PASS Summit and multiple SQL Saturdays in 2013 alone. The more involvement I have, the more I am drawn to continue to give more to the communities that have become more like a family to me. Over the coming months, I look to contribute more to the community in the form of free webinars, SQL Saturdays, blog posts, and whitepapers. I have a number of intriguing whitepaper topics that I am just itching to get started on! 

In the next two months alone, I am grateful to be a strong contributor to the technical communities. I am presenting at the SQL Saturday events in Kansas City, Denver, and Charleston. I am also presenting at the SQL PASS Summit on my favorite topic – Squeezing the Most Performance from your Virtualized SQL Server – in a spotlight session that I am honored to have the opportunity to present. I also have a number of additional educational events I am planning for this winter, so stay tuned!

Now, please let me know what I can do for you! I am eager to speak at more SQL Server user group sessions, both in person and remote. If you have ideas for performance or virtualization-oriented research topics, I am interested in learning more about them.

And, if you have any current SQL Server virtualization or performance initiatives in your organization, please contact us so we can schedule a free roundtable discussion to see if Heraflux Technologies’ services are the right fit for your organization.

I have appreciated your support over the last five years as I have grown in the tech community, and I want to extend a sincere thank you to everyone. I look forward to my continued involvement with the SQL Server and virtualization communities!

May 292013
 

WOW! I have not received the official confirmation yet, but last night John Troyer posted a new entry on the VMware blogs announcing the 2013 vExpert list, and I’m one of 579 on the list! My friend Tony Foster (b | l | t) noticed and shot me a quick email. I almost dropped my phone when I saw the email!

WOW! I cannot keep saying it!

The official release announcement is located here. I am located by name and by Twitter handle @kleegeek.

vmw_logo_vmware-expert

Thank you John Troyer, Corey Romero, and the VMware Social Media & Community Team for giving me this award! I don’t think you all know how much this means to me, and I really appreciate it. I do everything that I can to contribute to the technical communities through blogging and speaking opportunities, and it warms my heart to know that my contributions are valued.

What a fantastic summer this is shaping up to be!  I am speaking at the SQL PASS Summit in October, was just granted VMware vExpert for 2013, and the summer is not even over yet! Who know what else this summer will bring?

Dec 312012
 

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!

 Posted by at 6:40 pm

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