Microsoft to Decommission Connect on 12/31/2017

Microsoft will be decommissioning the Connect platform on 12/31/2017 due to privacy concerns and will be replacing it with a new forum on UserVoice. 

Connect has been a very valuable method for users to submit feedback and the community to be able to vote the item up if they too have had the same issue or think the issue is a big concern. You can read the official statement here.

Posted in Azure | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

New Course: Implementing a Hybrid Cloud Solution in Azure

My latest Pluralsight course – SQL Server: Implementing a Hybrid Cloud Solution in Azure – is well over two hours and long and is based on part of my popular workshop/precon that I have been presenting over the past 18 months. This was a fun and challenging course to develop and record.

The modules are:

  • Introduction
  • Understanding Azure IaaS
  • Understanding Hybrid Solutions
  • Understanding How to Create and Manage Azure VMs
  • Migrating Databases to Azure VMs and Scaling
  • Understanding Azure SQL Database and Stretch Databases
  • Monitoring Options with Azure Portal and SSMS

You can check it out here and I hope that you enjoy it.

SQLskills now has over 170 hours of online training available (see all our 56 courses here), all for as little as $29/month through Pluralsight (including more than 6,000 other developer and IT training courses). That’s an unbeatable value that you can’t afford to ignore.

Posted in Azure, SQLServerPedia Syndication, Training/Events | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Course: Understanding and Using Azure SQL Database

At SQLskills, we just launched our new training class on Azure that I will be teaching in Chicago, and my course on Azure SQL Database was just published on Pluralsight too! While I am sharing awesome news, we also launched our new 3 day training class on upgrading SQL Server that Glenn and I will be teaching.

My latest Pluralsight course – SQL Server: Understanding and Using Azure SQL Database – is just over two hours long and is based on my popular user group and conference session that I have been presenting over the past 18 months. This was a fun course to develop and record.

The modules are:

  • IntroductionAzureCourse
  • Understanding Azure SQL Database Features
  • Exploring Unsupported Features
  • Understanding Azure SQL Database Pricing
  • Migrating Data to Azure SQL Database
  • Monitoring and Tuning Azure SQL Database

You can check it out here and I hope that you enjoy it.

SQLskills now has 150 hours of online training available (see all our 51 courses here), all for as little as $29/month through Pluralsight (including more than 5,000 other developer and IT training courses). That’s an unbeatable value that you can’t afford to ignore.

Posted in Pluralsight, Presentations, SQLServerPedia Syndication, Training/Events | Leave a comment

SQL Saturdays and Why We Have Them

There has been some recent controversy over SQL Saturdays after PASS HQ announced some new changes. The changes introduced a new 600 mile radius for SQL Saturdays on the same day, an expansion from the previous 400 mile rule as well as reducing the PASS sponsorship from $500 per event to $250 per event and only for those that are in financial need. Originally the new rules also imposed a 600 mile rule and extended that to the Saturday before and after the event. The community was quick to point out how that would have impacted previous events and PASS HQ has removed the week before and after restriction.

With the popularity of the SQL Saturdays in the US, some event locations are finding it difficult to find sponsors for the event. I can understand this issue. I have helped organize numerous SQL Saturdays ranging from 100 attendees to upwards of 700. In the early days, there were fewer events and it seemed like every sponsor wanted to be at each one. That enabled organizers to be able to offer speakers and organizers event shirts, host a speaker dinner, and provide various other swag for the event. As popularity of the events grew, sponsors realized they couldn’t keep sending people to each one and that their budgets could only stretch so far. Organizers have started feeling the impact and are having to start looking elsewhere for sponsors as well as looking at their budgets.

Something that current and new organizers should consider is that all that extra stuff is just stuff. The main purpose of a SQL Saturday is to provide training to your local area, grow your local user group, and to help grow new speakers. As a speaker at nearly 40 SQL Saturdays, I have always enjoyed the speaker dinner as a way of networking and hanging out with other speakers, I would gladly pay for my own dinner at those events, the event organizer should not feel any pressure to feed the speakers the night before. If they would like to organize a place for us to all meet for dinner, which would be fantastic. Speaker shirts have been a big deal to many speakers, especially for new speakers starting out. If the budget allows for these, then great, if not, then do not feel obligated to provide a shirt. Many organizers feel they should get the speakers a gift, that is not necessary either, a hand written thank you note is more meaningful than a shirt, coffee mug, or Amazon gift card.

Smaller events can be held on a very small budget, especially if you can secure the venue for free.

I organize and run SQL Saturday Columbus GA and have helped organize SQL Saturday Atlanta since 2011. Atlanta is a great market and we have been very fortunate with sponsors year after year, in Columbus GA, things are very much different. Sponsorship dollars are much more difficult in Columbus and as a result, we keep things more “grass roots”. In Columbus GA, our event provides:

  • A venue – Free
  • Lanyards and name badge holders – $100
  • A nice variety of sessions thanks to our amazing speakers – Free
  • Lunch to our volunteers and the attendees opt to pay for lunch – $400
  • Coffee and donuts in the morning – $300
  • Speaker dinner – $500
  • Random snacks and drinks – $300

I hope more organizers will realize that they can put on a great event on a very small budget. SQL Saturday Columbus GA is fortunate to have a free venue and attract around 100 attendee’s year over year and to have the support of the Atlanta MDF. Our event cost just over $1500 and also generates a slight surplus in funds to fund our user group for the year.

In 2017 an approach I plan to do for sponsors is to have a $100 Community sponsor level. This will be for local businesses to help support the IT initiative without having to spend a lot of money. This will be for those to show support, get their name out there, but for those who really don’t need or care for the opt-in list or a table at the event. If I can sell 5 to 10 at that level, it will cover the majority of my event cost.

About me:

  • Attended my first SQL Saturday in 2010
  • Started speaking in 2011
  • Spoken at 38 SQL Saturdays
  • Helped organize 12 SQL Saturdays
  • Chapter Leader – Columbus GA SQL Server Users Group
  • PASS Regional Mentor


Posted in Presentations, SQLServerPedia Syndication, Training/Events | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

SQL Server: Consolidation Tactics and Best Practices

My very first course has been published on Pluralsight – SQL Server: Consolidation Tactics and Best Practices. In this course I spend just over two hours sharing my experiences and knowledge of consolidating numerous clients over the years.

I had a lot of fun working on this course and owe so much to Paul Randal and my team for their help and guidance as I learned the process of recording for Pluralsight. A big thanks to my editor Jason as well.

The course modules are:

  • Introduction
  • General Considerations
  • Consolidation Candidates
  • Large Single Instance
  • Multiple Instance
  • Virtualization
  • Migration Strategies

You can view the course here.

The next course I am working on is SQL Server: Understanding and Using Azure SQL Database which should be available later this year.

<WOW> SQLskills now has more than 145 hours of online training available on Pluralsight. You can see all of our courses here.

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Microsoft SQL Server MVP


Today I received an email notifying me that I have been awarded the Microsoft “MVP” award for my second year. An excerpt from Microsoft’s website states

“The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is our way of saying thank you to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others.”  reference

Since being awarded MVP last year I have had a number of changes in my life. I left IT with the bank I worked at to join the Information Security team and in January 2015 I joined as a principal consultant. The past 12 months have been a whirlwind of excitement, learning, and new challenges and I am proud and humbled to be part of such an amazing community known as the #sqlfamily.

Congratulations to all new and renewed MVP’s.

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I am joining SQLskills

IMG_0603 (2)I am no longer just a SQLskills Insider, I am now a SQLskills employee. I have accepted an offer to join an incredible team of SQL Server professionals and continue growing in my SQL career.  I am very excited to be working with some of the best in the industry and a bit nervous to leave a job I have had for the past 17 years.

I started with my current day job employer 17 years ago and have served numerous roles there. Working for this employer has been good for me. I have grown so much in my IT career, had the opportunity to attend lots of good training, travel, and work with state of the art technology, lead teams of technical people, manage multiple teams of technical people and meet the woman who became my wife. It has been a good ride, however I love working with SQL server and have found the only way for me to really continue increasing that skill set is consulting.

I am super blessed to have been a part of Linchpin People for the past 2 1/2 years. During that time I have been able to work with an awesome team and be able to work with numerous customers helping to solve their SQL related issues. In working with Linchpin People I grew to love being able to work in various environments and help people with complex issues.

I have shared with friends for years that the next logical move for me would be full time consulting. The past two years has solidified that for me. I have been asked by so many people over the past few years why I am still at my day job. Honestly, the place is a good place to work, during my employment for several years we were listed on Forbes top places to work. In 1998 we were listed as #1. When people would make those comments I would joke and list out the attributes of what the job would have to consist of to get me to leave. Well, I am leaving so you can safely assume that my dream job found me.

As luck, fate, destiny (chose your word) would have it, I ran into Paul Randal at a social event and we started catching up on the past year. During the conversation Paul said some things, I said some things and after some follow up conversations I was accepting an offer to become a SQLskills employee. <how awesome is that>

It will be sad to be leaving behind friends at my day job and to be leaving Linchpin People, however I have not been able to wipe the smile off of my face to be having the opportunity to live out a dream of becoming a full time consultant and taking my skill set to the next level.

I would like to thank Andy Leonard, Brian Moran and Mike Walsh for all their support over the past few years. Their love, support and mentoring has helped me grow into who I am today.

Read Paul Randal’s post announcing it here.

Posted in SQLServerPedia Syndication, Training/Events | 10 Comments

Getting Your Worth the Struggles with Moving Ahead

I often get asked for advice on how to get started in a career as a DBA or in IT in general. I make the often regurgitated information such as getting a few good books, a copy of SQL Server Developer Edition, watch webinars, attend user groups and SQL Saturdays, ask to do some free work for a local charity or ask to help out on a project from someone else in the field to get some real world experience, etc.

Once someone gets their start in the IT field there is still much mentoring that needs to occur. Two of the major things I have found newbie’s need to work on is continuing education and on negotiating their worth.  I recently put together a chart to use as an illustration to show some discrepancies I have seen.  I have several friends in the HR field and I have requested some round numbers on entry level salaries for a DBA I, DBA II, Senior DBA and Lead DBA.

The following numbers may not be true for your area, however the delta’s between the positions should be similar.  The numbers I got averaged from 45k, 53k, 70k, and 83k.  When asking what are the difference in requirements between the positions it really came down to time and experience in the field. DBA I = 1-2 years, DBA II 3-5 years, Senior DBA 5+ years and Lead DBA was 7+ with some discretion on what makes a lead.

With that being said, lets break down the entry level positions and see how many years working in each role you would have to spend in order to increase your salary to reach the next level position. DBARaises

Based on the numbers to the left, a level one DBA would have to spend 6 years working with a 3% raise in order to earn the same beginning wage as a level two DBA, 15 years to earn that of a Sr and 21 years for that of a Lead.

For a level two DBA, they would have to work 10 years to earn the starting pay of a Sr and nearly 15 years for that of a Lead. For a Sr level DBA, they would have to work 6 years to earn the starting pay for a Lead DBA.

What does this mean for those entry and mid level people starting out in IT?

The reason I am writing this is to show that very early into your career your knowledge gain will outpace your salary gain. As IT professionals how do we address this issue?  It is a tough spot to be in. For one your company has invested in you to get this knowledge as most of it is probably from on the job training, possibly getting to go to some paid training events, etc.  Chances are you have also given of your personal time to attend free weekend training events, purchased books on your own dime, spent your personal time reading blogs, watching webinars, reading books etc.

You have proven yourself, you have proven your loyalty to your company and are working hard to do the best you can for them right? What can/do you do to address the money situation? Often times I see individuals that will job hop. An article on Forbes even addressed the job hoping situation. “Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less” There are some very valid points to Cameron’s logic in his article however there are a lot of miss truths in his article. The point I am trying to make here is that highly skilled workers such as those in IT are often times finding they have to job hop in order to get decent raises.

Several years ago I was told that IT Professionals should be interviewing every two years if for nothing else to keep your interview skills up. During this same talk I heard a statistic that the average tenure of a DBA is 18 months. I didn’t believe it at first but as I paid attention on social media it does seem like every week another person is taking on a new role with another company. I often ask those who changed jobs what was the motivating factor. For many it was salary, others it was opportunity to work on different projects or they felt they had outgrown the company they worked at.

So what do you do if you like your employer but you are caught in this very low merit increase dilemma?

I like to ask people when was the last time their manager came up and gave them a pile of money for doing a good job? Occasionally someone will say this happened for them in the form of a bonus of some sort, but typically I get laughed at. If you think about it from an employer perspective, they work for shareholders. There job is to maximize profits and minimize expense right? We as employees are a big expense. The company has to juggle keeping talent while trying to keep payroll down.

I also like to ask people “when is the last time you went to your boss and presented a business case that you deserve a salary adjustment”, sadly most of the time the answer is never. For those that have asked for the salary adjustment the response varies. Some have been able to get an increase because they presented the data and facts to justify the company investing in them. For others they have presented the case and the company just cannot or is not willing to invest in that individual. In those cases it is in the best interest of the IT Professional to begin seeking employment elsewhere. It doesn’t mean it is a bad company or bad management, it could simply mean the IT resource has out grown the companies need.

The important part is for us IT Professionals to know our worth, keep striving to increase our knowledge and always do the best job we can. As I tell my scouts “Do Your Best” or as Lowe’s reminds me “Never Stop Improving”

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#Summit14 Embarcadero Book Signing

Tim Radney

The blessings continue as Embarcadero offered to support my new book by hosting a book signing and providing 100 copies to PASS Summit 2014 attendees. You will need to come by booth 224 on Thursday November 6th between 3pm – 4pm to be able to pick up a signed copy by myself and John Sterrett. My good friend Pinal Dave will also be present and hopefully will sign the back cover for you since he was so kind to share his feedback about the book on the back cover.

Don’t miss out on being able to pick up a signed copy of our book covering SQL Server 2014 backup and recovery techniques. This book includes step by step instructions on getting started with backup encryption and backing up to Windows Azure Storage. After reading this book you should not have any issues defining a solid backup and recovery plan for your organization.


Posted in Backups/Recovery | 1 Comment

Managing Geeks – A journey of leading by doing

I am proud to share that my good friend Andy Leonard has just released a new book. This is also the second book published by LinchpinPress.

Over the years Andy has blogged about his experiences with managing technical teams. Andy wrote over 50 post on the subject and has shared some excellent insight into his experiences. My only regret with reading this new book is that I didn’t read it years ago before stepping into managing my own set of geeks.

Our good friend Karen Forster was able to take all of Andy’s blog post and compile them into a flowing series and turn Andy’s random lessons into a fantastic work of art. I was honored to be able to work with Andy and Karen on getting this book to print and in doing so got a sneak peak before it was published. I was also able to recruit my brother Todd Radney of Yesterdays Photography to take the cover photo of this book as well.

Linchpin People will have 100 copies of this book available at their booth at the PASS Summit for Andy to hold a book signing. Make sure to find out the times so you can get a free copy, or if you can’t wait for Summit or will not be able to attend, pick up a copy now on Amazon.


Posted in Training/Events | 1 Comment