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Learn SQL on your bike

I’m really going to have to check into this one.  Aaron Alton has a neat idea that might help you retain all that SQL Syntax while you’re studying. All I have is a treadmill so that should be interesting.

Comments { 0 } Posted on February 27, 2009 in Education, General

Jumbo Packets

In the past few months, we’ve gradually been implementing a new SAN solution from Dell that uses iSCSI. We are kind of learning as we go and there are always bumps in the road. I’d noticed we had some I/O issues on our main production SQL Server but nothing seemed to add up and I couldn’t find where the problem could be outside of tuning indexes or putting data files on a different drive. We are on SQL Server 2000 but we are moving towards 2005 and I’m sure that might have helped me troubleshoot the problem. I came across something the other day about Jumbo packets. As I read more and figured out where to check things I figured out I might have been onto something. Brent Ozar passed me this link that helps check on the packet size. I looked at the iSCSI connection(NIC card –> Configure –> Advanced) and noticed that the Jumbo Mtu was set to 1500. I asked more questions of our admin and everything else along the pipe had been raised to 9000, but somehow the card got missed. Once I set this to 9000 I saw that I had far fewer I/O problems. They are still there due to poor indexes and disk contention but they are better than they were. Just thought I’d pass this along in case anyone else had a similar issue with iSCSI.

Comments { 1 } Posted on February 26, 2009 in General, SAN, SQL Server 2000

Organizational Tools

My first article has hit the interweb @  I hope it can help some folks.

Comments { 0 } Posted on February 19, 2009 in General

Keeping the ball rolling

Once I passed the 70-431 I think it gave me the positive reinforcement that I was able to do this and I just need to keep at it no matter how difficult things got. Here I am, not a SQL DBA by title, but getting thrust into the position due to circumstances and desire to get it done I have to try and become really good at what I do. I decided to go with the 70-443 next so I purchased the 70-443 Self Paced Training Kit from Solid Quality Learning as well as the Sybex MCITP Administrator: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Database Server Infrastructure Design Study Guide. I’ve since bought all 3 of the sybex in this series as I like them for referrence better than the Self Paced kit. I continued to spend hours every night pouring it into those books and practice. I also set a date and paid my testing fee to give myself a deadline, and I passed the test on my first try. The only test left was the 70-444 and I was relieved to hear that it may not be as hard as the 443. I purchased the Self Paced kit for this exam and went through the same process to finally become a MCITP Database Administrator. For me, it wasn’t about becoming a “Paper Tiger” as much as it was forcing myself to learn. I wanted to gain credibility and experience in a field that was new to me in a sense. I also understand that it’s not that hard for some people to pass these test without knowing the material. For me, there’s no way I could have passed it without an understanding because of how I function. It helped me to stay focused and I would encourage you to find what will keep you focused as you seek to be the best DBA or developer that you can be.

Since that time, I’ve tried to take advice from others about getting involved in the community. I’ve gone from reading blog posts and forum questions to writing blog posts and answering questions. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to try and find an answer for someone who can’t find it themselves. That covers most of the introductions for now and I hope you’ve gotten a little better idea of how I got to where I am at and how we can learn from each other and continue on our journey of becomming a master SQL DBA (or whatever you want to master in the SQL world).

Comments { 1 } Posted on February 13, 2009 in General

Getting over the Hump

I hope to give you a little background on myself in the first few posts as well as catch you up to speed on where I am today and how I got here. While this may not seem technical a sense, I believe that’s important for those who are embarking on the journey from the beginner mindset. Everyone has been there at one time or another, and the more resources they have the better chance that something will click.

After sitting in the IT World for so long and becoming someone who knows a little about a lot, I decided it was a good time to become the guy who knows a lot about a little. Having a wide range of knowledge has its advantages, but if you really want to excel in your career it helps to have at least one primary focus. One thing that you are as good at/or better than anyone you know. If you are not there and you are working on it, then that’s the same thing. Personally, I felt that it was time to try and become a SQL DBA Master and that’s how I started the journey.

It was a blessing in disguise that I was asked to look over a problem that had been occurring with SQL Server 2000 at my new job. I had not done any work with performance tuning, and my experience with SQL Server involved creating the database and items lower than that. I really dove into the deep end with a passion, and found that this was something that I enjoyed doing. I learned some things the hard way, but that is how it goes sometimes. If you haven’t experienced a moment where you realized you “don’t know it all” then I welcome you to have a moment and come back in a few minutes. I had found the area that I wanted to pour myself into and try to become the best I could be.

I had been holding onto the 70-431 Self Paced Training Kit from Solid Quality Learning for several months trying to set goals only to see everything else get in the way. Never mind the fact that I had a young child and pregnant wife so my responsibilities were many. It was real easy to put the book aside and play with my little boy. As I stated in my earlier post, the ebook from Brad helped get me over the hump. It was time to put in the sacrifice to become an exceptional dba. For me, that meant putting a great deal of effort to learning from the 70-431 book and getting ready to take the MCTS : SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance exam. I also determined that it help me a great deal to go ahead and pay for the testing fee and set a date in the near future to take the test. If an emergency came, I could always move it back if I had to. What I found that is even when an emergency(a death in the family and a flight back from Florida the day of the exam) came, I was still so passionate about getting this under my belt that I went ahead and took the test and passed. Getting that first certification was a big deal for me since it gave me confidence and the energy to move forward. Throughout this whole time, I was dedicating 2-3 hours a night to studying and trying to learn. For someone with ADD and a terrible memory this was a huge step for me. In my opinion, this journey takes sacrifice. It takes learning how to manage priorities in a way that I could have never imagined myself being able to do. It means making a committment and being ready to stick to it. I hope that I can one day inspire someone the way that Brad’s ebook inspired me.

Comments { 0 } Posted on February 12, 2009 in General