I am back home after my 3rd SQLskills Immersion Event. This has been a very full week of deep learning, hundreds of questions, some fun networking, and intelligent (and sometimes sophomoric) discussions ranging from deep dives on SQL Engine internals to “the answer to life, the universe, and everything”.
If you have never attended a SQLskills Immersion Event and you are serious about SQL Server, let me please encourage you to sign up and attend, starting with IE1 (internals and performance). While there is no requirement to take the classes in order, I can attest to the value of doing so. Paul (Blog | Twitter) and Kimberly (Blog | Twitter) lay a very strong framework for everything else in that first week and then they, along with Jonathan (Blog | Twitter) and Joe (Blog | Twitter), build on that framework for the next two classes. On at least 20 different occasions, someone who had skipped the first class would ask a question or be confused on a point that had been explained in detail at the previous event. I understand that the names of IE2 or IE3 may sound more appealing to you, because of something you are facing in your current job, but some of the lessons in these classes are at the 400/500 level, you will benefit from having that deep understanding before progressing.
There were several highlights from this week that I would like to share. Restore strategies, including Kimberly’s USB drive Partial Database Availability and Online Piece-Meal Restore (she goes into more depth in the class than she did at her PASS Summit session). Paul went through a ton of corruption situations and the most productive steps to take to wade through the process of digging out of them, each and every one of them starting with, “Do Not Panic”. Jonathan showed us some great tips and lessons learned regarding Clustering Strategies (my favorite quote from that module: “I carry at least 5 separate clusters with me on my laptop at all times”, what a bragger! 🙂 ). And Joe, SQLskills’ latest addition, did a fantastic job representing the internals of replication and mirroring. There was a lot more, but it would be unreasonable to try to list it all here, just go check them out for yourself.
After these three weeks I feel like I understand what I do on a daily basis even better and have garnered great tips to make my environment more robust and prepare me for new challenges as they arise.
In addition to all of the great learning, I also had a great time hanging out with the SQLskills group (if you don’t know them, they are genuinely awesome people). I also met a lot of great people from the class. Almost all of the attendees are folks who are deeply interested in SQL top-to-bottom, but also have a wide range of other interests, and love to chat about everything from the LHC at CERN to TopGear. I got to know several of them quite well and they were a lot of fun to chat with and bounce ideas off of.
To wrap up, I would highly recommend the Immersion classes. Don’t worry about your skill-set going into IE1, if you are eager to learn, can focus on the classes, and work on applying the knowledge both at work and in the many labs they give you to work through, you will be able to follow everything they are talking about and drastically round out your SQL knowledge.