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SQLSaturday #59 - Speaker Interview Series # 7 - with Hilary Cotter

 SQLSaturday #59 - Speaker Interview Series # 7 - with Hilary Cotter

He specializes in Microsoft Search solutions and high availability technologies like data mirroring, database replication, clustering, and log shipping. He literally wrote the book on SQL Server Replication. He too hails from New Jersey, (unlike yesterday’s Southern transplant :-).  I am happy to bring to you today SQL MVP, Author and Replication expert, Hilary Cotter.


RP:  Hilary, thanks for taking some time out to answer our questions and share with us your background and thoughts.

Please tell us a little about yourself, your background, your career and your involvement in the SQL Community.

HC: I am  a SQL Server MVP and have been for 10 years now. I have been in IT for 20 years.  I graduated from  University of Toronto in Mechanical Engineering and I worked as a Mechanical Engineer for 3 years mainly doing computer simulations of oil and gas plays.

RP:  What is your area of expertise?  How did you become a DBA/SQL Professional?


HC: Over the past 10 years I have specialized in SQL Server replication, full-text search and performance tuning. I used to be a developer and hated maintaining other people’s code and working very long hours, so I became a LAN Admin. I then drifted into web servers, and as web servers are so heavily database dependent I started doing more and more database administration (Oracle, Sybase and SQL Server). I then decided that SQL Server was the perfect mix for my development and administration skills.  So I started doing this full time.

       RP:  As I see the question all the time, what do you tell folks who want to get more involved in the SQL  Community?

HC: Get involved on the forums. Validate your answers before you post them and then read other answers to understand how your answer was lacking. Writing really helps to solidify your understanding of a topic. Perhaps consider writing a book or blog.



RP:  What are 3 of your favorite features in SQL Server 2008/R2?

HC: Reporting Services Map integration and Sprites, Database backup compression being included with the Standard Edition


RP:  What are you working on currently?  (Projects, Books/Articles, Speaking circuit, etc.)

HC:  I am writing a book on Merge Replication.


RP:  What are some of your other interests, hobbies, etc. when you’re not being a DBA/Engineer/BI professional?

HC: I am working on several Rachmaninoff Preludes. Before I die I hope to be able to play all of Chopin’s Etudes and Rachmaninoff’s Preludes.  I am very involved in my children’s cub and scout groups. We home school our children and I am very involved in that as well.


RP:  What are you looking forward to, or, what excites you the most about presenting at our SQLSaturday event in the capital of the world, NYC? 

HC: I always have some niggling theory about squeezing performance out of a replication topology and want to quantify it. Having to present normally forces me to complete the tests and quantify the results to prove or disprove my latest theory. In the presentation I will always be hit by some oddball question that makes me consider something that I have not thought of before.


RP:  Give us a preview of the topic and session you have planned for us at SQLSaturday#59.

HC: I will spend the first 1/3 talking about how to set up replication for those unfamiliar with it. I think hope to spend the rest of the time doing a deep dive explaining how to get better performance out of your replication solution.  I’ve always wanted to do something where I show results before I work my magic, and then after. Hopefully something like I can get 1000 tps with one publication, how much can we get with 2 publications? How does remote distributor help us?  How would replicating the execution of stored procedures help us?


RP:  Anything that you would like to add?

HC: I love to hear questions or war stories.  


     RP:  Well, now that you mention it, since you’re also from NJ, and not to “replicate” the conversation, but what are your thoughts on where the Statue of Liberty** is located?

HC: Wikipedia says NY owns it and Wikipedia does not lie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty
It does say this though:  “As agreed in an 1834 compact between New York and New Jersey that set the state border at the bay's midpoint, the original islands remain New York territory despite their location on the New Jersey side of the state line. Land created by reclamation at Ellis is New Jersey territory.”

I would say that unnamed deranged sources claim it is on NJ land, but most sane people agree it is part of NY. State.

RP:  Well said, from a New Jersey fellow with sanity!


Folks, if there anything you want to know about transactional replication, then be sure to attend Hilary Cotter’s authoritative session on Transactional Replication Fundamentals. Hilary, we appreciate your interview, and look forward to seeing you at SQLSaturday in NYC, November 20, 2010! 


(**The above-referenced debate on the Statue of Liberty is a humorous aside and inside joke between Mr. Coles, Mr. Cotter, and Mr. Pearl. This hereby ends such discussion.  Please direct all further complaints and protests to Mr. Coles at xxxxx, NJ – address redacted, by sending him multiple copies of Neil Diamond’s hit single “Coming to America” :-)


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