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SQL Man of Mystery

Wes Brown is a PASS chapter leader and SQL Server MVP. He writes for SQL Server Central and maintains his blog at http://www.sqlserverio.com. Wes is Currently serving as a Senior Lead Consultant at Catapult Systems. Previous experiences include Product Manager for SQL Litespeed by Quest software and consultant to fortune 500 companies. He specializes in high availability, disaster recovery and very large database performance tuning. He is a frequent speaker at local user groups and SQLSaturdays.

A New Year, Time To Get My Learn On!

altMy friend, and newly minted MVP, Jen McCown (blog|twitter) is hosting  T-SQL Tuesday this month. I normally don’t do the T-SQL Tuesday, but this is a post about resolutions so I am resolving to do more of them in the new year. I’ve always considered myself a core engine kind of guy. Focused on things like I/O, on disk structures and the optimizer. As SQL Server grows it has become harder and harder to keep up with the Joneses’ (Steve?). Like every other DBA that earned their salt in the mines of 6.0 through 2000 I’ve got a ton of tools I’ve written myself to monitor every aspect of SQL Server. I’ve also not kept up as well with other technologies like replication that have an impact on my day to day life at work. So, with all that in mind this is my list of technical things to “get good at” this year.

SQL Server Stuff

1. Partitioning
I’ve worked on and off with partitioning since SQL Server 2000 and have a solid grasp of how it works and what the benefits are, just not at a deep enough level. I found myself telling someone that was just flat wrong a few weeks ago about partitioning in SQL Server 2008 R2. It wasn’t a huge deal but if I’m spreading misinformation I’m doing my community and myself harm.

2. Change Data Capture
Again, I’m using a throw back from the good old days. Using triggers to capture change data and insert that into history tables. It’s time to get rid of this performance robber and move to something a tad more modern. I sat in a couple of sessions at PASS and think if I can rap my head around it we could see a large improvement in performance.

3. Replication
I feel pretty good about my replication skills but it is becoming very important to our infrastructure and I need to make sure that I’m not making assumptions that aren’t true anymore and that I’ve configured my environment as best as I can. I sat in on Kendal Van Dyke’s (blog|twitter) replication at PASS and came away with a couple of things that I need to do and some additional things to research.

4. Analysis Services Administration
We are moving full boar into the BI stack. It isn’t my job to write MDX but I have to make sure that the performance from an infrastructure level is good and that we are prepared to recover if the need arises.

.Net Programming Stuff

1.LINQ
I do some stuff with LINQ including LINQ to SQL but I need to get better at it. Just trying to keep my mediocre c# skills from falling off completely.

2.Parallel Programming in .Net
I write a ton of multi-threaded stuff and have built up my own threading frameworks over the years. Microsoft is making a big push to make parallel programming easier. With PLINQ and the new Async framework that is in development right now. It isn’t a part of my core job skills but it is something I enjoy and use quite a bit.

3.Entity Framework
I don’t have to like it but it is everywhere I turn these days. I do get questions as well on how to optimize the database and without knowing exactly what is going on under the covers it limits my ability to troubleshoot issues.

90 Degrees From Center

1. Get Better With Python
I do more than Microsoft stuff and still enjoy learning new things. I recently picked up on Python and look to keep growing my skillset with 2.7 and 3.x lines. It is a fun language to program in. If you dig on easy to read and easy to write Python has that in spades.

2. Pick Up Lisp again
You heard me. Lisp the grandfather of modern functional languages. I worked with Lisp about a million years ago it seems. Apparently, it is back in vogue with several dialects floating around and quite a robust community supporting them. I can get a bit religious at times but passionate people make for a culture of innovation.


Comments

Posted by Steve Jones on 11 January 2011

Quite a list of things to learn. I wish you luck, though I think this is rather ambitous.

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 12 January 2011

Excellent list of stuff to learn within a year.  Sounds like you'll be busy.

Posted by Wesley Brown on 12 January 2011

Steve, What is the point of setting goals if there isn't a chance for failure? Reaching for them is half the fun!

Jason,

Well, like I said nothing on this list is 100% new to me, but it is time to get good at it.

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