Things I Learned in 2013
It’s 2014 now. I hope you had fun on New Year’s Eve.
2013 was an amazing and intense year. To recap it, I thought about sharing some of the things I learned:
I love Parallelism. Once you get used to look for parallelism options in your queries, and learn where it’s appropriate, you get yourself a set of powerful performance tuning and troubleshooting tools. If you want to learn about it, start with the presentations of Adam Machanic and Paul White. They can change your world!
Change Data Capture works very well. For detecting changes in tables in order to transfer them to the cloud, we chose Change Data Capture. It proved itself and the process works great under very heavy load. There are other solutions of course, but if you have a task that involves change detection, definitely check it out.
SQL Server 2014 Clustered Columnstore Index is very interesting. It has its limitations, like the lack of data integrity enforcement, but if you can live with the drawbacks, there are queries that can skyrocket, including queries that are not the “natural candidates” for benefiting from it. I haven’t had the time to write about it yet, but if you’re interested, Niko Neugebauer wrote a big series of blog posts about this subject.
Microsoft Delivers. SQL Server 2014 is just around the corner. I’ve heard other opinions, but with In-Memory OLTP, Clustered Columnstore Indexes, better IO control with Resource Governor, sys.dm_exec_query_profiles, expansion of AlwaysOn AG’s to Azure and other features, I think it’s a good version. That’s not all: Azure becomes more mature with more and more features, one of them is the ability to extend your Active Directory to Azure. Windows Server 2012 R2 is another interesting product. One feature that interests me a lot is Storage Spaces: If their Resilient Storage, Storage Tiering and Write-Back Cache features work well, it can be a very big deal.
At the Office
Troubleshooting with others is fun. Yea, it’s nice to sit alone in front of the computer, solve the problem and being thought to a “magician”, but troubleshooting together with another DBA or a developer who knows SQL Server well is fun. This synergy pushes you forward, stimulates your brain and brings out good ideas. Don’t have someone at work to do that with? Try #sqlhelp on Twitter or online forums like StackExchange, SQLServerCentral and MSDN forums.
People’s attention span is shorter today. In addition, people read blogs between other stuff – on the road, when they have a few spare minutes, and yes, in the bathroom. That’s why you need to make your blog scannable.
Search engines are my primary traffic source, and the pace is growing daily. Among social networks, LinkedIn is the leading source, followed by Twitter and Facebook. Google+ is in last place, but those guys mean business, and I expect this source to grow in 2014.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little guts. A year ago I approached Guy Glantser with an idea to start a Hebrew podcast about SQL Server. Guy had just started leading the Israeli SQL Server user group, and I knew he’s open for new ideas that will help the community. It sounded weird at first, but we started to work, did some research and a few pilots, and today we have 9 shows online, 8 of them in Hebrew, and one in English. The number of listeners is also constantly increasing. Guy also encouraged me to start speaking, and I gave two presentations to the user group. It turns out I love it a lot, and in 2014 I plan to do it in English too (already scheduled one. stay tuned…).
The SQL Server community is amazing. There is an incredible number of people that are willing to connect and help, and an enormous number of online and offline venues for connecting and learning: Pass summit, SQLRally, SQL Connections, SQLSaturdays, local user groups, Pass virtual chapters, Twitter, forums, video sites and much more. There are also quite a few community initiatives. Just a few examples from the past few months:
I love Twitter, and I think you should too. I call Twitter “a big jungle for exchanging ideas, information and ways of thinking“. It allows instant and easy communication with other SQL Server professionals from all over the world, finding out what other people think and about useful links they read. You can also get help with a problem you need to solve and participate in community activities. Interested? Let’s hook up.
So that was 2013. Let’s make 2014 even better!