and his family are currently undergoing a cross-country move — so I greatly appreciate the time he was able to spend in his response.
Without further hesitation, here’s David:
Josh: What new technology are you most excited about right now?
David: Oh wow where do I start? My biggest challenge is that I want to learn everything about everything. From a technology side, I’m most excited about the adoption of flash storage into the datacenter. Used right, it has hte power to completely change the performance characteristics of any SQL Server. It can be used for I/O caching underneath them. Workload characteristics can completely changed by utilizing it. Licensing costs can be reduced through using it wisely. Business problems can be solved with it. The impact to the infrastructure itself, from elevated CPU consumption, to storage interconnect utilization, and the challenges of adjusting the way SQL Server is *using* storage to make the system even more efficient and perform better, is amazing. I want to learn more about it! (Yeah, I’m a serious geek, I know.)
Josh: We all have a million things to do. How do you organize your tasks?
David: I’m a huge proponent of lists. If I didn’t have my lists, I’d miss so many things that need to get done that I’d probably fall apart. I have three lists – to do today, to do this week, and to do soon. The lists are good old pen and paper. Every morning I re-write each list so that I can re-prioritize what’s most important, add things that have come up, and remove things that I got done yesterday. Re-writing it makes me think about it as I write it, and I can re-prioritize as I write. I then use the list of things to do today to help me manage my time for that day. Come tomorrow, rinse and repeat.
Josh: What new things are you learning?
David: I’m starting to work on learning some advanced statistics for high performance computing and data visualization techniques. Every IT platform and system, databases included, have a number of performance challenges. Measuring them is just the start of the process to help get the meaning of the data out of the raw numbers, because most folks just live with “it’s slow” and have trouble putting objective metrics to subjective observations. Even if they have performance monitoring systems out there, many of the utilities today provide a watered-down view of the data that removes much of the meaning of the data. Showing correlation of system resource consumption and the visual impact on other systems (and not just saying “it’s slow”), is an area that is coming even more critical in today’s datacenter infrastructures but an area that is rarely performed in a meaningful manner. I’m working to fix this!
Josh: Out of all of the training events and/or conferences you’ve attended which has left the most impact?
David: The PASS Summit conference from 2012 was life changing, more so than any other technical or training event that I’ve ever had. I was fortunate enough to co-present a session called “Managing SQL Server in a Virtual World” with one of my mentors, the legendary Kevin Kline, to a packed room of over 500 people. Having never spoken at any conference before before, and being a novice in the SQL Saturday speaking scene, Kevin had sat in on my very first SQL Saturday session ever in October of the previous year. After that, I started to get to know him through the various events where I bumped into him, and that email about the session changed everything. I gained my “sea legs”, so to speak, and the confidence that he had in me to do a good job in the session was enough to give me the confidence to say yes and to actually do it. The session came and went, and I had an absolute blast and people seemed to get a lot out of it!
Since then, the confidence gained from that session with Kevin, and the thrill (strangely enough instead of fear) of speaking in front of that number of people made me want to keep it up. I’ll never assume that I’ll get picked for any other event, but I’ve at least got the confidence to submit and know that I can present the content so that others can learn from my experiences. I’ll always be indebted to Kevin for giving me that first chance at the big leagues!
Josh: Was does SQLFamily mean to you?
David: The SQLFamily means quite a bit to me, and has some very personal meanings and impact to me personally and professionally. The worldwide SQL Server community is arguably the most tight-knit and most warmly inviting group technology enthusiasts in the world. Quite a while back, I started attending the SQL Server Users Group in Omaha, after having tried some other user groups. The other user groups were not especially cold, but I just did not feel welcomed, and the mindset was that while they wanted to share certain aspects of the technology, they just were not really passionate about it. To me, technology is not just a job. It’s a lifestyle. It’s my professional livelihood. It’s my primary hobby that I pursue nights and weekends.
At the first SQL Server users group, I spent two additional hours after the user group wrapped up talking shop with the people who stuck around. I got an email the next day asking me if I was going to be at the next one. At the next meeting, the camaraderie was even stronger and I was asked if I could go to lunch with a group just to hang out. It just grew from there.
To be a bit cliche, the thought that hit me was “I’m home.” Every time I go to a SQL Saturday or PASS Summit, it feels like a family reunion (and I mean that in a good way). This is a group of people who are as passionate about technology as I’ve always been, and have the same mindset of being the best technologists they can be. I’m very proud to be a part of it, and encourage everyone that I meet to become a part of the family.
I’ll put it this way… if it were not for the SQLFamily, I would not have started my own company. Period. This community has supported my dream of starting my own business in ways not possible with other groups. I have some of the best business and personal mentors on the planet from this group. I’ve gotten enough work from word of mouth from this community so that I can pay the bills, and am now scouting for technical people at the various events that I go to so that I know who I want to hire when the time is right. It’s been an amazing journey over the last couple of years, and the SQLFamily made it possible. I want to give back to this community as much as I’ve gotten from it.