2019 Year in Review

As we open 2020 (and the house is still quiet on this New Year’s Morning), I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the past year.

Blogging

2019 was another good year here. I published 32 posts totaling over 21,000 words! What really amazes me is that a post from 2018 is consistently one of the most popular ones. I must have done a really good job on the SEO with that one.

This was my first full year blogging on flxsql.com. While my old WordPress-hosted content is still online, I haven’t been posting anything new there. However, it’s still getting a decent number of hits each month. Those URLs really stick in the search engines.

The top 5 posts I published this year:

RankPost
5dbatools One Point OH YEAH!
4Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
3Tidier Powershell Scripts with Default Parameter Values
2One Peril of Database Proliferation
1A Monumental Migration to SQL Server 2016 – Part 1, Part 2

I finished the #sqlcareer challenge from Steve Jones (blog | twitter) as promised.

In 2019, I participated in five T-SQL Tuesdays. While this was nearly double each of the previous years (3 each in 2017 & 2018) I’d like to get this up to at least 50% for 2020.

Speaking & Podcasts

  • In February, I appeared on the SQL Data Partners podcast to share my experience upgrading a single SQL Server instance hosting over 8,000 databases.
  • Also in February, I did a lunch & learn session for my department about the new features in SQL Server 2016.
  • SQL Saturday Albany invited me to present dbatools for the Uninitiated.
  • I presented Keys to a Healthy Relationship with SQL Server at my local user group and SQL Saturday Boston

I delivered three distinct talks in 2019! That was not in my plan for 2019 but I’m very happy to have done it, and I’m looking forward to more!

At Work

I hadn’t planned on a job change this year, but something came along toward the end of the summer that really piqued my interest. I was a bit unsure about it, but after talking to my spouse about it, she said “you already know the right answer, I can tell just from how you’re taking about this new place.”

Out With the Old…

At my previous company, we got a lot of good things done in 2019. We opened the year by cleaning up the last bits of our SQL Server 2016 migration, then tackling some performance issues. One in particular I was very happy to get taken care of. It had been a thorn in our sides for a while and eliminating the issues that one query had been causing for us was a huge relief. Overall, between some front-end code changes and query tuning, we were able to bring our page load times down to our goal. I also got to see our developers start taking advantage of SQL Server 2016 features like JSON query results, eliminating the need to convert ADO recordsets to JSON strings on the front end – again, improving page loads and reducing the strain on the whole stack.

The job transition was a very busy few weeks. I’d been with the company less than 3 years but it’s astonishing how much stuff one doesn’t document, despite thinking you’ve done a good job of it. There are things that you just “know”, right?

…and In With the New

I completed the job change in mid-October and jumped right into the thick of things at the new place, getting thrown into a performance issue within a couple days. There’s a lot to do, which is great – getting maintenance and backup schedules set up and running properly, doing discovery of what database servers exist across the environment, things like that. I’m starting to track performance bottlenecks in apps, getting servers current on patching, and applying missing best practices. It hasn’t been 3 full months yet but I’m seeing positive impacts.

This new position is also giving me new ideas for presentations, both for the community and the company. Because my role is new to the company, my first presentation at work will be a 15-minute talk about the role of the DBA.

Getting Personal

As I mentioned in my December T-SQL Tuesday and PASS Summit wrap-up posts, I got to meet a lot more #SQLFamily folks this year, and spent a bunch of time strengthening the connections I had with folks I already knew. And yes, I’m also hoping to turn that into a presentation as well.

This year I also gained a better awareness of how certain situations and environments can affect me. People are talking more openly about mental health and self care, and I’m trying to take some of these lessons to heart. Part of this means taking a break from extra-curriculars instead of forcing myself to go when I have nothing left in the tank for the day/week, or just stepping away from things for a brief period to listen to some music or calming ambient noise to re-center myself. I’m also making use of some phone apps to help me keep track of how I’m feeling through day.

Looking Forward

2020 is already shaping up to be a busy and interesting year. I’ll be speaking at SQL Saturday Cleveland in February and I’ve already submitted on session for Albany in July. I’m also hoping to present for a couple user groups, with a remote session already scheduled for March.

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