My #SQLPASS Abstract Feedback (And How to Get Yours)

Posted on by Brent Posted in Blog Posts | 12 Comments

When volunteer speakers submit a session for the PASS Summit conference, volunteers on the Program Committee have the tough job of ranking them and picking winners. In the past, this has been done completely in private, and speakers had no idea why their sessions weren’t accepted. This meant they couldn’t work to get better.

Thanks to requests from the community, that’s changing this year! Amy Lewis, the Board of Director member responsible for the process, writes in her blog post announcement:

“If you submitted a session proposal for Summit 2014 and would like the comments from the abstract review team, please email program@sqlpass.org and we will send you the comments that are available for your abstract. Please note that, as stated above, not all abstracts have comments, and the comments are related to the abstract only and not why the session was or wasn’t accepted.”

This is awesome news, and it’s a great step in the right direction. The second step would be telling speakers why the session wasn’t accepted, which can be for a totally different reason. (You’ll see why that’s important in a minute.)

Developers: Who Needs a DBA? (Accepted)

Abstract:

You store data in SQL Server, but you don’t have enough work to keep a full-time DBA busy.

In just one session, you’ll learn the basics of performance troubleshooting, backup, index tuning, and security. Brent Ozar, recovering developer, will teach you the basic care and feeding of a Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2012, or 2014 instance and give you scripts to keep you out of trouble.

Program Committee feedback:

  • Accidental DBA’s are a big group and this session sounds like a good session form them.
  • Great name and great description. Looks like a great session.
  • Nice story. Clear objectives and tells me what I’ll learn. Then I get scripts woo-hoo! I’m there!

No negative comments, so good news there. I didn’t correct the spelling/grammar mistakes in the comments and I’m not going to make fun of them because I’m just happy to have comments at all, although I will point out that they ding US for spelling or grammar mistakes. (We’re all volunteers here, so no calling the kettle black.)

Conquer CXPACKET and Master MAXDOP in Ten Minutes (Lightning Talk, Accepted)

Abstract:

CXPACKET waits don’t mean you should set MAXDOP = 1. Microsoft Certified Master Brent Ozar will boil it all down and simplify CXPACKET to show you the real problem – and what you should do about it – in one quick 10-minute Lightning Talk.

Program Committee feedback:

  • fits criteria, light talks no demos are ok, description looks good.
  • Excellent introductory topic that is confusing even for seasoned DBAs.  Topic appears well laid out and suited for a 10 minute lightning session.

Note the first comment – “light talks no demos are ok” – and read between the lines. The reviewer is saying that for a full session, he requires demos. This is where it gets to be fun, putting yourself in the reviewer’s head.

Watch Brent Tune Queries (Rejected)

Abstract:

Ever wonder how someone else does it? There’s no right way or wrong way, but in this session, you can peer over Brent’s shoulder (virtually) while he takes a few Stack Overflow queries, tries various techniques to make them faster, and shows how he measures the before-and-after results.

Program Committee feedback:

  • Great topic and aimed at correct level I feel – should attract a big audience.
  • I don’t really know what BE CREEPY is, and couldn’t find it on a search. I will also admit that the title and knowing who this is didn’t cloud my review (though I wanted to tweak the subjective rating even higher because of his involvement.), I like the idea of room sized mentoring going on and I expect the speaker rating will balance out my enthusiasm. I thought the abstract was the weakest part of the entry. I would like 5-10% slides for a session like this, to make it easier to remember later…
  • I’ve seen this before. It’s great.
  • avoid including names in abstract looks like some formatting issues. never heard of this guy, does he work for Microsoft?
  • catchy abstract – interesting topic. clear goals. love the fact that its 100% demos.

About not putting names in the abstract - this isn’t bad feedback about me – it’s bad feedback about the process. Here’s why.

First, note that both of my accepted talks have my name in the abstract, and in both cases, the reviewers didn’t even mention it in the comments. That means this isn’t an abstract problem – this is a committee consistency problem.

Second, the title of the session is Watch Brent Tune Queries. I used to call it “Watch an Anonymous, Genderless Person Tune Queries” but the turnout just wasn’t as good.

Finally, when I was an attendee, I didn’t know most people by name. I did know a few major folks, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss their sessions. Call me vain, but given the way people seem to react to me at conferences, I appear to be A Big Deal. (It still makes me laugh when people call me a celebrity – until I can walk into e by Jose Andres without a reservation, I’m not a celebrity.)

So no, I’m not changing this approach, but I’m sharing it with you, dear reader, so that if you want to get a higher chance of getting into Summit, keep your name out of the abstract. And gender too. Certainly no sexual preferences, because they don’t want to hear anything about your individuality or background.

About 0% slides vs 10% slides – note that one reviewer loved 100% demos, the other said she wanted 5-10% slides. This is why Jeremiah says conferences end up like cheese pizza – you have to try to satisfy every single committee member, and that’s simply not going to happen. I bet if I’d have put 90% demos, the person who loved 100% demos would have been fine with it. (Technically, the session has 14 slides, but I rip through those in 90 seconds because they’re just takeaways for the reader to reference at home. 90 seconds out of 75 minutes is 2% slides, so I rounded to 100% demos.)

Cool Story, Bro: The DBAreactions Guide to SQL Server 2014 (Rejected)
Co-Submitters: Doug Lane and Jeremiah Peschka

Abstract excerpt (because PASS doesn’t show full abstracts after sessions are denied): “You’re hearing about the new features in SQL Server 2014, and you’re not quite sure where to start…”

Program Committee feedback:

  • Goal 3 does not seem to have any purpose, therefore I consider there to be only two goals.
  • The topic is probably the most popular one at the moment, and subjectively speaking this sounds like it would be a lot of fun. I knocked the abstract down a point mainly because of the goals. They are funny and entertaining, but strictly from the abstract perspective they do not give a clear idea for what the goals of this will be.
  • Parts of abstract and goals do not seem to reflect a serious commitment to presenting a useful session.  This topic will likely be covered in depth by Microsoft speakers given the timing of this years Summit.

Response:

just-be-cool

In all seriousness (because like the Internet, the PASS Summit is serious business), we were pretty sure this would be rejected. Again, cheese pizza philosophy here – this session would draw a small group of raving fans, but it’s never going to appeal to a wide audience. That’s okay – was worth the shot.

500-Level Guide to Career Internals (rejected)

Abstract excerpt: “This is not yet another career session that tells you to be friendly and network. Forget that..”

Program Committee feedback:

  • Name in the abstract must be avoided to ensure that the reviewer is not influenced by the speaker’s name. Session name is brilliant and well designed for the SUMMIT audience. Level 500 should be better explained in the pre-requisites as it’s considered as “level of skills to attend ” and not complexity for the speaker. However, given the speaker (supposed to be unknown) the session is deemed to be a success.
  • Not sure that there’s anyone that would not want to attend this session.
  • Contractions throughout. Individual experiences might not apply to everybody. Level 500 in utterly inappropriate.
  • The title is not very clear. What is “career internals” anyway? Abstract is well written and makes clear what the speaker will present, however comes with some negative remarks about networking.

About the name - okay now this part is just flat out wrong. When I pick up a professional development book, the very first thing I check is the author’s credentials. If someone’s gonna tell me how to be successful, I want to know that they’ve been successful.

About the contractions – ah, that’s interesting. DANG, I used a contraction. See, I write like I speak. I gotta work on that.

About the 500 level and internals – I totally understand. Again, wrote this one with my oddball sense of humor angle, and I was pretty sure it would not (see, I didn’t use a contrac…oh, dammit) get in.

About the networking – if you want to scale, physical in-person networking is dead. Yep, I said it. It still works to sell stuff to old white guys in suits, but everybody else is online, and networking is very, very different here. (That reviewer is probably the one who most needed to attend the session, sadly.)

Power Tuner: DBAs are the New BI Performance Tool (pre-con, rejected)

Abstract excerpt: “How can you make SQL Server fast when you can’t predict the queries coming from SSRS, SSAS, SSIS,…”

The selection here is a little different – pre-cons are chosen by someone, we don’t know who, and we don’t know how. I’m actually fine with that because PASS has serious money on the line here. Pre-cons bring in big money. For example, I was told that our pre-con last year was the top-selling pre-con of all time, bringing in around 250 people. (That’s about $125K USD in revenue for PASS.) This year, not accepted, and I’m totally fine with that – PASS needs to do what’s right for them.

But I want to share the feedback anyway, because it’s valuable to other pre-con submitters:

  • Precon addresses problems many users may face.  SQL 2014 is a brand new version so this may entice some users to check out this session
  • Thanks for the abstract, It’s good to have someone talking on DW solutions mainly on Performance tuning, the abstract topic is quite not match along with the abstract content. Also , prerequisites is not completed. Thanks

With only 2 comments, I’m not quite sure how to take this one, but I’m fine with it.

Life at Stack Overflow: My Developers are Smarter Than Your DBAs (Nick Craver, rejected)

Nick Craver (NickCraver.com@Nick_Craver) is on the Site Reliability Engineering team at Stack Exchange, the company behind StackOverflow and DBA.StackExchange. He’s the main developer behind the open source SQL Server monitoring tool Opserver, and he knows more than I do.

I did volunteer to help with a few of his abstracts, though, which he’ll “thank” me for later because none were accepted. He volunteered to share his feedback here too though:

Abstract excerpt: “What happens when you don’t have a DBA getting in the way? Awesome, that’s what happens.”

Program Committee feedback:

  • I think this would be good for dba’s \ devs and general interest from attendees. Obviously a high profile installation and in the current climate of cross-functional teams – very appropriate.
  • So, on the one hand, this presentation concerns me with the snarky title. Get better DBAs! On the other hand, the abstract text is interesting, in that what it could be suggesting is that collaboration works (but dismissing the concept of DBA as a team member ruins this one for me). If you have data developers that know what they are doing, that is great. I see only mention of performance and nothing of data integrity, which is acceptable for certain sorts of data, but not others.
  • This is very interesting. You can’t get too many opportunities to peek on this type of databases so this is a must see.
  • Well written abstract that conveys business value with techie stuff. Reference to real-life examples are make this soud like a session that an attendee will want to attend and also possibly use to leverage mgmt for financial support of summit attendence.
  • Session name is not very “nice”.
  • Could be interesting
  • this is a very unique and interesting topic. very catchy and well written abstract. clear goals – relevant and useful. lots of developers will be interested in attending this session

Not surprised there – the title was purposely over-the-top to get attention.

Note that there’s absolutely no technical feedback here – zero mention of title, abstract, prerequisite, level, demos, etc. Just purely personal feelings. To me, that’s a winning abstract – one that challenges people to think differently and provokes conversation. That’s not what wins in committees, though.

Failure is AlwaysAn Option: Keeping Stack Overflow Online and Fast (Nick Craver, rejected)

Abstract excerpt: “Stack Overflow’s Nick Craver will take you on a tour through their AlwaysOn Availability Groups…”

Program Committee feedback:

  • I appreciate the real world example of this abstract. It is helpful to learn from the experiences of others.
  • Not sure how this is a 200 level and the session prereqs are supposed to be taken for real?  25% demo and yet in additional notes says he will demo how stuff is working but I’m sure the % is about 50.  No conclusion sentence on what I will learn.
  • The prerequisite is inadequate to allow the attendee to determine if they have the requisite knowledge to understand the material.

That’s great feedback! Really helpful – I’ll pay more attention to prerequisites now.

Opserver: Keeping an Eye Your SQL Servers, For Free (Nick Craver, rejected)

Abstract excerpt: “You’re a DBA or developer who needs to figure out why your SQL Server is running hot, but you don’t…”

Program Committee feedback:

  • Abstract could be written better. The topic has brilliant offering to beginner DBAs.

My guess, and this is only a guess, is that by accidentally a word in the title, Nick was totally doomed. No comments because people probably just low-voted right then and there and bailed. (I wish I had the whole abstract here to check though.)

What You Can Learn from Our Failures

The big takeaway: reviewers are independent human beings with totally different opinions on what matters in a session. If you want to get in, you have to appeal to as many as possible, which means making your abstract as inoffensive as possible. I’m still stunned and grateful that “Developers: Who Needs a DBA?” got in, and I’m not surprised that the rest didn’t.

I’m still going to keep taking chances, pushing boundaries, trying different session styles, and putting my name in my abstracts. For me, it’s about being the speaker I want to be. Some conferences will have me, and some probably won’t. Sooner or later, I’m going to get outright zero sessions at PASS, and that would be totally okay too – competition from other speakers is a GREAT thing.

After all, that’s why I just spent hours putting this post together – to help you beat me.

Because I want to see good sessions too!

How to Plan a Training Class

Posted on by Brent Posted in Blog Posts | 7 Comments

It looks so easy from the outside – just slap together a title and an abstract, set up a web page, and the money just comes rolling in, right?

Nope. I’ve done training classes around the world, from conferences to private classes to cruise ships. Since we just launched another one, I figured it’s a great time to share some of the logistical questions you’ll want to consider. It’s not a complete guide on how to plan a training class – it’s just a starting point:

Who will attend your training class?

  • Who’s your target audience?
  • What’s their job description?
  • What’s the pain they’re facing?
  • Who’s paying their admission fee? (Is it self-paid, or paid by their employer? This influences how you design the class, where you hold it, what you charge, etc.)

What are you teaching?

  • How long will the class be?
  • How many modules will it have?
  • Should you break it up into multiple classes?
  • Will you have co-presenters?
  • Whose material will it be? (Sometimes you can license the material from someone else.)

Where will you hold the class?

  • Will you hold just one, or a series?
  • What’s the minimum, target, and maximum number of attendees?
  • What will be the training setting? (Classroom, theater, boardroom, small tables)
  • How will attendees get their drinks, snacks, and meals?
  • Will you accommodate students’ special needs like meal preferences?
  • What will the schedule be, including the start time, breaks, and end time?
  • Will the schedule accommodate attendee travel times?

What will your training attendees need?

  • What base knowledge do attendees need to bring to the class?
  • How will you ensure they have it?
  • What equipment do attendees need to bring?
  • What equipment should they NOT bring?

How will you handle the registration fees?

  • What price will you charge?
  • Will you offer discounts for individuals or groups?
  • How will you take registrations and payments?
  • Will your registration system pay you as the orders come in, or hold the money until after the event completes?
  • Will you accept cash, credit cards, purchase orders, or invoices?
  • Will you accept purchases at the door?
  • Will you allow refunds, and are there any limitations?
  • What happens if you need to cancel the class?

How will you market the training class?

  • How will you get the word out about the class?
  • Will you offer referral discounts or bonuses?
  • Do you have a contact list or client list that you can sell pre-orders to?

What will your class’s costs and profit be?

Setting up for training class day

Setting up for training class day

  • What will the venue charge, including A/V and meals?
  • Will you need any additional gear like backup computers?
  • Will you hire ushers to handle registrations and security?
  • What will you provide to the attendees, like handouts or t-shirts?
  • Will you have marketing expenses for advertising or referrals?
  • Will you hire videographers to record the event?
  • Will you have your own travel and hotel costs?
  • Will your business insurance cover damage to the facility? To the attendees?
  • If something goes horribly wrong on the day of the event, like you fall ill, will you be financially able to grant full refunds?

It’s a lot of questions, and you don’t have to have all of the answers for your first training class. (I certainly didn’t.) But the more answers you have, the less surprises you’ll have as the event draws closer, and the more successful your event will be. Your attendees will notice, appreciate, and talk about your attention to detail.

Fact-Checking the 24 Hours of PASS

Posted on by Brent Posted in Blog Posts | 10 Comments

I woke up this morning, excited for the 24 Hours of PASS, and the slide decks are already online! Let’s check out the slides for the first session, Field Testing Buffer Pool Extension and In-Memory OLTP Features in SQL Server 2014. The presenters are Rick Heiges of Scalability Experts, Ross LoForte of Microsoft, and Brian Walters of Fusion-io.

They start out by talking about how the SQL Server world has changed:

Things Have Changed - note the memory

Things Have Changed – note the memory

Things definitely have changed – 4-8GB used to be normal for SQL Server, and now 32GB is pretty much the bare minimum for physical servers as the slide notes. I see smaller VMs a lot still though.

Then they start talking about the first new feature, Buffer Pool Extensions. Here’s the hardware they used for testing:

Hardware used for Buffer Pool Extensions tests

Hardware used for Buffer Pool Extensions tests

Awesome! 24 cores means we’re talking about the Big Daddy of SQL Server – Enterprise Edition. The sticker price on this solution is around $168k USD, so it’s great to see they used the appropriate amount of memory here, 384GB of RAM. No playing around with this system.

So how’s the test set up?

Who stole the soul?And by soul I mean RAM?

Who stole the soul?
And by soul I mean RAM?

What the – what happened to our 384GB of RAM? Why did we get SQL Server drunk and tie its hands behind its back? Someone, please, help, there’s a SQL Server being abused here!

And why are we testing with 2004 hardware? Didn’t they just get done telling us how hardware has changed? What the heck is going on here?

The “test” results are useful only in the sense that they’re good for a laugh:

Process more data than a 2004 server

Process more data than a 2004 server

So transactional throughput goes up by 37%, but CPU … TRIPLES?!? How about we let this SQL Server use all of its memory and see how the test fares? Why wouldn’t this scenario be tested?

This is where I have to keep asking – is this an educational presentation, or a marketing presentation?

I don’t have the time before this session to really analyze the deck, although I’ve written about the wild inaccuracies of Fusion-io’s SQL 2014 tests before. Let’s just look at the takeaways from the first feature tests:

Interpreting the Results

Interpreting the Results

The “sweet spot” is less memory than SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition supports? Putting a Fusion-io drive in rather than buying memory? What, are Fusion-io drives free now? In what world does this make any economical sense at all?

So what references did they draw from for this “educational” session?

References

References

Oh, right.

Everyone involved in this session should be ashamed. This isn’t community education. It’s Fusion-io marketing, pure and simple.

I am deeply disappointed that PASS would allow this to masquerade as educational material.

Update After the Presentation

The presentation was just what it looked like – a Fusion-io marketing pitch, not educational material for SQL Server community members facing real pain points. Huge, major props to Bradley Ball, the session moderator, who asked the attendee questions and held the presenters to the fire.

During the Q&A, we learned that the testing didn’t actually unearth any real use cases for Buffer Pool Extensions. The presenters admitted that whenever you can add memory to a server, that’s a better answer than buying expensive solid state storage. Their testing also showed limited performance gains over 16GB of memory – thereby meaning that it’s always better to add memory.

The presenters kept suggesting that this technique would work for virtual machines, though, demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of virtualization. Don’t ever use local SSDs in the host for SQL Server’s Buffer Pool Extensions – this stops you from using vMotion or LiveMigration to recover automatically from host failure. This is just simply the wrong answer, period.

The good news is that Bradley pushed past the vendor spam and got to the truth.

The bad news is that this session was shown to PASS members who didn’t have the benefit of knowing that it was pure marketing spam, plain and simple. This is why I’ve been beating this drum so hard leading up to PASS.

If PASS is going to show spam and call it training, it’s up to us – community volunteers – to get the truth out.

My Favorite Online Services for Consultants

Posted on by Brent Posted in Blog Posts | 9 Comments

Here’s some of my favorite stuff. No affiliate links, just recommendations.

The One Service Every Consultant Should Use

Internet plumbing glue as a service: Zapier – from free to $99/month. I have to start with this one because it’s the service we use to tie everything together. It listens for triggers and takes actions.

For example, when you fill out our webinar registration form, Zapier registers you for the webinars you picked, subscribes you to your chosen email newsletters, and makes an entry in our customer relationship software. All of that without any web development work whatsoever - now, there’s still plenty of work involved, but it’s work that you can do. (Or at least, work that I can do.)

Zapier integrates with almost everything – and at this point, Zapier integration is one of my deciding factors when looking at new services. If a web site integrates with Zapier, it has a huge edge over its competitors.

Collaboration Services

Calendar bookings: Youcanbook.me - for $16/mo, you never have to worry about scheduling meetings again. Just configure YCBM with access to your Google calendar, tell it about your schedule, and hand out your YCBM link to people who want to book time with you. My sales prospects can schedule calls immediately, and they even get nice reminder emails as our meeting approaches.

Online collaboration with clients: WebEx – for $49/person/month, up to 25 people can meet together online using Windows, Macs, Linux, iPads, iPhones, you name it. Webcam video, computer audio, international free telephone audio, recording, desktop sharing, it all kinda sorta works simultaneously – at least, better than any competitor we’ve tried. (For example, GoToMeeting is really close, but copy/paste doesn’t work, so that’s a dealbreaker for us.)

Source control: Github – for $7/person/mo, you can have private source control repositories. As you grow to multiple employees, they’ve got organizational plans too. As a Mac user, I hated Github initially because it was a pain in the ass to get set up correctly, but now that Jeremiah has done his magic on my laptop, it’s pretty cool.

Marketing Services

Email newsletters: MailChimp.com – free beautiful emails for up to 2,000 subscribers, up to 12,000 sent emails per month. Easy to integrate with your blog or web site so folks can sign up for your emails without leaving your site. Can’t recommend this highly enough – you need to build your following.

Map your subscribers: BatchGEO – free online maps built from lat/long data exported from Mailchimp, which tracks where your subscribers open their emails. I know, sounds creepy, and it’s not super-accurate, either, but when used in combination with Google Analytics, it’ll give you a rough idea of where you’re building up a following. We use this to help determine training class locations. (I used Microsoft PowerMap for a while when it was free, but now it requires an Office365 subscription.)

Communication Services

Mailbox-as-a-service: EarthClassMail.com – for around $75 per month, you get a physical mailing address. EarthClassMail opens your mail, scans it, and if there’s a check, deposits it into your bank account. This is fantastic for consultants who are often on the road but want to make sure their bills get paid.

Fax-as-a-service: HelloFax.com – for $10/mo, you get a fax number. To send faxes, upload files and pick out the cover sheet. Your received faxes come in via email.

Voicemail and phone coordination: Google Voice – free phone number with voicemail. You get to pick which phones ring when people call your Google Voice number. We have a company phone number, and we can pass around who’s on call (or just let it go straight to voice mail.) The configuration options are amazing – I’ve had a personal Google Voice number for years, and it’s all I give out. When people in my address book call me, it rings my cell phone and home phone during daylight hours. Unknown callers with caller ID are asked to say their name first before Google Voice passes the call through, and that seems to totally eliminate spam.

Email & calendaring & intranet: Google Apps – for $50/person/year, you get pretty reliable communication that works well on Macs, Windows, and Linux. For all-Windows shops, though, I’d do Microsoft’s Office 365.

Financial Services

Expense reporting and reimbursement: Expensify – for $9/mo/person, simplified expense reporting that integrates with Quickbooks, American Express, ACH, even Bitcoin. I take a picture of my receipt using the Expensify phone app, and Expensify automatically matches it up to the right AmEx bill and classifies it for me. I can just group expenses together into trips and then send them over to Jeremiah for approval. He can reimburse my personal expenses straight to my checking account, and the corporate ones go into…

Misery-as-a-service: Quickbooks Online - for $40/mo, you too can be befuddled by balance sheets. Thankfully, our accountant can get behind-the-scenes access and fix stuff for us. (I’m kinda torn about mentioning QBO – it’s been kinda frustrating, and I hear there’s better competitors out there like Xero.)

Credit card processing: Stripe.com – incredibly, unbelievably easy way to take credit card payments from customers. When you’re just getting started as a consultant, somebody’s going to ask if you take cards. The startup process with most providers is horrendous, but you can start taking card payments with Stripe in a matter of minutes. Small shops can have customers read their card info over the phone, or fill out a simple web form.

Blog Services

WordPress hosting: WPengine.com - for $29 to $249/mo, simple WordPress management. They install it, patch it, cache it, and maintain it. You just install plugins & themes, and write content.

WordPress backups: Vaultpress.com - for $5-$40/mo, simple WordPress backups. In theory, WPengine is doing this for us too, but you can never be too careful, right? We’re database people.

Form submission: Gravity Forms – for $99, simple forms in WordPress that integrate with MailChimp, Stripe, Zapier, and more.

Training Services

Video hosting: Vimeo.com – for $200/year, you get automatic encoding & hosting for private high definition video. We just upload our training videos here, and they take care of the delivery to end users on almost any imaginable device. (I’m stunned that we never get complaints about our training videos not playing on somebody’s tablet.)

Learning management system: Absorb LMS – it ain’t cheap, costing tens of thousands of dollars to start up and keep running for a year, but it’s the most powerful and flexible option we’ve found, and our users seem to like it. We’re even moving our 2015 in-person class ticket sales into Absorb.

File Storage and Backup Services

Shared folders and version history: Dropbox for Business - for $15/user/mo, you get unlimited storage, unlimited version history, easy file access across all your devices, and great security.

Personal Mac backup: Arq and Amazon S3 – for $40 per computer, Arq automatically backs up whatever folders you want to Amazon S3. As files age, they automatically get moved down into Amazon Glacier, which gets even cheaper. I’ve even got all my photos and music backed up because I’ve got some old bootleg type stuff that’s impossible to find now. (I should back that stuff up by way of sharing it on Bittorrent, but whatever.)

Got Questions? Ask away.

I’ll be glad to help answer any questions about how these things work, work together, or don’t work.