We give away sp_Blitz™, a totally free health check tool for Microsoft SQL Server. It looks for all kinds of common reliability and performance problems and gives you a prioritized to-do list. The number one question I get about it – by far – is, “Why do you give it away for free? Why don’t you charge for it?” Free Beer vs Free Speech We need to start by considering the word free. In the software world, there’s two ways to look at it. The Wikipedia article on Gratis versus Libre sums it up well: Gratis versus libre is the distinction…Read
Database administrators are lonely. In most companies, there’s only one DBA, and nobody else really understands the job duties. We don’t have anybody else we can talk to about the crazy things we run across. I think this is the biggest reason there’s such a vibrant SQL Server community on Twitter – we’re looking for other people who understand us. This January, Jeremiah turned me on to DevOpsReactions.tumblr.com, and I was hooked. DevOps is a new hybrid job, a cross between developers and system administrators. Like DBAs, they’re an unusual profession with very different challenges than most of their coworkers. I knew…Read
Employees have one job: move needles. Company executives track their most important metrics using dashboard graphs like the example at right from Geckoboard. The VP of Sales, the Chief Financial Officer, the Board of Directors, or anybody else with a fancypants title can all name their top 2-3 key metrics, what the numbers are today, and where they need to be. Your job – no matter what you think your job title is – boils down to these 6 things: 1. Figure out who you need to impress. If you’re just getting started with this technique, odds are your direct…Read
When you do something – anything – you’re going to get criticized. I used to lose a lot of sleep about it, but I’ve figured out there’s an easy way to filter criticism: treat it like incoming email. Use a series of filters and scores to determine whether it meets your threshold, and if not, throw it away. All criticism starts at 0 points. Filtering the Critic Is the critic anonymous? -5 points Does the critic know me in real life? +5 points Has the critic given me helpful criticism before? +5 points Has the critic given me unhelpful criticism…Read
My idea of the perfect desk would be something straight out of the Apple store – bare tables with no visible wiring. Back here in reality, though, I’ve got monitor cabling, device chargers, microphone and speaker cabling, etc, etc. Every year or two, I take a shot at making a really clean, minimalist desk, and here’s how it turned out this weekend: State of the Office 2013 It’s hard to really appreciate it until you see it from behind: Back of the Desk Yes, that’s Ernie’s ears peeking out from her black chair. That used to be my chair, but…Read
I spoke at my local SQL Server user group last month. I delivered one of my very favorite presentations, and it’s got one of my favorite punch lines. I ask the attendees where SQL Server does its sorting, and someone inevitably answers TempDB. I then say, “Yes, TempDB – or as I call it….” TempDB: SQL Server’s Public Toilet You have no idea what other filthy, disgusting things people are doing in TempDB. It’s a sloppy mess. I’m quite proud of that slide, and every single time I deliver that punch line – every time – it brings the house…Read
It’s that time of year again – time to let go of baggage and give it away as presents. All through the year, I come up with all kinds of blog post ideas and I stash them in my to-do list. Any that I can’t manage to flesh out by the end of the year, I share them here. You’re welcome to use ’em as launching points for your own blog posts. Firing Clients to Save Your Reputation – I’ve fired a few clients over the years and I just can’t come up with a good way to write this up.…Read
Life is like a huge role-playing game: you have choices to make every single day, and any choice can lead to fun outcomes. The sum of your experiences, no matter which choice you make, can lead to you leveling up – being a better person. Last year, Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest at NerdFitness.com inspired me to create my own Epic Life Quest, and I just leveled up. Like Steve, I’ve set up my list of future achievements. Whenever I knock out five of them, I hit the next level. Me and Erika’s Dad Here’s the tasks I just polished off for Level 2:…Read
Do not buy a Microsoft Surface RT yet. I’m typing this with gritted teeth. My 24 hours with the half-baked Surface have been a frustrating challenge, a mix of love and hate. I want want want this to work, but one problem after another have led me to come to the conclusion – a temporary one at least – that this thing just isn’t ready to ship. The Hardware is Unbelievable Every time Apple unveils a new gadget or laptop, my jaw drops and I wonder how they pulled off executing their industrial designs. Their v1 designs look so beautifully…Read
In the last year, I’ve bought and sold a handful of cameras. I keep trying to find exactly the right one for my needs, and I’m just not having much luck. Today, I’ll share my current moment of frustration. Sony DSC-HX200V: Built for Vacations Last year, I went on a couple of SQLCruises and I wanted a camera that was purpose-built for travelers. I looked for: Built-in GPS – to automatically tag my photo locations Really, really high-powered optical zoom (in this case, 30x) Bokeh mode to automatically defocus the background 1080p video recording Panorama shots to capture the amazing…Read
Hi. I’m Brent.
I live in Iceland with my wife Erika. I'm on an epic life quest to have fun and make a difference.
I co-founded Brent Ozar Unlimited to help make your SQL Server go faster. I also maintain sp_Blitz® and the open source First Responder Kit repo.