From Record Structures To TempDb in 9 Hours or Less (SQLSkills Immersion Training Day 1)

This week I’m one lucky duck: I’m thrilled to be at SQLSkills Immersion Training on Internals and Performance in Dallas, TX.

I’m on the road this week, so expect cave-level drawings. This is a duck with a snorkel. No really, that’s what it is.

Immersed in What?

I’m attending Part 1 of a series of intensive SQL Server trainings. This week is foundational, but is not a pre-requisite for other courses. Good news: you can choose to collect them all or do some classes individually, and you can do them in any order. You may be interested in taking these courses if you’re working toward becoming a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server (info), but you may also just want very in-depth training to help you do great work.

This week’s training is taught by Paul Randal (b | t | bio) and Kimberly Tripp (b | t | bio) of SQLSkills (@sqlskills).

Things you need to know about Paul and Kimberly: they are approachable, they are enthusiastic to hear your questions and talk to you about SQL Server, and they are great at helping you look at things in new and interesting ways.

What to Expect from Day 1

When you arrive at your first morning of Immersion training, you’ll get a healthy breakfast, a very friendly welcome, and then a giant dose of SQL Server.

This training started with record structures. We moved on and talked about more things, and tied it back to record structures. We moved on and talked about more things, then tied it back to storage internals. Then that happened again a few times– and I don’t mean there was any repetition at all. There wasn’t: we moved, and fast. We made it through modules 1, 2, and 3.

I really liked the material today because of the recurring themes and demos which built on each other. We covered a lot of ground, but it was tied together by a continuous thread of focusing on data internals and storage– it helped make a lot of different features, and options, coherent. The training built a real context to frame the information, which really helps me retain it.

How Much Did I Learn?

Writing helps me remember things, so I bought a laptop I love to type on. Today, I was happy to have it.

You don’t necessarily need to type notes at Immersion training: you get a lot of material to take home. You get a binder with printouts of the slides which contain loads of information for your reference. You get a DVD with Virtual PCs with labs. But there’s also much more information which comes about in conversation, and in discussing diagrams on the whiteboard: making notes is my best chance to help capture memories of that which I can recall later on.

What’s my guideline for making a note? It needs to be something I didn’t know at all, something I couldn’t explain to someone with confidence, or a nuance that’s easy to forget.

Some of what I learned today was very practical. Some of it helped things I already know make more sense. Some of it I know will come in handy soon.

I took 5,014 words of notes.

You Know What’s Awesome? Being In a Class of Smart People.

Reading slides, listening and thinking, is more than enough to keep my brain busy. I don’t always have the time to form a question, although I do my best.

But other people ask great questions. Today, that happened a lot.

Thanks for doing all that work, y’all. Lots of my notes today came from conversations after people asked questions, and just about all of them were things I would not have thought to ask.

Plus, Vicky Harp (t) helped me make sense of page headers in the women’s restroom.

Now, where else is that going to happen?

Fun Stuff: Dinner with the @MidnightDBA s

Jen McCown (b | t) and Sean McCown (b | t) came by to say hi and talk SQueaL after training. A bunch of fun people went to dinner. It was rad. There was laughter. And kung fu.

I think my brain is ready for more.