Published CDC article

A few years ago, I made a list of goals I wanted to work towards, and things I wanted to achieve. One of those things was speaking (which I achieved in January 2015). Another point on the list was to write an article for a published magazine. Today, I’m proud to announce I can cross that goal off my list as well!

In December 2014, I saw a tweet from Marcel Meijer (Blog | @MarcelMeijer ), asking who wanted to write an article for SDN Magazine. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to just go for it.

Earlier this week, I saw the magazine was available for download on the SDN website. I’m honored my article was published, and I can only hope the people who read the magazine like it.

If you read the article, I’d love to hear your opinion!

Looking back at 2014, and forward to 2015

The last year was a little bumpy, and had a lot of ups and downs. Looking back at 2014, I accomplished a lot of cool things, and set some things in motion for 2015 already. So what happened for me in 2014?

2014 was the first year I joined the Friends of Red Gate (FORG) program. I was surprised and felt honored, that I got the confirmation in February that I was a part of FORG. Red Gate has always been a company I respected a lot (so much, that some people asked if I had Red Gate stocks, when I mentioned them again in a conversation). The fact that they let me in their program was a huge honor for me. They enabled me to contact the product teams directly, which (hopefully) ended up in us (FORG members and Red Gate developers) improving the tooling this year.

For next year, I’m hoping I can continue working with Red Gate. There are a lot of things I would like to do in cooperation with Red Gate, that I didn’t or couldn’t do this year. Hopefully 2015 will be the year that I can do some of the things I have on my to-do list!

In February of 2014, I started SQLCoop with 3 other people:

Julie Koesmarno (Blog | @MsSQLGirl)
Mickey Stuewe (Blog | @SQLMickey)
Chris Yates (Blog | @YatesSQL)

We wrote a total of 8 posts this year, in which we talked about a number of subjects. Hopefully for next year, there will be more posts about various subjects.

My blogging in 2014 didn’t go exactly as planned. At the end of last year, I set myself a goal: try to blog more often, and try to write a blog post once a week. I really tried to keep up with that pace, but unfortunately I lost that pace early in the year. But I did manage to publish 30 posts this year (including this one). This is one more than last year. So I did reached my goal (blog more than last year), but not as much as I would’ve liked.

Blog traffic
The blog traffic increased again, in a way I didn’t expect. Between 2012 and 2013, the traffic to this blog was quadrupled. This was a stunning success, and I didn’t expect any growth for this year. But looking at the statistics right now, I see that the visitors to my blog are more than doubled comparing to last year! I was hoping for a small increase, but not this much! Looking at that, I can only hope I helped a lot of people save time, with the ramblings I call blog posts!

This was the year of the great events. In July, I attended SQLBits in Telford, UK. This was a great event, wonderfully organized, and certainly an event everyone needs to visit at least once! People told me this was the biggest and nicest SQL event in Europe, and I can tell you: they weren’t lying! What an event, what an attendees, and what a great job from the organizers!

In October there was SQL Saturday Holland. This year was (again) better than last year, and it was a great event! Also, I got the chance to volunteer at the event. Definitely something I’m doing again next year. It was really great to help the organizers out. It was a wonderful day with great sessions, and it was the moment I got my first speaking opportunity. Nothing but good things happened that day.

New friends
This year I’ve also met a number of wonderful people from the community. A lot of them I met at SQLBits this year, but also at SQL Saturday. It was great to meet Matan, Tobiasz, Chris, Julie, Nicky, Pieter, Brent, Kevin, Grant, etc, or talk to them again. Meeting all those people really shows how big and diverse the community is, and it reminds me why I like this community so much. I’m confident I will meet a lot of cool people next year, and catch up with people again after not seeing them for too long.

This year I started to seriously think about speaking at events and user groups. All the good stories I heard from friends in the community made me consider this. In July during SQLBits, I submitted 3 sessions for SQL Saturday Holland, and that was the first step. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t get picked. There were a lot of good speakers, and I was a newcomer with no experience. But at SQL Saturday Holland, I met Pieter Vanhove (Blog | @Pieter_Vanhove). We talked about all different kinds of subjects (including speaking), and he invited me to do a session at the SQL Server User Group Belgium in January 2015. This means I’m speaking at my first ever User Group session. Hopefully this will be the start of something good, with which I can give back to the community in time.

I want to with you all a very happy, successful and interesting new year! Go and try to make 2015 your year, and take that leap of faith when you have the chance! I know I did!🙂

Don’t make a hassle…

Last week, when I posted my previous blog post, I noticed I posted 99 blogs until that moment. At that moment I thought about what to write for blog post #100. After some thought, I decided not to write anything. I didn’t want to make a hassle about it.

But when I had dinner this evening with a close friend from the SQL Family (yes, I’m writing this a few minutes before actually posting it), it hit me. I did need to write something. After dinner, we had a wonderful conversation about all kinds of stuff. But it sunk in during the ride home. Sometimes you just need to stand behind your principles, let other people know what you find important, and most of all: let people know you appreciate them. So that’s what I’m trying to do with this blog post.

I started blogging in September 2011, just as a brain dump for myself. But after a while, I started to notice people were reading my blogs, and I could help them with my posts. This lead to writing bigger blog posts, that were more technical, and not only usable in my specific cases. But blogging was only a gateway to other cool things. Applying for a job for example. Before I started blogging, it was about introducing yourself, and checking if you could fit the company and job. But after a year of blogging, I didn’t need to introduce myself anymore. People just knew I blogged, they read my posts, and they started to get to know me because of that.

Meeting new friends was also a side-effect in the last 2 years. Before that period, I’ve never heard about SQL Family, the community, and the awesome effort people put into that. But now, new doors are opening, and it seems that opportunities are presenting itself sometimes. The people I met, and I call my close friends now, supported me when I need it, helped me where they could, and kicked me in the butt when the situation asked for it.

For the upcoming years, I have a lot of plans, new ideas, and big dreams. And with the friends I’ve made, I think that’ll become reality. So thank you all out there: readers, authors, contributors, mentors, role models, heroes, and most of all: thank you my friends!

SQLBits: The new standard

Normally I don’t write blog posts about events I visit. But last week I attended my first SQLBits, and to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s just another conference I thought, with a lot of interesting sessions, nothing fancy. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong than that! SQLBits isn’t just a conference, it’s a cool event where you get to meet new people, see famous speakers talk, interact with them, and they organized an AWESOME party!

SQLBits was held in Telford, UK, close to Birmingham. By train it took about an hour away from the airport in Birmingham to Telford. The conference center was a beautiful location, with hotels close by. So you didn’t have to travel in the morning to go to the conference center. You just needed to cross the parking lot to get to the location.

On Thursday they organized pre-cons, which are full day instructor led training sessions. You need to pay for these pre-cons, but they’re definitely worth the money. You could choose a session from a list of 11, and I attended a pre-con led by Brent Ozar (Blog | @BrentO) about Virtualization, SANs, and Hardware for SQL Server.

Brent talked about how RPO and RTO are the starting points of any SQL Server architecture. He advises that the business needs to fill out a form about RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective), so they start thinking about what they ask IT people. After that, he discussed backup strategies, HA (High Availability) and DR (Disaster Recovery) designs, SAN’s and SQL Server hardware. And even though I was familiar with some of the subjects he talked about, it was definitely a good way to look at certain things again from another perspective.

Both Friday and Saturday were filled with good sessions . It started with a keynote from Nigel Ellis (Blog | @chillidemon) about Azure. It was a really interesting talk, and a good start of the day.

After that I saw some very interesting sessions about various subjects. The rooms were good, and all on 1 floor. So no huge groups that want to change floors, which I’ve seen at other conferences. This meant that rooms were easily accessible, and you could switch rooms between sessions very quick.

The party
On Friday night there was a party, organized by the SQLBits team. And while I’m writing this, I’m still impressed when I look back at the party. They had it all sorted out: great food, great people, great theme! Just perfect! The theme of the party was steampunk. They arranged for a carousel, huge slide (the Helter Skelter), and various carnival booths with games and entertainment. You can find pictures of the party on Twitter.

Looking back at the party, it was the best post-conference party I’ve ever seen so far. EVER!

Food and drinks
Just a small thing, but this really shows that the SQLBits crew really had it sorted out: the food could be found on several locations, and there were people that carried trays with food on it. They served the food in small, square bowls which were pretty handy to hold. Also, they served a number of different dishes, so you could pick whatever you liked.

The drinks were available throughout the conference center. So if you walked from one session to another, you could grab a coffee, tea, water or juice. It was really nice that they choose this setup, instead of 1 or 2 locations, which would’ve resulted in an endless line of people.

If you attended SQLBits, one of the ways to let the organizers know how you think, is by filling out the feedback forms. Even if you have any negative feedback, please let them know. You can fill in the form in the links below:

If you attended any of the days at SQLBits please can you all fill out the following survey:

If you attended the Thursday Training Day then please fill out the following survey:

If you attended the Friday Deep Dives Day then please fill out the following survey:

If you attended the Saturday Community Day then please fill out the following survey:

You’ll help the organizers with your feedback, so they can make the next SQLBits even better (if that’s possible), and you get a chance to win a £100 Amazon voucher!

The last thing I wanted to do is give a HUGE compliment to the organizers of SQLBits, the volunteers and all attendees that made this an awesome event! I’m already looking forward to next year!

Friends of Red Gate Project

A few weeks ago I received the official confirmation that I’ll be a part of the Friends of Red Gate 2014 program. This program allows the participants to directly communicate with the product teams, provide feedback to teams, and try out beta-builds of tools.


The Red Gate tools are easy to use, and give you the upper hand on administering servers and databases. So together with other Friends of Red Gate, we decided to write a series of blog posts about the tools. The first one will be posted tomorrow. In these blog posts, we will try to show you why you should use their tools, and what problems they can solve for you.

The group that will write posts just like me consists of 3 other people:

Mickey Stuewe (Blog | @SQLMickey) from Orange County, USA
Chris Yates (Blog | @YatesSQL) from Kentucky, USA
Julie Koesmarno (Blog | @MsSQLGirl) from Canberra, Australia

So when you’re interested in reading about the tools from Red Gate, or you want to see how people use the same tools in different jobs, you should definitely check out this series!

2013 – a summary

Now that 2013 is almost over, everybody is starting to create lists. I’m not going to bother you with endless lists to sum up this year. You can find the most important things for this year below.

Blog posts
Last year I set myself a goal: write more blog posts in 2013 then in 2012. In 2012 I wrote 29 posts, which is about 2.5 per month. In 2013 I managed to write 33 blog posts (about 2.75 per month). It’s still not the amount I hoped, but at least it’s better. So that makes a 25% increase compared to last year.

One of the advantages of writing more, is the increase in website traffic. Compared to last year, I’m at about 4x more traffic. This is something I’m particularly proud of, because that’s a way to give something back to the community. It’s awesome to help people solve a problem, and I owe it to all of you that helped me in the past and now.

SQL Saturday
The first SQL Saturday I attended: SQLSaturday #221 – Holland 2013. It was a wonderful event, where I’ve seen a lot of good sessions by some great speakers, and met a lot of people in person. Hopefully the next SQL Saturday will be as great as this one!

One of the things that was on the list was working on a job as a consultant. A couple of friends gave me the opportunity to try that, and I liked it very much! Hopefully 2014 will be the year that I can expand this, and work on more projects as a consultant.

Great people
But the greatest thing this year was meeting a lot of wonderful people from the SQL community. I met some of them online, and some of them in person. Thank you, especially the ones I now consider friends. You know I’m talking about you when you read this.

Looking at 2014 there are a lot of cool things coming. Hopefully this is going to be a busy year, and year that I can give back more to the community as a speaker and author. At this moment I can’t talk about these big plans, but when I can I’ll post it here.

I wish you all a healthy, happy and productive 2014! – Free Modelling Tool

One of the many tasks of a DBA, is to create documentation or designing your (new) environment. Last week, I started this journey myself. Normally I would use Microsoft Office Visio, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get myself a license for that, and I didn’t want to use a trial version. So what other options do you have then?

In my quest to find a free to use modelling tool, I found It’s a free online modelling tool, with an amazing amount of options!

If you open the link, the web application will load. Once it’s loaded, you see a blank drawing. In this blank drawing, you can add your shapes, texts, etc.

You can click on General in the left column to collapse it, and then right-click on General. Now a menu will pop up that allows you to add more shapes to the menu:


For example, if you add the Rack shapes to the menu, you’re able to add all kinds of server rack images to your diagram. For example the racks from Dell:


So as you can see, there are a lot of possibilities when you use And if you ask me, it’s a good alternative if you need to draw up a diagram quickly, and don’t have Visio installed.