Tag Archives: Community

Speaking at SQLSaturday Chicago – 600!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Chicago!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Chicago on March 11th 2017! And wow, 600 SQLSaturdays! This one won’t let you down. Check out the amazing schedule!

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is Networking Internals for the SQL Server Professional” 

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Here’s the abstract for the talk

Once data leaves your SQL Server do you know what happens or is the world of networking a black box to you? Would you like to know how data is packaged up and transmitted to other systems and what to do when things go wrong?  Are  you tired of being frustrated with the network team? In this session we introduce how data moves between systems on networks and TCP/IP internals. We’ll discuss real world scenarios showing you how your network’s performance impacts the performance of your SQL Server and even your recovery objectives.

Friend of Redgate – 2017

I’m excited to announce that I have been named a Friend of Redgate for 2017. The program targets influential people in their respective technical communities such as SQL, .NET and ALM and enables us to participate in the conversation around product and community development.

As a multi-year awardee in the program I get to see first hand the continuing dedication Redgate has to the SQL community and to making great software. I met a ton of really cool, very dedicated people along the way. Thanks for the recognition and I look forward to another great year!

Redgate makes outstanding products! While I focus mainly on the DBA side of things such as SQL Monitor, SQL Backup and SQL Prompt there are many more. I’ve used these tools for years and let’s just say they’re awesome.

Redgate isn’t just software, they’re committed to community and education. Here are some of the things they do to support technical communities:

  • Online resources – SimpleTalkSQL Server Central, and books and Free eBooks. These resources aren’t marketing fluff, it’s killer content written by real experts
  • Events – hosting events, exhibiting at events and supporting user groups across the world. One word can describe this, engaged
Thank you to Redgate for this opportunity! I look forward to participating in this program, sharing my thoughts and learning as much as I can from all involved.
FoRG 2017
If you need you’d like to talk about Redgate’s products and where they fit into your SQL Server system please feel free to contact me.
 
Follow me on Twitter: @nocentino

Speaking at PowerShell Virtual Group of PASS

This month I’ll be speaking to the PowerShell Virtual Chapter of PASS. The session is on Linux OS Fundamentals for the SQL Admin. At the core of the session we will introduce you to OS concepts like managing files and file systems, installation packages, using PowerShell on Linux, managing system services, commands and processes and system resource management. This session is intended for those who have never seen or have very little exposure to Linux but are seasoned Windows or SQL administrators. Things like processes, memory utilization and writing scripts should be familiar to you but are not required.

Sign up now! https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4762712017177605123

Wednesday, February 1, 12:00PM-1:00PM Eastern (GMT-5)

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Abstract

PowerShell and SQL Server are now available on Linux and management wants you to leverage this shift in technology to more effectively manage your systems, but you’re a Windows admin!  Don’t fear! It’s just an operating system! It has all the same components Windows has and in this session we’ll show you that. We will look at the Linux operating system architecture and show you how to interact with and manage Linux system. By the end of this session you’ll be ready to go back to the office and get started working with Linux with a fundamental understanding of how it works.

Interested in growing your knowledge about database systems, sign up for our newsletter today!

Weekly Newsletter

This week we started our Centino Systems weekly newsletter. Check out the first edition here!

The newsletter is going to include the latest in SQL Server and other things in technology that I think are important or interesting…and maybe you will too!

So if you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter go ahead and sign up here!

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional – Data Platform

Today, I’m proud to announce that I have been named a Microsoft MVPData Platform.  This is an exceptional honor and I’m humbled to be included in this group of exceptional data professionals. I really look forward to working with everyone in the MVP community and continuing to contribute to our unmatched SQL Community!

MVP Logo Horizontal Secondary Blue286 CMYK 300ppi

What is an MVP?

Here’s the definition according to Microsoft

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs are driven by their passion, community spirit and their quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.

For 2017, I have been named a Data Platform MVP, which means my technical specialization is on data products like SQL Server. The group of people that have received this award is quite small…by my count 403 worldwide and 100 in the US. I’m honored to be in this group of extremely talented professionals.

Why I’m excited to be an MVP?

Honestly, the primary reason I’m excited to be an MVP is to give back (more), I’ve learned so much from other MVPs and receiving this award will help me build relationships with other MVPs and Microsoft employees to further help develop the Data Platform itself and the community that surrounds that platform.

At the start of 2016 I had set a goal of being an MVP in 5 years. I don’t know why I picked that number, but what I figured was…MVP would be validation of consistent, quality work for our community and being recognized for the work that I’ve contributed. Things like blogging, social medial, public speaking and more. You learn a ton by teaching!

People that have helped along the way

I’d like to thank some folks that have helped me along the way…

  • My wife and family – I certainly couldn’t have done this without their support.
  • Other MVPs – you folks give your time freely and people like me consume what you produce to enrich ourselves. Thank you!
  • Paul Randal – I was in Paul’s 2015 mentoring class, he helped me set the direction of my community involvement. Invaluable guidance!
  • Brent Ozar – without his career blog and I’d have to figure our a lot of stuff on my own. Thanks bud!
  • Steve Jones – him and SQLServerCentral.com have really help give my blog a larger audience. I’ll never forget that first time I got an email about being on the front page of his site :)
  • Microsoft – thanks to you for this recognition!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Nashville!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Nashville!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Nashville on January 14th 2017! This will be my first speaking event this year and I look forward to seeing you there! 

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is Performance Monitoring AlwaysOn Availability Groups (which is one of my favorite sessions)

This is an updated session including new Availability Group Monitoring Extended Events and SQL 2016!

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Here’s the abstract for the talk

Have you deployed Availability Groups in your data center? Are you monitoring your Availability Groups to ensure you can meet your recovery objectives? If you haven’t this is the session for you. We will discuss the importance of monitoring and trending Availability Group Replication, how AGs move data between replicas and the impact replication latency can have on the availability of your systems. We’ll also give you the tools and techniques to go back to the office and get started monitoring and trending right away! 

5 Must Haves Before You Start Consulting

Please join me at IT/Dev Connections on Oct. 12 at 8:00AM* where I’ll be hosting a Birds of a Feather session “Moving to Independent Consulting” Bring your questions!

*Yes, an 8:00AM session in Las Vegas, but if you’re serious about going out on your own…you’ll already be up :)

The most common questions I’m asked during networking sessions at technical conferences and events aren’t technical! People want to know what it’s like being an independent consultant. Things like how to get started and what to look out for are common themes.  So I wanted to share the some of the discussion points I bring up when I’m having these conversations. In this post I’m going to boil it down to the top 5 “must haves” before you start consulting, there’s certainly more…many books have been written about it!

  1. Defining Your Niche 

    This is what you’re going to sell, the thing that your client wants or needs. It’s crucial that you specialize in an area. For me I have a very wide breadth of knowledge but I also have extraordinary depth in many areas. This is due to the excessive :) amount of education and training I’ve put myself through and also my career experiences. That all makes me an exceptional problem solver. The domain of the problem doesn’t matter that much. Give me the information and I’ll work out a solution. But guess what, “problem solver” doesn’t sell! Why? Because when people are looking for consultants, they’re looking for someone to make their problems to go away. These are usually very well defined problems. So define what you’re exceptional at doing, that’s what you’re going to sell. Write it down. Try to build a paragraph out of those ideas. That will be your pitch to your client. This is such a crucial step. It defines who you are to your client. For me I’ve used marketing consultants and mentors to help define my niche. The consultants I’ve worked with are worth every penny and the mentors are invaluable. The funny thing is I’m still fine tuning this. 

  2. Finding the Right Client 

    Once you know what your niche is, you need to identify who you’re marketing to, the consumer of your services. I’d like to be able to say that this “must have” is the most important but they’re all so crucial to success. Who purchases your services and what does that client look like? For me, the people that want my services are Chief (CIO) or Director level people that have a well defined problem to solve that they can’t solve with their internal resources. This can be a system performance issue, high availability design related or an overall system scalability issue. These are the people that make the decisions and sign the contacts. 

    Now the people I work with are the individual contributors on the teams. The architects, engineers and administrators, we develop the solutions and solve the problems, together. What I’ve learned through the years is I like working in smaller teams that have big, interesting problems. So in this sense, size matters. Smaller teams are more agile and as a individual consultant I can affect more positive change in a smaller amount of time. This isn’t entirely going to exclude a potential client, but is something I look at closely when onboarding a new client. Because…personality matters! You need to find a group that you sync up with well. Would you want to go out after work with your team? For me that’s a big facet of finding the right client. Because when you’re in a conference room for hours working out a solution, if you get along with your client, everything will work better. 

    What this all boils down to is…don’t just take any work. This idea is core to your success. You need to be happy with the work you’re performing and who your performing it for. If you’re enjoying it, you’ll produce better results and your client will be happy. Simple enough.

  3. Pricing Your Services 

    You’re worth more than you think, for whatever reason it’s human nature not set your value accurately. It’s also our nature as consultants to want to make our clients happy. But when it comes to setting your rate…you both need to be happy. Think about it this way, if you give a client a huge discount today and later a perfect client comes along at your normal rate, who are you going to want to spend most of your time with? Your focus shifts and your original client isn’t getting the attention they deserve and their satisfaction decreases. Remember, we’re in the business of keeping clients happy! There’s tons of empirical data on the Internet for setting the actual dollar amount based on you’re skills so I won’t go into that. The key here is setting a value that you and your client are pleased with. After a while, your client will care less about your rate because you’re providing value. Solving problems, making their lives easier.

  4. Time Management

    I’m going to be honest, this is my Achilles heel. It’s hard. In fact, scheduling is proven to be NP Hard :) Again there’s tons of data in the web about this and here’s what I do. 

    Time blocking – most of my clients have me on a retainer. I work for them for a fixed amount of time each month (This ties in with pricing, longer term contracts mean better rates for clients and more consistent work for me). But we’re in IT and somethings will take longer than you’ve expected or sometimes something will blow up for one client when you’ve allocated that day to another client. So I allocate my calendar based on my commitments and leave a whole day, each week, for that potential skew. If a client loses time during their scheduled allocation because of a fire, I allocate time out of that extra day. 

    Every day make a list – every morning I sit down and literally write down in a notebook what I need to get done that day. If it’s a big project, break it down into smaller tasks and do those. Doing this provides you a metal boost, a sense of accomplishment. It motivates you to keep moving. 

    Get up early – I wake up around 4:30AM. Yea, don’t laugh. I use this time to wade the sea of email I get and make that list I just told you about. I also read blogs and do the social media thing during this time. It’s my time, the rest of the working day will be my clients’ time. 

    Outsource everything you don’t like doing – Find things you can get rid of and give them to someone else to do for you.

    Billing – in theory this is not completely outsourced as I do my own time and billing. I use Freshbooks for my accounting package, which makes this insanely easy. Freshbooks does all my timekeeping for billable hours, invoicing and expenses. It literally takes me 10 minutes to send bills to clients that include line item details of hours worked and expenses with receipts attached. 

    Get an accountant – taxes are hard and time consuming. I used to like doing them myself, but I found I spent three to four days a year working on this. Not an effective use of my time. 

     

  5. Protecting You and Your Client

    Find an attorney you trust – Have him/her write a general contract for your services with your terms. This will be the base for your negotiations with your client. You’ll send it over to them and if they have a legal team, which many clients do, they’ll send back a version with revisions and sent that right back to your attorney. I have my attorney review every contract, my eyes literally cross when I read them (Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, but I offer my experiences to you as a consultant).

    Insurance – Be certain to have some sort of protection for yourself, there’s many types of insurances for businesses. Some I’ve seen are general liability, professional liability and even cyber liability. On the grand scheme of things these things don’t cost a lot of money and can really help you out of something goes south!

I hope this post gets you started on your road to independent consulting. Take the time to sit down and think about what your motivations are, set some goals and like any technical project you’ve ever worked on build a plan and do all the thinking up front!

Check out these references I used in this post – 

The Secrets of Consulting  – Gerald Weinberg

Brent Ozar’s Personal Blog 

Speaking at IT/Dev Connections!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at IT/Dev Connections on October 11th 2016 in Las Vegas! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be able to speak at this conference! I look forward to seeing you there!

Here’s the information on the talk!

Designing High Availability Database Systems using AlwaysOn Availability Groups

Track: Development Platform Tools and Devops

Abstract:

Are you looking for a high availability solution for your business critical application? You’re heard about AlwaysOn Availability Groups and they seem like a good solution, but you don’t know where to start. It all starts with a solid design. In this session we introduce the core concepts needed to design a Availability Group based system. Covering topics such as recovery objectives, replica placement, failover requirements, synchronization models, quorum, backup and recovery and monitoring. This session is modeled after real world client engagements conducted by Centino Systems that have lead to many successful Availability Groups based systems supporting tier 1 business critical applications.

Learning Objectives: 

This session highlights the importance of doing thorough design work up front. Attendees will learn core concepts needed for successful Availability Group based systems. This includes, recovery objectives, replica placement, failover requirements, synchronization models, quorum, backup and recovery and monitoring. From this session attendees will have a firm footing on where to start when they start designing their AlwaysOn Availability Group based systems.

IT\Dev Connections

Speaking at SQLSaturday Baton Rouge!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Baton Rouge on August 6th 2016! This will be my forth SQLSaturday event this year and I’m really excited that I get to do it as a speaker. I look forward to seeing you there! 

If you don’t know what SQL Saturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQL Saturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is “Performance Monitoring AlwaysOn Availability Groups”

This is an updated session including new Availability Group Monitoring Extended Events and SQL 2016!

Also, during this session I will be giving away not one, but TWO Licenses to Redgate’s SQLMonitor! This way you can head home and start monitoring your Availability Groups!

SQLSaturday Baton Rouge

Here’s the abstract for the talk

Have you deployed Availability Groups in your data center? Are you monitoring your Availability Groups to ensure you can meet your recovery objectives? If you haven’t this is the session for you. We will discuss the importance of monitoring and trending Availability Group Replication, how AGs move data between replicas and the impact replication latency can have on the availability of your systems. We’ll also give you the tools and techniques to go back to the office and get started monitoring and trending right away! 

Speaking at SQLSaturday Sacramento!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Sacramento on July 23th 2016! This will be my third SQLSaturday event this year and I’m really excited that I get to do it as a speaker. I look forward to seeing you there! 

If you don’t know what SQL Saturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQL Saturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is “Performance Monitoring AlwaysOn Availability Groups”

This is an updated session including new Availability Group Monitoring Extended Events and SQL 2016!

SQLSaturday Sacrameto

Here’s the abstract for the talk

Have you deployed Availability Groups in your data center? Are you monitoring your Availability Groups to ensure you can meet your recovery objectives? If you haven’t this is the session for you. We will discuss the importance of monitoring and trending Availability Group Replication, how AGs move data between replicas and the impact replication latency can have on the availability of your systems. We’ll also give you the tools and techniques to go back to the office and get started monitoring and trending right away!