What is a blog without talking about your own work a bit? My last post of the year will be to tell you about a book that I contributed to that is hot off the presses called SQL Server 2005 Practical Troubleshooting: The Database Engine
Ken Henderson approached several of us in PSS about contributing to a book on troubleshooting some time back. This was fairly soon after the latest Guru's Guide came out. Several of us helped review the chapters of that last book, so Ken knew we had some ability to write our thoughts down in a chapter style format. At first I was a bit hesitant. It is one thing to present your work at a conference like PASS in a 90 minute talk, but to put it down into a book I knew would not be that easy. I went ahead and agreed to be part of the book team and started coming up ideas for my chapters. I ran into a challenge I didn't expect. It wasn't hard to find the material. I had tons of information to share. The challenge was how to organize it and present it. When Ken asked me what I wanted to write about, I knew immediately I had plenty of troubleshooting advice in two areas of the engine: Data Recovery and Server Crashes. This is an area of the product I've spent a great deal working on since I've joined Microsoft. I spent a long time throughout the SQL Server 2005 dev cycle providing feedback to the SQL Development team about features we need in these areas.
When I saw the final version as a pre-order copy at the PASS Summit, I was pretty pleased with my chapters and the entire book in general. Never before has anyone collected so much information about troubleshooting SQL Server as in this book. The brainpower and information from the authors alone is fairly staggering. Everyone on this book team has access to the source code and likely had to reference it a few times to ensure accurate information was published about the behavior (or should I say misbehavior) of the product.
I encourage you to review the book and see if it fits your needs. I think you will find this book will not only give you ideas as a DBA about how to plan and react to problems, but there is also a great deal of internals in this book to build up your knowledge. It is difficult for senior support engineers and developers to not put in internals about "how things work" when talking about how to solve problems. There is also information for developers. Whether it be information about locking, procedure cache, or query plans or it be to learn more about SQL Server 2005 manages memory and tempdb, developers and DBAs will both get information that is not documented anywhere else.
I enjoyed the experience and am anxious to hear the feedback from the community, positive and negative. If you do purchase this book and have some specific feedback about my chapters on data recovery and server crashes, I would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the book is successful, then I have no doubt in the near future I'll run into Ken in our breakroom in our offices in Texas and hear him talk about starting the next one.
Bob Ward, Microsoft