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SQLSaturday Pensacola 2017 – Interview with Friday, June 2nd precon trainers and @MidnightDBA hosts, Sean and Jen McCown


Yesterday we discussed with Tim Mitchell his training “Building Better SSIS Packages happening Thursday, June 1st for our upcoming SQLSaturday Pensacola. Now let’s learn more about our Friday seminar, “The Enterprise Maintenance Lifecycle: Problems & Solutions”, with trainers Sean McCown and Jen McCown.

The McCown’s, owners of MinionWare, LLC, have an extensive background as DBAs, using their combined years of experience to create Minion, a suite of products to help you manage your servers and databases. They also host a show on Friday evenings, DBAs@Midnight. Now to the interview…

How long have you been working with SQL Server, and what brought you into working with it? 

Sean: 22yrs.  Actually, I was a French chef before so falling into SQL was quite an accident.  Getting into the full story now would take too long.

Jen: I’ve been working with SQL Server since sometime in the early 2000s, so that makes over 15 years. Like almost everyone else, I was doing something else when I was asked to do a little database work. Then, Sean told me that databases were way better (and more lucrative) than the work I’d mostly been doing before, so I took his word for it! (He was right, by the way.) 

The training you are doing for us on Friday, June 2nd, “The Enterprise Maintenance Lifecycle: Problems & Solutions”, what do you hope attendees gain from it?

Sean: So many DBAs don’t have a solid understanding of what it takes to have a maintenance plan in an enterprise.  I see it all the time where they’ve got completely different solutions on all their servers.  There are a number of issues that are caused by one-offing solutions, and simply not having a coherent plan.  I want you to come away with an understanding of the different aspects of maintenance that you need to take into account, as well as a cohesive strategy for your shop.  We’ll talk through all this with you and send you away with a working solution that you can deploy everywhere.  The class is very demo heavy and we discuss every aspect of your server maintenance routines.

Jen: I hope they learn to fly. Barring that, I hope they really get a good, distilled shot of our combined experience: the backup and maintenance issues that get overlooked or glossed over, the really really important things that get overlooked or glossed over…you get the picture.

What made you decide to start doing full day trainings for SQLSaturday events?

Sean: This topic especially isn’t covered in any depth by anyone out there.  You can find a blog post here and there on backups, etc., but nothing in the depth you need to truly manage an enterprise.  I wanted to have the freedom to explore this very deep topic as fully as I can.  My only regret is that I’ve only got one day.

Jen: Why did I start doing full day training? Sean bet me I couldn’t talk for 8 hours straight. Guess I showed him.  Also, we seriously have a lot to say about backups and maintenance, that we think is absolutely vital for every SQL Server DBA.

What do you feel are the top 5 most exciting features to come out in SQL Server over the past 3 years?

Sean: Certainly none of the Azure stuff.  I like the features that do production DBAs some good.  And I tend to like the lesser-known features.  I really like delayed durability for heavy OLTP shops.  I also love that they’re making some of the legacy data types able to reindex online… has that been within three years?  Oh well… And I like that they’re merging a lot of the functionality between enterprise and standard.

Jen: Don’t look at me…I’m still excited about the DMVs and windowing functions! 

What are some things you like to do for fun when you aren’t on the road presenting and volunteering for user groups and SQLSaturday events?

Sean: Well, I still cook a lot.  I’ve been baking more in the past year than I have before.  I’ve also been doing Kenpo since I was 15, and I garden.  Fruits and veggies mostly.  I’ve got a number of fruit trees, fruit bushes, herbs and the like.

Jen: I run, I read, I pick up various hobbies and put them back down again. Three years ago I built the kids a tree house. This year I’m registering people to vote, and thinking really hard about picking up the piano again (not literally).

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.

Jen: I wear a size 10.5 running shoe. And I’ll answer for Sean, since he wanted to say something about bonnets…he’s got the best defined calves I’ve ever seen on an IT guy.

The McCown’s have also provided a video on what you’ll learn at this precon.

Rates for both our precons go up May 5th, so be sure and register this week to save yourself $20. The link again to the McCown’s training is here.

Be sure to also reserve your spot for SQLSaturday Pensacola!

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