Recently, I was speaking at a SQL Saturday event (www.sqlsaturday.com), when I encountered a question that I've been getting more and more often. It went something like this: "I know that I can look up a lot of SQL Server blogs thru the various aggregators, such as SQLBlog.com, SQLServerPedia.com, SQLServerCentral.com, and SQLMag.com, but what are the very best high-end blogs that you read?" Since this is an evergreen question, I figured I'd provide a more permanent answer and anchor it here at DBTA.com and on my own blog.
First, there are a very large number of good blogs out there and I can't possibly discuss all of them. So I'm going to focus on what I know best, blogs primarily about the SQL Server relational engine written at a master level. What makes a master-level blog? In my opinion, the blogger focuses on deep internal behaviors within the SQL Server relational engine. Often, a master-level blog post is differentiated from the next rung down simply by the amount of testing, configuration, and setup proving the point of the blog post. More journeyman-level blog posts (and mine are frequently in this category) may discuss such nuanced subjects, (e.g., "This particular technique is 28% faster than the default approach!") but are paraphrased and do not detail the exact steps taken to verify the finding.
With that said, here are my favorite master-level blogs for the SQL Server professional, in no particular order:
http://sqlblog.com/blogs/linchi_shea/default.aspx Linchi has been a Microsoft SQL Server MVP for a long time and has worked in two financial institutions in Manhattan since I've known him. He doesn't blog very often, but his posts always have high impact and reveal hidden gems about SQL Server performance, often on very nuanced details of the database engine.
http://sqlskills.com The bloggers at SQLSkills, a consulting and training company, are among the most renowned in the SQL Server world, and with good reason. Paul Randal, a former lead on the Microsoft SQL Server storage engine team, is not only intimately knowledgeable about SQL Server internals, he's a darned good writer too. Kimberly Tripp taught me my very first SQL Server course way back on SQL Server 6.0. Jonathan Kehayias and Joe Sack are somewhat new to the team, but their posts reflect their Master's certification in SQL Server. (Bob Beauchemin is a world-class BI expert.)
http://www.sqlmag.com/author/5037667/KalenDelaney Kalen has been working hard documenting and explaining SQL Server ever since it ran on UNIX as a Sybase product-and it shows. (Yes, kids, that was before there was an internet). Her blog posts consistently provide deep insight and unique findings on SQL Server behavior. Other material at http://sqlblog.com/blogs/kalen_delaney/default.aspx.
http://sqlblog.com/blogs/paul_white/default.aspx Paul, writing from New Zealand, has been blogging for a couple of years now but just recently was awarded MVP status by Microsoft. Paul's blog reflects an unquenchable curiosity about how SQL Server works, and he is painstakingly dedicated to fully uncovering and documenting what happens under the covers of the SQL Server relational engine.
There also are indispensable blogs from Microsoft that are top-notch. I don't have time to name them all, but they include:
http://sqlcat.com/sqlcat/b/msdnmirror/default.aspx The SQL Server Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT) members are the jedi knight/ninja-warriors of the Microsoft SQL Server support organization. They solve the hardest problems encountered by Microsoft customers and, then, to our benefit, document their findings.
CSS SQL Server Engineers
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql The Microsoft SQL Server Customer Support and Service team members are all friends of mine. Many of them have decades of experience on SQL Server and know the product inside and out. As a support team, they write posts dealing with foibles and problems inside SQL Server, but they never fail to instruct.
In the next issue, I'll discuss my favorite "workin' man" blogs for the SQL Server professionl. I'd like to hear your favorites as well; so, message me on Twitter (@kekline), or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.