Last month, I told you about my favorite master-level blogs for the SQL Server professional. This month, I'm reviewing my favorite blogs for working SQL Server professionals who seriously want to grow their skills. What's the difference between a master-level blog and a practitioner-level blog, you ask?
In my opinion, a master-level blog provides well-written insight into the deep internals and hidden behaviors of the database engine. There aren't a lot of people who know that kind of information and most of those who do aren't writing about it. Thankfully, there still are several outstanding and prolific bloggers who provide amazing detail about how and why SQL Server does what it does. Practitioner-level databases aren't concerned as much with the ‘why' of things, but are much more focused on the ‘how to' of things. Good practitioner-level blogs frequently document existing best practices, or even establish new ones that later grow to wide adoption.
As a quick shortcut, the SQL Server community has grown several good aggregation sites where many writers and bloggers regularly post. Be sure to add this shortlist to your RSS reader or blogroll. They are, in no particular order: SQLBlog.com, SQLServerPedia.com, SQLServerCentral.com, SSWUG.org, SQLTeam.com, MSSQLTips.com, and SQLMag.com. I also like the UK-based SQLServerFAQ.com.
With that said, here are my favorite practitioner-level blogs for the SQL Server professional, in no particular order:
Brent Ozar PLF, http://brentozar.com: While Brent Ozar is a Microsoft Certified Master with expert-level skills, his website is probably the best in terms of clear, concise writing on evergreen subjects for the SQL Server DBA, like I/O tuning, backup and recovery, and query tuning. Brent and his partners cover a wide variety of topics pertinent to SQL Server people in a variety of media, including great articles, as well as how-to videos and regularly scheduled webcasts.
Thomas LaRock, http://thomaslarock.com/: Thomas LaRock, the author of DBA Survivor Guide, writes practical and useful information for DBAs. His content is not only technically strong, it also covers a lot of useful professional development concerning things like raising your profile, social networking, interviewing, promotions, and so forth. In addition, Tom keeps a great ranking of other independent SQL Server bloggers on his Rankings page (http://thomaslarock.com/rankings/).
Buck Woody, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/buckwoody/: Buck Woody excels in two main areas - cloud computing and DBA checklists. In his day job, Buck serves as a senior technical specialist for the Azure team at Microsoft, so is one of the first bloggers to evangelize cool new features in SQL Azure and Windows Azure. And since he doesn't ever seem to sleep, he always gets the scoop. Plus, as a long time DBA, Buck has a strong attention to repeatable and simple checklists that can make your life as a DBA much easier.
Glenn Berry, http://sqlserverperformance.wordpress.com/: Glenn Berry has two specialties - writing great T-SQL scripts for extracting performance data from SQL Servers, and reviewing new hardware, CPUs, and IO products in terms of their performance impact. Invaluable stuff!
There are many, many other great bloggers out there. I suggest you read one or more of the blog aggregators that I mentioned earlier, or use Tom LaRock's Rankings page (http://thomaslarock.com/rankings/) to explore other bloggers providing unique and interesting content.
I'd like to hear your favorite practitioner-level blogs as well. So leave a comment here, message me on Twitter (@kekline), or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).