Giving Away FREE Access to My SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery Deep Dive Course

Yesterday, I tweeted about giving away FREE access to my online course on Udemy (and, yes, it’s a birthday gift from me). If you’ve been following my blog post, you may already know that I’ve launched my very first learning experiment last week via the online course. I haven’t really promoted the course yet (aside from SQL Server MVP and MCM Brent Ozar mentioning it on his blog post) which is kind of unusual for me since I also write about topics on the subject.

When I was preparing for the course, I had two things in mind. First, I wanted the course to have an impact on both the ones taking it and those who matter to them. I had several assumptions of those who might be interested in taking it. They’re the ones who really do care about their personal growth – those who invest time and resources to learn about something new so that they can improve themselves. These are the folks reading books, blog posts, whitepapers, articles and even someone else’s code during their spare time. They attend conferences, user group meetings and events so long as their time and budget allow them to. They search the internet for free stuff when their budget doesn’t allow them to invest in additional resources and they regularly try out something new. They do this not only because they feel the personal satisfaction of improving and developing themselves but also because they want to spend more time on the things that really matter to them – family, friends, loved ones, etc. Second, I want the course to become a part of their career. They say “experience is the best teacher“. I say learned experience is. What good is knowledge if it isn’t applied. How many books have been collecting dust on the bookshelf, waiting for their turn to be opened and read by their owners? How many concepts learned have been applied? We don’t need more ideas. What we need is to apply the ideas and lessons that we’ve already learned.

And, that’s the story behind why I am giving away FREE access to my online course. I have made the first five lectures of the online course accessible to anyone who has access to the internet – no need to register to Udemy to access them. If you’ve found this blog post, it means you are a SQL Server professional who is serious about personal growth (and I’m pretty sure you’ve also seen the free lectures.) The first five lectures contain very important concepts in high availability and disaster recovery, things that we technology professionals don’t even think about sometimes. In fact, this is the foundation behind implementing effective high availability and disaster recovery solutions. Even non-SQL Server professionals will benefit from these free lectures.


In order to be one of the twelve lucky individuals who will receive FREE access to the full course, you must take the following actions:

  1. Leave a comment below. What are the TOP 3 ideas that you have taken away from the first five modules of the course? And how do you intend to apply those 3 ideas in your organization or your customers? Be creative. You’ll never know if those ideas end up being implemented – either by you or someone else.
  2. Fill out my Contact Form. Provide a valid email address that you check on a regular basis. You want to make sure that my email announcement doesn’t end up in your Spam folder.
  3. Share this this blog post via social media.  Use the #SQLHADRRocks hashtag on Twitter, share it on Facebook (I know Facebook now uses hashtags as well,) LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, and anything else you can think of. Include at least one of the links in your comment below.

On Tuesday, 01-Oct-2013, I will be selecting twelve (12) lucky individuals based on my evaluation of their submission. If you have been selected, you will receive a personal email from me on 13-Oct-2013. If you didn’t receive any email from me, you can assume that your submission was not selected.

[UPDATE: 01-Oct-2013] I’ve received requests to extend the deadline to 07-Oct-2013 due to very tight schedules. So, you still have a week to go to take advantage of this. I guess I didn’t promote it well enough 🙂

[UPDATE: 08-Oct-2013] The winners have been chosen. Expect an email from me and enjoy FREE access to the online course.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “Giving Away FREE Access to My SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery Deep Dive Course

  1. Hi Edwin,

    First off – Great job,I really enjoyed watching the first 5 modules,and as you mentioned they are really really important when you start thinking of HADR.

    I like your way of mentioning real life stories and examples. Kudos in that front.

    Here are my takeaways –

    1st Idea – To really know and understand the people who are involved.

    In most of the large enterprises there will be different teams handling the various tasks when there is a DR situation or during the planning phase.I understand how important is for a DBA to collaborate with each of those persons to ensure that the plan is properly tested,and with real good collaboration the whole plan will work just like magic in the event of a disaster.

    2nd Idea – Bad things do happen and be prepared for that.

    We cant predict what will happen tomorrow,but we can be prepared to ensure that we are ready when the bad thing strikes. Planning a HADR solution is good,but practicing it will ensure that we are ready for any challenges. Be it 3 AM in the morning,if we have a solid plan which is tested out really well,then we dont worry about Sandy’s or Irene’s.

    3rd Idea – Not to be shy and ask questions.

    What is that impact which you are going to face if your system is down for 30mins? How much of data you can afford to loose? These are the basic questions which needs to be asked during a HADR planning and these questions “should” be asked without any hesitation. There is no point being shy during the planning phase and cry out loud when the CTO taps our shoulder during a real DR. If we know the numbers and we plan a solution according to that numbers,then there is nothing which can beat us.

    How I will implement those Ideas –

    1. DR drills. This way I will know who is what and who does what.
    2. Again DR drills.
    3. White board and brainstorming – During the planning phase I will ensure that all the parties involved will be present and everyone will be part of a brainstorming session. This will ensure that all the ideas/feedback’s are received and a proper solution can be designed/prepared. It is also super important to prepare a document on what was discussed and get that approved.

    I wish you good luck on your new course and my sincere B’day wishes to you.


    • Anup,

      Thanks for your responses and your feedback on the course. I really like the third point that you brought up – don’t be shy and ask questions. Majority of us technical professionals are introverts – happy to do their best in their job but uncomfortable with people around them. That is why a successful technology professional includes professional/soft skills development in their growth plan. Communications, leadership management, project planning, team work, decision making, etc. are just a few of the non-SQL Server skills that a SQL Server DBA needs to be ready when tackling an HADR project.

  2. Hi Edwin

    Thank you for your email on HA/DR deep dive course. I met you at SQLBits conference in June this year where you did a presentation on Clustering. That presentation was invaluable to me. In addition, I really appreciated the time you put into answering each of my questions in such great depth. You may be pleased to know that since then, I have successfully implemented 2 SQL 2005 Geo Clusters and a further SQL 2008 Geo Clusters into Live environments. So the transfer of knowledge really paid off :).

    My takeaways:
    1) How important the non-technical skills are, Communication skills, Project Management skills, leadership skills. They are an essential part of any successful implantation. In my project above, I was liaising between the storage team, server team, application team, business users, project manager and non technical management. You have to understand enough about all of those area and use language to be understood in all those areas also.

    2) Making sure you know who is in your pack. Your video highlighted how important every individual is in this pack and they know what their responsibilities are and the responsibilities of other around them. Your plan is as good as your weakest link.

    3) The importance of preparing for uncertainty through preparation. Its not a nice to have, its an essential part of your business process which could determine whether you sink or swim.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to comment on this course and the very best of luck with it.

    Best regards



    Hi Edwin, I can’t thank you enough for posting this opportunity. I am a brand new green dba, I just switch from being a senior storage admin at a medium sized corporate to being a junior oracle/mssql dba. This is exactly the type of information I have been looking for.

    Where I am now, our oracle stack is fully H/A using RAC but in the MSSQL world we are just starting out so I know this is going to help me bring a lot to the table for that effort.

    As for what I got out of the first 5 modules:

    1. Business Impact Analysis can and should drive your targets for RPO/RTO/SLA. I have been involved with setting this goals in the past and more often than not it is just a random guess that gets it created. Using a complete business impact analysis should be a much better way to get these created at the value they should be.

    2. The idea presented in the lions and pack. Since I work for a very large corporation we have many many many people as our lions that I had never before considered part of the process. I especially liked the part about the driver of the fuel truck for the generator. This made me realize that I need to put a priority on knowing all of our support information so I can find all of the lions when I need to in a pinch.

    3. Updating the runbook/dr documentation as part of production configuration changes. I think this one speaks for itself, there is no better trigger to update the runbook and no easier way to rememer to do it. I know this suggestion will hit no roadblocks.

    Thank you again, even if I have to pay for the course I think I am going to have to find a way to get access.

  4. 1. Data is an investment that needs to be protected. Protection means the ability to recover from a disaster and also have high availability. If you don’t have those two features, then you can lose your data or you cannot access it when needed. That is the concept of “it is an insurance policy” for your data as you mentioned.
    2. Nothing replaces experience. It is important to have it and it can be gained by practice. The biggest problem with DR is usually the people involved in setting it up, they put things together and forget about it. It needs to be tested regularly for staff to be prepared during a real disaster. The only thing worse than not having a DR/HA solution is to not know how to recover when a disaster hits. Documentation helps, but practice and preparation are extremely important.
    3. RTO and RPO need to be communicated with the Business Line/Users/Management to set expectations. If your recovery window should be an hour, that means that you need to make sure your RTO is within an hour to meet your SLA. Similarly, if your business cannot stand to lose more than one hour of data, your RPO needs to be set accordingly. Again, without proper communication with the business you cannot establish the SLA expectations. Without proper preparation, you will not be able to make the RTO and the business may start to lose valuable money, or other important assets.

    One overarching concept in these sets of videos is the need for the Data professional to be in tuned with the business side of things. I think that it is fantastic that you have outlined these concepts in the first videos because there is a HUGE non-technical aspect of DR/HA that many people miss. If the business has an expectation that you cannot meet, or you do not understand, it causes your DR/HA investment to be worthless.