Study and Reference Materials

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You could write books on SQL Server reference and study material.  Here are some of the ones I use.


Still and always one of the best places to find out things about SQL Server.

SQL Youtube workshops

This is a list of labs and workshops available on Youtube and Gibhub curated by the by the SQL Server and Azure SQL teams in Microsoft Engineering. This is very high quality stuff and worth taking a look at and working your way through.

Wait stats

Wait stats are one of those really important subjects that every DBA gets exposed to at some point in time. Well the SQL Skills team has posted a library of them! The entries for each wait stat has at least a description and the extended events wait_type value. For more common wait stats there is also an Other Information section that gives more detail including suggestions on things you can try to smooth things out.

The SQL Server Execution Plan Reference

If you have to spend any time with performance tuning you’ve had to look over query plans. Well guess what! Hugo Kornelis has a library with all kinds of information about the various operators and their properties. It’s truly a work of art. Thanks Hugo!

Blogger resource kit

This is amazing resource provided by Andy Mallon (blog|twitter). There are all kinds of references including links for Demo & Mock data, Graphics, Graphic design, Stock photos, hosting resources and more. And one of my favorites. He has a list of a ton of bloggers and influencers with links to their blog and twitter accounts that you can just paste into your blog.

SQL Theater

Doug Lane has started a new training project. There is your standard blog and a subscription email setup with a targeted direction.

  • SQL Techniques
  • Intro to presenting
  • Step up your presenting game

Now for those that don’t know it Doug is not only highly skilled at SQL Server but a master presenter. I’ve subscribed to it myself and look forward to seeing how it goes.

MCM Videos

Probably some of the best free training out there. They are pretty old, but SQLSkills has added some Pluralsight references to updated training and removed some of the out of date stuff. You can also check out their MCM Pre-Reading List.  Be aware this stuff is somewhat advanced.  Make sure you are at least somewhat familiar with the subject first or you could be watching the video over and over again before you gain much understanding.

SQL Bits

More free training videos! SQLBits provides access to videos of their past sessions.

Practice Tests

I like practice tests.  Probably one of my favorite study aids.  I do the test, and then study whatever I got wrong.  Not just the answer to the question, but the whole subject.


  • RedGate Books – Some of these have free PDF downloads available.


These can be a good place to read up on what kinds of problems other people had.


Posters can be a really helpful way to store a lot of information in a very small space.


On the same vein as forums.  There are hundreds out there.  Here are a few I follow.


  • Connection strings – Have questions about connection strings? This site has the most comprehensive list of options and examples I’ve ever seen.
  • Trace Flags – The BOL entry for Trace Flags, a list of the supported ones, and links to support entries for each one (well, most anyway).
  • Pass TV is a youtube channel with recordings of a number of sessions from old Summits and 24 hours of pass.
  • Microsoft Learning
    • Of course Microsoft has a learning page for all it’s products.  When I’m studying for a certification I find it’s very important to look at the skills tested for that exam.
    • Microsoft also has the Microsoft Virtual Academy. This site has a number of different “courses” that include some very good free video’s on a variety of subjects.
    • Microsofts virtual labs. Not just SQL Server and they are quite good.
  • DBAReactions
    • Not really study material but everyone needs a break.
    • Lots of great training available.  They even have some of my blog entries featured so you know their stuff is quality.
  • Zilckh’s page on Microsoft’s virtual labs
    • Zilckh lists a number of links for Microsoft virtual labs. I haven’t tried one yet but they look very useful!
  • SqlServerCentral’s Stairways
    • These are kind of a mini book made up of articles posted by one or two people.
  • Devin Knight provides a great chart that maps SSIS datatypes with SQL Server ones.

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