Hi there and thank you for dropping by my Blog!
My name is Mark Broadbent and I am a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server (there are approximately 28 of us in the UK and 220 worldwide) and as luck would have it, also work primarily as a SQL Server Specialist. I am currently a PASS UK Regional Mentor and the event founder and lead to SQLSaturday Cambridge -the UK’s first ever SQLSaturday. I also run the Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group which is a PASS Chapter leader and am a regular speaker at local and international SQL Server conferences. Generally I am known best for my High Availability and Disaster Recovery knowledge and incidentally you can catch me next at SQLSaturday Edinburgh where I will deliver my Real World SQL Server High Availability Masterclass. If this is of interest to you then I recommend you first check out my abstract which can be found here, however I am passionate about the entire SQL Server stack.
A little history
I have been working with SQL Server since 1997 starting with SQL 6.5. I currently hold professional Microsoft accreditations MCSE+i, MCAD.NET, MCDBA, MCITP in Database Administration for SQL 2005 and SQL 2008 and MCITP in Database Development for SQL 2008 and finally the Microsoft Certified Master Certification and the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (by charter).
When I first started working in IT, Microsoft Windows did not exist, MS-DOS was in its infancy and Lotus 1-2-3/ Lotus Symphony were the leading spreadsheet/ office solution at the time.
My love affair of SQL Server began whilst I was working in the Corporate Headoffice of a then FTSE 100 company called Inchcape PLC. At the time they were using SQL Server 6.5 as a storage solution for Corporate Documents that were relentlessly scanned into the system by the Corporate Affairs team using a third-party application called PCDOCSOpen. I was quite lucky at the time to be given the responsibility of looking after the systems which made up this solution and was told to book myself on a training course.
Whilst scanning through possible MOC SQL courses (which were then limited) I noticed that the MOC SQL Server 7 beta training course was a possibility and I put the request in there and then (although this resulted in a worthwhile wrist slap since the company had no immediate intention of upgrading).
Anybody who has ever used SQL Server 6.5 will tell you that it was restrictive. It was obvious to me from the very beginning that SQL 7 was very different and was going to grow in popularity. In fact its revamped design and conceptual front end has survived all these years, even now. In all my subsequent positions I have used and supported SQL Server and continue to do so today.
The next key stage in my career came whilst I was working for Nokia as an independent contractor. At the time I had read about a new technology Framework being developed called .NET and in particular a brand new language called C#. More importantly I knew of the Chief Architect behind it (Anders Hejlsberg) who I was very aware of due to his work on Turbo Pascal and Delphi (which I had previously dabbled with in another lifetime). I therefore set myself the goal of learning this true OOP language to a strong degree of competence and more importantly learn OOP. The driver for doing this, was that at the time many articles had started to surface on the Internet and in SQL Server Magazine suggesting that learning C# was going to become critical to being a DBA. I knew at the time that these suggestions were slightly fanciful but nevertheless wanted the challenge. When I first started, .NET 1.0 had been released and I used a third-party freeware IDE called SharpDevelop. I then started to work my way through book after book, contributed to the MS C# newsgroup and also communicated with some of the experts for help and advice such as Jon Skeet (who was great because he would never give you a direct answer, only enough information you needed in order to solve your own problem). Meanwhile I continued to contribute to the MS SQL Server newsgroups and in between all of this perform my daily duties.
It was during this time that I started and completed my MCDBA for SQL 2000 (which ironically includes one SQL 7 certification). By the release of .NET 1.1 I was sufficiently skilled in C#, ASP.NET and XML to take and pass my MCAD.NET exams and finally I took one more .NET exam but stopped one short of the grand MCSD.NET. It still rankles me to this day that I never fully completed this!
Over the coming years I then went on to do various positions that fell into 1 or more of the following categories => DBA/ Developer/ Manager with varying levels of enjoyment and success. In more recent times I have tried to focus my skills more in the direction of Database Administration and from time to time use my development skills to do something nifty with the CLR or simple DBA client productivity applets.
I am always ready and willing to help others achieve their potential and hopefully learn something from them at the same time. I can usually be found and contacted via twitter @retracement and look forward to talking to you!
PASS Community Spotlight – Mark Broadbent – January 2013
New year Aspirations – Mark Broadbent – SQLSaturday by Richard Douglas
Lifting the Lid on Database Snapshots (Guest Post by Mark Broadbent)
My outstanding volunteer award
PASS Summit 2013 Program Survey Results