After helping to plan several SQL Saturday events, planning Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group meetings, planning a Wanna Be A DBA track, and chatting with others in the community; I’ve come to realize that people often ask me how and where they can learn more about SQL Server. I start rattling off a list of places that they can go, and they start scribbling like mad to keep up with all the resources that I mention.
This page is to document good resources for beginners and seasoned pros alike. It is by no means a comprehensive list. I will continue to add more resources to this page in the future, as I find other places of value.  Updates can be found at  Send me a message if there’s anything else that you think is worth adding to this list as well.  I welcome your feedback!


SQL Saturday (
There’s nothing better than a full day of free training!  There is typically a small charge for lunch.  All of the training is free, thanks to many sponsors; and all the speakers also donate their time as well.  Visit frequently to see upcoming events near you.  If you attend a SQL Saturday, make sure that you visit the sponsors and thank them.  None of the events would be possible without them.
Pittsburgh SQL Saturday is usually in October

Local User group meetings (
There are 280+ local SQL user groups across the world.  Check out to find a group near you.  The Pittsburgh, PA group typically meets monthly on the last Tuesday of the month.

PASS Virtual Chapters (
PASS has a collection of “Virtual Chapters”.  these groups have a variety of subject matters, and are produced in many languages as well!  Go to the site and join the groups that interest you.  They will send you a web link when they schedule an upcoming meeting.

24 hours of PASS (
PASS puts on this event a few times a year.  There are online webinars that run for a 24 hour period.  Register online, and they will send you a meeting link to watch the presentations that you are interested in.  They also typically record all the sessions and make them available online later.


SQLServerCentral Stairway Series (
The Stairways series are a great place to go to get an overview on a specific topic.  There are series for everything from database design to business intelligence to powershell.  All of the lessons within the series are written by a leading industry expert in that subject.

Pragmatic Works Training on the ‘T’s (
Pragmatic Works offers free training every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 AM EST!  Most of the sessions are BI related, but you will sometimes see some general administration sessions as well.  All of the previous sessions were recorded and are available to watch later at the same site.  Pragmatic Works also runs paid in-person training in various cities and they have some cool paid tools for SSIS that you may want to check out.

Brent Ozar (
Brent Ozar and his team also offer free training events weekly.

Free tools

Notepad++ (
This is my preferred text editor.  I wanted to mention this tool in particular because it has a free plugin called Poor Mans TSQL Formatter.   You can copy a query into Notepad++, and then click on the plugin to format SQL code.  The plugin will reformat the code into a more standardized format for you for easier reading.

sp_Blitz (
Brent Ozar has a great set of scripts to give you a health check overview of your servers.  After running the scripts, you will see lots of potential red flags, with links for more information about the problems and what you can do to fix them.

sp_whoisactive (Download)
Adam Mechanic built a great stored procedure that is sp_who2 on steroids!  Running the basic stored procedure will give you tons of information about what SPID’s are currently hitting your instance, including CPU, tempdb and I/O usage, how long sessions have been executing, blocking sessions and lots more.  You can also add in additional parameters to get tons more information, including query plans.  And one of my favorite options lets you save teh output into a database table for further review and analysis.
Adam also wrote a 30 day blog post series to go into details of the additional options that you can use.

Ola Hallengren Backup and Smart Reindexing scripts (
No list is complete without mentioning Ola’s alternative to native maintenance plans.  These stored procedures fix several common issues to make database backups and reindexing better.

SQL Server Builds (
This site is a great resource if you want to check what the latest service pack is for any version of SQL Server.  This site has information about every single patch and service pack, and direct links to download each one from Microsoft.


I don’t know that I can recommend any other blogs to you except for this one.  🙂
In all seriousness, there are lots of blogs that I do follow.  Most are either people who I know, or people who I respect in the community.  At some point I may get around to listing some or all of them here.  In the meantime, a good place to get started is SQLServerCentral.  They aggregate lots of other blogs together in one place for you here: