Mastering Index Tuning–Day 1

This is a short series of posts on the courses I took with Brent Ozar. I actually completed the courses in the past, but I wrote notes and wanted to revisit the way things went. I started with the Mastering Index Tuning class.

I took the class a few weeks ago, but I scheduled this out for when I returned from vacation.

A Late Start

The classes started at 9am Eastern time. That’s 7am for me, which is a touch early. I’m usually awake, but not always at my desk. In this case, I was hustling a bit to get through a morning routine, including a shower since I had a meeting during the day.

I managed to get to my desk and start the GoToWebinar and found a welcome slide up that noted the class will start at 5 minutes after. That’s cool since it meant I could go start coffee without missing anything.

This also gave me a chance to switch to speakers for the audio. I’m at home, and have my own office, so I was glad to not wear a headset all day. We were on mute, but I muted myself with a hard button, just to be sure there weren’t any disturbances from my end.


I’d gotten the email the night before with a lab VM and credentials. After getting coffee going (priorities are important), I came back, logged in and fired up SSMS, leaving things alone.

I also popped open the webinar and Slack. That’s 3 things going on at once. Fortunately, I have three monitors, so this worked out well. I put the VM in front of me, since it’s always easier to concentrate straight ahead. The left monitor got Brent and the GoToWebinar. That meant a full screen for slides and a small area for the webcam Brent runs. I find it easier to follow along if I can see someone. I then put Slack up on the right screen, set to the channel for the classes.

I think that taking this on a laptop would be tougher, but doable. This is especially true if you are watching the recorded items. There isn’t a rapid movement of slides, so you could focus on Slack and listen, or watch and come back to the VM when appropriate. I followed along a few times with Brent, so I was glad for the multiple monitors.

The Day 1 Flow

The class opens with introductions of Brent and a few people mentioned from Slack. He does orient us to remember to open Slack for questions and discussion. One nice thing here is there isn’t any time spent chatting with each other, or a limited amount in Slack.

We introduce the VM and how it’s configured, along with some explanation. It might feel unnecessary, but I expect that most people have questions or would have done one thing differently. Across the class, we each might think about one different thing, so it’s good. I like that Brent also warns us what not to touch, since it’s easy to blow things up. We also start up a workload with SQLQueryStress before a break.

The first thing is a lecture about how to use indexes and some demos. After some basics, we get into how we get information from the DMVs and elsewhere, and Brent uses various sp_BlitzXX scripts. I think that’s good as he’s put time into these scripts to make them helpful. They’re not necessarily better than those you might build yourself, or get from other speakers, but they are useful.

We have a first mini lab, which we work on and then Brent reviews what he’d do. Then a little more lecture before a lunch lab. In this one, we have to analyze and post our proposed changes in Slack. Brent then acts as a manager to approve changes.

I like this, and it’s a good way to sanity check yourself without just doing something. The lab is a 2 hour lab, but it’s designed as a lunch break as well. Good for some, but it’s 9:30ish for me. That’s early. Still, I do the lab and then spend time on other work.

After lunch, we review the lab with Brent, watch what he does. That’s good, and it helps people learn, without picking on their solution. The afternoon passes with more lecture and then a final lab that we can tackle then or do in the morning. Since my time is offset and the class starts at 7, I decide to just do it then. Again, propose changes and get them approved.

One nice thing is that Brent is watching Slack while presenting, so he can respond to comments or questions inline with what he’s teaching. This also makes for some fun distractions with comments and questions, and things aren’t scripted. Brent will pop something open in a browser to teach.

A long day, made longer since I still need to do some SQLServerCentral stuff, but it was a good day.

If you’re interested in the class, you can visit the Mastering Index Tuning page to learn more and purchase the class.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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