Consulting


Below you will find out:

  • how a SQL Server Consulting firm can help you
  • the SQL services our firm provides
  • the step by step process of how we work
  • why you should use us (and some no BS proof), a few logistical items, and how to get started.

SQL Server Consulting Services List:

Emergency SQL Support

Use this when your SQL Server is on fire, down or dead. We will work on the issue for as long as is needed. We are able to fix the majority of possible issues within hours.

Performance Tuning

Use this when your SQL Server is too slow or you simply wish it ran faster. This can be done in three major ways:

  1. Tune the SQL Server settings in the way that affects *ALL* queries it is running
  2. Tune one (or a few) problematic queries which are taking too long or consuming too many resources (using too much memory or CPU).
  3. Periodic performance tuning every month (only the proactive few do this, so don’t feel bad just yet). Every few days (weeks or month), we take the top 10 worst performing queries and figure out how to tune them – proactively attacking performance. This process will eventually make your SQL Server blazing fast.

SQL Projects

This is a ‘catch all’ service. We can’t list every single project we can take. The best time to use this option is when you need ongoing SQL DBA services for a larger project that will take more than a week to complete.

Step by step breakdown of what SQL consulting engagements look like:

  • Initial consultation – First, we get on the phone. We will want to know the exact problem you are experiencing, when it started and what successful engagement means to you (so we know how to kick it out of the park).
  • Architecture – we may ask some questions about your SQL architecture.
  • Planning – do you want us to “diagnose only” or “fix as we go”, during what hours we can do SQL work, are there is DEV, QA or UAT boxes that can be used for testing potential fixes, when are the busiest/slowest times of the day/week, do you have planned downtime, and if yes, when, etc.
  • Backups – before we do anything, first we will make sure all backups are in place. This applies to cases when we are making SQL changes. This does not happen when we are in “diagnose only” mode.
  • Implementation – the part clients love the most – you sit back and relax (maybe put some Netflix on) and wait for our status updates showing how we got your issue fixed. Maybe it is not this easy every time, but we certainly try!
  • Project completion – this is where we wrap up loose ends. We will send you all the documentation of what was done, SQL scripts we ran, finish up all incomplete items, tell you where we are, and basically prepare to leave your environment in your hands (unless you fall in love with us, and decide to keep us for a while).
  • Training – here we make sure that you know what to do when you take over your SQL server after we’re gone. Very valuable when needed.
  • Support – we won’t let you suffer. If there is anything you need, you can contact us, we will re-engage and help you. This only applies to your SQL problems though.

Other SQL Consulting Logistical Items

  1. Billing – we can bill in two different ways:

    If we can set a project scope and provide an exact price – we will.

    If not, then we will bill hourly.

    When hourly billing is used, we have pricing tiers. They start to kick in when larger blocks of hours are being purchased (such as 80+ per month).

  2. Terms – sign a short agreement.
  3. Payment – We require an upfront payment before scheduling your work on the calendar. I understand this may be unusual, but I prefer to work on SQL and not on chasing payments.

Why choose us (and some proof/years of experience)

Testimonials – Check our founder’s testimonials about our prior SQL work in a few places:

Testimonials on Upwork.com – I am TOP RATED SQL Server DBA on Upwork.com (previously elance.com and odesk.com)!

  1. Testimonials on LinkedIn.com
  2. Testimonials on Clarity.fm
  3. On our site
  4. Proven track record – nothing proves good work like testimonials from past clients. See links above.
  5. Experience – All our database administrators are Microsoft certified. Certification alone is not proof a DBA is good, but I think it helps. Only when it is coupled with all of the other proof we have!
  6. Security – we have been doing SQL work for 17+ years. We have literally touched (full disclosure – mostly over RDP) thousands of SQL Servers, tens thousands of databases, and a hundred plus clients. If we were up to no good, I doubt I’d be writing this.
  7. Building online profiles takes a loooooong time. And presence is not easy and I don’t intend to be re-doing this any time soon. Therefore, it is in my best interest you are taken care of!
  8. Benefits – the biggest benefit to you is we are small. How is that a benefit? Because one SQL client means a large piece of pie to us. When you go with a large provider, one that claims to have 300 DBAs, each DBA is probably servicing at least a few clients, therefore they have 1000+ clients. Would you like to be one of the thousand clients or one of a few, and where do you think you will be more important and given more attention?
  9. Technologies – we *only* work with SQL Servers. No Oracle, mySQL, noSQL, PostreSQL, IBM, Cassandra, or whatever other providers. It is just too complex to cover them all.
  10. Value – where else can you get top notch Sr. level database admin with that much proof of who will work on your issue?
  11. Team – we are pretty small. Today as I am writing this, we are three DBAs. (I probably will forget to update this when we grow, so don’t use this as fact when you read it.)
  12. Focus – We only work on Microsoft SQL Servers. Nothing else. We also don’t do everything on SQL Servers. The product is just too big to cover all things that are possible. We concentrate on DBA type of items, and the majority of the work we do is SQL Server Performance Tuning related. And we have been doing it for years.
  13. Dedication – SQL Servers are all we know.
  14. We know SQL Server surrounding technologies well – such as SAN or SAN load testing, hardware, Active Directory, Windows OS (obviously), PowerShell and PowerShell Desired State Configuration (workflows, automation), performance monitoring, a bit of C#, and couple of others. But if SQL Server was discontinued tomorrow – we would have a BIG problem! Because this is all we know.
  15. We have worked with many types of businesses – from popular websites with a couple of people behind the curtain, up to major brands with 50,000 employees and are on the Fortune 500 list.

Industries we have done SQL consulting work for (partial list):

  • Healthcare
  • Telecom
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance
  • Retailer
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Hospitality
  • Governments
  • IT Services
  • Web Hosting
  • Services
  • Fortune 500
  • Inc 1000
  • International companies outside USA
  • Startups

How to hire the right SQL Server Consulting Firm (or DBA)

I would do this:

  1. Look for trust items (such as testimonials).
  2. Does the DBA (or firm) work on more than one platform like Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL? That’s a major negative – being an expert on one platform is already hard enough; working on many means you are just average on a bunch of them.
  3. What do customers say?
  4. How far back does their online profile go?
  5. And most importantly, do a technical interview. Ignore all online tests. I haven’t seen a good online test yet. A good DBA will not want to waste time on that junk anyway. Here is a quick hack you can do: if you are not a DBA, hire one on Upwork.com (pick someone for $100+ per hour) and have him interview your potential DBAs. Make sure your potential DBA can pass another DBA test. I have seen probably 200-300 DBA resumes, and hired probably 20-30 DBAs and SQL Developers. A resume usually doesn’t help much – most look great. It is how the person performs during the interview. We have interviewed over 200+ DBAs and we have pretty tough questions (we are going to be the Bad Cop). Our questions are situational, and allow us to drill deeper into situations based on where the person stands in terms of experience. You can’t BS through our questions; you know it, or you don’t, and the questions make the applicant sweat a bit. Is this person qualified to touch production SQL Servers?

Still not ready? Or still don’t trust us or a nagging worry about who will be touching your production database? Test us on a small consulting engagement. Trusting someone you have never seen with your PROD db is a bit…irresponsible. I get it.

You don’t know how many databases we dropped in the past, or how many clusters we set on fire, after all. Let’s get on the call and one of us will walk you through how we will keep your db safe, how many clients we have done this exact task for, show how we can solve your SQL problem, and answer any question you have.

Even if you don’t hire us!

How do you get started? Call the number you see at the top or use our Contact form and bam, you are done!

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Yielded some very impressive results

The breadth and depth of knowledge of the Microsoft SQL Database platform and ancillary technology stack that Mark brought, has already yielded some very impressive results from both a physical and logical architecture perspective.

Preferred to stay anonymous

Quickly identified and fixed SQL performance issues we had struggled with for weeks

Mark was able to quickly identify and fix several SQL performance issues we had been struggling to trace for several weeks. Additionally, he made several other recommendations and configuration changes that had a significant positive impact on database performance.

Nick Kelland
Vice President of Ops & IT, SJV & Associates

With little notice, Mark was able to find and fix a number of different SQL misconfigurations and wasteful practices.

After a weekend of work, the customer realized a 60% decrease in CPU utilization as a direct result of Mark's work.

Jason Milgram
Azure Practice Director, Champion Solutions Group, AllAware.com

Complex and heavy 5,000+ concurrent connection databases need tuning, indexes, best practices, up-time, and smooth performance over all

He has mastered the understanding of complex, heavy load TSQL transactions. When tuning, database structure, indexes, stored procedure, best practices, up-time, and smooth performance are all important, Mark is the type of DBA who truly knows how to keep these high standards.

Tim Janssen
Application Manager, Service King