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Looking back at the last decade

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I’ve been looking back at last decade since so much has changed in the last ten years.

Now I have looked for an official name for the last decade because I was curious. According to the Wikipedia article here it’s the twenty-tens, so I will stick with that for now.

As far as technology is concerned a lot has changed. In reality, my personal life has changed drastically as well. For instance, I started the decade living in the South West of the UK and now I live in the Netherlands.

Because of this, I have decided to split this post into the two sections below.


As far as technology is concerned there has been some big changes in the last decade. For instance, look at how huge the adoption of the cloud is concerned.

At the start of the decade cloud usage was only just gaining momentum. Now, the majority of enterprises have either moved to the cloud or are looking to do so.

Another thing which has become widely adopted is DevOps, and related methodologies. Over the years I have seen various companies strive towards using DevOps like practices.

Of course, then there’s SQL Server. At the start of the decade SQL Server 2008 R2 was released. Had a few changes.

After a couple of years SQL Server 2012. It introduced all us SQL Server users to Always On Availability Groups and Columnstore indexes. All of a sudden, new possibilities were available for us.

Ever since their introduction in SQL Server 2012 both of these have matured a lot. For example, you can now have more secondary databases with Always On Availability Groups. In addition, you can now use clustered Columnstore indexes.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. Microsoft caught most of the SQL community of guard when they announced SQL Server was going to be made available on Linux.

From there it’s fair to say things have escalated slightly as far as SQL Server on Linux is concerned. Now with SQL Server 2019 you can use SQL Server on Linux along with Kubernetes to use the new Big Data Clusters feature.

If you need some learning resources for that I did a post about it. Which you can read in detail here.


As far as personal things are concerned it’s fair to say this last decade has been full of ups and downs. As some of you have probably come to realise since I now live in the Netherlands.

I will cover the more significant highlights below.


I started 2010 still getting over my grandmother dying in front of me in Christmas Day in 2009. Unfortunately, the tragedy did not stop there, because in 2010 my fiancée passed away during chemo.

Some people were supportive, some people were weird. I suppose that’s just life, however these things have a habit of leaving a lasting impression.


Anyway, I carried on working and in 2011 yours truly spoke for the first time at the Southampton SQL user group. In addition, in 2011 yours truly was interviewed by the old SQL Server Pro magazine because of his years of work with Idera’s Compliance Manager.

You can read that interview in detail here.


In 2012 I was involved with the first ever SQL Saturday in the UK. Taking part in conversations about it before the event and talking to sponsors. However, because I was in process of selling my house was unable to make the event itself.


Due to this I made sure I attended the same event in 2013. In addition, I dressed up for the day as part of the Monty Python theme as you can see below.

I remember it well because it was a freak heat wave that weekend as well, and I spent a large amount of the day going up and down four flights of stairs.

In fact, it’s something one member of the SQL Server community still reminds me about to this day.

Looking back at the last decade - Ministry of silly walks fancy dress

Another interesting thing that happened that year was that I became one of the minorities to gain the new style MCSA certification for SQL Server 2008. To be honest, I did not know that certification even existed until I got the email from Microsoft.


In 2014 I got to speak at a SQL Saturday in my part of the UK. I did a session based on PowerView, which I had been doing a lot of work with back then.

In fact, I will always remember putting the lab environment together to present that session because it required various applications including SharePoint. I had the whole environment running on Hyper-V virtual machines.

Of course, PowerView went on to become part of Power BI which has become very popular.


In 2015 I trained for 12 weeks solid and did the Prudential Ride for Team MacMillan. For those of you who aren’t aware that’s a big bike ride that happens every year in the UK where people cycle from London to Surrey and back. It’s a route that covers 100 miles.

Looking back at the last decade - Prudential Bike Ride
Cycling up the infamous Box Hill

Another highlight from 2015 was the fact that I gained an LPI Linux certification. I did this to formalise my knowledge because I was building a Hadoop environment at the time.

In addition, in April that year I went to the Netherlands to visit an old friend for a long weekend. By the end of the year I had handed my notice in and was moving to the Netherlands.


In truth, 2016 was a busy year for me. I was working as a Senior Data Architect involved in all kinds of projects. Including looking into Continuous Integration methods for databases.

However, I did also find the time to finally gain my MCSE Data Platform certification.


Of all the years of the last decade, 2017 was by far one of the most surreal. It was the year we were getting married.

First of all, I set myself a crazy challenge to gain the MCSD Azure Architect certification. Before the exams were due to be retired by Microsoft.

In addition, whilst doing the exams for this certification I gained five other certifications, including the MCSE Cloud Platform and infrastructure certification.

I had studied hard and passed the exams whilst at the same time planning our wedding. Because I passed my last exam two days before they were due to be retired I am ‘probably’ the last person in the world to gain this certification.

However, the busy events of 2017 did not stop there. Whilst walking back from the gym one night we stopped somebody who had stabbed a female multiple times. Of course, we were glad we stopped it from being any worse, but it added to the stress of planning our wedding.

It was during this I decided to stop being involved with one of the SQL Saturdays in the UK for various reasons.

Still, later that year we got married. In fact, we got married to the day fourteen years after we had first met in Alice Springs, Australia.

Whilst doing all of the above, I was also helping to plan an ambitious Azure migration as well.

Towards the end of the year something else good happened a s well. I found out that I had won a free ticket to the PASS Summit in 2018.


In 2018 I started working for Dutch company. Having worked for English companies over the years this was a fresh challenge for me.

In addition, I started speaking more again and presenting a very unique session I had come up with. Staring with SQL Saturday Rheinland, which I am very grateful for.

Towards of the year I flew from the Netherlands to America for my first US SQL Saturday and my first time at PASS Summit. I have to admit I loved the SQL train journey from Portland to Seattle which Chris Hyde organises.


I talked about some of the stuff I have done in 2019 in a previous post here.

However, I will say again how honoured I was to be given the chance to present my unique session at both SQLBits and dataMinds Connect this year. As well as some SQL Saturdays of course.

In fact, there’s still a chance to vote for my unique session at SQLBits next year here. In addition, you can also vote for some Azure DevOps sessions I have submitted to co-present with Sander Stad.

As I mention in that post, right before the end of this decade I did something fairly big for both the SQL Server and Azure communities. Which is my contribution to this year’s Azure Advent Calendar.

It was my first ever video, and I learned a lot of things along the way whilst making it. You can watch the full video for it here. Alternatively, you can read the post that goes along with it in detail here.

Final word

Looking back at the last decade it’s safe to say it’s being an interesting decade for all of us. From a technology perspective a lot of things have changed, and I am excited to see what the next decade will bring us.

Personally, for me it’s being full of ups and downs. However, the same goes for a lot of other people as well. Even though I am looking back at the last decade, I also want to wish everybody success in the next one.

Published inFood for thought

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