Author Archives: Wes Brown

About Wes Brown

Wes Brown is Vice President at Cantata Health and maintains his blog at Previous experiences include Product Manager for SQL Litespeed by Quest software and consultant to fortune 500 companies. He specializes in high availability, disaster recovery and very large database performance tuning. He is a frequent speaker at local user groups and SQLSaturdays.

Digging Around For Free Tools – BitBucket

Digging Around In BitBucket

BitBucket was very thin when it comes to SQL Server. I did find a couple of interesting projects that may appeal to others as well as me.


Turn any version of Microsoft SQL Server into a platform capable of acting just like MongoDB – only you get transactions and the ability to join with traditional relational data as well!

This is a nice example of using newer methods with our good ol’ SQL Server engine.


Scripts to auto-deploy SQL from SQL Server and to dump database objects to disk (so they can be searched or committed to source control).

There are lots of other projects like this that are designed to aid in versioning and source control. I picked this one because I didn’t want to have just one project from BitBucket 🙂

So, this is why I don’t search BitBucket very often. There just isn’t enough there for me to bother with.

Next up: Google Code

Digging Around For Free Tools – SQL Server

Tool Archaeology, Digging Through The Web

About every three to six months I will burn some time and just go digging for tools. Mostly, I’m looking for stuff related to SQL Server, PowerShell or C# development. There are lots of places to search through that could yield your next life saving tool. All the major sites have a search feature but if you just put in SQL Server you will get a ton of hits that don’t have anything to do with SQL Server. I usually do something like “SQL Server” NOT MySQL NOT Postgresql NOT DB2 NOT Oracle to keep the other databases from cluttering up the results. The other thing that can be difficult is how to filter out projects that don’t have any code or are very old. Most will allow you to sort by downloads or ratings and this can be a good indicator. Lastly, some of the sites don’t really enforce descriptions or comments on the project. Sourceforge is real hit or miss while Codeplex is really good about project descriptions. This can mean the difference in just reading about it and having to dig into the project to get any relevant details. Most of the time, if there isn’t any kind of project description I will just pass them by.


Open source host has some stuff but doesn’t seem to be a big one for Microsoft or SQL Server. I actually had to google Bing how to search BitBucket projects.

Google Code

One of the largest hosts for open source software, again not big on Microsoft or SQL Server. What I have found is lots of stuff to help you connect SQL Server to other things like Python and Node.js


The grand daddy of them all. There is a HUGE amount of projects. Unfortunately, most of them have gone dormant. There are gems to be had here for sure if you are willing do dig for them.


The new hotness. The project mix is very good and they tend to be documented. Also, since GitHub isn’t that old you don’t have projects from the 90’s to filter out.


It’s a Microsoft world. You won’t find things like how to make SQL Server to work with X open source language or other tool but all of the projects have a description which is really nice.

My preferences

I spend most of my time on GitHub, SourceForge and Codeplex. I host my projects on GitHub and Codeplex. As far as GitHub is concerned the reason I chose them is I LOVE git. GitHub is easy to use and robust. I also choose Codeplex mainly because if you are Microsoft focused this will be one of the first places to search. Also, now that Codeplex supports git it is much easier to use from a project point of view.

Next we will take a look at some of the projects on each of them to give you an idea on what you can find if you dig hard enough!

Oh, The Free Stuff!

Ah, ShwagTSQL2sDay150x150[4]


I’ve been doing the whole conference thing for a while. Not as long as some but quite a while. Along the way I’ve collected quite a bit of stuff. I’ve also given away most of it to the local user group too.


Little Things

I always keep a few little things like ducks and note books.


I also keep a few of the drink-ware items too.


Wearable Stuff

Oh the humanity, the amount of clothing I have from conferences is just crazy. I give away quite a bit but always try to keep one shirt or item from everywhere I go.


Carry All Your Stuff

With all those shirts I need all these bags to carry them! I’ve kept some of the bags I’ve been given over the years. My two favorite are the Idera bag I got from the ACE program (which I carry right now) and the SQL Pass summit 2003 bag, which gave up the ghost two years ago when all the stitching for the bottom finally gave way.


Valuable Stuff

In 2004-05 when Microsoft REALLY loved SQL Server they were giving away crazy amounts of software. I gave away over one hundred copies of SQL Server 2005 Developer edition and around a dozen Windows 2003 Enterprise and SQL Server 2005 Standard edition copies too.



Special Stuff, Never To Come Again

I also had the privilege of attending the last great launch event for SQL Server 2005 in San Francisco.

Found This in my drink:


Oh, more software!


Ok, I’m impressed now.



The greatest thing I get from each and every one of these events is meeting people like you! See you at the PASS Summit.


I Am Surprised Every Time

Who me?

Yep me. I have been honored with the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional again this year in SQL Server. This is my third year to receive the award and just like the last two years I am humbled and honored to be a recipient.

Remember, What It Is.

And what it isn’t. I didn’t get my MCM before the shutdown. I didn’t earn that title and certification. I was given an honor for the service I performed to the community last year.

Others are worthy.

Maybe more so. I personally know people that deserve to be awarded. I have and will continue to nominate those people, even it it means next year I get bumped off the island so they can get on. It’s not about the award. Its about what I do to earn it.

Big Things Coming This Year.

I’ve been heads down working on a couple of projects the last few months and I can’t wait to share them with the community!


Man in The Mirror

Hard To Say Goodbye

Today is bitter sweet for me. I am moving on from Catapult Systems to pursue other opportunities.

What does that mean exactly?
Was I treated poorly?
Did the work suck?
No on both accounts. I haven’t been this happy in my professional life in quite a while.

But you are leaving? Yep.

Self Examination Is As Important as Feedback From Others

To answer those questions accurately I had to take a serious look at my life and the things I want from it.

I’m a list maker. I do the whole pro and con’s thing. Making short, mid and long term goals all that stuff. This time I did something a little different.

Lists, Lists and More Lists

First I sat down and looked at my resume. This is all about the work I did, not about the company or the culture. Those things do impact happiness but in my case, I already have a good grasp on the kinds of companies and the kinds of people I like to work with and for.
Where did I spend the most time?
What did I do there that I enjoyed?
What did I do that I didn’t like?
What did I do well?
Keep in mind that sometimes you do some things really well but don’t particularly like doing those things. Once I had that list I moved on to another important list.

This is kind of my “life list”.

What do I want to do professionally? This may not have anything at all to do with SQL Server.
What can I do professionally? This is a more critical look at my best money making skills.
What do I have to do professionally to support my personal life? Sometimes you have to do work you may not like to generate the income you need or receive benefits you need to support your family or lifestyle.

Analyzing The Data

I cannot overstate this, be critical, don’t get nostalgic walking down memory lane!
Get outside input. Start with your significant other and those that would be most impacted by your career changes. Then expand your circle until you feel you have enough quality feedback from people you trust to give you the unvarnished truth.

Make Your Plan

Making your plan may be as simple as shifting your daily schedule or as radical as moving to another country to do completely different work. Planning it out helps you think things through and gives you some pause to prevent snap decisions that can come back to haunt you later. If your a young person, packing a bag and flying to Malaysia probably won’t hurt people around you. I’m in my 40’s with a wife and child that depend on me as the sole provider. Make sure and make this a collaborative effort with your significant others.


Putting a definitive time to execute your plan keeps it from being just a dream instead of a journey. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments mid stream if you need to, life has a way of not following your plans. Also, revisit your plan to keep it relevant and in focus. Adding details as needed as long term goals start becoming mid or short term.

My Path

After doing all of this, I’ve decided to go back into the world of production database work at a smaller company. Nexgen Healthcare is in a unique place where they are growing and need someone like me to come help them build teams, stabilize environments and keep the growth from slowing down due to technical limitations. It’s also close to home and they are great supporters of community work and opensource projects. All in all I think a good fit for me. I loved my time at Catapult and will miss my friends there for sure.