paulsrandal Paul RandalPaul Randal is the CEO of SQLskills.com, which he runs with his wife Kimberly L. Tripp. Both Paul and Kimberly are very widely known and respected experts in the SQL Server world, with both being SQL Server MVPs, and Microsoft Regional Directors. Paul is a Contributing Editor for TechNet Magazine, where he writes the bi-monthly SQL Q&A column and feature articles. He also had the #1 top-rated workshop and #1 and #2 top-rated sessions at the PASS Summit in 2013.

Paul started in the industry in 1994 working for DEC on the VMS file system and its check/repair tools (the equivalent of chkdsk for NTFS), then on a kernel mode file system for Windows NT.

In 1999 he moved to Microsoft to work on SQL Server, specifically on DBCC. For SQL Server 2000, he concentrated on index fragmentation – well, removing it! – writing both DBCC INDEXDEFRAG and DBCC SHOWCONTIG, plus various algorithms in DBCC CHECKDB to support it being able to run online, and code in other parts of the Storage Engine.

Paul then spent the first 3 years of SQL Server 2005 development rewriting the DBCC CHECKDB and repair code-base, gaining extensive insight into disaster recovery scenarios and problems through close partnership with the SQL Server PSS (Product Support) group. Paul spent the remaining two years of SQL Server 2005 development leading/managing a 9-person development team in the Core Storage Engine. His team was responsible for data access and storage (DBCC, space allocation, indexes & heaps, pages & records, text/LOB storage, snapshot isolation, bulk load etc) so Paul has a very deep understanding of the Storage Engine. Paul also holds a patent on consistency-checking technologies from his work with Microsoft.

For SQL Server 2008, Paul decided to put his customer passion to better use and switch to a Program Management role within the Storage Engine team – first with responsibility for the entire Storage Engine for a year, and then with a narrower, more hands-on focus on the Core Storage Engine. This involved both feature set definition plus customer and partner engagements. It was during this phase of Paul’s career that he first started public speaking, with his first session being on DBCC Internals at TechEd US 2006. This was also where he met Kimberly, and they were subsequently married July 29th 2007.

In 2007, after almost 9 years on the SQL Server team, Paul left Microsoft to join Kimberly running SQLskills.com and pursuing his new-found passion for writing, teaching, and consulting. Paul is a regular, top-rated presenter of workshops and sessions at conferences and user groups around the world on high-availability, disaster recovery, database maintenance, Storage Engine internals, and performance. Paul teaches all of Microsoft’s internal classes on Database Maintenance/Operations, Storage Internals, Disaster Recovery, High-Availability and on these same topics at public and private events around the world. Paul was also a course author/instructor for Microsoft’s most advanced Microsoft Certified Master – SQL Server qualification, teaching the deep internals in the first week. He was involved with this qualification from it’s inception as the Microsoft-internal ‘Ranger’ class, teaching every rotation except one until Microsoft ended the certification in 2013.

Paul is one of the most active people in the SQL Server community, from user groups to online forums to helping out on Twitter (@PaulRandal - checkout the #sqlhelp tag). His very popular and widely-referenced blog is at http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/paul/ and he can be reached at paul@SQLskills.com. Together with Kimberly, Paul owns and Co-Chairs the bi-annual SQLintersection conference.

Interviews and Recorded Sessions

Interviews

  • Simple Talk Geek of the Week
  • Paul & Kimberly: RunAs Radio
    • July 2010 interview with Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes discussing how to learn effectively.
  • Paul: .NET Rocks! (again)
  • Paul: Email interview with Tom LaRock
  • Paul: TechNet Radio
  • Paul & Kimberly: TechNet Radio
  • Paul: RunAs Radio
    • August 2008 interview with Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes discussing the FILESTREAM feature of SQL Server 2008.
  • Paul: RunAs Radio
    • August 2008 interview with Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes discussing what it is to be an “involuntary DBA”.
  • Paul & Kimberly: TechNet Radio Part 2
    • March 2008 interview discussing troubleshooting and manageability in SQL Server 2008. See the March 11th show.
  • Paul & Kimberly: TechNet Radio Part 1
    • March 2008 interview discussing security and availability in SQL Server 2008. See the March 4th show.
  • Paul & Kimberly: RunAs Radio
    • December 2007 interview with Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes at TechEd ITPro in Barcelona discussing new features in SQL Server 2008.
  • Paul & Kimberly: SSWUG TV
    • November 2007 video interview from SQL Connections Fall discussing new features in SQL Server 2008. Paul struggles to break away from calling the SQL team ‘we’…
  • Paul & Kimberly: TechEd TV
  • Paul: SQL Down Under
    • October 2007 interview with Greg Low discussing CHECKDB differences between 2000 and 2005, new features in SQL Server 2008, plus Lego. See show #24.
  • Paul: .Net Rocks!
  • Paul & Kimberly: SSWUG TV
  • Paul & Kimberly: UK Next Generation User Group

Awards and Conference Highlights

Patents
Paul worked on two inventions while responsible for DBCC CHECKDB, including a method for running DBCC CHECKDB on a database within a backup, but without needing to restore the backup. The first of these has been issued a patent in the US (see here), and the second was also recently awarded a patent (see here).

Conference Highlights
Paul is the owner and Co-Chair of the SQLintersection conference with Kimberly (previously the SQL Connections conferences). Paul has presented at the following conferences:

  • 2013: SQLintersection Fall, Las Vegas
    • 1 full-day workshop and 4 sessions
  • 2013: PASS Summit, Charlotte
    • #1 top-rated workshop
    • #1 and #2 top-rated sessions
  • 2013: SQLintersection Spring, Las Vegas
    • 3 sessions
  • 2012: SQL Connections Fall, Las Vegas
    • 3 sessions
  • 2012: SQL Connections Spring, Las Vegas
    • 1 full-day workshops and 3 sessions
  • 2011: SQL Connections Fall, Las Vegas
    • 2 full-day workshops and 4 sessions
  • 2011: PASS Summit, Seattle
    • #3 top-rated session
    • Full-day workshop and 1 Spotlight session
  • 2011: SQL Connections Spring, Las Vegas
    • 2 full-day workshops and 4 sessions
  • 2010: PASS Community Summit, Seattle
    • #1 rated session overall
    • 2 full-day workshops and 1 Spotlight session
  • 2010: SQL Connections Fall, Las Vegas
    • 2 full-day workshops and 4 sessions
  • 2010: SQL Connections Spring, Las Vegas
    • 2 full-day workshops and 4 sessions
  • 2009: PASS Community Summit, Seattle
    • #1 rated workshop (rated #2 of all sessions and workshops) and #5 rated session overall
    • 2 full-day workshops and 1 Spotlight session
  • 2009: SQL Connections Fall, Las Vegas
    • 2 full-day workshops and 4 sessions
  • 2009: SQL Connections Spring, Orlando
    • 2 full-day workshops and 4 sessions
  • 2008: PASS Community Summit, Seattle
    • Top-rated workshop and #3 rated session overall
    • 1 full-day workshop and 1 Spotlight session
  • 2008: SQL Connections Fall, Las Vegas
    • 2 full-day workshops and 5 sessions
  • 2008: Microsoft TechEd EMEA, ITPro, Barcelona
    • Top-rated session in the DAT track and #2 rated session overall
    • 5 sessions and 4 instructor-led labs
  • 2008: Microsoft TechEd US, ITPro, Orlando
    • Top-rated session in the DAT track and #6 rated session overall
    • 1 full-day workshop and 3 sessions
  • 2008: SQL Connections Spring, Orlando
    • 3 full-day workshops and 3 sessions
  • 2007: SQL Connections Fall, Las Vegas
    • 3 full-day workshops and 5 sessions
  • 2007: Microsoft TechEd IT Forum, Barcelona
    • Speaker prize for the top-rated demo session
    • 12 sessions, chalk-talks, and instructor-led labs
  • 2007: Microsoft TechEd US, Orlando
    • ‘Secrets of Fast Detection and Recovery From Database Corruption’ videoed as one of Best of TechEd
    • #2 rated chalk-talk/cabana session
    • 2 sessions and 2 chalk-talks
  • 2007: SQL Connections Spring, Orlando
    • 2 full-day workshops and 3 sessions
  • 2006: Microsoft TechEd IT Forum, Barcelona
    • #2 rated chalk-talk/cabana session
    • 3 sessions and chalk-talks
  • 2006: Microsoft TechEd Developers, Barcelona
    • 3 sessions and chalk-talks
  • 2006: Microsoft TechEd Hong Kong
    • 4 sessions
  • 2006: Microsoft TechEd China (Beijing)
    • #10 rated speaker overall
    • 4 sessions
  • 2006: Microsoft TechEd China (Guangzhou)
    • 2 sessions
  • 2006: Microsoft TechEd China (Shanghai)
    • #4 rated speaker overall
    • 4 sessions
  • 2006:Microsoft TechEd US, Boston
    • First conference session – chalk-talk on DBCC CHECKDB