I laughed, I cried, it was better than CATS: The Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 Reference Guide

You know what’s crazy?

A comprehensive, technical, well thought-out, and ENJOYABLE document. One written with the occasional interesting diagram and a reasonable use of acronyms, with effective tables and practical advice. A document that’s written for a human being which has helpful links to supporting documentation, but still makes you think.

Don’t get me wrong– a lot of people write very good documentation. And Microsoft publishes a really large volume of helpful information.

It’s just remarkable when you find great documentation that is technical, covers a lot of ground, and yet is very readable.

But I found some! It’s the Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 reference guide.

But I don’t have a Fast Track Data Warehouse…

Doesn’t matter, it’s still a really good read. You should read this document if:

  • You are interested in SQL Server
  • You are interested in Data Warehouses
  • You are interested in technical writing

Along the way, this document talks about everything from categorizing workloads, startup options for data warehouses, Resource Governor, creating and configuring filegroups and managing fragmentation, determining optimal table structure, statistics, compression, loading data, benchmarking, and validation. That’s a lot of ground, and a lot of it is useful to think about for a wide variety of systems.

Example: I came across this document while searching for specific use cases for a partitioned heap. The document talks about considerations for large partitioned objects in data warehouses, and when a partitioned heap might be appropriate vs a partitioned table with a clustered index– it does it quickly, neatly, and thoughtfully.

The most interesting thing

This isn’t a sales document, but it makes me want a Fast Track Data Warehouse.

It makes me feel like a Fast Track system is for smart people– after all, smart people took a whole lot of time to write this doc. It just FEELS smart.

To me, that’s really impressive– if I can write a little bit more like that every day, I’m moving in the right direction.

DISCLAIMER: the title to this post does NOT refer to the SQL CAT team, who produce some pretty freaking amazing documents. Instead, it refers to free range clip-art cats, which may or may not have pianos pictured as falling on them in my slide decks. And possibly a Broadway musical which I never saw. And probably to SNL.