If you're looking for a good checklist for setting up a new SQL Server, you might check out http://searchsqlserver.techtarget.com/tip/1,289483,sid87_gci1150877_tax301325,00.html?adg=301324&bucket=ETA?Offer=SUN121605.  It's written by my friend and fellow SQL Server MVP Hilary Cotter.  Hilary is best know for his work on full-text search and replication.  But I found this article to be quite good and, in some ways, rather reminescent of my article "Performance Baselining and Benchmarking" that appeared in SQLMag earlier this year.

Now I don't usually get personal on you, but as I look back on the year 2005, I have to go there at least for a few minutes.  2005 was a tough year for me.  It was a year for some very good changes.  For one thing, SQL Server 2005 finally shipped.  Hurray!  In a more personal example, my oldest child and only son is well into his freshman year of high school.  That's a good and exciting change.  We moved into a new and more spaceous house this year.  That's also good, but challenging to your pocketbook, back muscles, and emotional energy.  But 2005 also had a few very unpleasant surprises in store for me.  You might recall the serious health problems I experienced back in February, if you were reading the blog back then.  My wife also went through some dramatic and scary health problems later in the year. Finally, and most difficult for me personally, my wife and I agreed to break our sixteen year marriage just before Thanksgiving.  It's the most crushing experience I've ever endured.

I think there are two important thing to focus on through all of these travails. First, the joys of this world come mostly, if not entirely, from the people in our lives.  I'm focusing on the ones I love, first and foremost, and I feel that I've reaped the greatest rewards ever. Second, life is what we make of it.  I try not to perceive of life as a gloomy and unforgiving experience, because I can certainly get my fill of both.  But when I perceive life through the lens of hope, I'm always be able to make it through the tough times and on to better days.  It's not easy and it's not fun.  But with a little hope in my heart, 2006 will be a much better year.

So reflect on 2005.  Learn what you can from it.  And then move on to better things.

Here's wishing you the best year ever in 2006!

Warm regards,

-Kevin