1. Windows 10. Where we're going we don't need legacy software, but if you do, then download PowerShell 5.0 instead.

  2. SQL Server Management Studio 2016 and SQL Sentry Plan Explorer (Free). Don't forget that you should use Import-Module SqlServer instead of SQLPS for new work.

    Did you know SSMS now has a built-in plan comparison tool? But SSMS also has query plan display bugs so for the time being you'll still need both

  3. DBA Tools for PowerShell. If you're not coasting to retirement then start scripting now before it's too late, PowerShell automation is a disruptive technology. Oh, and come join the SQLCommunity (#DBATools, #General and #SQLHelp) on Slack.

  4. Microsoft R Client. You need to learn this.

    What's R? It's a scripted ETL and analytics language with advanced reporting functionality. Imagine SSIS + SSAS + SSRS all written in PowerShell. That's not it. But it's close.

  5. R Studio Desktop (Free License). This is far prettier than RGui provided in the Microsoft package. If you really enjoy Visual Studio though you can use R Tools for Visual Studio 2015.

  6. SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT-BI isn't normally needed anymore) and Visual Studio 2015 Community (assuming the extremely restrictive license fits your workplace). Normally you'd then add BIDS Helper but until it officially supports Visual Studio 2015 you might be best going with BimlExpress (free) instead. BIML is a must for modern, clean, understandable, reproducible SSIS packages.


Other recommendations

  • If your workstation doesn't have a large SSD throw it in the bin.
  • If your workstation doesn't have 8GB or more of memory throw it in the bin.
  • Get a good wireless keyboard and mouse. Okay these probably aren't free but it's likely the ones you have should be thrown in the bin.
  • You could probably also use Azure but I'm not that cool.