So much of being a DBA revolves around responding to the phrase “The database is slow.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase I’d could probably buy that unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album. Not that I’d want to. But I could. I think. Wait. . .don’t leave. This isn’t a post about rap music, I swear.
I want to continually make the point that nearly everything I post in this corner of the interwebs can be categorized as “Things I have learned” and not “Things I have made.” Despite my years of work with SQL Server databases, I have used learned concepts from others far more than I have discovered myself. And I’m not ashamed to say this, because for any given task we can either reinvent the proverbial wheel or we can use one of the many wheels in working condition that are already in existence. I would like to think my employers don’t care who made it, so long as it’s a correct, timely, and scalable solution.
Which brings us to Sven. Well, almost.
Maybe I’m showing how old I am, but I remember as a kid hearing a song on the radio that went like this:
You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim
You’ve probably heard it at some point, although likely you won’t remember the whole thing. This is because it isn’t played much anymore due to the lack of demand for ’70s folk-rock stations.
Recently we had Microsoft Risk Assessment Program (RAP) completed on some of our SQL Server instances. This is where Microsoft deploys some software that performs a similar function to when you go to the doctor for an annual physical. There’s a lot of poking and prodding, they draw samples, and at the end they tell you everything that is wrong. Your servers have high blood sugar, your databases need to take up yoga, etc. It’s pretty much everything except having the MS technician stroke his chin, saying “Hmmm.”
You are going to a doctor for a regularly scheduled checkup, right? Ok then.
I have a confession to make: Historically speaking, I don’t like deployments. I dread them with an unavoidable pessimism that asks “so what is THIS going to break?”
Now, I have worked with a lot of smart people who knew how to write some fabulous code. I don’t doubt that one bit. But I’ve also worked in several places where that code wasn’t rigorously tested before it was time to be deployed in Production. Maybe the business wanted a fix deployed immediately. Maybe the deployment instructions were incomplete. Maybe velociraptors invaded your workplace.
As a Senior DBA I’m occasionally asked to participate in interviews for other prospective data professionals. Full disclosure: I actually love doing this because, and this may sound odd, I really enjoy asking people questions. Unlike most of my IT colleagues, my university studies featured a huge helping of journalism classes, so interrogating, err, interviewing is something that comes naturally to me.
For most of my career I’ve been the only DBA, which means each and every time one of my colleagues encountered a perception that the database is slow, they would form the words “Hey Jeff. . .” As Stan Lee said, with great power comes great responsibility. Which is another way of saying in times of strife, both real and imagined, your Inbox and Voicemail get flooded.
If you’re a DBA, you probably secretly wish that you could have one of those cool red and black portrait graphics like those folks at Brent Ozar Unlimited get. But that’s not important right now. You probably also enjoy the privilege of performing the installation of every new SQL Server instance. And if you don’t, well, you can still keep reading, I guess.
Hey, I’m new at this SQL blogging stuff. I’m still working out the kinks.
This should be slightly more interesting than “Hello Google!”
I am starting this very blog as a direct result of my experience on SQL Cruise. No joke. Two pertinent facts:
- I’ve been a SQL Server DBA for the better part of two decades.
- I’ve been writing about Indycar racing at my own blogs and others, including one sponsored by the series, for nearly a dozen years.
And yet, I’ve never put SQL Server and blog together and written about being a DBA. Go figure.