What Counts for a DBA – Deadlines

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Everyone needs deadlines. Even the beavers. They loaf around all summer, but when they are faced with the winter deadline, they work like fury. If we didn’t have deadlines, we’d stagnate. ― Walt Disney I hate deadlines. Really. I truly hate them. The problem is: they are usually unrealistic, often not much more than a wild … Read more
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Matters of Timing in Concurrency

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There are a few topics in SQL Server that I love academically, but are truly a pain to get right. The other is security, and it pales in comparison to how much trouble it is to program for truly safe concurrent access to a resource. The biggest issue: time. What makes it more difficult is … Read more
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What Counts For A DBA – Adequacy

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“Aim High!” “You could be president some day!” “You’re just as smart as that Einstein kid down the street” … …And other crazy things parents tell their kids. Of course, very few kids grow up to be President, or a groundbreaking scientist. Most of us are merely adequate. Adequate parents, and adequate at our jobs, … Read more
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Inline Index Definition

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There are a lot of features of SQL Server that I (and I know some of you), never really get around to using, usually because you have your ways, you have done things the same way for 100 years, and it all works fine enough. You may have heard of a feature, but said I … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA – Decorations

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I was whistling contentedly as I hung up the Christmas Decorations. It may have been ‘Jingle Bells’, or it could have been ‘Santa didn’t buy me a bow-wow’: Christmas songs are creepily similar. As I hung up the lights on the Christmas tree, I was struck by the thought ‘Decorations are not decorations at all, … Read more
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What Counts For a DBA – Manners

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Manners, learned as soon as possible in life, give us social skills without us having to figure them out. While our parents and teachers made us feel as if they were laws, manners vary from laws in one important way. Laws are hard and fast rules that exist naturally (like gravity or relativity), or from … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA – Empathy

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Every project I am on, there seems to be a common argument. The project manager is pushing to get done faster, and we software producers are pushing back for more “quality” time. Shouldn’t managers have more empathy for what we development-DBA types suffer in pursuit of high-quality data? Every cry of “how much longer is … Read more
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What Counts For a DBA – Decisions

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It’s Friday afternoon, and the lead DBA, a very talented guy, is getting ready to head out for two well-earned weeks of vacation, with his family, when this error message pops up in his inbox: Msg 211, Level 23, State 51, Line 1. Possible schema corruption. Run DBCC CHECKCATALOG. His heart sinks. It’s ten…no eight…minutes … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA – Moments

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“Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt Laudable as these sentiments are, inspirational even, most DBAs are likely to treat them with a customary degree of caution and circumspection. The DBA profession isn’t necessarily one we associate with a love of danger and keen sense of adventure. Many DBAs protect vehemently … Read more
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What Counts For a DBA – Depth

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SQL Server offers very simple interfaces to many of its features. Most people could open up SSMS, connect to a server, write a simple query and see the results. Even several of the core DBA tasks are deceptively straightforward. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to perform a basic database backup or run a trace … Read more
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What Counts For a DBA – Dreams

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“When I was younger, I dreamt of being an astronaut…” “When I was younger, I dreamt of being a doctor …” “When I was younger, I dreamt of being a DBA…” Eh? What was that last one again? No, you didn’t, not really. Perhaps you dreamt of creating a new piece of software to help … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA: Hats

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It was not long ago that the hats that people wore at work signified their roles in society. Two people wearing similar clothes with two styles of hats might have vastly different jobs in the business hierarchy. It is still the case with firemen, the police and the military that you can discern much about … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA: Deduction

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“You see, Watson,” he explained in the early hours of the morning as we sat over a cup of tea in Baker Street, “it was perfectly obvious from the first that the explanation for this query’s sudden poor performance was elementary”. “But how could you guess what the cause was?” “Firstly, we see that the … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA – Patience

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One day, you are sitting at your desk, minding your own business. Your DBA colleague walks up and exasperatedly tells you that there is a query running 5 hours every day, and that the code is simply awful. After just a few hours of refactoring and tuning, the code could be repaired, blazingly fast, and … Read more
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Good DBAs Do Baselines

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One morning, you wake up and feel funny. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something isn’t quite right. What now? Unless you happen to be a hypochondriac, you likely drag yourself out of bed, get on with the day and gather more “evidence”. You check your symptoms over the next few days; … Read more
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