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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Baselining with SQL Server Dynamic Management Views

When you're monitoring SQL Server, it is better to capture a baseline for those aspects that you're checking, such as workload, Physical I/O or performance. Once you know what is normal, then performance tuning and resource provisioning can be done in a timely manner before any problem becomes apparent. We can prevent problems by being able to predict them. Louis shows how to get started.… Read more

What Counts For a DBA: Bravery

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As a DBA, you have the opportunity to act like a firefighter. In fact the term ‘fire-fighting’ is very often used to describe those tasks needed to find the root cause of a system outage because there are a lot of similarities. When fighting a real fire there is more to it than the obvious … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA: Laziness

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On the face of it, laziness is not the first character trait to whip out before an interviewer when asked, “What can you bring to our company?” However, I’m willing to bet that a relatively small handful of lazy people have done more for the world than all of the hard working people combined. Of … Read more
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What Counts for a DBA: Realism

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“I need a database designed, which will not only clear up our current order processing issues, but will make our processing 1000% more efficient …” The manager had that charismatic gleam in his eye that makes you just about believe anything he says. “… and I know you guys can do it…”. Just as our … Read more
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What Counts For a DBA: Amnesia

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As we rush headlong into 2013, many of us prepare the annual document of self-deception otherwise known as our “New Year’s Resolutions”. Most people don’t intend to lie to themselves; it just often ends up that way. If you are lazy then the act of writing down “don’t be lazy” won’t transform you into a … Read more
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What Counts For a DBA: Replaceable

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Replaceable is what every employee in every company instinctively strives not to be. Yet, if you’re an irreplaceable DBA, meaning that the company couldn’t find someone else who could do what you do, then you’re not doing a great job. A good DBA is replaceable. I imagine some of you are already reaching for the … Read more
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