T-SQL Tuesday #14: Resolutions – continue having fun

 

This month's T-SQL Tuesday is being run by newly-minted fellow-MVP Jen McCown (blog|twitter) and the topic is about resolutions. And specifically about resolutions around technology you've been pondering.

One of the things I try very hard to do is make it a bit fun when teaching people about SQL Server. Let's face it, it's a very, very dry topic and it would be really easy to get bored. If you know me at all, you'll know I have a pretty good (quirky) sense of humor.

So, my resolution this year is to continue to have fun!

This involves (in no particular order of priority):

  • Singing
    • I'm the first to admit that I have no singing voice whatsoever. That did not stop us recording a Christmas medley of songs and publishing them for you all to laugh at.
    • Here are the words to my Silent Night rendition:
      • Silent night, workload is light
      • Pager's quiet, all is right
      • Then a disk failure shakes off your delight
      • 824 errors plague you through the nightAll of your backups are baaaad
      • But CHECKDB puts it all ri-ight, CHECKDB puts it all riiiiight.
  • Sheep
    • And talking of baaaad…. I like sheep. In a totally family-friendly way. Everyone needs to go watch this video about a massive pong game on the side of a hill involving cleverly herding hundreds of sheep in the dark, all of the wearing jackets made from hundreds of LEDs.
    • Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FX9rviEhw 
  • Electronics
    • And talking of LEDs…. the hobby I spend most of my time with is building and tinkering with electronics
    • Check out some of the things I've built recently:
    • And some of the things on the list for this year:

What does all this have to do with SQL Server? Nothing. But it's what makes life fun! And that's my resolution – to keep having fun!

T-SQL Tuesday #012 : Summary of why DBA skills are necessary

Last Tuesday I hosted T-SQL Tuesday #012 (see here for the call for participation) and posed the question "why are DBA skills necessary?" This month broke the participation record with 46 people contributing posts – fabulous! Lots of people contributed for the first time too. And what I think is also really cool is that 45 out of these 46 are on Twitter too.

The downside of so many people participating is that it's taken me quite a while to read through all the posts to compile this summary – maybe I should have picked something obscure and boring instead! One of the most interesting things about doing this wrap-up was experiencing a huge variety of blog themes and fonts – a few of which actually made my eyes hurt!

A HUGE thank you to everyone that participated, T-SQL Tuesday doesn't work without you. I really enjoyed reading through everyone's posts and seeing the passion out there for the DBA role. As I've summarized the posts I've added my own comments too.

Here are the posts from all the participants in the order in which their links appeared in my blog post comments (or I dug out additional posts using Google).

Matt Whitfield (blog | @atlantis_uk): T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Matt tells the story of himself as a database designer making a plethora of hard-to-remedy mistakes 9 years ago before he had DBA skills that would have helped him not make those mistakes. His take is that it's essential to have someone with DBA skills involved in system design as newbie DBAs or developers don't know the impact of design choices on SQL Server. I love this line from his post: "There is a whole world of epic-database-fail out there, and that world needs us."

Noel McKinney (blog | @NoelMcKinney): T-SQL Tuesday #012 – DBA Skill or Nil?

Noel takes a look at different RDBMS platforms and how the need for DBA skills could change – from Oracle to MySQL to the cloud to NoSQL. Even with automated solutions, he still thinks you wouldn't want to just apply all the default policies and walk away. I'd have to agree. 

Pinal Dave (blog | @PinalDave): SQL SERVER – Are you a Database Administrator or a Database Developer?

Pinal's short post focuses on how the line is often blurred between being a database administrator and a database developer. He has a survey in the post which is currently showing 60% of respondents believe they're more a dev than a DBA.

Audrey Hammonds (blog | @Datachix2): T-SQL Tuesday: Why are DBA Skills Necessary? – A Datachix Perspective

Audrey's post is about how some of the knowledge a DBA has is essential for a database developer to have too – but does that make you a DBA? No. I love her medical analogy: "See, asking me, a non-DBA, to attempt to be a DBA is like asking a psychiatrist to perform heart surgery". DBAs are essential to look after SQL Server.

Erik Bitemo (blog): T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Erik's post explains some of the knowledge DBAs should have as a way of illustrating the problems that can occur if they don't. He also reminds us that one of the major causes of SQL Server being regarded as not requiring a DBA was the marketing around the 7.0/2000 time-frame that proclaimed how easy SQL Server was to use. IMHO that really hurt the image of SQL Server and SQL Server DBAs.

Rob Farley (blog | @rob_farley): Why bother with database professionals?

Rob's argument is that you don't necessarily need DBA skills – you need people who can apply the right paradigm to their work. For database work that paradigm is set based.

Aaron Bertrand (blog | @AaronBertrand): T-SQL Tuesday : Are hotshot DBA skills necessary?

Aaron (one of my favorite MVP friends) makes a great point that many small business *don't* need a full-time rockstar DBA and that many of the defaults will allow them to continue along happily. But at some point as the business grows and the data/transaction volume grows with it, you cross a line and then a DBA really *is* necessary. I totally agree. When I'm teaching about index fragmentation I always say that at the low end, rebuilding all your indexes every night is probably fine, but as things get larger and downtime becomes important, DBA skills are needed to take a more analytical approach.

Robert Hartskeerl (blog | @rhartskeerl): T-SQL Tuesday #12–Why are DBA skills necessary?

Robert explains how even though there are tools to assist with managing SQL Server, someone has to interpret what the tool is saying and no how to fix the problem. And the tools can be wrong – like the RESTORE bug in SSMS in SQL 20008. Robert also used my favorite phrase… "it depends!"

Erin Stellato (blog | @erinstellato): TSQL Tuesday #012: Why are DBA Skills Necessary?

Erin (my favorite stalker :) recounts some of the problems she's helped with on customer systems that affected business continuity. Her take is that if the data is really important, you need a DBA to make sure it doeesn't get irretrievably damaged or destroyed.

Grant Fritchey (blog | @GFritchey): TSQL Tuesday: Why Are DBA Skills Necessary

Grant (who scares me sometimes) tells some good stories and preaches the same mantra: at some point you need a DBA who knows how to protect and recover data, perform tuning etc. Even with NoSQL – you're still storing data and you still need to be able to restore it, get at it quickly, etc. Hear, hear.

Steve Jones (blog | @way0utwest): T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why Do You Need a DBA?

Steve (who scares me most of the time with his pink cowboy hat) joins the chorus that DBAs aren't always required, but when they are they can save a company a lot of time and money and hence can be a really worthwhile investment.

Jes Borland (blog | @grrl_geek): T-SQL Tuesday #012: Why Are DBA Skills Necessary?

Jes explains why DBAs should market their skills as a problem-solvers and money-savers, and that a DBA isn't an IT function, it's a business need. Oh yes, and she says that we should all wear super-hero capes!

Bob Pusateri (blog | @SQLBob): T-SQL Tuesday #12: DBA Skills

Bob tells some stories from his DBA past but says that one of the most important DBA skills is to know when to ask others for help. He goes on to say that "presence of DBA skills can make a big difference between just getting something done, and doing something exceptionally well."

Mike Reigler (blog | @RMikeReigler): TSQL Tuesday #12 – I’m not a DBA, But I Got DBA Skills

Mike lists a bunch of SQL knowledge that most developers wouldn't know or care about, but makes the point that *someone* has to know and care about it, or people are going to get annoyed when performance tanks. He also explains how knowing some DBA skills sets him apart from other developers.

Mark Blakey (blog | @Blakmk): T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Mark's the first poster to bring up the fact that developers and DBAs often have different priorities – with devs churning out code quickly while DBAs are trying to preserve resources.

Oscar Zamora (blog | @ZamoraO): Who needs DBA Skills? [#TSQL2sDay]

Oscar (who I just met at SQL PASS on Monday) lists 14 reasons why DBA skills are necessary and throws down the gauntlet by stating he thinks "most developers have no business in the DB world".

Tamera Clark (blog | @tameraclark): TSQL Tuesday – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Tamera explains how some DBA skills can help write better T-SQL as you'll know more about how SQL Server is handling the T-SQL you casually throw at it.

Jeremy Carter (blog): TSQL Tuesday – Why are dba skills necessary?

Jeremy explains that even with small databases, sometimes a DBA needs to be involved from the get-go, before the hardware is even provisioned.

Kerry Tyler (blog | @AirborneGeek): T-SQL Tuesday #12: Why are DBA Skills Necessary?

Kerry explains that databases are hard, and that it takes many different roles to look after a corporations data properly – the DBA being just one of them.

Andy Lohn (blog | @SQLQuill): T-SQL Tuesday #012 – Smart, Technologically Up-to-date, Well-Meaning Application Developers

Andy explains how he picked up DBA skills when he became a database developer and how useful they've been for his company.

Ricardo Leka (blog | @BigLeka): Por que habilidades de DBA são necessárias?

Portuguese? Google Translate to the rescue! Hmm – Google Translate didn't do such a good job, but I think the gist of Ricardo's post is that too many companies that think that SQL Server doesn't need a DBA.

Andrew Vogel (blog | @sqlreader): T-SQL Tuesday: Why Are DBA Skills Necessary?

Andrew makes a very interesting point that consultants know what's best about a product, but only you know what's best for your environment. Totally true – so many clients expect us (consultants) to provide the best answer for them straight away.

Wendy Pastrick (blog | @wendy_dance): Who Needs DBA Skillz?

Wendy (who I just met at SQL PASS on Monday) says anyone who works with a database needs some DBA skills. And if you don't have anyone with DBA skills, check out the #sqlhelp tag on Twitter. Hear hear!

Pat Wright (blog | @SqlAsylum): T-SQL Tuesday, Why are DBA skills necessary?

Pat (who I just met at SQL PASS on Monday) introduces me to an expansion of the DBA TLA I've never heard before: Default Blame Acceptor. While I've never heard it, I totally get it. DBAs are the unsung heroes of countless nasty situations caused by others.

Cade Roux (blog | @caderoux): T-SQL Tuesday: Why are DBA skills necessary? I pick the most important one…

Cade focuses on the skills a DBA has and explains why he thinks troubleshooting is the number-one skill he looks for in a DBA.

Tim Ford (blog | @sqlagentman): T-SQL Tuesday – Sometimes DBAs Are Required – Even for the Amish

Tim (who looks great in a Utilikilt) manages to unite Amish people and brothels in the same post. That takes a different kind of skill.

Geoff Hiten (blog | @SQLCraftsman): Why DBA skills are important (T-SQL Tuesday)

Geoff's short post tells the tale of someone attempting to use replication as a DR solution without understanding what replication does and does not provide. And that person was a 'DBA', but without DBA skills.

Jason Strate (blog | @StrateSQL): Why are DBA skills necessary? #TSQL2sDay

Jason gives some examples of why "what you don't know can hurt you" and then explains three critical things you should know if you're a DBA.

Jason Brimhall (blog | @sqlrnnr): T-SQL Tuesday #012 – Skills

Jason departs from the norm and discusses the NON-technical skills that a successful DBA needs to have. I particularly like the emphasis on a sense of community. I'm a huge community guy and I really like to see those that benefit from the SQL community eventually starting to give back in the form of things like blog posts, tweets, and user group presentations. People really ARE interested in what you've experienced as that will help them when they have the same problem.

Gill Rowley (blog | @SQLGill): T-SQL Tuesday #012: Why Are DBA Skills Necessary?

Gill tells a story of trying to get an IT department out of the dark ages and under control using his DBA skills.

Brent Ozar (blog | @BrentO): T-SQL Tuesday: Why Do You Need DBA Skills?

Brent (our very own Mr Wonderful) talks about when saying 'whoops' isn't code for "oh no, I dropped the database" and how real DBAs need to know enough to fix the junior DBA's "fixes"…

Matt Velic (blog | @mvelic): November’s T-SQL Tuesday: Importance of DBA Skills

Matt went as far as recording his T-SQL Tuesday message, describing how valuable DBA skills are.

Gethyn Ellis (blog | @SQLGRE): TSQL2SDAY #12 – Why are DBA Skills Necessary?

Gethyn explains some of the problems that can cause business continuity to suffer, all of which could be solved with backups, being taked by someone with DBA skills.

Jack Corbett (blog | @unclebiguns): T-SQL Tuesday–Why are DBA Skills Necessary?

Jack (whose Twitter alias I've been afraid to ask about…) tells a story if disaster and data loss that would have been prevented had someone with DBA skills been involved.

Chris Shaw (blog | @SQLShaw): T-SQL Tuesday

Chris gives some examples of why companies need databases today to stay competitive, and hence need DBAs to keep those databases healthy.

Sal Young (blog | @EmpiricalDataMa): We don’t need no stinking DBAs! (T-SQL Tuesday #12)

Sal describes some of the different DBA specialties there are, and how you need to be prepared to be dealt a hard knock by clueless executives bent on saving company money by laying off employees.

Robert L Davis (blog | @SQLSoldier): T-SQL Tuesday #012 – the DBA as a Modern-day Specialist

Robert (DBM book writer extraordinaire) tells a *really* interesting story of a high-school injury that nearly left him paralyzed because it was mis-diagnosed by GPs rather than a specialist – and draws the analogy to under-qualified people trying to diagnose problems affecting an important database.

Kimberly L Tripp (blog | @KimberlyLTripp): TSQL Tuesday – Why DBA skills are important

Kimberly (lovely wife) highlights a couple of areas where you can get bitten without DBA skills, and explains why *someone* in the organization has to have DBA skills because SQL Server is a *general purpose* RDBMS, and so it needs to be tweaked to work best for your environment.

Kendra Little (blog | @Kendra_Little): TSQL Tuesday #12: Why Are DBA Skills Necessary? Fido, Please Turn Your Head And Cough.

Kendra draws a very clever analogy between DBAs and veterinarians, saying that both look after birth, death, growth, prevention of illness, and so on.

Jeremiah Peschka (blog | @PeschkaJ): T-SQL Tuesday – Why Are DBA Skills Necessary?

Jeremiah (who has quite amazing tattoos) says that DBA skills aren't necessary, but instead the ability to learn is what sets the successful apart from the unsuccessful.

Josh Feierman (blog | @awanderingmind): Who needs a DBA? – TSqlTuesday #12

Josh recalls how he started out as an involuntary DBA, and thinks about all the mistakes he made that a real DBA would have picked up on. One thing I think we sometimes lose sight of is that *everyone* started with zero SQL Server knowledge…

Josef Richberg (blog | @sqlrunner): T-SQL Tuesday 12: Why are DBA skills necessary?

Josef laments that developers are seen as THE all-knowing entities, which can lead unsuitable designs making it into production and causing problems – which then leads to angst about the database platform which fuels the NoSQL movement.

Jonathan Kehayias (blog | @SQLSarg): T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Jonathan (extended events expert) uses some examples from his work to illustrate some of the problems facing companies without DBAs, and explains how it can take time for a new DBA to earn the respect of the incumbent IT staff.

Cameron Mergel (blog | @CameronMergel): T-SQL Tuesday – Why Are DBA Skills Necessary?

Cameron reiterates that as the operations you want to do on your database become more advanced, you need someone with higher skills – just like there's a point at which you stop doing maintenance on your car yourself and trust it to a mechanic.

Kelly Martinez (blog | @GreeleyGeek): Why are DBA skills necessary? #TSQL2sDay

Kelly talks about some of the things a DBA should know, but the most interesting point in his post is about how some vendors seem to have no clue about the database they're running on.

Sean Gallardy (blog | @SeanGallardy): T-SQL Tuesday – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Last but not least, Sean makes the very good point that DBA skills are really necessary when searching for problem solutions on the Internet. Without DBA skills, how do you tell if the advice/solution you're reading is correct and appropriate?

Invitation to participate in T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

In November we're doing T-SQL Tuesday a week early (Tuesday November 2nd) so that it doesn't clash with PASS and I'll be your host!

What is T-SQL Tuesday?

If you haven't seen it yet, T-SQL Tuesday is the brain-child of fellow-MVP Adam Machanic (blog|twitter). It happens once a month on the 2nd Tuesday (different this month) and is hosted by a different person in the SQL community each time. The idea is that it's kind of a rallying point to get a bunch of people to blog about a particular topic on the same day, giving a wide and varied set of opinions and interpretations of that month's topic. The hoster then posts a wrap-up commenting on all the contributions. I think it's a great idea and I contribute whenever I have time.

What is the topic for November?

This month I'd like to step back from the deep technical stuff and ask "why are DBA skills necessary?"

I don't want to color people's opinions by giving my own yet, but some things to consider are:

  • What problems have you seen in your career that could have been avoided with some DBA skills?
  • At what point does a SQL Server installation need a real DBA to look after it?
  • How could DBA input help prevent design problems in data applications?
  • Should there be cross-over been developer skills and DBA skills? What about architects? Storage admins?
  • How can business continuity be affected by lack of DBA skills?
  • How much can we rely on auto-tuning to ensure performant work loads?
  • Is Microsoft doing enough to foster DBA skills as a point of excellence?
  • What about on other RDBMS platforms? What about no-SQL?

I could go on for hours… I'm really looking forward to seeing where you take this topic and I'm expecting some great posts.

What are the rules?

As with any organized event, there are inevitably some rules that help make things run smoothly.

  • You most post your contribution between Tuesday November 2nd 00:00:00 GMT and Wednesday November 3rd 00:00:00 GMT (i.e. Monday 8pm-Tuesday 8pm EST, Monday 5pm- Tuesday 5pm PST, etc)
  • Note: there was a daylight-savings change on October 31st in Europe. I will accept posts from 4pm PST Monday to 5pm PST Tuesday as even I made that mistake :-)
  • Your post has to link back to the hosting blog, and the link must be anchored from the logo (found above) which must also appear at the top of the post.
  • Leave a comment here (below) or I won’t be able to find your post. I expect trackbacks work properly, but if they don’t check back here just in case and leave a comment if necessary.

Sample HTML to include the logo and link-back is:

<a href="http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/paul/post/Invitation-to-participate-in-T-SQL-Tuesday-12-e28093-Why-are-DBA-skills-necessary.aspx"><img src="http://www.SQLskills.comwp-content/uploads/2010/7/TSQL2sDay150x150.jpg" border="0" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT DO A 'TRACKBACK' – YOU WILL NEED TO ADD A LINK IN A COMMENT ON THIS POST.

It would also be really nice if you…

  • Include a reference to T-SQL Tuesday in the title of your post. (The more we bloggers advertise T-SQL Tuesday, the more we bloggers get T-SQL tuesday readers)
  • Tweet using the hash tag #TSQL2sDay to follow links and other relevant conversations.
  • Consider hosting T-SQL Tuesday yourself. If you’re interested let Adam Machanic Know. If you’ve participated in two T-SQL Tuesdays previously and you don’t let your blog go stale (blog once a month for the last six months) then he’ll put you in the rotation.

Summary

Don't fret about the rules, it's nothing too complex. If you're having trouble linking properly on the day, drop me an email (paul@SQLskills.com) or tweet (@PaulRandal) and I'll help you out – I'll be watching things all day.

As I said, I'm really looking forward to seeing a really diverse set of posts and I'll very quickly post a long summary with lots of editorial commentary and opinions too.

Have fun!