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The Desire for Control Expand / Collapse
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2011 9:13 PM



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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Desire for Control

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Post #1123110
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 2:21 AM



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If I were a DBA first and not an Analyst Programmer (or if I even wanted to focus entirely on DBA work - which I dont really) I'm pretty sure I'd be wanting to control the smallest, tiniest minutae of the engine.

As it is, I dont have the time to learn the half of what I can do already so every time I do delve into performance tuning etc I end up frustrated. I simply dont have the time I need to actually research/learn/acheive anything more in depth than setting up some decent indexes.

So for me, as a programmer first and a dba second, one of the most appealing features of SQL Server is that you can pretty much leave its own devices and it will do a pretty good job of running queries for you. If you want to tune it, the option to do so is there.

What I would see microsoft do, is add more and more fine granular controls into the system so that REAL DBAs can sink their teeth in and really get a server humming, but also add some kind of tuning service that tweaks it all for you unless you tell it not to. That way when a small application/product/project has no DBA specifically assigned to it I can still end up with a fairly high quality end product (and get my end of year profit sharing bonus!)


^ Thats me!

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Post #1123149
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 2:25 AM



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Definitely in the 'want great flexibility in tuning and the ability to apply their own knowledge' camp.

Admittedly these days I do find far less need for low level tinkering with SQL Server (as a web developer rather than DBA) but there is always that circumstance when it is needed.

What I do not find great are the more abstruse corners such as DMVs - I think that kind of thing could be made more accessible, as some of the information in there sounds useful, but it is too hard for me to contemplate trying to access.
Post #1123150
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 3:16 AM



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I'm in for the ease of use automatic tuning and learning capabilities of the database engine. More knobs are welcome in case the automatic goes awry.
Post #1123171
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 4:11 AM

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I want less knobs in the GUI, and more knobs that are enabled via T-SQL.

When I got started, I'd check all kinds of boxes in the GUI trying to make things go faster. The more I learned, the more I realized how dangerous those were.

Post #1123201
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 6:09 AM

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If you have been at this game as long as I have, you often find yourself either thinking or in conversation with older guys (and gals) who remain kind of stunned how badly we lost our way somewhere along the road to software "making our lives easier".

Think about it... When the earliest spreadsheet (VisiCalc) came out, people were truly stunned at just how much easier this would make their lives after years of paper, pencil, calculators, and even (wait for it...) doing Math in your head.

Now we have taken software of all kinds (SQL, Visual Studio, MS Office) and over-complicated it to a level where some techies will spend literally months "tweaking" and "fine tuning" it. And this is not to mention the number of support calls we get from clients running something as simple as MS Word, who can no longer find this or that special feature because Microsoft cant really improve anything anymore, they just complicate it to sell us new versions by making hair-brained changes like the incredibly-hated "ribbon".

Was this why we invented software? To go from making our work lives easier, all the way to today where even programming your cell phone qualifies you to operate the Space Shuttle?

Do I want tuning SQL to have more or less options? Simple answer. GIVE ME ONE BUTTON TO CLICK AND LET THE SYSTEM FIGURE IT OUT!!!

That was once the idea behind good software. But then, Intelligence is NO measure of common sense, and common sense left the software industry years ago. Now, we over-complicate things and the more we do that, the fewer people really know how to manage them. And as some of the older futurists pointed out, thats the expressway to chaos.

Whoo-hoo! Enjoy the ride.

There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #1123243
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 7:37 AM


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I've got to agree with Blandry on a lot of the sentiments aired. Technology has given end users so much but for people in support I feel we are fast becoming slaves to it rather than liberated by it. This is also partly due to the expectation that more can be done by less people in a shorter time, after all we have computers to do it all, right?

Of course SQL should go down the road of self tuning, not to do so would be nonsensical. Probably more important is the presentation of performance information be improved and better at highlighting where issues exist.

If changing a configuration item has a high likliehood of doing more harm than good it should not be visible through the GUI


Post #1123322
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 7:38 AM

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I want both. I get alot of harassment about using the builtin tools like the Database Tuning advisor. Many "real" DBA's scoff at the idea of ever touching that "vile application". I like the fact that it can do alot of evaluation that would take me days or weeks or even months and spit out "recommendations". For very poorly designed databases, it can help make vast improvements quickly and then the "real" DBA can take over and tweak to their heart's desire. I like having tools that will do some of the work for me, even if they are not as good as a human being, they can be better than nothing for less experienced DBA's and a way to help experienced DBA's evaluate more quickly.

We need to remember that Microsoft has traditionally been focused on making computing easier, especially for the less experienced. And they provide some deeper functionality for those who want it. The result has been to have an ever expanding stable of products, many evolving into true Enterprise solutions that are still manageable by less experienced admins.

I know that many DBA's, probably on this forum, with many years of hard won experience may disagree because they have moved beyond the need for "helpful" tools that don't seem helpful because they understand the product as well or better than the programmers themselves. Those people should become developer's on the Microsoft team to help propel the design of future versions to new heights, with more automatic tweaking features AND more manual tweaks.

I think almost every version of every product is better than the last... ok, that ribbon thing still bugs me, too

Peter Trast
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Microsoft Design Architect with Alexander Open Systems
Post #1123324
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 7:55 AM
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The question is a false choice. I don't want more automatic tuning or more manual controls, I want both. As a developer who also keeps 10 SQL Server instances running in his "spare time," anything that can be done to keep the server stable and performing well is something I like. On the other hand, when I need to extract the last compute cycle out of some intensive process, I also want the ability to tweak every available knob the engine has available. Probably 99% of everything SQL Server does now it does well enough without intervention, but for that 1%, I need those knobs.
Post #1123349
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 9:11 AM


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I find it interesting you think people want more control over tuning. If we wanted more control wouldn't the standard response to someone adding an index hint to a query be a positive one?

More automated optimization is the way to go. With automated optimization SQL can adjust on the fly to changing conditions. However, there will always be places we don't want SQL to take over. I don't want it automatically creating indexes no matter how much it thinks they will help. And we'll always need the ability to override at least some parts of the optimization for when we just can't get SQL to choose the best plan.
Post #1123415
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