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How do you learn the advanced stuff? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 11:23 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item How do you learn the advanced stuff?






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Post #1185017
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 12:16 AM
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I find the biggest constraints to be time and available hardware. One would also need a sample database(s) just to speed things up.
Replication, Failover technologies and disaster recovery all needs sufficient available hardware and this is not always available to the novice DBA that wants to try thing on his own.
Post #1185032
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 2:17 AM
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Even working on a 'small' set of data with 1 table of 15 million rows, the fact it was doing lots of user string pattern matching throughout the data and lots of reporting by different users, partitioning brought a 50* performance increase in queries.

So it's definitely worth learning, multi-billion row datasets aren't essential to get benefits from it. Anything where you can greatly reduce the dataset to be queried or modified when using intensive queries can benefit from it.



Post #1185065
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:15 AM
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Hi Steve,

I don't normally post on the forum (tho read the newsletter daily) and have to say this was a good editorial, it's certainly got me thinking about ways I can get to the advanced topics (especially considering my workplace is considering how to implement advanced reporting and no one has stepped up to plate yet).
Post #1185101
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:47 AM


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Building and administering Dev Edition on a VM isn't just for advanced features. It's how I learned the simple basics, too.

Very useful technique.

I also keep a database called ProofOfConcept available as a playground for testing new things. Dropable at a moment's notice. Any time I'm testing new concepts, I use that database. I also use it to build answers to questions in these forums. If someone posts table scripts and all that, I fire them up in that database, and build the solution there before posting it here. Very handy, since I know I can drop anything in there at any time, including the whole database.


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Post #1185128
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:54 AM


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I'm busy building a monster of a server (8 cores, 16GB memory, 6TB drive space) that can support multiple virtual machines, so I can play with mirroring, replication, AlwaysOn, clustering and other fun features (there are other reasons for the server too).

Wasn't that expensive. Excluding the drives and screen, under R7000.



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Post #1185134
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 4:13 AM
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If you aer getting a 'developed world' level salary, then probably the best GBP £200 you can spend is on a TechNet subscription. This provides you with all the Microsoft operating systems, server software, and Office. This combination is key to taking hold of your career path. (MSDN can give you more, but at a higher prioce.)

If you think that as a DBA you do not want to know how to install W2008 or configure AD, then you are also missing out on the skills you will need to troubleshoot problems in these areas.

I congratulate Gail on building a Hyper-V monster for trying out what the software can do. This approach liberates you from what an employer can provide, and is another key step in controlling your career.

Back in 2007 I had a 4-core 12 GB box built for about GBP 1800 which now has about 3TB storage spread over 5 disks. If you have got the money, then look at getting a custom-build box with 16 GB memory and at least 8GHz of total processing power (Number of cores x processor speed = total GHz processing power). My experience is that memory and disk space get used up far faster than CPU capacity, and nowadays you should be able to build what you need for under GBP 1000.


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Post #1185147
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 5:41 AM
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Thats a reall good article and an issue I habitually have to battle. I go through stages of thinking, I should really learn more about <INSERT FEATURE HERE> but struggle to a) find a block of time to researching it and b) finding a suitable "real world" scenario to apply it to.

I know there are lots of walkthroughs and tutorials out there but I get limited satisfaction from following a set of steps in a pre-canned scenario. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking them but I find a more effective learning mechanism in applying the technology to a real problem I have.

Of course, here-in lies the problem and the crux of the editorial. In any single job, you'll be very lucky to have the need to leverage all features of SQL Server even with some creative thinking.

I like the idea of setting aside a couple of hours per week to "test drive" a feature of SQL Server and its something this post re-enforces. Even if you're not getting down and dirty with the feature I think there is value in "kicking the tyres" of something.

Time to block out 2 hours in the calendar...




Post #1185175
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 6:43 AM


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Great article. My advice to anyone approaching anything on a computer - whether it's software development, database administration, surfing the web, or just using office productivity applications - is to be curious! In fact it has become my signature tag line.
I also agree with the recommendation for a proper sandbox (invaluable!) and to start with something that's already been done to get you going. I do that all the time. At first, I felt like I was cheating by learning that way. I now look at it as child-like curiosity. You take it apart, see what makes it tick then try to put it back together - and maybe even back together better! It worked for me as a child, and works for my in my current position all the time.

A good manager will serve his/her department well by fostering this within their group. By actually giving their developers/DBA's the time and not just suggesting it, but actually setting it aside for them. Realistically, this is easier for larger organizations with greater depth and overlap of talent.


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Be curious!
Post #1185206
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 7:25 AM
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I have the same issue that Cheetah does. It comes down to resources, both hardware and time. I love learning but am not able to keep up with day to day responsibities; so I have no choice but to learn only those things that allow me to be productive for my company. Also, we don't have the production hardware we need, much less an adequate test and development environment. I think that may change as we are in the process of virtualizing production servers, which in turn should free up some server we can use to virtualize a test environment.

I do admire anyone's willingness and ability to learn new things ahead of the need, however!
Post #1185235
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