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Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012 9:51 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire






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Post #1338290
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 2:59 AM
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So true. I'm a "solutions provider" / "developer" / "current vogue name" writing SQL-based intranet (dot net) solutions.

Whilst I have a rough idea of what is going on behind the scenes on our SQL boxes there is no one actively managing them. Once in blue moon I check the logs but they could be filling up even as I write this with some esoteric error message that I wouldn't understand nor be able to fix.

Because they have run this way for the best part of two years everyone (me included, I suppose) assume that things are OK. And for internal, intranet based solutions we can probably get away with this. Imagine the same attitude being adopted for an external, client-facing server though!

I rely so much on the articles on SQLServerCentral just to get by, but there are only so many hours in the day (and only so many grey cells in my head) to absorb the information - and SQL Admin is not my core job, just a platform I use to get solutions implemented.

Actively managing a SQL server (and understanding what it is you should be managing and pre-empting) is IMHO a necessity. I used to be a Lotus Domino DB Admin and that took 100% of my time (bigger solutions, many servers admittedly, but things did need managing to avoid a meltdown).

How do you get that message across to management who just see the SQL server running quite happily and a DBA as an additional expense with no perceived benefit - before total meltdown?
Post #1338383
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 8:08 AM
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I enjoy perodically getting dumped into a 'sink or swim' situation, as long as the expectations are realistic. That's how I started in SQL years ago (my database experience before that was primarily Access).

My new challenge is a complete revamp of our network based fax system (it has a SQL backend) and I am rapidly learning about telecom hardware and protocols (the vendors involved are lending considerable expertise to the project). It's a bit scary, but exhilarating as well.


...

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Post #1338559
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:02 AM


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No one I know of "enjoys" walking into a firestorm. That said though, I have learned an enormous amount by doing so. Both, in further developing my overall skill set by my learning how to quickly think and react on my feet in these situations under pressure, and also by learning what situations/environments to avoid in the future by accurate assessing it (ie: spotting the red flags) during the interview, long before I actually walk into it.

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Post #1338604
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:06 AM


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ralph.bacon (8/1/2012)

How do you get that message across to management who just see the SQL server running quite happily and a DBA as an additional expense with no perceived benefit - before total meltdown?


Not sure you can, until there is some issue. When you can't fix something or it takes you a long time, or performance impacts users, you can document these things and use them as a case for getting some help or training, but other than that, not sure.

The flip side is how do you know when things will break? If it's not for 5 years, does it matter? Ten years? Is it worth paying someone for 5 years while everything works?

It's a tricky situation.







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Post #1338608
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:15 AM
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (8/1/2012)
ralph.bacon (8/1/2012)

How do you get that message across to management who just see the SQL server running quite happily and a DBA as an additional expense with no perceived benefit - before total meltdown?


Not sure you can, until there is some issue. When you can't fix something or it takes you a long time, or performance impacts users, you can document these things and use them as a case for getting some help or training, but other than that, not sure.

The flip side is how do you know when things will break? If it's not for 5 years, does it matter? Ten years? Is it worth paying someone for 5 years while everything works?

It's a tricky situation.


You probably don't want to pay a DBA in those cases, but, you should have a consulting firm on contract. They will have the people to call in to handle the emergency situations. They could also be contracted to come in monthly (or some other frequency) to review the servers and issue a report. This is how I've seen it done in small shops where the expertise is not in-house.
Post #1338614
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:55 AM
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Steve,

For a year or so I took the time to do some knowledge transfer to unknown new developers in C# on a large message board to help educate those who are starting and learning. I tried to not answer all the questions directly but to point people to answers or places where answers could be found so they also learned the necessary skill of debugging and digging for answers.

I have also started to assist others in using of one of the more popular Content Management Open Source products as to help others again but also to better my understand and advance my skills.

Really we should openly help others for two reasons, first to give back, but second and almost more importantly by assisting others with their problems we expand our understanding of software, situations, logic and logic traps we set for ourselves. When you help others you also help yourself. So Share what you know and you will know more, or hide what you know and become less knowing.

Have a great day, and thanks for bringing us along on this educational ride. It is appreciated.

M.


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Post #1338650
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 12:24 PM


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Steve: And I thought you were going to wrap up with some horrible joke about how your career progressed from waiting on tables (in restaurants) to waiting on tables (in SQL Server). Thankfully you didn't.
Post #1338745
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 2:28 PM


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I am so glad to see this as the topic of your editorial today.

I am scheduled to do a presentation at SQL Saturday #161 that I titled "Yesterday I couldn't even spell 'DBA'..." I even have a post somewhere on here under SQL Server 2008 > SQL Server Newbies > titled "Enlisted or Drafted" where I hoped to get people to weigh in on the subject and maybe tell their own tales.

I definetely was drafted. Although I have been designing and coding databases ever since 1980, the days of the 6502 CPU, making the transition from developer to DBA is a bit jarring. I had only started developing in SQL 7 when the development company where I worked decided to also do some SQL Server hosting. I was drafted and glad I did if for nothing else than to stop them from their normal backup plan. Their plan was to not use SQL Server backups but to let everything get backed up to tape without even stopping the services.

I quickly learned as much as I could and my boss was supportive, even allowing me to study and finish my MCSE then take the last two tests to get my MCDBA.

One problem I run into with developers is that they can't seem to wrap their minds around the concept of result sets (RBAR) or the concept of a database server. Some just thought that SQL Server was the same as having Visual FoxPro or Access available on a network share.

Please tell me more of what your experiences and what you found helpful and what you wish you had known when you made the transition!



-----------------
Larry
(What color is your database?)
Post #1338808
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012 4:42 PM


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ganotedp (8/1/2012)
Steve: And I thought you were going to wrap up with some horrible joke about how your career progressed from waiting on tables (in restaurants) to waiting on tables (in SQL Server). Thankfully you didn't.



LOL, that would be a bad joke, wouldn't it?







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