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SQL Server Should Work for Us Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:35 AM


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kevaburg (6/20/2013)

Einstein once said: If you can't explain a subject in simple terms to a layman, you don't know enough about the subject yourself.

Your DBA has mastered that concept and is the DBA every company "should" have. But then, I am sure he keeps himself abreast of developments, makes sure those less skilled have the answers to questions they need in a manner they can understand and realises the importantance of continuation training. That guy deserves that pat on the back but then companies that have that sort of professionalism take it for granted and reason that "he is only doing the job he is paid for".

Easy to use software, less complex practices, the ability to say "well, it isn't my job anyway": What ever happened to good old-fashioned workplace-pride and standards where the individual knew what needed to be done and simply did it?

(Disclaimer: Not in a good mood this morning and feeling very cynical....)



I can relate to that final sentiment after flying all night to the UK :)

I only quoted one of your replies, but I'd like to address them all here. I do appreciate your view, and I agree with it somewhat, but it's not as simple or straightforward as you note.

I do agree that people working with SQL Server should strive to understand more and improve their knowledge of the platform they are responsible for. However asking for better tools doesn't preclude that. We are all on a journey from beginner to expert, and at a point in time we are somewhere along the way. Plenty of developers, Windows (or Exchange/Sharepoint) admins, or others are tossed into the pool with their initial responsibility for managing a SQL Server. The platform should help support them, and also teach them. It's one of the reasons I try to always encourage people not to click "OK" in SSMS, but use their little friend, the script button. I do that constantly to learn more.

However let me ask you this. When I started working with SQL Server, we had to track the growths of our database files. The reason is that when we restore a backup to a new database, we had to create the segments in the right size and right order. That required some knowledge, but it was a little silly to ask humans to do this when software could. SQL Server evolved so that it would manage this process itself. It also evolved in SQL Server 2012 to automatically build the "WITH MOVE" statements to the default file locations with a checkbox in the restore dialog. Is that addition, which is incredibly ergonomic, and long overdue (IMHO), a "dumming" down of the tools? Or is it something that helps the ignorant and eases the workload of the expert?

I disdain the need for this tribal knowledge, like knowing the maintenance plan log is needed, not the job history log. To me this isn't the sign of an expert, but someone that's encountered a flaw/bug/issue in SQL Server's toolset and knows to skip by this.

Making tools better, and easier, to me, is a way to ensure the platform is more efficient, and doesn't waste one's time, beginner or expert.

Probably should have written more of this in the editorial. My apologies for not clarifying things better in the piece.







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Post #1465601
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:05 AM


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Eric M Russell (6/19/2013)

... Perhaps Microsoft has intentionally capped the investment on SSMS, implementing basic management functionality, thinking that 3rd party tool vendors or add-ins will fill in the gaps.
Another feature missing from SSMS 2008/2012 out of the box, something that I consider to be basic, is information schema search. This was included in the old v2000 Query Analyzer. However, Red Gate's SQL Search add-in can be downloaded for free and is even better.


Perhaps. However if MS wants people to build add-ins, they ought to set some direction and "verbal contract" with us. Too often I've seen MS not build something, the third party work in the area, and then MS make some lame attempt in the area that tends to kill a third party business. This happens more in the SQL world than the .NET/developer world, but it's a problem that harms the ecosystem. There are people unwilling to make the investment in tool enhancements because they're worried in a year or two MS will kill their business.

I'd like to see MS improve the tools, but give us direction in which areas they will, and which they won't so third parties can fill gaps.







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Post #1465614
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 9:51 AM
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I don't think you were unclear in your original comments, Steve. You brought up some shortcomings in the tools that, if addressed, would just make life a bit easier for everyone. Yes, you can make the tools "too" helpful, but I don't think we're in any danger of that anytime soon. I also remember those days using v4.21 and keeping track of growth scripts (and converting pages to MB and back). MS upgraded the toolset and server to keep track of that information so it wasn't needed and that was a welcome change. Of course, they also decided that basing the SQL shell on VS IDE was a good idea when most DBA's don't tend to do much in Visual Studio and would prefer better keyboard-based management instead of the constant move mouse, click, move mouse, click in the modern UI.

I think there's a balance. My DBA co-worker developed these scripts over time to ease his job. There are probably some MS changes that could help him, though not many. There are definitely 3rd party alternatives, but no real reason for our company to pay for them at the moment. These sorts of areas are the ones that MS could address by bringing in the day-to-day users of SQL Server and listening to them. Even the MVPs may not think of some of these areas because they just work around them with their arsenal of scripts from past experience. I'd suggest opening a Connect ticket for an enhancement request, but experience tends to show that without a lot of publicity about the Connect tickets they tend to be "Closed, will not fix" more often than not. In the case of enhancements, it seems that they're "Closed. Working as designed." MS tends to ignore the fact that the very design is what's being brought up in the ticket.



Post #1465797
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 2:47 PM


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I have often said that SQL Server has far too many "wizards", which is essentially what a maintenance plan is, for it's own good. Anytime you complete any important task the "lazy man's" way you, or the wizard, is bound to miss something.

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1465946
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:17 PM
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I have often said that SQL Server has far too many "wizards", which is essentially what a maintenance plan is, for it's own good.


Rumor is that SQL Server 2016R3 will only have PowerShell and CLI interfaces. (Unless you are an enterprise customer, then you get all the GUI and wizards...)
Post #1465960
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:21 PM
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I don't think Steve is so much referring to the "wizard" concept here, but things that just make the product easier to use. His comment on removing the need to re-create the database exactly as it was created, grown, shrunk, etc. is a great example. I still remember having to script out a database create script against the original database so I could restore it later. Moving the database files on restore is another example. Neither of those are wizards, just ways that make restores less painful. In the original article he mentions the idea of including useful error messages in the alert e-mails. MS has made some progress in these areas - SSIS logging now exists at a some level. However, there are many other little areas that remain frustrating for the accidental DBA or for someone who does these tasks, but infrequently.

I tend to agree for the most part about wizards. They're useful, but once you have some idea about what you're doing, you'll generally not use the wizards or not use them as often. For someone who's new or doesn't know what they're doing and just need the box to run - they serve a useful purpose.



Post #1465964
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 9:50 PM
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Hear hear, Steve! I'd love to see a dashboard similar to Oracle's OEM without the need for 3rd party monitoring tools. The Performance Dashboard Reports and Integration Services Dashboard are a great start. Don't take them away, add to them! No GUI? I remember SQL 6.5 and it wasn't pretty.
Post #1466022
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 12:40 AM
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awright 77372 (6/20/2013)
Hear hear, Steve! I'd love to see a dashboard similar to Oracle's OEM without the need for 3rd party monitoring tools. The Performance Dashboard Reports and Integration Services Dashboard are a great start. Don't take them away, add to them! No GUI? I remember SQL 6.5 and it wasn't pretty.


Oracles OEM? That is the one thing Oracle didn't get right! Horrible unusable thing! Thank God for Putty and SQL Developer.........!
Post #1466064
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 12:47 AM
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I waited to reply to Steves anser to me because I wanted to see how other people reacted and now I know!

Perhaps I am simply to optimistic about people getting the training they need when they need it. I am therefore going to change my standpoint to: It doesn't matter how it gets done as long as the company or its data isn't compromised and if it needs to be learned then people either make sure they learn it or at least make people aware training is necessary or else /*INSERT CONSEQUENCE HERE*/.

Anyway, time to get back to work!

Note: I'm in a much better mood today......

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