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It's not the platform Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, December 26, 2013 10:42 AM


Ten Centuries

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A DBA I know changed jobs to a new company in the fall of last year. He is a tuner and a good guy that gets involved with how things run and fixes them. He does DB2, SQL Server and Oracle. The company he went to work for is a well known retailer. Their Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday last year was a fire fighting exercise to keep the systems up and running. He told me that he has never seen anything like it. This year they didn't have any problems at all. He spent the last 12 months tuning all of their systems that experienced problems over last years holidays. He emailed me yesterday saying that their systems ran better than they ever had and he was getting a ton of pats on the back for a job well done.


Post #1526004
Posted Thursday, December 26, 2013 10:48 AM


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anyone can setup SQL Server and get it to run. Until it doesn't.

Education and investment in knowledge is one of the most important areas that technologies and their employers can spend time and money on.


Two critical points that I talk to people about quite frequently. I lean more heavily on the second point. Training and education in the product is important. But it doesn't end - education and training need to continue or mistakes will be made. Somebody will rely on knowledge that is for the version of SQL Server (or DBMS of your choice) from 15 years ago. In many cases that knowledge won't apply anymore and it can cause issues.




Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
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Post #1526006
Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2013 4:51 PM
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True, the IT staff makes the difference, but the management makes the IT staff. Should you be in a hapless IT staff position with a Fortune 1000 company that just focuses on Wall Street metrics, my apologies (I have been there). You can count on the staffing problems to only get worse year over year. Seriously, you should consider changing jobs -- and that is where the particular DBMS comes into play.

I started out as a mainframe DBA going back to the 1980s (hierarchical databases). I went on to mainframe DB2, Unix, and SQL Server. The best change I made was leaving Big Iron. Why? Not because of the technology. DB2 is by far has the greatest ability to scale, has true continuous availability (I don't play games with the definition of "24x7"), and simplicity. The reason I left it was it is a victim of its own success.

Big companies use mainframes (the market is actually growing in the Far East and south Asia) and big companies are getting more and more oppressive. More and more (including our favorite software vendor) have adopted the "rank and yank" approach to the annual performance review. Ranking has been around forever as a management requisite, but it is the yanking that is being now being crudely done. In the name of quality, management has to rate a certain percentage of the staff as under-performers. After a couple of years of this, you are let go (to meet Wall Street financial targets). The problem is it works just the opposite -- it generates mediocrity.

If you are locked into the mainframe, you will probably be locked into the "rank and yank" for the rest of your career because you will only change to another large company with the same mentality. If you are locked into Unix, you still might find this happening, but less so. If you are in SQL Server, there are plenty of small to medium companies to go to.

Am I cynical? Not really. I am really trying to give you some options. Smaller companies are more personality based (rather than process-model based), so you will have to find the company that matches your personality. Once you do, I think you will make the most out of you database career. Afterwards, you will probably agree with me that the platform really doesn't make that much difference.

Post #1526863
Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2013 5:03 PM


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jim.drewe (12/31/2013)
True, the IT staff makes the difference, but the management makes the IT staff.

If you are locked into the mainframe, you will probably be locked into the "rank and yank" for the rest of your career because you will only change to another large company with the same mentality. If you are locked into Unix, you still might find this happening, but less so. If you are in SQL Server, there are plenty of small to medium companies to go to.

I went from a medium sized bank to a health care SW company. I have always been able to program but am more of a production DBA type. Troubleshoot slowness. Make sure the query gives the right results. If it isn't -- find out why. Is it a GIGO reason or bad programming?

But if the production DBA is muzzled from telling the truth none of it gets better. Additionally if the user DBA is restricted from communicating the errors back to the originating SW company it is just as bad.




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Post #1526867
Posted Thursday, January 2, 2014 5:37 AM


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This is so true with much of IT. I have a development stack that has been selected more through successive clients' choices than any selections of my own.

As far as I am concerned all software is not good enough yet some software makes a reasonable attempt and is worth utilising. SQL Server and Oracle (to name the ones used in the editorial) are lacking in various areas or for various conditions so we look to updates and upgrades for improvements yet we are satisfied enough to deploy and use them.

I love that here the trolls get trolled. Great community full of open minded individuals with a wide range of ever changing experience, knowledge and abilities.


Gaz

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Post #1527057
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 1:49 AM
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (12/26/2013)
Brent Ozar (12/26/2013)
Why is it headline news that you agree with me, Steve? Are you saying you don't always agree with me, is that what you're saying? You'd better not be lying to me when you say you listen to Hall & Oates all day, every day just like I do. You're out of touch, I'm out of time.


We probably agree more than we disagree, but in this case I thought I'd point it out to others.

I haven't listened to, dressed like, or had hair like, H&O in a long time, though my wife likes their music.


I think you could file for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty.
Post #1530971
Posted Sunday, January 26, 2014 12:36 AM


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I enjoy SQL Server more for the included Tools than anything else. SSMS is a Great Tool as is SSIS.

The SQL Server Database Engine is still stuck in PC Land. My unexplainable Errors are now down to about 1 in 3 months. By this I mean Errors that don't make sense and are solved by a restart.

My other Database Platform is DB2 on i. Unexplained Errors don't happen. Restarts aren't needed. This is the real difference between SQL Server/Oracle vs DB2. As mentioned by an earlier poster 24x7 is real not just a target.

Regards
Post #1534769
Posted Monday, January 27, 2014 7:58 AM
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At my current job, we had a major application (our police department) running on the same DB2 i series box for 18 years. The box never went down for maintenance and never failed during that time. That would be a noteworthy feat for a mainframe, of which I have 25 years experience. But the i series would correspond more as a mid-level server when it was installed. But alas, our application got upgraded and the platform of choice was Windows/SQL Server. It is running pretty well ***now***, but we have had our problems.

Please don't take this as bad mouthing SQL Server. Today SS2012 is a very robust product. How it works out for you depends greatly on your technical architecture. If the architect cut corners, yep, you as the DBA (and ultimately the business) will find out the hard way.

With your post and this reply, I am hoping for others to see a perspective -- both from a company perspective as well as a platform perspective.

Regards, JMD
Post #1535026
Posted Monday, January 27, 2014 9:14 AM


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Never had SQL run for 18 years, but I have had it run for 2. The problem I've most often seen with long running SQL stuff is Windows. Too many patches there. You can make this work with a cluster and come patches, but that's a higher level of work than most companies need.


Do patches for the iSeries or DB2 not require downtime? When I had DB2 on AIX, we still occassionally had patches that required some restart.







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Post #1535082
Posted Monday, January 27, 2014 10:05 AM


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We had an instance of SQL Server 7 running on a Windows NT box for 10 years without a reboot. Granted, the server did not do much heavy lifting. We never had a Windows 2000 or newer server that has not had to be taken down at least once though. We eventually took down the NT box when we revamped the reporting system and it was no longer needed. Had we not done that, it might still be running today. I agree with Steve, for us Windows has required more maintenance than SQL Server due to the patches. The longest we have had a SQL 2000 server run without maintenance was 3 or 4 years. But that was on a Windows 2000 server. It seems our Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 boxes have required more updates.
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