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The Voice of the DBA

The Flash DBA

The job as a DBA is the job. That's been my view for a long time, which is why I am always concerned about the staff when I interview. The people I work with make the job good or bad. I can always handle the job, which is often very similar in many organizations. I might do more tuning in one place, or more infrastructure management in another, write more reports than the last gig, but the skills and techniques are very similar in many positions.

I have also found at some, maybe many, companies there isn't always a full time need for a DBA, or architect, modeler, etc. Instead, there are periodic ongoing needs for those skills. At one position, I was negotiating a deal to only be employed 3 days a week, planning on spending the other two at another company consulting. I was about ready to implement my plan when the first company lost funding and went out of business. Since then, most companies haven't entertained the idea, even when there wasn't necessarily a full time need for a DBA position.

I thought back to that job when I read this piece on flash organizations, where the idea is to bring people together for a project or (relatively) short period of time to do some work. I have seen similar project teams in larger organizations, but those teams are limited to the talent within the company. A Flash team would bring contractors together for a project, perhaps with employees. Certainly consultants or contractors are sometimes used today, but they often aren't seen as part of the "team", or at least, they aren't treated that way. That disparate treatment often means that there aren't necessarily shared goals or the same focus among everyone in the team.

If you'd asked me to consider flash teams a decade ago, I wouldn't have thought that we had the management maturity to accept outside help for many types of work. However, the advent of cloud services (and more adoption than I would have thought), along with the use of pull requests and agile development services have me wondering if this might not be the type of things we see more often, especially for software. I could even see this for specialized skills, such as data science and ML model training.

I do think that this type of work is harder for data professionals to walk into, since intimate knowledge of the meaning of data fields and their relationships is important. Coming up to speed on the way a business uses data can be easy when you start,but there are often edge cases and the complex ways in which business people often use data takes more time. I would expect time spent as a flash data professional would be front loaded in trying to gain an understanding of the environment. However, perhaps that would mean that there would be better documentation for future projects. Maybe even an ER diagram or two that actually matched the database system.

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.com

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The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 4.1MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and Libsyn. feed

The Voice of the DBA podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music.

SQL Monitor

Don’t just fix SQL Server problems, prevent them from happening

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SQL Prompt

Could your SQL coding be more efficient?

Data Platform MVPs and SQL Server experts share their tips on how to standardize formatting whilst stripping out the repetition of coding with SQL Prompt. Over these 20 short videos we will help you write better, shareable SQL faster. Check out the tips

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When sp_HelpText is not so helpful!

Andy Robertson from SQLServerCentral.com

A note of caution on the use of sp_helptext to script out objects. More »


SQLCLR in Practice: Creating a Better Way of Sending Email from SQL Server

Additional Articles from SimpleTalk

SQLCLR is now considered a robust solution to the few niche requirements that can't be met by the built-in features of SQL Server. Amongst the legitimate reasons for avoiding SQLCLR, there is the fear of getting bogged down in code with special requirements that is difficult to debug. Darko takes a real example, extending the features of sp_send_dbmail, to demonstrate that there need be few terrors in SQLCLR. More »


Extending DevOps practices to SQL Server databases with ReadyRoll from Redgate

In this webinar, Microsoft MVP Steve Jones and Redgate’s Arneh Eskandari will show you how Redgate’s Database DevOps solution can work to improve your database development and deployment processes. You'll see a demo of the following Redgate tools - ReadyRoll, DLM Automation and DLM Dashboard - and see how they plug into GIT. There will also be plenty of time to ask Steve and Arneh questions. More »


From the SQLServerCentral Blogs - My Thoughts After Completing a Power BI Report Server POC

meaganl from SQLServerCentral Blogs

Last month I worked on a proof of concept testing Power BI Report Server for self-service BI. The client determined... More »


From the SQLServerCentral Blogs - SQL Server Tracking Suspect Pages

Arun Sirpal from SQLServerCentral Blogs

Did you know that SQL Server tracks suspect pages and puts the details into the msdb database in a table... More »

Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Steve Jones):

Which types of query statements can be used with the EXPLAIN operator in Azure SQL Data Warehouse?

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T-SQL Querying (Developer Reference)

Squeeze maximum performance and efficiency from every T-SQL query you write or tune. Four leading experts take an in-depth look at T-SQL’s internal architecture and offer advanced practical techniques for optimizing response time and resource usage. Get your copy from Amazon today.

Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by Steve Jones):

Of these operations, which one is handled last in the logical order of query processing?

  • ON
  • TOP

Answer: TOP


The logical order of query processing is:

  1. FROM
  2. ON
  3. JOIN
  4. WHERE
  10. ORDER BY
  11. TOP

Ref: SELECT - click here

» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

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