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Where Should Database Administration Go?


For the past 5 or 6 years, we have seen lots of innovative products emerged, from smartphone to tablets, from social media to cloud computing. However, I am somehow disappointed with Microsoft for its innovation speed on database administration front. Actually since SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) was introduced in SQL Server 2005, there is almost nothing changed. (Actually even SSMS is not that much more innovative than the previous tool, i.e SQL Query Analyzer) 

In all new products mentioned above, I love the combination of smartphone and social media, esp. Twitter. With Twitter, I can be a broadcaster to my followers and I can also be a subscriber (follower) to many broadcasters. So I have a dream, someday I can see a database administration product that can allow me to “twitter” with my monitored servers, using my own defined administration language/protocol.

Thinking of the following scenario:

I twitter: How is #CPU like @ServerA?

@Server replied: for the past 10 min, it is 23% in average and no spike.

I twitter: What is the #DiskFreeSpace @ServerB and @ServerC?

@ServerB replied: C: drive 10GB=30% Free, D: drive, 20GB=25% Free

@ServerC replied: C: drive 20GB=80% Free, K: drive 100GB=40% Free

I can also follow @ServerA, @ServerB, @ServerC as they will “twitter” special health status, such as blocking status (if exists), CPU or I/O spike status, job execution status, service restart etc.

All the tweets can be auto archived at server side to prove my due diligence when I am on-call, or when I am the outsourced DBA for a client.

Imagine I can do all these from my smartphone, as long as I can connect to internet, is not that fun?

Of course, there may be lots of obstacles, such as security, performance etc, but I believe all the obstacles are not that difficult to overcome with today’s technology. The key is that in this mobile era, database administration needs to grow with times, and I’ll argue that mobility and social media feature are the two key components that need to be embedded in a new and revolutionized database administration framework.

From a broader perspective, we should re-think the way that communication is done between DBAs and the SQL Server instances and draw inspirations from how we human beings have progressed our communication methods, from letters to emails / instant messengers and now to social media (represented by Twitter and FaceBook), and at computer-human interface side, we have progressed from keyboard only to mouse and now to touch screen. I believe if MS can devote some serious resources / considerations to the database administration framework and come up with some innovative tools, it will boost SQL Server market share just as Windows initial GUI interface helped MS win the market over various DOS and UNIX systems.


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