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Turning off a server causes a flood of memories

I just shut down a SQL Server that has been in production since 2003. Next week I'll let the server team know that they can decommission it. I have been looking forward to this for several months. This server hosted our financial accounting database which was upgraded back in August. The server was actually replaced at that time with a shiny new 64 bit box with 24 GB of RAM.  The Accounting IS manager wanted the old box left in place through the end of the year in case they needed to go back to check anything. In fact, I went back a couple of times myself to check on how some jobs had been configured.

Before I clicked the button shutting down my old friend, the only thing in the back of my mind was a worry about any links to a file share on this box within the home-grown accounting apps. I guess we will find out next week if the current Accounting department programmer missed any while cleaning up all those apps. What I didn't anticipate was the rush of memories, kind of like my DBA life passing before me, as I performed the task.

Wow, I installed SQL Server on the server just a few months after taking this job. Bryan Cave didn't have a full-time DBA before I was hired. I had been there for about 10 months as a VB consultant and jumped at the chance to stay at Bryan Cave and take on this new challenge. In early 2002 they decided that, with several application upgrades planned, a merger with another law firm in the works and moving to a SQL Server based accounting system, they needed someone dedicated to SQL Server. I think our SQL Server environment has grown even more than our management could have imagined back in 2002 when I was hired.

Getting back to pulling the plug on the old server, I thought about how much I had learned and how much I had accomplished since that server was put into place.  On that particular server, I had to learn how to configure AWE memory, use a third-party tool for backups (LightSpeed), set up log-shipping, write dozens of stored procedures to keep data syncronized with other systems and much more.  

When the server was put into place I was working on a Master's degree which I completed in 2004. My least favorite part of the degree program was writing papers and giving presentations. I'm not sure what came over me, but now I love writing and speaking. Shutting down this server made me realize how much I have learned and changed since then.

Advice from Aunt Kathi

Kathi Kellenberger is a Sr. Consultant with Pragmatic Works. She is an author, speaker and trainer.


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