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The Scary DBA

I have twenty+ years experience in IT. That time was spent in technical support, development and database administration. I work forRed Gate Software as a Product Evangelist. I write articles for publication at SQL Server Central, Simple-Talk, PASS Book Reviews and SQL Server Standard. I have published two books, ”Understanding SQL Server Execution Plans” and “SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled.” I’m one of the founding officers of the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group and its current president. I also work on part-time, short-term, off-site consulting contracts. In 2009 and 2010 I was awarded as a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. In the past I’ve been called rough, intimidating and scary. To which I usually reply, “Good.” You can contact me through grant -at- scarydba dot kom (unobfuscate as necessary).

Life/Work Balance

Apple iPad - Work Life Balance ToolTechnology, especially information technology, is the greatest thing to ever happen to mankind, freeing us from toil and drudgery. Technology, especially information technology, is a pernicious evil taking over our lives forcing us to work harder and longer. Depending on the time of day, the day of the week, my mood, my wife’s mood, or the direction the wind is blowing, either of these statements could be true.

The fact is, I love technology and I do have to wrestle with keeping it from taking over my life, but only because I have so much fun with the toys that technology brings. You want to know how much I love toys, ask me about my Droid sometime. Pull up a chair. We’re going to be here a while. The trick is, finding that sweet spot, where you use the tools presented to you in order to enhance your life while enhancing your work. Just enough of each and you can be a hero at home and on the job and have a blast doing both.

The one thing I really hate about being a DBA is being on call. I’m not sure why but most systems fail one of three times, right when I’m going to sleep, so I get to stay up another 1-3 hours fixing the issue; around 3AM, so I can spend about 1/2 an hour figuring out how to log into the network before I spend 1-3 hours fixing the issue; or, when I’m half way up a mountain with the Scouts, in which case, I just have to call the boss and get someone else engaged (and yes, I do prefer these last failures to the others). The real trick here is, to get your systems set up so that you don’t have constant emergencies, regardless of the time of day. How do you do this? Proactive monitoring.

Red Gate handed me 10 iPad’s along with 10 licenses for SQL Monitor, their new monitoring tool. I’m to give these 10 devices away to the best responses in the comment section of this post to the question I’m going to put to you shortly. That’s right, you can get out in front of the issues you’re running into and avoid whenever it is that you get called from work and get an awesome toy at the same time.

The goal is life/work balance. Notice which one I put first. That’s the priority. Here’s your question:

What do you think the most common cause of server outages is, why, and how would being able to monitor your systems remotely help solve this issue, thereby improving the quality of your life?

The contest runs from now until 11:59 PM, December 17th, 2010. Please reply below, but keep it pithy. Don’t publish your version of War & Peace in the comments (I might delete it). I’m the sole judge and arbiter (which means, I probably will delete anything resembling War & Peace). One entry only. Make sure there’s a means of contacting you in the post, or I’ll give your iPad to someone else. Remember, pithy is our watch word. You can answer this question in three well constructed sentences. If you win, I’ll want to get a picture of you using the iPad to monitor your systems remotely. Plan on sending me that picture by January 31st. An interesting picture. Something with you sitting in your cube at work just won’t fly.

That’s it. I’ll announce the winners in a new post on the blog at the end of the week. Here are the official rules:

  1. The contest is open to professionals with SQL Server monitoring responsibility. Entrants must be 18 years old or over.
  2. Entries must be received by Friday, December 17, 2010. The contest organizers accept no responsibility for corrupted or delayed entries.
  3. Employees of Red Gate, the contest organizers and their family members are not eligible to participate in the contest.
  4. Entries are limited to one per person across the three simultaneous contests hosted on SQLServerCentral.Com, BrentOzar.Com, and ScaryDba.Com.
  5. The organizers reserve the right, within their sole discretion, to disqualify nominations.
  6. The organizers’ decisions are final.
  7. Red Gate Software and those involved in the organization, promotion, and operation of the contest and in the awarding of prizes explicitly make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the quality, suitability, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose of the prizes awarded and they hereby disclaim all liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including personal injury, suffered while participating in the contest or utilizing any prizes awarded. 

Comments

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 13 December 2010

Working on it now!!

Posted by William Lowers on 15 December 2010

In my environment the typical server issues are caused by bad code -- most of which we have no control over.   Being able to monitor remotely would benefit not only me by my wife as I would be able to spend more time with her and the family... THAT is reason enough to have remote monitoring abilities.  willow at aent dot com

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