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T-SQL Tuesday–Why are DBA Skills Necessary?

This month T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Paul Randal (@PaulRandal) and he asks the question, “Why are DBA Skills Necessary?”.

The Story

When I first started working at New Tribes Mission in July of 2007, I was informed that there were no SQL Servers and that the plan was to move from FoxPro to .NET and SQL Server.  So I came on board as the SQL Server expert (at the time I was only an expert in comparison to the people in-house, I’ve come a LONG way since then). 

Well, as most SQL Server professionals have found out, SQL Server is out there whether you know about it or not.  It turns out there was a critical application in our Finance department that had a SQL Server backend which was running on a desktop class PC in the Finance office.  At the time I didn’t know about the MAP Tool, SQLPing, and other tools that find SQL Servers, so I didn’t find out about this SQL Server until November.  Guess why I found out about it?  That’s right, it crashed!  The worst part about the crash is that the original problem occurred in August!  There had been a power outage and msdb was corrupted.  What happens when msdb is corrupted?  That’s right, SQL Server Agent jobs doing backups no longer run!  Well, the PC maintenance department had been taking regular Acronis images of this PC, but the most recent one was a week old, so all we were able to do was to get the data recovered to within a week.  I was then able to rebuild msdb and recreate all the backup jobs, this time with system database backups and alerts when they don’t run.  Then I made plans to migrate the application database to a true SQL Server in our server room, with proper backups, monitoring, and maintenance.

The Moral of the Story

Why do you need DBA skills?  To keep these types of situations from happening. Does NTM need a full-time DBA?  No, but like any business running critical systems on SQL Server, they definitely need someone with DBA skills on a part-time basis to keep an eye on the SQL Server environment.

Comments

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 2 November 2010

Classic experience.  At the very minimum the skills are needed.

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