Proactive vs Reactive

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So, in my new position as a DBA for a consulting firm, I find a lot of my time spent on fighting fires for various clients. Most are smaller companies that use MS SQL Server but don't have a DBA. Normal one of the developers acts the DBA when needed but doesn't really have that much experience with databases.

I am brought in to address whatever their current issues are and while I do that, I normally run a script to see if I can find other obvious issues. Normally it comes back with a laundry list of potential problems. The most common are: everyone is SysAdmin, SQL Login passwords have never been changed, SQL memory setting are left at default, databases are installed on C: drive, no maintenance jobs are set, etc...

When I bring this up the normal response is that "Ted" set up the server and he left 2 years ago. One time I had a developer tell me it was fine, SQL was working great. I was back 2 months later when all the indexes were at 90% fragmentation and the server had crashed due to no free space on the C: drive.

Now, I am not trying to bag on developers, most times they get pushed into the role of accidental DBA because they can spell SQL. They do the best job they can but unless you understand SQL there is a lot of stuff you can miss. No, my complaint is with the companies. Many treat SQL server as a secondary consideration. They have 10 developers and no DBAs. All their data is in SQL server and without that data they can't operate, but they are in reactive mode when they should be in proactive mode. That 48 hours of down time could have been avoided with a bit of disaster recovery planning and regular maintenance on the databases.

So why is SQL server treated as an afterthought? Are DBAs that hard to fine or that expensive? I know there are companies that will come in and do a SQL assessment and give you a list of things that need to be watched or fixed, but it seems like companies never do that until disaster strikes. Or are my experiences the exception rather than the rule?

Companies need to realize that their data is precious and needs to be proactivily patrolled instead of waiting for the crash and then calling someone like me. 

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