Solving Real Problems

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Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is on holiday.

I spend a lot of time working out how best to implement data management, database development, deployment automation and all the rest. It’s my job to figure out the most efficient ways to do get these things done. As part of that, I can tell you that there are superior methods. For example, isolated development, where each developer can make, or break, a database all on their own, is a better way to work. There’s tons of research to back me up on this assertion. I can show you tests, validations, all sorts of evidence on my side, to prove this statement beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Then reality steps in.

You may believe me, but, you’re dealing with 3, 5, 20 years of technical choices, that means you have linked servers, cross database queries, and all sorts of other dependencies in the system. Isolating an environment on a developer laptop, while a lovely thought, just isn’t going to happen. Not without a ton of other work up front. So, your choice is, a shared environment, where lots of developers are touching the same stuff, and automate from there, or no automation at all.

My answer is simple. Deal with the reality in your environment. Yes, there are better ways to get things done. Extended Events, just for example, is wildly superior to Profiler/Trace. Yet, you’re working in SQL Server 2008R2. To solve real problems, you must stick with the tools and methods that are going to work in your situation. This is the real world.

Yes, I would advocate that you start making incremental changes to move towards best practices, whatever they may be, from automating deployments to monitoring your queries. This is why myself and others spend the time and effort to find the best ways to get things done. However, we all, especially you, have to be aware that there is best and there is necessary. While X may be a “best practice”, you’re doing Y because you have to.

So, solve your real problems using real solutions. Just aim towards moving in the direction of better solutions. That’s all anyone should ask of you.

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