The Adequate DBA

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Adequate DBA

  • I have served with adequate DBA's.  I know adequate DBA's.   Adequate DBA's are friends of mine.  Louie, you are not just an adequate DBA.    

    Although the statement above is fashioned after an insult from a vice-presidential debate way back in the times before I had even heard of SQL Server, in this case I hope it can be considered as a compliment.   You have been on the front cover of books about SQL Server since about the time I started considering a career in database admin.  Many of these books have aged quite gracefully, imparting knowledge to folks like me through multiple releases of SQL Server.   Without those references and websites like, I believe that a lot of those adequate DBA's would have not been able to function at the level they did.   At the level we did.  For I am an adequate DBA.    So folks like yourself, and many, many others who stepped forward and wrote the books, or developed the software and then shared the inner workings, or used the internet to spread the word cannot be considered merely adequate.   You guys and gals paved the way.  That makes you all exemplary.

    Even if you never figure out how to use Polybase or the cloud.   SQL Server has grown so large and robust, that folks can now make a career out of only a small part of the entire SQL Server landscape.  SQL now almost requires specialization.  People can now be considered rockstars for knowing all about HA/DR, or performance-tuning or MDX queries.   I get your point when you say 'Adequate is good enough nowadays.'    It makes total sense.  I agree completely.   But in order to be adequate, we had help.  Help from you, and so many others.   Thank you.

  • Whether someone possesses adequate versus exceptional DBA skills is subjective. Just like a professional chef or a musician, one audience will applaud your work while another won't. It's important for a DBA to know the user base.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Good editorial.    I hate over-specialisation, so it's really good to see someone advocating adequacy over a range of DBA functions instead of exceptional ability in just one of those functions.   I'm a died-in-the wool generalist myself, and while being the DBA (managing our in house databases plus those on our servers on our customers' sites scattered round the world) was part of my my last job it was not a large part, and  and I've often wondered why so many DBAs specialise as "production dbas" and dont understand schema design or normalisation, or as "development DBAs" and can't specify a decent backup and recovery system including proper validtion of backups.  I guess I was an adequate DBA - I certainly never had time to be an exceptional one given my other responsibilities.


  • I will have to agree, I am adequate as a DBA.  Yes, there are things I am better at than other things but that comes down to what I do on a regular basis versus those that I do much less frequently.  I still consider myself a Jack-of-all-Trades DBA/Database Developer.  What ever is needed by my employer at the moment.

  • I consider myself better than average in most aspects of SQL Server, but my level of expertise on any given topic depends on how recently I Googled it. As with most professions, resourcefulness and personal commitment are often what separate winners from losers. I've seen smart, educated, and experienced people who for whatever reason never seemed to get their sh!t together when it came time to build or troubleshoot something.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • chudman - Saturday, August 26, 2017 9:47 AM

    I have served with adequate DBA's.  I know adequate DBA's.   Adequate DBA's are friends of mine.  Louie, you are not just an adequate DBA.    

    See I would slightly disagree (I will never fully disagree with someone saying such nice things :)), but my skills in backing up are pretty average, and my skills in HA, AlwasyOn, etc, are really lacking. I specialize in T SQL, design, optimization, etc... So I wouldn't feel comfortable as the lead DBA without a lot of reading and learning. (I know enough about all of this stuff to know what to look for, which is helpful for sure...

  • TomThomson - Thursday, August 31, 2017 10:09 AM

    I hate over-specialisation, 

    That has always been my specialty. I am just a T-SQL person, loving and learning everything I can find out about it. But as I am mostly and architect programmer, I really don't know enough about anything else to physically perform may DBA tasks, but I learn enough so that I can generally tell what is right and wrong from the DBAs around me (often when editing books and such).

  • Nice article. Agree, with the way technology is evolving it is better be jack of all as compare to master of one. Adaptability is more required I think. Being adequate is surely much above the average.

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