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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.

A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.
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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.




Agile Job Descriptions

Most of us have applied for a job at some point in our career. In my youth, this was finding a listing in a newspaper or on a storefront and then going in to apply in person. At times I didn't really care what the job description was, as I needed a job. Usually the title was enough to decide if I wanted to be a "waiter" or "cashier" or "laborer". I am somewhat glad those days are behind me, at least for the most part. My wife usually expects her fence builder and cook to be regularly...


Micro Credentials

For all of my career, there has been a constant debate about the value of certifications. Early on I saw one boss move ahead because of his CNE (Certified Netware Engineer) credential. That got me moving in that direction, though I switched to an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) track once Windows gained prominence and I found myself working in that arena. These days there seem to be less certifications around in one sense. Certainly Microsoft and other vendors are spending less...


Learning from Exercise

A long time ago I decided to run every day. I did for a bit, in fact, I had a neat milestone along the way and continued on for 1564 days. That was quite a memorable period in my life, and one that I look back upon fondly. I've aged a bit, and while I could do it again, I also have decided there are other things that matter more to me, so I have moved on in life. I learned a lot from that time, lessons about myself and life that continue to help me today. Some of them even apply to work and...


True HA and DR

For many years, SQL Server administrators have tried to ensure their systems run smoothly by executing DBCC commands against their production databases. As workloads have grown, this has become an issue with resource contention with production users. Backups have had the same issue, and the smart DBAs have offloaded this work to another server. With the more recent versions of SQL Server, we could move backups and DBCC checks to secondary systems. The problem with this has been licensing....


The Network Bottleneck

Most of us know that sending extra data back in a result set is a waste of resources. This can certainly cause delays and poor response in our apps, and across slow networks, this can even cause timeouts. Good developers try to limit the data transfer to just the data necessary, without pulling back extra fields. This is one reason a "SELECT *" is a bad idea. What about when we are sending just the data we need, but that data is so voluminous that we can't easily transmit it across a...


How Did I Do?

I made a number of predictions for the opening keynote at the PASS Summit. I wrote the predictions a week before the event, making my own guesses about what might be revealed. I was busy in pre-conference sessions on Monday and Tuesday, so I had to write something well in advance of the event. I was flying home yesterday, so I had no chance to watch the keynote until later, so this is a look back after catching up Wednesday evening at home. How did I do? Read the rest of How Did I Do?


A Mindset Shift

I've been working with people at Microsoft for nearly two decades in different circumstances. It's been interesting to me to work with developers, Microsoft consultants, and community people across the lifetime of SQLServerCentral, especially the last 5 years. For a long time, I never wanted to work there, but I've started to think I might find it to be an interesting company in the last couple years. There are two good articles that talk about the ways that Microsoft has changed. The...


The Costumed DBA

It's Halloween today, which is a day when children typically dress up and go looking for candy. It's supposed to be trick or treat, but I've seen relatively few tricks and lots of treats with my kids. No Halloween for me, and likely a quiet day as I get ready for travel to Seattle and try to relax at home for a few days. My kids are grown and no others come to my house out in the country. More than a few adults will dress up in costume today. Some will come to work in an outfit, which is...


Contracting for Work

Throughout my career, I've primarily been a full time employee for an organization. I have worked for myself, as well as for consulting companies. For the latter, I've been an employee as well as a contract worker. There's a bit of difference between those, at least in the US, and it isn't always easy to understand what that means for an individual. I thought about my various experiences while reading about Jon Shaulis' T-SQL Tuesday post recently on changing his mind about contracting. He...


The K8s Overview

I've written some posts on Kubernetes (K8s) as I think this will be an important technology in the next decade for database systems. Actually, it's not that I think Kubernetes is that important, but rather that the orchestration of containers that run database systems, along with the storage and networking, will be necessary. Kubernetes appears to be the most common and popular orchestrator, but that could change. There are other orchestrators out there. Part of the reason that some...


Do What Hurts

A long time ago I heard a manager at a company say that if something is hard, we ought to practice it more and find ways to make it easy. Barring that, we ought to at least be comfortable with the task. I'm not sure if this manager made this up or read it somewhere, but it's the same thought expressed by Martin Fowler in this post: "if it hurts, do it more often." I'm not sure that's the advice I want to use with everything. When my shins hurt from running, or my shoulder aches after...


Losing The Security Game

It's sad some weeks to see reports of security issues at large companies. It's also discouraging some times when clients or friends will talk about security issues they've had in their organization. What's mostly disappointing is how easy many of these issues would have been to prevent with a little effort. Joey D'Antoni made some fun of this with his Data Breach Game. It's a bingo card you can print out and use the next time you hear about an issue. My guess is most of us could win this...


Laptop Recommendations for 2019

Every few years I upgrade my laptop. I try to get through three years with them, and I've had some good success. At the same time, I've also had some wear out sooner, especially with the amount of travel that I do some years. I had one laptop last just a year before it started to constantly crash on me. That one was just out of warranty, which was a shame. Since then I've usually paid extra for a warranty to get a couple years of service out of each machine.It's not quite that time for me,...


More Network Restrictions

Read the rest of More Network Restrictions


Experiment First

Not too long ago, I had a sales engineer contact me about a script that a customer needed. It was similar to others we have for various Redgate tools, but also different enough that the customer needed help. In fact, I also needed some help. I asked a question on Twitter, mostly because I was busy and wanted to know if someone had solved the (partial) problem that I had. I got a number of responses, none of which were direct solutions, but many of them contained some hints. At the time, I...


Fragmented or Centralized Data

I read a piece recently that talks about the hassles of copying data multiple times for different applications. In my experience, I haven't seen this to be the main problem with data. It's not often that we might replicate, in a general sense, data across different data stores to support different applications. Certainly lots of ETL jobs exist to copy data to new stores for different purposes, which perhaps is what the author is implying. The idea of protecting data is one that is becoming...


Aging in Technology

Every winter my wife flirts with the idea of returning to a corporate job and making more money. Winter is a slow time for horse training, and she gets bored and antsy. Horse training is physically hard, and as we talked about it last year, I said she should continue with horses for a few more years and then go back to a career later if she wanted. Her response was that it would be much harder at 60 than 50. Perhaps, but I think her success in the business world and a strong set of skills...


Feedback and Change

Recently I heard from a number of people that they received an email from the PASS organization asking them for some feedback on why they weren't registered for this year's Summit. I didn't get the email, which is both good and bad. I'm teaching two precons, but not attending the Summit, so it might be good to actually have my feedback.I think the email is a good idea, though since it comes directly from Grant, I hope someone is triaging his email. Rather, I hope that there actually is a...


Priorities and Productivity

Time is a resource for all of us, both at work and in our lives. As I get older, I think time might be the most valuable resource I have, the same amount each day, but an ever decreasing set in my life. As a result, I try to avoid wasting time and taking advantage of what I have when I can. At work, we often have more tasks than we can complete in any point in time. I have rarely been without work, though certainly there are slower times when deadlines aren't providing pressure to get...


Very Hot Patches

"At best it would crash" is not a phrase I'd like to have to use as a data professional. That's a quote from an article that the Azure team wrote about hot patching SQL Server. While this sounds very scary, it's actually something being used now to patch the SQL Server code running Azure SQL Database. Years ago I read a book where the hero was a programmer that had to alter and hack into live code on a mainframe, making changes to thwart the villains. It was a neat concept, and certainly...