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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.




What's a forgivable mistake?

Most of us try our best to do the best job they can each day at work. We never try to make mistakes. We might be lazy at times, or avoid some work, but we don't try to do anything incorrectly. We might shortcut something, hoping a partial completion or quick patch is enough to satisfy a requirement, but we don't actively do things incorrectly. At least I hope that's the case for all of you. I assume there are some BOFH people out there, but they are few and far between. Read the rest of ...


Expect the Unexpected with DiRT

Disaster recovery is one of the core tasks that many DBAs think about on a regular basis. Ensuring that we can get our data back online, available, accessible, and intact is important. More than a few DBAs that haven't been able to recover systems, find themselves seeking new employment. That's not to say that most DBAs perform perfectly under pressure. Plenty make mistakes, and there may be times when they can't recover all data. There does seem to be a correlation between how often DBAs...


The Training HSA

Most of us don't get any sort of training budget from our employer. In fact, some of our employers expect us to learn more and get certified on our own time and our own dime. Relatively few of us get to attend a conference that our employer pays for, which is a shame. I think conferences can be exciting and encouraging in helping you drive your career and knowledge forward. This is one reason that Andy Warren and I started SQL Saturday. We wanted to bring the conference experience to many...


The Ransomware Hero

One of the common attacks against many organizations today is ransomware. I'm constantly surprised when I see friends and they tell me they've been attacked, but the incident never made the news. I think many people would be upset with businesses if they knew the extent of attacks, but I also think that this would force more organizations to implement better security if shareholders and customers were aware of the incidents. This might even get employees and others to be more careful about...


The 2019 Techie Gifts

It's Black Friday in the US, and I assume, most of the world. With the advent of so many online options, I'm not sure how big a day this is for many people, but there certainly are many deals from local retailers. While I do like to buy local, I don't plan on doing any shopping today. It's just too crowded and busy for me. Likely a day of chores around the ranch for me. There have been a number of Black Friday deals already going on for days. Brent Ozar has had a sale on training all...


The Pyramid of Data

Data is an important part of our world, and arguably the most important asset in computing. All the rest of the devices, platforms, and technologies we use are designed to work with data, by manipulating, storing, accessing, and presenting data in new ways. We need devices and operating systems to host software, and applications to work with data, but the data is the key to fuel for every engine. I see there being a pyramid of data, with various technologies that are used to store and work...


DR Priority

Those of us that act as DBAs or sysadmins for database systems know that DR is a point of emphasis for us. We usually spend plenty of time ensuring backups are working and practicing restores. The automated scripts and processes that people use are some of the most popular and discussed topics on SQLServerCentral. However, we can't ensure every system is protected at the same level. It's not cost effective to cluster or build AGs with hot standbys, or even warm standbys, for many databases....


The Redgate Way

Recently Matt Hilbert, from Redgate Software, wrote a piece on our blog about our journey to DevOps. It's a great read, summing up some of the things that we've learned in our journey across the last decade. Matt is a great writer, and it's worth a few minutes of your time to check it out and think about all the things that we've been through. I've known some people at Redgate for 18+ years, and I've worked there for 12, so I've had the chance to see quite a few changes. When I started,...


The Conference Springboard

It's been a little over a week since the 2019 PASS Summit and Ignite conferences ended. These are two of the largest events for data platform pros, and quite a few people either attended or watched some streaming from the events. I didn't attend sessions at either one, and I have been trying to stream a few of the sessions as I find time. John Morehouse, of DCAC, wrote a nice piece at the end of the 2019 PASS Summit as he was thinking about how to grow his career after the event. He...


It Just Works

Access is a database application that just won't die, and it's the subject of a short piece that discusses the reasons why the platform is still in use and thriving in some cases. I wonder how many of you still use, or support, databases that are built in Access and used by people in your organization to get work done. Like many SQL Server pros, I've often dismissed Access as a poor tool for running an important database system. However, that's been based on my experience with larger...


Learn from the Troubles of Others

Some of us have experienced lots of strange issues while working with SQL Server. Some problems from poorly configured or coded systems, some from heavy workloads, and some from bugs in the code. Encountering and solving those problems, even if self-induced, is one way that we have learned about the best ways to ensure our SQL Server performs extremely well under many situations. Others of us have had few problems and found SQL Server to be a very stable and solid product. In fact, I often...


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...