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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.




Finding Your Own Career

Building a career is hard work. It takes time and focus to move along a path that you choose for yourself. What I have seen across a few decades of work is that most people don't bother to find a path, and are happy to wander from job to job, finding new positions or projects when they are forced to do so. As much as I advocate for others to continually learn, there's nothing wrong with wandering randomly through a career, sticking with a job or employer as long as you can. The one thought...


Product Platform Teams

Is infrastructure a product? Should an Ops team start to feel like they are a team involved in building things rather than maintaining them? It's an interesting idea that is put forth in this blog from Forrester. The piece postulates that the Ops group should be thinking like a product team, just like developers working on an application. When a development group moves to a DevOps style of building things, and starts to take some responsibility for the support of their work, what does the...


Data for Defense

It's a dangerous world out there. Many of us hear about data breaches on a regular basis, and we often blame poor security at various organizations. Certainly there are a lot of silly mistakes made, whether in configuration or the mishandling of data in insecure environments. Security is a tough business, however, and most organizations don't have the budget to combat all the threats they face, at least not as effectively as a larger organization could. I have more sympathy for...


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?