voiceofthedba's podcast-logo

voiceofthedba's podcast

Technology Podcasts

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.


United States


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.




When Will Privacy Matter?

More and more people are becoming concerned about data privacy. There's more advocacy, and this shows in more laws being passed around the world. Those are good steps forward, but those rules and restrictions are just the lowest bar of what I'd hope for. Regulation will always lag behind best practices and technology, and I'd hope that organizations look to do better. I expect more competition to crop up again in the future as the world grows, and I wonder if some of these businesses will...


Looking Back

Things always go wrong. Those of us that build or operate software know that we will have failures at times. These could be while applying a patch, deploying a new system, during a spike in traffic, or perhaps just a mechanical failure somewhere. Most of us fix things and move on, as there's always plenty of other work. In a few organizations in which I've worked, whenever we had a large issue, we had a retrospective. I think we defined large issue as a VP or CTO become involved, but in any...


Take Stock of Your Career

We're almost a quarter into the new year. Think about these statements: "Imagine you lose your job tomorrow. What would you like your next job to look like? Start acquiring the skills for your desired next job today!" That's a quote from Jan 2, when I saw someone talking about their struggles. It was a statement that resonated with me, and it's one that I think everyone should be thinking about on a regular basis. Not worried or concerned about losing your job, though maybe that's not so...


A Data Controversy

Quite a bit has changed since this article about airlines and the US government. Since very few people are flying, or even can fly, perhaps this disagreement is moot, but I bet it comes up again. Now, separate from the idea of the actual disagreement here, there is an interesting discussion about the data involved here. In short, the US government wants airlines to collect data about passengers to help track the COVID-19 virus. Airline executives say they can't easily get this data, other...


The Challenge of Contracting

For most of my career I've been a full time employee (W-2 in the US) or worked for myself with my own business. I've rarely been a consultant or contract (1099) employee, and what experience I had with those situations didn't suit me. I don't like the lack of security and certainly don't like being responsible for the sales portion of finding work. Many people like contracting, and in fact, some make a career of it. There are companies that help you find work, and many large companies...


What's the Cost of an Hour?

In 2017, we had a number of high profile downtime outages from companies. The British Airways fiasco, United airlines being grounded, Starbucks, Amazon, and more. There was a survey that noted 98% of respondents said an hour of downtime cost their organization over US$100,000. A third put that figure over $1mm. This week, I'm wondering if you have any idea what downtime costs your company. If you do, and can let us know, drop a figure in the comments. Maybe you can give us a range, or...


Don't Lose Data Without a Hacker

The GDPR has been law since 2016 and been enforced since mid 2018. California has the CCPA in law, but not being enforced. In any case, it's 2020 and we have lots of tools and knowledge about securing systems. We aren't perfect, and certainly Microsoft isn't, but we should be avoiding simple mistakes. For those of us in the US, or outside CA, we might be less worried, but if you're in the EU, you should be concerned. Here is a mistake by Virgin Media, with data exposed for months. Someone...


SQL Is Always Going to be Popular

Hiring staff is hard, and certainly it can sometimes be a challenge to find good people to build software and manage systems. Many of us want to be those good people, and we are looking to improve our own skills. I think that's one of the reasons that SQLServerCentral has become so popular. Many of us want to become better at our jobs. It can be hard to determine what to learn and where to invest your time. I've talked with plenty of people that have worried about various Microsoft...


Build the VCS Habit

I've preached the value of Version Control Systems (VCS) for many years now. In various writings, in the talks I've given on development, CI, DevOps, and more, I always talk about the value of a VCS. One thing I often say is that if someone won't use version control, they aren't a professional. I don't say professional developer, professional DBA, or anything else. You're not a technology professional without knowing how to use a VCS in 2020. You certainly can't work for me if you won't use...


The WFH Challenges

The daily protocol for some of the world is changing rapidly these days. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many people. Many of us working in tech are blessed that we have the ability to work remotely, and lots of companies have started to allow working from home (WFH) to rapidly grow in the last month. I worry about those that don't have the option, and I hope they find ways to cope. I've been working from home for 17 years. My wife did it for large tech companies for almost 20 years....


Updating Certifications

When I first started my career, certifications were hot. I worked on the Netware CNE and Microsoft MCSE certs. Nearly 30 years ago these certifications were controversial as plenty of awardees weren't competent at their jobs in the real world. However, marketing worked and employers wanted these certs, so they mattered. Over the years I've worked on books for a few certifications and taken a number of tests. Partially as research and partially to test myself. I've personally found the...


Why Containers?

I've been looking at and dabbling with containers for some time. I got more interested a few years ago as I saw the changes that Microsoft made to ensure container support for SQL Server, especially with the introduction of the WSL and Linux container support on Windows. This is one of those technologies that I think fundamentally changes the world, especially when we get good orchestration options, like Kubernetes. I was thinking about how the world changed as I read this piece with a ...


Data Modeling in a New World

The world is changing in some fundamental ways as we recognize and deal with some of the social changes that are occurring regularly. We have had new countries appear and old ones disappear in my lifetime. Borders are redrawn and political systems change. Many of those are just data changes that we can import from some recognized source into our tables. There are other changes that might change the way we model our database schemas. One example is the concept of gender, which has changed...


The Developer Arguments for Stored Procedures

In all of the decades that I've been working with SQL Server, many people have been preaching the benefits of using stored procedures, In all of that time, the vast majority of developers that I've worked with have not wanted to actually write, or even call them. In one job, I offered to write all procedures within a day of being asked for them for one development team, and they still didn't really want to use them. I made them do this by revoking permissions on many tables, but they still...


Is 100% Security Possible

Microsoft has spent a lot of resources working to ensure their software can be automated, audited, and configured securely. After the SQL Slammer worm, there was an effort made by the organization to code more securely. Secure by design and by default was the goal, and they've continued in the years since to try and ensure we can better secure our systems. There's even a Zero Trust methodology that they push these days. Microsoft is notoriously strict with security, disallowing networking...


The COV ID-19 Impact

I didn't think much of the COVID-19 virus when I first heard of it. It's another dangerous virus, but like SARS and MERS, it originated on the other side of the world from me and I didn't expect to see a large impact. These were epidemics and my heart goes out to those affected by them. I thought the current COVID-19 impact would be similar, but that's not correct. The MVP Summit was cancelled by Microsoft this week, as have quite a few large events around the world. SQL Konferez is still...


The Evolution of AI

I saw a study recently where an AI system was used to analyze code and trying to decide if authors were good. The conclusions were things we'd expect, and quite a few people laughed about this on Twitter. After all, if AI comes to the obvious answer, is it useful? Perhaps, but it's also a little disappointing. I've felt that way about AI for some time. Years ago I went through an AI demo for the Titantic data set, coming to the conclusion that the lower you were in the ship, or poorer, the...


What Happened to Hadoop?

Six or Seven years back, Hadoop was the big thing. It was going to solve our big data analytic needs, it would provide cheap storage and query power with commodity servers. More and more companies were going to be using it. Microsoft invested in HDInsight, SQL Server got Polybase to query data directly from HDFS. I was seeing the Hadoop elephant everywhere. I still remember popping into a few sessions at SQLBits to try and learn a bit more about how Hadoop worked. In the last couple years,...


Reviewing Your Past Efforts

It's about the start of a new year for me now. I know, it's late February, and we're almost a sixth of the way through the year, but I've been on sabbatical. In fact, with planning for the break, I've really missed almost two months of work at this point. I deliberately did not make any resolutions or planning at the end of 2019, since 2020 wouldn't really start for my career until about now. Now is the time to plan, and I will do some writing on my blog for the things I want to tackle, but...


Favorite Cars

Ars Technica recently wrote about their favorite cars of 2019, which is an interesting list. They get to test a lot and I read their reviews to see what they glean. I love cars, and enjoy driving different vehicles, and I've owned a lot in my life. I think I've probably owned and regularly driven 30 cars since I started driving at 16. There was even a period of a few years in my life where I traded in my car for another used one every 11 months. I do get to drive or ride in a decent number...