SQL Server 2012 Certifications Revamped

Reprinted from my Database Weekly editorial.

Forget what you thought you knew about SQL Server certification, as Microsoft has completely redesigned the SQL Server 2012 certification program, making is more difficult, costly, and time-consuming to attain. In addition, whether you like it or not, not only will you need to know how to administer SQL Server (which is of course fully expected), you will also have to become familiar with how SQL Server interacts with the Cloud (Microsoft’s Cloud) and Data Warehousing. If you are not up on the Cloud or Data Warehousing, you will have a lot of preparation work ahead of you. The new exams will become available starting in June 2012.

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When Will You Upgrade to SQL Server 2012?

This is a reprint from my editorial in Database Weekly. Also, check out the May Question of the Month, as it is also directly related to this topic.

Often when I speak at user groups and conferences, I ask attendees what versions of SQL Server they are running. As you may expect, I hear from attendees who are running the entire gamut of SQL Server versions, from SQL Server 6.5 up to SQL Server 2012. While it is an unscientific poll, it seems that most people are still running SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008.

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DBAs and the Career-Life Balance

Reprinted from my editorial in Database Weekly.

I know a lot of DBAs who make SQL Server the focus of their life. In many ways, if you want to be an exceptional DBA, and stand out from the crowd, you don’t have a lot of choice about devoting a lot of time to your career. There are many reasons for this. For example, the nature of the DBA’s job often requires working long hours, working weekends, and being on call 24/7. Then there is the need to continually increase your knowledge, especially as SQL Server continues to become more bloated with features with every new release. And if you are involved in volunteering for the SQL Server community, time commitments can be huge.

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Does the Role of the DBA Need to Evolve?

This editorial was originally published in Database Weekly.

The November 2011 edition of Popular Science magazine was devoted to data. In fact, the special issue was called “Data is Power: How Information is Driving the Future”. The focus of the issue was how we can use data to transform the world. According to the magazine, in 2010, there was about 1.2 zetabytes of data, and that by the end of 2011 there will be about 1.8 zetabytes (a zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes). That’s a lot of hard drive space. And just think of the hard drives required to back all of this data. I think I am going to invest in some hard drive company stock right away.

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What SQL Server Books Do You Recommend?

Reprinted and amended from my editorial at Database Weekly.

For nearly 11 years now, one of the most common questions people e-mail me about is what SQL Server books do I recommend for the novice DBA. A decade ago, there were many, many titles available, and it was easy for me to recommend books. I had several favorites for many generic categories: “Introduction to SQL Server Administration”, “Introduction to Transact-SQL”, “SQL Server Certification”, and “Advanced SQL Server”.

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100% Microsoft?

Reprinted from my editorial in Database Weekly.

When I was a junior DBA many years ago (even before the company I work for now, Red Gate Software existed), I ran across some third-party software for SQL Server that I thought could really benefit my productivity and save my organization money. I presented my case, proving how the new software would be beneficial to the company. My boss agreed with that the new software would indeed boost my productivity, he refused my request. When I asked why, he answer was “We are a 100% Microsoft shop, and I don’t want to introduce any third-party software into the mix.” He continued to say, “If we should every have any problem with the third-party software, then Microsoft and the third-party software company would point fingers at each other, and the problem would never get solved.”

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