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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What’s Wrong with this Picture: A Database Misconfiguration Well Demonstrated

Recently, I was doing some testing/playing around on a particular database on my home test servers. After I was done, I checked out the “Data/Log Files Autogrowth/Autoshrink” portion of the “Disk Usage” report for the database, which is shown below.


While I might expect to see results like this on a test box, I would be mortified if I saw it on a production box. As a small challenge to your SQL Server administration skills, just by looking at the above data, what can you deduce it? What do you think is going on, and why, and how might it affect the databases’ performance? In addition, what might you do to prevent the problem in the first place? Let’s see who can come up with the best explanation. Please post your responses below.

PS: If you are not familiar with this report, I suggest you learn more about it. It is available from SSMS by right-clicking on a database, and then selecting Reports | Standard Reports | Disk Usage. Such a simple report can make it easy to identify some specific database configuration problems, as demonstrated in the example above.

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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DBA in Space: Behind the Scenes—Question 14

Part 2 of Question 14—The follow up to the question.

This is a continuation of my DBA in Space journal.

As the previous episode was the climax, this final episode is the denouement of the series. It starts out with the real Brad welcoming the audience to episode two of DBA in Space at the Lunar Surface Exhibit of the Roddenberry Launch Center. Of course real Brad has been in stasis for the past month, and hasn’t yet realized that any time has past, so Miss Friday has to tell him it’s really the last episode. This seems to distress real Brad, but he knows what will cheer him up, Jar Jar. So real Brad begins to look for Jar Jar around the set. Miss Friday doesn’t want to surprise real Brad too soon about Jar Jar’s demise, so she changes the topic and directs a message to the audience, recapping her experience of forcing an alien hoard to retreat, a slight exaggeration, but she wants to impress his boss over at the NSCC. Brad is really confused after hearing Miss Friday talk about aliens, as he still doesn’t understand what is going on. In fact, real Brad decides he might be better off not knowing what really happened.

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DBA in Space: Behind the Scenes—Question 13

Part 2 of Question 13: The follow up to the question.

This is a continuation of my DBA in Space journal.

While there are fourteen episodes, this episode was the climax of the two subplots. It was also a complex episode with many different scenes. We learn right away that Miss Friday is alive and locked in the IT storage room. It is dark and she is talking into a hand held video camera in order to document her situation for her superiors at the NSDD. In the initial scene, she appears to be trying to communicate with someone from the outside, but with no luck. Suddenly, she realizes that someone (the audience) can see her and she tells the audience that she is in a locked room, but apparently alien Brad has fiddled with the password and she can’t get out.

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