DevOps, the DBA, and the word “No”

DevOps
Check out this DevOps Reactions animated GIF and caption. It's funny on multiple levels, but it also makes me both mad and disappointed. I get mad because it's 2015. Surely by now most of us, especially those who have worked in the enterprise with development teams, know that the old 1970s vision of a walled off data center with DBAs in white lab coats acting as gatekeepers to the data is long discredited. As DBAs, even if you're not working with development teams at all, you're just offering a service to the business. This whole, a DBAs favorite word is "NO", meme needs to die a quick, hard, death. All those "Technology X" is going to eliminate the DBA articles that come out every six months like a comet with…
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Worst Day of a DBAs Life

Professional Development, Red Gate Software
Red Gate Software is running a campaign around coping with the worst day of a DBAs life. We've been posting some really fun stories with, I hope, a kernel of useful information inside each. Chances are, if your DBA career has been like mine, your worst days don't involve explosions and car chases. But now they're asking for people to write up stories, what was the worst day in your life as a DBA. I know, I know, first world problems, right? Regardless, I have yet to put a company out of business or kill anyone with any errors I've made, although I've worked at places where either was possible. But the one day that just stands out, well it started about three weeks ahead of the bad day. I…
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The Curse of Working With A DBA

DevOps, Professional Development
I no more than finished my rant from last week than I started thinking about all the reasons why a healthy chunk of the reasons that developers want to bypass relational database is not the horror of the relational database itself, although, that's there. No, a very large reason why is the DBA. We're on a blog called The Scary DBA. I earned that title, well sometimes. Sometimes I got it and I wasn't sure why. However, it's perfectly in keeping with how many people view their database administrators; grumpy, obstructionist, slow, difficult, control freak, etc.. There are even jokes about it, "What's the DBAs favorite word? No!" And for those answering "It depends" that's two words. I understand why. In large part it's that phone in your pocket (used…
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The Curse of Relational Databases

Professional Development
Let's face it, none of Information Technology is easy. Oh yeah, there are those few geniuses that have an absolute grasp over some small aspect of the stack, or those other geniuses that have a very shallow knowledge level, but understand the entire stack. But the stack itself, it's vast, deep, wide, utterly unfathomable. So what do you do? You cheat. You take shortcuts. You ignore things you don't like/understand/appreciate. And then there's all the things you just don't know. Or, you cheat another way, you get experts that have drilled down on a particular technology so that they'll provide you with the knowledge you need. Ah, but then you have to listen to them and what happens when your local genius (deep or wide) doesn't agree with your hired…
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I Am Better Than You

DevOps
That is a patently false statement and total BS. It sure does crawl up your spine though doesn't it? Why then do we need to do this? I read an article, "How DevOps is Killing the Developer," and, frankly, was a little put off by this: Good developers are smart people. I know I'm going to get a ton of hate mail, but there is a hierarchy of usefulness of technology roles in an organization. Developer is at the top, followed by sysadmin and DBA. QA teams, "operations" people, release coordinators and the like are at the bottom of the totem pole. Why is it arranged like this? Because each role can do the job of all roles below it if necessary. Nice to know I'm almost as good as…
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SQL Server First Aid

DevOps, Professional Development
If you take basic first aid, say a CPR course, you'll learn a handy mnemonic for the primary assessment you have to make, A-B-C. That breaks down as Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Is there an open airway so they can breathe? Are they breathing? Do they have circulation, a pulse, are they alive in short. I recently took a two day course on wilderness first aid (on top of CPR training and first responder training and basic and advanced first aid training and Scout training and Scout first-aid training and I'm sure I'm forgetting some) that added to that, D-E. We now have Disability and Environment. In short, just how responsive is the person or do they have the possibility of spinal issues? What's the environmental situation, lieing on cold ground,…
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Do Be a Gatekeeper

Professional Development
I read this fascinating blog post called "Don't Be a Gatekeeper" by Julie Zhuo. Please read that first. It really resonated for me in a lot of ways. Everything she said is 100% applicable to our jobs as data professionals. Work to make things more robust. Create processes and structures and an environment where you don't have to be the hero all day every day. Yes, absolutely. But... ah, there's this nagging little voice at the back of my head. Let's ignore it for a moment. Are you a gatekeeper for your developers? Why? Get out of their way. Listen to what Ms. Zhuo has to say. Your development team doesn't need you squatting on their servers preventing them from moving as fast as they can. In fact, they need…
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Helping Database Administrators

Red Gate Software, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012
Let's be honest. Database administration is not all that tough. Set up your backups. Test them. Get consistency checks on line. Some maintenance routines for statistics and maybe for fragmentation are also helpful. Set up security. In most of the important ways, you're done. Sit back, monitor the whole thing and collect your paycheck. BWA-HA-HA! Yeah, well, it's a nice dream. The reality is that you're dealing with constant change that throw this simple set of maintenance monitoring tasks into the garbage. No, you've got new databases under development. Sometimes by development teams that are absolute rocket scientists and you sit at their feet learning how they did some really cool piece of code. And sometimes by development teams that more resemble crazed monkeys throwing poo at the walls to…
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These People Are Exceptional

Professional Development
I should know. I was one of the judges of this year's Exceptional DBA of the Year award. I had to read through tons and tons of submissions and help to arrive at a final list of people who truly personify the concept of both the DBA and the exceptional person. They are all worthy of your votes, but you can only pick one. Today is the final day to make your voice heard and get your influence in. Please, let us know who you think the Exceptional DBA of the Year is by clicking on the link, now, and voting.
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Communication

Object Relational Mapping, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQLServerPedia Syndication, Tools, TSQL, Visual Studio
It sure seems like there‚Äôs a lot of miscommunication between developers and database specialists. In fact, the communication can become so poor that outright hostility between the groups is common. At the end of the day we are all working towards a common goal, to add value to whatever organization we are working for. It's a shame that we all lose sight of this commonality and create such a false dichotomy between the groups. I think there are some ways that we, as database specialists, can use to attempt to cross that gap. Prior to being suborned to the dark side, I was a developer. I had a little over 10 years experience working in VB, Java & C#. I remember, distinctly, cursing our database team for being so problematic…
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