Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

2010 – The Grateful DBA Year in Review

December 30th, 2010

Hello there all!  Hippiest and healthiest of holiday seasons to each and every one of you.  Several of my colleagues have recently penned reviews of their past year in not only the blogging, but the speaking, job, and family arenas as well.  And after all, while indeed this is a technical blog, work and SQL Server are just small pieces of this puzzle we call life.  I thought I’d do the same.  Certainly this can become an annual tradition in where every 12 months I get the “pleasure” of a summary of my professional life.  This will be an excellent way to gauge both personal and professional undertakings year over year.  See, the statistical nerd in me always comes out eventually.  So, we brave forward…

  • January
    • 1.12.10 – Blog post – “Shrinking SQL Server Transaction Logs in Simple Recovery Mode”
    • 1.17.10 – Blog post – “What Three Events Brought You Here?”
    • 1.23.10 –  SQL Saturday #32 – Tampa, FL –  “Introduction to Transactional Replication”
  • February
    • 2.2.10 – Blog post – “DBA Survivor Name That Caption Contest”
    • 2.16.10 – Blog post – “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner….not quite.”
    • 2.24.10 – Blog post – “What NOT To Do. True SQL Confessions”
  • March
    • 3.1.10 – Blog post – “FTI Catalog Relocation”
    • 3.29.10 – Blog post – “What Teachers Make”
  • April
    • 4.1.10 – Blog post – “Missing Clustered Indexes w/ Row Counts”
    • 4.12.10 – Blog post – “Spring / Summer Speaking Schedule”
    • 4.24.10 – SQL Saturday #41 – Atlanta, GA – “Introduction to Transactional Replication”
  • May
    • 5.8.10 – SQL Saturday #38 – Jacksonville, FL – “Introduction to Transactional Replication”
    • 5.17.10 – Started new job at LPS in Jacksonville, FL
  • June
    • 6.5.10 – SQL Saturday #22 – Pensacola, FL – “Introduction to Transactional Replication”
  • July
    • 7.22.10 – Blog post – “SSMS Default Save Location”
    • 7.31.10 – SQL Saturday #40 – Miami / Ft. Lauderdale, FL – “Introduction to Transactional Replication”
    • 7.31.10 – SQL Saturday #40 – Miami / Ft. Lauderdale, FL – “Log Shipping vs. Replication; the Great Debate”
  • August
    • 8.8.10 – Blog post – “Grateful DBA Updates”
  • September
  • October
  • November
    • 11.4.10 – Blog post – “What’s  Your Favorite SSMS Font?”
    • 11.19.10 – Blog post – “UnSQL-Friday 001 – Branding & Bunny Murder”
    • 11.26.10 – Blog post – “Dropping Multiple Tables at Once via T-SQL”
    • 11.29.10 – Blog post – “Copy/Paste from SSMS to Excel”
  • December
    • 12.2.10 – Blog post – “Which is Faster; the Chicken or the Egg?”
    • 12.30.10 – Blog post – “2010 – The Grateful DBA Year in Review”

I suppose I should examine this list closely and make some spur-of-the-moment conclusions.  Ok then…

Firstly, I’m very happy with the number of times I’ve had the honor of speaking in front of my colleagues and new SQL professionals at the various SQL Saturdays & user group meetings I’ve attended.  I consider myself extremely blessed to be asked by the event organizers to have the opportunity to pass along my subject-knowledge seven different occasions in the last 12 months.  Looking at it, I’m not sure seven is a number that can be improved upon too much during 2011.  There’s only one SQL Saturday per user group per year, and JSSUG rotates it’s speakers and has an excellent pool of local resources to choose from.  Some months it seems as if half of Pragmatic Works attends our meetings and that company is chock-full of very smart individuals.  I suppose I could travel a little further and attend additional SQL Saturdays (Baton Rogue, Houston, Columbia, etc).  As well, there are larger conferences (SQLRally, PASS Summit) that I have yet to attend or speak at; those options are still open as well I guess.  I only have so many vacation days people!!

I’m less pleased with the amount of technical articles I posted this year.  Nineteen isn’t anywhere nearly enough.  There are specific months I’m pretty happy about my output; November for instance.  But then there are months that I went completely through without a single post (June, September), and there isn’t ANY valid excuse why not.  It’s all a matter of will-power to sit at the desk, turn off Warcraft for a change, and pump out some serious verbosity.  This is one area I’m extremely serious about improving over the next 12 months.

Lastly, my new job with LPS.  Making the change to come over to LPS from Taleo was one of the easiest things I’ve had to do this year.  It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me, how unhappy I was at Taleo.  As much as 95% of the people there were very cool and awesome to be around; the other 5% made my life miserable.  Names aren’t important; what is, is that I corrected the situation and now I’m in a place I’m MUCH happier professionally.  Some days I don’t feel like I’m being tested enough, but then, some days I am, and other days I simply don’t want to.  For the most part, I truly like the people I work with here and I’ve made some close friends that I know will be that way for a long time in the future.  The only thing I’m less-than-pleased about is the 23 mile journey from the beach where I live to downtown Jacksonville.  I could definitely do without that hour to and hour and a half in my car each day, but sometimes one has to make sacrifices.  And this is exactly what I did.

Overall, it was a great 2010.  My career has moved forward in leaps and bounds, and I’ve had the honor of the company of some of the best SQL minds in the country by my side at SQL Saturdays.  In 2011, I resolve to at least double my blogging output and to speak at least the same number of professional events (which btw, will commence with SQL Saturday #62 in a couple weeks in Tampa!)

Mahalo everyone and have a grateful new year…Troy

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Posted in Musings, Speaking | Comments (0)

That’s not my job…maybe…

October 25th, 2010
Not my job

I found myself in a small, most likely very insignificant little situation at work today. When I looked back on it afterward, I felt unexpectedly fresh; the kind of fresh one experiences after an epiphany of minor proportions. I had to reflect and really think twice about why seemingly doing nothing more than “my job” left me feeling like a better DBA and person in general.

In this particular situation, I had two responsibilities; to ensure the code conformed to company standards/syntax, and assure the procedure itself affected the expected number of records BEFORE it got run against prod. Simple enough right? It’s not my role (at this point in the process at least) to ensure correct logic is being followed. After a 9-hour day (not gargantuan by DBA standards, but long enough to be exhausted) a script came across my desk for review. This script contained an innocent enough local variable, “@CustomerID”. This local variable was declared but never assigned a value. Fifteen lines later down the script, @Customer was checked to see if it was NOT NULL; and if so, an UPDATE statement was run. Looking it over a 2nd time, the logical error of it never being able to run the UPDATE became clear; yet syntactically it was correct, and company standards were all being met. My options flashed across my mind. Do “my job” and advance it forward; or cause yourself and perhaps several others to have to stay late at work to fix the script and send it back through the pipeline?

I suppose I wouldn’t be writing about this had I taken the easy way out. And I must stress, this is NOT about patting myself on the back. This was a very small thing in reality. I rejected the ticket for the logic error despite that not being part of what I was asked to do in this situation. A VP came by my desk 5 mins later and inquired immediately about why I rejected it. After explaining the logic error, his initial annoyance at his guys having to stay late due to me bouncing the ticket, disappeared completely. He thanked me for my diligence and basically said that if his team were more careful in the first place, they’d be home by now. Small victory for the Grateful DBA.

As I drove home a bit later, it occurred to me just how good it felt to go that extra step. How the satisfaction of doing the “right thing” outweighed the small irritation of putting in an extra 45 mins on a Monday evening. How it not only was the best thing for the organization, but bonus, was probably a fairly good thing for my career.

So I ask; did you bite your tongue today when something came across your desk that wasn’t your job? What did you do extra today?

Have a grateful day…Troy

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Posted in Best Practices, Musings | Comments (2)

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