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Allen White

Scripting Our Daily (Professional) Lives

I talk a lot about scripting tasks on our servers to automate our regular processes, but in this case I'm talking about a different kind of script.

When I first started college, I was a Theatre major. Of course, I learned pretty quickly that my success in that field would be unlikely, so I switched to "Data Processing" and have had a good career. (I continued to do community theatre until a couple of years ago, when work constraints limited my availability, but I look forward to getting back to it at some time in the foreseeable future.)  Theatre, of course, is mostly scripted, and the script provides a comfortable framework within which to work.

In doing our everyday jobs, though, it seems that a script - a list of tasks necessary to accomplish a particular objective - would be helpful. I know that as a DBA I have to have consistent and reliable backups. What are the steps necessary to make that happen? Yes, I can "script" that. I also know I need to set up my servers in a somewhat consistent manner, so anyone walking into my shop can easily take over and understand where to find all the buttons and knobs. I can script that, too.

Performance monitoring is another area that I need to track. Not only can I script the steps to build the performance monitor database and data collection jobs, but I can "script" the steps needed to get that monitoring process up and functional.

A new IT project requires my services, well, there are always certain tasks they need me to do, and the project lifecycle process has that script.

Now, don't get me wrong. Not everything can be handled via "script". Some problems can't be anticipated, but most of the normal, everyday tasks of our professional lives have a specific set of steps we follow every time, and having that script helps us be consistent in our work.

I'd absolutely love to see some additional "scripts". For example, what do you do when starting an ETL process, or designing a data warehouse? These are all processes that can be scripted.

Maybe we should work towards a central collection of scripts like this to help people who "find themselves assigned" to be responsible for these tasks. Perhaps if we had someplace to go when faced with a set of new responsibilities, we could make good decisions based on industry expertise.

It's just a thought.


Published Wednesday, June 3, 2009 1:00 PM by AllenMWhite



Mark W. Schumann said:

Hey, Allen, STR homie.

"Scripting" is almost exactly the same thing as the "checklist" concept from _Getting_Things_Done_. Scripting is a really simple, low-tech way to simplify the mundane things so you can keep your headspace free for creative stuff.

The more we can avoid wheel re-invention, the better. Scripting the everyday stuff so you can delegate it, or at least avoid thinking about it, is 100% win.

June 15, 2009 12:26 PM
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About AllenMWhite

Allen White is a consultant and mentor for Upsearch Technology Services in Northeast Ohio. He has worked as a Database Administrator, Architect and Developer for over 30 years, supporting both the Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server platforms over that period.

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