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The Rambling DBA: Jonathan Kehayias

The random ramblings and rantings of frazzled SQL Server DBA

SQL Quiz: Here on Gilligan's Isle

It happened again, only this time Tim Ford is the antagonist initiator,  instead of Chris Shaw.  Once again a chain blog question is circulating around the SQL Server community.  This time I was tagged by Jeremiah Peschka.  I have to admit, that I really find these questions interesting and it is neat to read other peoples responses to topics like the following:

So You’re On A Deserted Island With WiFi and you’re still on the clock at work. Okay, so not a very good situational exercise here, but let’s roll with it; we’ll call it a virtual deserted island. Perhaps what I should simply ask is if you had a month without any walk-up work, no projects due, no performance issues that require you to devote time from anything other than a wishlist of items you’ve been wanting to get accomplished at work but keep getting pulled away from I ask this question: what would be the top items that would get your attention?

For me, this actually took a bit of time to think about.  If I had an uninterrupted month on a deserted island with WIFI, I actually probably wouldn't get all that much farther in accomplishing things.  This is simply due to the fact that I still have WIFI, and my uncontrolled ADD would have me browsing the MSDN Forums and Google Reader, and the rest of the Internet, and I would invariable get distracted by something else if it wasn't something work related.  I am a realist.  However, given that this is a fictitious scenario and not likely to happen here is what I would like to accomplish:

Hardware Configuration

Ever since I got my own testing server for home, this has been a big thing for me.  I can't believe how little I knew about configuring and installing a server from the bare bones hardware up to having a completely running SQL Server.  Granted, I have learned a whole lot in the last month from a lot of trial and error, but I know that there is a whole lot more out there to learn, and if I had the money and hardware I'd be all over it right now.  I'm really interested in how really large servers like a half dome and IA64 with Hardware NUMA get configured, proper SAN configuration for high IOPS throughput, and how queue depth actually affects performance.  Sure I have read about these things on blogs, but I am a hands on kind of person.  You can show me all day long, and I can read about it until the cows come home, but until I actually get my hands dirty and perform the task, I haven't really learned all that much.  I know where to look for information for reference should I ever actually need it, but I don't really know it, know it.

*nix Administration and Management

This one really leads into the next one, but when I got my first job in the corporate world, working in a ATT Wireless call center, I got my first experiences with *nix environments though it wasn't really much of an experience building kind of job.  It was a few years later when I was working in an Internet Help Desk job that actually got to learn about Linux and work inside of a shell environment.  I still remember a bit from those days, and this was beneficial in my current position where I back fill for the Oracle DBA when he is on vacation or out of the office for training.  Having at least a rudimentary knowledge of the *nix environment is definitely a plus in my opinion.  It also helped when I was recently configuring my test server to build a SQL Cluster on since the first iSCSI target I worked with was an open source Linux package.

Other RDBMS Systems (Oracle and PL/SQL, MySQL, etc..)

Ever since I got my first looks at Oracle and how it is used, I've noticed a big difference in programming paradigms between the Oracle developers I know, and how things are generally done in SQL Server.  I'd like to be able to put the time in working with PL/SQL to understand the fundamental differences in how operations are performed between the two environments.  For example, a lot of PL/SQL developers make heavy use of cursors and rowsets in their PL/SQL code, a common No-No in Transact-SQL.  I'd like to fundamentally understand whether cursors in PL/SQL really perform up the standard that they have been portrayed to, or if good set based logic in Oracle will outperform just as it does in Transact SQL.

I'd also like to dig into MySQL and figure out what exactly all the muss and fuss is about.  Just looking at web site hosting providers, one can't deny or argue that MySQL has its heels dug into the web hosting world.  I'd really like to understand the fundamental differences between a "free" (its not really when you get down to the nitty gritty of things) database server and the licensed database servers in most common usage.

Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

If you follow me on Twitter, this one shouldn't be a big shock.  I am very interested in the Business Intelligence side of databases currently, simply because its a focus point of certain projects at my company currently, and I am learning the more I get into it, that it is a completely different way of thinking about and working with data.  I've bought and read Ralph Kimball's book, and as I stated previously, I can read about it all day, but until I have done it, it just doesn't make sense.  With that in mind, I have been working on a data warehouse project recently and even as a project for work, I have only been able to dedicate 2 days in the last 2 weeks to it.  However, I was able to make some really good headway the last time I was able to work on it, though it will probably have to be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch at some point in the future simply because it was my first stab at it.


So that is it for me.  Not necessarily a lot SQL Server related, but that's what I would do, though I'd probably need to be stranded a lot longer than a month to make any kind of headway on any of these things.  I'm going to tag Kevin Kline and Louis Davidson with this.

Published Sunday, June 14, 2009 10:39 PM by Jonathan Kehayias
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