Sunday, January 29, 2012

I used to like Maintenance Plans, but not any more

When I started to hold the mantle of DBA I got jazzed about maintenance plans. They were easy, they made sense, and it was graphical. Three things I look for in any administration task I do. So I am thinking "awesome, I've got everything set, I'm backing up, doing maintenance on indexes and stats alike".

Yeah, no one likes maintenance plans.

Brent Ozar (web | Twitter)  explains why actual DBAs don't like maintenance plans. Who knew? People who've been at this longer than I have. I have come across many an odd error due to a failed maintenance plan. The best one yet has been an error about invalid credentials when connecting to a file share where the backup is being written (which is another post to debate whether or not this is a valid/accepted thing to do). The way I used to fix it? Change from using the DNS(\\archive\SQL\backup\) name to using the IP (\\\SQL\backup\) address. No, I'm not kidding. Brent (and probably others) is correct in saying that maintenance plans just do weird things.

I have decided that enough is enough. I have the self confidence now with my understanding of the way things work that I am going to take the plunge and convert my maintenance plans. I have broken down my maintenance plans into pieces. Instead of doing DBCC, rebuild/reorg indexes, update stats, and backing up all in one plan, this will be done all in one job. Each plan task will be broken out into t-sql scripts and made into steps into the main agent job.

In following postings, I will go step by step of the deconstruction of my maintenance plans.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

SQL Family

Well I might as well throw my unknown hat into the ring. There was/is/has been a buzz around the Microsoft SQL Server community about the idea of "SQL Family". Well I am the first one to say that I am anything but active in the community, I have been known to call on family members for help. I am not even sure if I can say that I am a part of this family, part of the community, sure.

Like most lurkers I have the sqlhelp hash tag as a column in my TweetDeck. I try to offer advice where I am almost fairly certain I won't stick my foot in my mouth (which is few and far between the offering of help, not the sticking of feet in mouth)). This is somewhat a tragedy of the commons, as a few people are always there to offer help where need to the majority. I do feel a bit bad about abusing the help being offered.

I'm not even sure I belong, since being a DBA is only a portion of my job description. The main part consist of being a systems administrator. Do I still count for being a part of "the family"? I like being a sys admin, I like being a DBA I know at one point soon I'll have to choose between the two, as a person can only do one thing well, or multiple things in a mediocre manner.

I'd like to get more involved in the SQL community, however my wife and I just had our first son little under 4 months ago. Free time is something I only have at work...I kid, I am always busy at work. Time and monetary resources are a bit short at the moment. The most involvement that I can muster is to troll the dba.stackexchange board, and that's not even MSSQL centric. 

So for now, I'll sit on the side lines and every now and then add my two cents.