The DBA Team #1–Code and Slides

Our first DBA Team event, in Richmond, VA just before SQL Saturday #187 went well. Overall I think our experiment was a success and we’re already talking about where and when we might do this again.

In the meantime, we didn’t make a separate site for this series of events, being an experiment and all. I’m adding this post as a placeholder for the various slide decks and code.

Core Monitoring for SQL Server (Steve Jones)

Good DBAs ensure that they are always aware of the state of their instances. All systems should have monitoring in place, not just so you know when things go wrong, but so you understand what a normal workload looks like and can plan for the future. This session will cover the basics of monitoring a SQL Server system and the various metrics you should be tracking.

Getting Started with SQL Server Backup (Grant Fritchey)

Backups are fundamental to protecting the investment your business has in its data and they’re the foundation of disaster recovery planning. We’ll go over best practices for database backups, to ensure you’re establishing that foundation correctly within your systems. This introductory level session covers full, log, and differential backups, as well as restores and restores to a point in time. Come along to be sure you’ve got the right protection in place for your systems.

Understanding Database Corruption (Grant Fritchey)

A DBA’s primary purpose is to ensure that the information in their charge is accessible by the correct people within their organization. Despite everything you do to make sure you’ve got your servers configured, monitored, and tuned, with well-tested backups in place, you can still lose data through corruption. But what is corruption in a database? This session lays out exactly where database corruption can come from, how to find out exactly where the corruption is within a database, and  the methods you have available to recover from database corruption.

Indexing for SQL Server (Steve Jones)

Indexes are important for improving the performance of your queries, but they add overhead to your server and require maintenance. This session examines how indexes work and the basic maintenance that you should perform to ensure your system is running at its peak level.

The Gambler

I'll be speaking here. Come shake my hand if you can come and register with the code "Jones"
I’ll be speaking here. Come shake my hand if you can come and register with the code “Jones”

In April of this year, the SQL Intersection conference is coming to Las Vegas. I’m speaking, along with Grant Fritchey and many others. It’s a fun event, in a city with a huge variety of things to do in the evenings after a full day of SQL Server sessions. At night I tend to look for networking chances to met new people and catch up with friends at night, though there have been a few times a comedy show has enticed me away from my hotel. I like Las Vegas, though I’m not a gambler. Despite the fact that most people think of visitors looking for their chance to sit at a table with dice or cards, there are many of us that go for other activities.

I was at in a session recently and heard a speaker recommend that the audience run DBCC checks regularly. That’s good advice, and it’s what I recommend in my sessions as well. A person in the audience raised their hand and politely disagreed, saying that they almost never run DBCC CHECKDB. This person found it to be a waste of resources since they’d never encountered corruption in their career, and hadn’t known anyone in over a decade that had experienced on a SQL Server system. This person asked the speaker how many times the speaker had seen corruption (five was the answer) and then said across thousands of days of backups, it just wasn’t worth the resources to run DBCC CHECDB.

If you feel that way, then you’re a gambler. You are accepting a higher level of risk than I do, and higher than I recommend. Consistency checks are designed to help us catch corruption. Since we never know when it will occur, we want to detect is ASAP so that we avoid, or at least minimize, data loss. If you run those checks and never experience corruption, those checks are insurance payments you’ve made and never needed to file a claim. However if you don’t run those checks, and experience corruption, you’ve placed a bet you’ve lost. Whether or not that cleans you out depends on the data loss your organization experiences and their tolerance for that loss. I’d seriously consider this a career limiting, or employment terminating, event, especially if the best practice recommendation from Microsoft and many experts is to run DBCC checks.

I don’t recommend skipping your DBCC checks, but if that’s how you feel, think about coming to SQL Intersection (register with the code “Jones” to support me). You might enjoy that gaming tables at night, and I know the other speakers and myself would welcome the chance to change your mind about skipping DBCC checks during the day.

Steve Jones

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