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  1. #1
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    Unanswered: Learning to be a DBA--suggestions?

    Hi Guys,

    Well, as a VB/VBA applications developer I'm not well prepared for this, but it looks like I will be riding herd on a production SQL Server.

    TSQL I know well enough to get along, but where can I get a fast fix on all the logins, security, and process management info? Today we had a DTS package crash overnight and it took me forever to figure out that it had left half a dozen tables locked. (Note that the scripts for the DTS package are being re-written as we speak with use of transactions and NOLOCK.) Meanwhile tech support was handling a whole mess of grumpy users.

    Are there any books you would recommend as resources/references? Is there a particular author who is good at writing the stuff you really need to know in English that can be read by a mere mortal like I? I am fond of the Microsoft resources/help files but I'd like to have somthing that holds highlighter and post-it flags a bit better. Not to mention something that focuses more on the beast as a whole rather than the minutia at length.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    1. Good luck
    2. Don't use NoLock
    3. Buy a lot of books
    4. How many DTS Packages?
    5. DTSing directly in to live tables? I'd use a staging environment
    6. Did you install the sql server client side tools?
    7. Find someone to blame
    8. Welcome to the club
    9. Good Luck
    Brett
    8-)

    It's a Great Day for America everybody!

    dbforums Yak CorralRadio 'Rita
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    I'm Good Once as I ever was

    The physical order of data in a database has no meaning.

  3. #3
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    "The Guru's" series By "Ken Henderson" ... get a hold of it ASAP and read it from cover to cover ...

    Another I would recommend is "MS Press- SQL Server 2000 Administrators Companion" ...
    Get yourself a copy of the The Holy Book

    order has no physical Brett in The meaning of a Kaiser . -database data

  4. #4
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    1. Good Luck
    9. Good Luck
    Yeah ... That you need a lot of when you are starting off as a DBA .
    Get yourself a copy of the The Holy Book

    order has no physical Brett in The meaning of a Kaiser . -database data

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    >>7. Find someone to blame

    One of my old database professors used to tell the whole class, if you work with database administration, always keep a fresh copy of your resume ready.

    ddave

  6. #6
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    That would be an overkill .... now a days everybody needs to keep a fresh copy of their resume ready ....
    Get yourself a copy of the The Holy Book

    order has no physical Brett in The meaning of a Kaiser . -database data

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I will start looking at books suggested.

    Brett:

    1. Thanks
    2. When using s-procs to select or update after hours don't use (NOLOCK)? Why?
    3. That's a given. I'll actually READ them, too.
    4. Lots. Mostly used for outputting reports to clients. Reports are required to be in formatted .rtf or .xls files. Some others are assisting in finding and reading in .txt data transfers. Yes, there are better ways to load in from .txt files and we're working on it.
    5. Yep. We live dangerously here. But we do it at 3:00 a.m.
    6. Nope. Had nothing to do with the current setup.
    7. No shortage of those. Those @!#$@%@ application developers are always messing things up. ;-)
    8. I'm honored to join. Ow, ow, ow! (Painful initiation rights.)
    9. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Massachusetts
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    Provided Answers: 11
    (nolock) is a dangerous thing, because while you place no locks on the data, you also respect no locks. So, if the nightly purge is merrily deleting data when you kick off your report, your report may pick up on some of the deleted data, and your grumpy users will start questioning the reports. And that can mean questioning the developers/DBA.

    As far as advice on becoming a DBA, I can give you the first lesson my mentor drilled into my head:

    "It is not your data."

    Just about every theme of being a DBA follows from that statement.

    You have to protect the data from bad updates and prying eyes, and display it to whomever the business people say it has to be displayed to.

    You have to protect the server from bad performance, downtime, and the ever feared restores.

    Restores are bad. But that is my opinion.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the info on (nolock). I didn't realize that it didn't respect locks.

    Actually, this has probably been working to my advantage so far in that the DTS package I wrote would have been negatively affected by the crash of another's DTS package. At least this way mine could run while the other one had half the tables I neede locked up!

    I'll have to contemplate on the potential negative affects this could have at 3:00 a.m. I'm convinced my users are not working at that time.

    As to ownership, I started this whole career path as a user, then moved on to writing apps for my own/my department's use. I'm very in touch with the whole idea of what this data is for, where it should and shouldn't go, and the agony of down-time due to poor performance, restores (hopefully never!), etc.

    My application philosophy has always been to NEVER give users choices if at all possible. Keep them on one 'happy path' that does only what they need it to do and thwart every request for the ability to stray.

    Since the preceeding database philosophy has been to give everyone every permission under the sun, it will take me quite a while to get things constrained to my liking. In addition, so far there has been no use of transaction processing unless the functional actuator automagically wraps it (e.g. udates through ADO). We have dozens of s_procs that run with no transactions.

    Thanks for the advice. Hopefully I'll put it to good use. First I need the knowledge to do so!

  10. #10
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    I'll gleefully jump in with a suggestion for "down the road" a bit. In my opinion, the best book on SQL Server is Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 by Kalen Delaney. Kalen's a friend of mine, but I don't know of anyone that will argue that it is the authoritive reference for MS-SQL.

    For a great book for the "here and now", I'd suggest Teach Yourself Microsoft SQL Server 2000 in 21 Days by Richard Waymire. Richard probably knows more about the insides of SQL Server than anyone on the planet, and specifically he knows more about the security simply because he designed it, and coded a respectable portion of it!

    I think that Brett meant "Did you install the SQL Server Client tools on your own workstation?", but that is a guess. Without the full set of tools, you are rather serverely crippled, for no good reason! If I guessed wrong on this, I'm sure that Brett will correct me!

    We did away with the painful initiation rights with the advent of SQL Server 6.0. By that point, you had to already have a high tolerance for pain just to get into the club, so there was no point in wasting time with initiation rites!

    -PatP

  11. #11
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    well pat
    arent you the shaker with a mover....

    i will agree
    inside sql server 2k is a required reading on this product
    just as oracle Xi the complete reference is for Larrys little girl.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruprect
    well pat
    arent you the shaker with a mover....
    Is that kinky? If so, I'm in favor of it!

    -PatP

  13. #13
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    more like jello than anything
    and you know what they say about jello.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Phelan
    I'll gleefully jump in with a suggestion for "down the road" a bit. In my opinion, the best book on SQL Server is Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 by Kalen Delaney. Kalen's a friend of mine, but I don't know of anyone that will argue that it is the authoritive reference for MS-SQL.

    For a great book for the "here and now", I'd suggest Teach Yourself Microsoft SQL Server 2000 in 21 Days by Richard Waymire. Richard probably knows more about the insides of SQL Server than anyone on the planet, and specifically he knows more about the security simply because he designed it, and coded a respectable portion of it!

    I think that Brett meant "Did you install the SQL Server Client tools on your own workstation?", but that is a guess. Without the full set of tools, you are rather serverely crippled, for no good reason! If I guessed wrong on this, I'm sure that Brett will correct me!

    We did away with the painful initiation rights with the advent of SQL Server 6.0. By that point, you had to already have a high tolerance for pain just to get into the club, so there was no point in wasting time with initiation rites!

    -PatP
    I keep these two books, the Guru's guide, and Microsoft Press Performance Tuning Manual on my desk at all times. I couldn't survive without them. They are all invaluable references. It's amazing how good the 21 day book is. Most of them suck. It's also a good book to let developers read.
    MeanOldDBA
    derrickleggett@hotmail.com
    When life gives you a lemon, fire the DBA.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Phelan
    I think that Brett meant "Did you install the SQL Server Client tools on your own workstation?", but that is a guess. Without the full set of tools, you are rather serverely crippled, for no good reason!
    Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Phelan
    If I guessed wrong on this, I'm sure that Brett will correct me!
    Nope

    Your freinds with Kalen? Damn, Please buy her a margarita on me....let me know where to pay-pal!

    And where is she?

    And why is this sites backend MySql?
    Brett
    8-)

    It's a Great Day for America everybody!

    dbforums Yak CorralRadio 'Rita
    dbForums Member List
    I'm Good Once as I ever was

    The physical order of data in a database has no meaning.

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