T-SQL Tuesday #89: The times they are a-changing



This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is inspired by the blog post Will the Cloud Eat My DBA Job? by Kendra Little.

Technology has changed a lot in the past years, especially with cloud/globalization/automation. What impact has this had on your job? Do you feel endangered? Over the years I’ve seen a lot of things change with SQL Server.

I remember that somebody told me when I started with SQL Server 200 that T-SQL was never going to be a big thing. How wrong was that guy right?!

I have not yet had the chance to do a lot with the cloud like Azure SQL Database. I did get the chance to fiddle around with a trial period of Azure to see what I could do and to get a feel for the interface. Unfortunately, this was just a trial and after it ended I didn’t pick it up again. I should because I like to learn new skills.

What impact has this had on your job?

Some things have had a great impact on my work.

Take PowerShell for instance. If I didn’t start with that when it first came out I would still be clicking around SSMS like crazy. I like to automate everything repetitively because I like to spend my time efficiently doing stuff that gives me energy and not doing things over and over again.

At this moment cloud has not had an impact on me. Employers in the past did not see any benefit of it at that moment and my current employer does not yet see the use of it either. Maybe something will change shortly but for now, it’s not going to happen :(

I would love to start working with the cloud and move some of our databases because I think it is a valuable addition to traditional architectures.

Do you feel endangered?

No! And I’ll tell you why. When I first started to work with servers and databases you had a physical server where you had to put in a CD or DVD and run the install from a console to get Windows Server installed. As soon as everything was set up you could remotely log in and do the rest of the work from the office.

The server room would look a little like this:


Nowadays you, or your system administrator either logs in to VMWare or Hyper V. He or she creates a new server, and if they work smart, it’s done with cloning or scripting and the server is done within minutes.

The last time I physically touched a server to do dba work was about 8 years ago. If you have the same situation you kind of work in a cloud-like environment.

The second reason I don’t feel endangered is that as a DBA I have to deal with everything within and around SQL Server. Bluntly said a VM for me is nothing more than a box of resources where my instances do their work.

I know people will disagree with me but if you’re not the system administrator the underlying hardware layer is invisible to you. If your employer is a company with one or more database servers there will always be a need for a DBA. There will be performance issues, new installations, high availability, reporting, etc etc.

Or do you have more exciting features/toys to work with?

In the last couple of years so much has changed in SQL Server that it’s impossible to comprehend everything.

I’m excited to work with SQL Server vNext on Linux for example. There are a lot of new features for Business Intelligence with Analysis Services and Power BI.

You can create stretched databases where parts of the database are in the cloud and others are on premise. Imagine a hybrid environment where parts of the network are locally/on premise and other parts are deployed in the cloud.

Microsoft has embraced PowerShell for SQL Server and has now made it open-source. How cool is that! There are more and more people developing in PowerShell and creating modules like dbatools.

There is so much new stuff that I have to cherry-pick what to do first.

Do you embrace the change and learn new skills?

I embrace change and love to learn new skills. The world is changing for the DBA and we as DBAs have to change with it.

We’re no longer the strange guy in the cubicle that only shows up when something goes wrong. I see more and more situations in which we have to be at the forefront of taking action and be visible to our colleagues.

If your employer wants to work in the cloud don’t be afraid of it, embrace it, and learn everything you can about it. If you have inefficient processes, automate/optimize them and make your life easier.

Be the one that has the vision to get the company to a higher level and you’ll see that everything will work out.