When sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats can be misleading

A while ago, I was looking at a particular index which was badly fragmented in development and I decided the best course of action was to rebuild the index. When I then ran my index fragmentation & usage query, the data looked odd. The fragmentation was gone, but the numbers didn’t seem right. It was then I noticed a really low number of index seeks being returned.
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Trace file name ” is invalid

A colleague was trying to restore our production database’s to an internal server for this week and noted that the process failed due to a lack of storage.  In particular, one database seemed to have grown significantly since the last time we had done this (bi-weekly process). A quick look at the default trace, in particular, the Data File Auto Grow event would reveal all…or would it…?

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What’s in a Year?

2015 has been a whirlwind of a year. It’s unreal that it is mid December already and 2016 is almost upon us.

Things have changed a lot this year and it all goes back to a job being posted by Microsoft for a PFE back in 2014 which I applied to and had a real chance of securing a role. It didn’t work out, but it made me take stock of my career. I started looking around and had a few interviews but the roles were not right or the companies were not quite sure what kind of person they wanted to hire in some cases!

I finally secured a great role with Thomsons Online Benefits in June. I was fortunate to have two offers on the table but Thomsons had the wow factor and the culture is second to none. Infact, it’s bonkers, but in a good way. The reality is that my boss had reservations over not really having any BI skills. In his opinion he suggested someone applying for a Senior DBA role should have a more rounded skillset and I was lacking in BI. I obviously offered a compelling argument which was enough to secure me the role. But I digress. Having joined Thomsons, I was quickly immersed into the world of BI and have been working on a new BI tool since mid July. It’s been a steep learning curve but we’ve launched the tool and as a company we are really excited about what this can offer our clients. For that work, I was actually rewarded with a Moment of Magic award. It’s just another nice touch about this company. I’m paid to do a job so I don’t expect stuff on top, but the company love to recognise their employees.

The DBA side of the role has also seen some challenges too. Prior to my accepting the offer, the architecture team had already decided on a NoSQL route with MongoDB. We’ll be running a split database architecture with a lot of historic and unstructured data going into MongoDB and the remaining structured data sitting inside SQL Server. I think it’s a great blend of architecture and to be honest, this is where most companies sit these days. On this front, 2016 will be tough, challenging but ultimately rewarding.

Outside of work, I had various conversations with Paul Randall. He’s offered a lot of advice. I’ve not focused on a lot of topics and I’ve not actually asked him a single technical question. What advice I have been given is fantastic and I will put that to good use in 2016 and beyond.

Away from the technical side of things, life is great. We’ve done a lot to the house and we’re very close to getting all the things done that we set out to do when we bought it in June of 2014. Family life is as good as ever and I love watching my son grow up. He’s absorbing things like a sponge. The only downside I see in him is that, like his Daddy, he is as stubborn as a mule. We are best of buddies and occasionally each others worst enemies but on the whole, we just love to play and do stuff together…Combined, we probably drive my wife crazy!

So what’s happening on 2016? Loads of cool stuff at work. Looking at SQL Server 2016, Performance Tuning, AG, MongoDB, Architecture, Training Dev/Architects.

Life is good.

Who wants to be a DBA?

I’ve seen a number of posts over the years asking what skills and requirements are needed to become a DBA. It’s an interesting question. From experience, I find a lot of people seem to fall into the DBA role from a development role. Not all DBA’s have gone this route, but it seems a good percentage have done so. I’m from a development background.
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New Challenge

The time has come for me to move on. It’s a bitter sweet moment for me. Exciting new company and challenges ahead, but I’m leaving a great company behind.

More details to follow when the I’ve moved on. For now, I’m fully focused on the transition!

Logical Design is not a lost art, after-all

A couple of days ago, a team member came to me and asked whether they could help me with anything SQL Server related. After a discussion, she showed a real interest in learning SQL Server in far greater detail. I was really excited by this. I wanted to start off by having her design a basic Customer / Sales schema – This would be our basis for covering just about everything related to SQL Server.
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