New Challenge; The story so far…

A while ago, I published a post about a new challenge. Well one month on, I thought I’d share my initial thoughts and challenges.

The most important thing to say is that I made the right decision. It’s a cool company.

The company itself is all about hard work and challenging yourself and your colleagues. We get better individually and together. That message comes from the top. But it’s a fun company too. We work hard and we can have fun. Again, that’s from the top down. In my first few weeks, I saw some things that were new and original ways to make the company a fun place to be. The culture was one of the key requirements for me and my gut instinct when I walked through the door for my first interview was spot on.

On a technical level, the company has been transitioning themselves over the past couple of years into a technology company. They embrace and love technology. I think I have missed a lot of the major hurdles in this transnational phase of their life, but that’s not to say there will be no challenges ahead. We’re growing and evolving and intend on retaining our number 1 status in our space.

But, this is a SQL Server blog so if your reading this, you are probably wondering what kind of an environment I have to manage?

It’s an interesting platform and one which I expect to grow quickly. By no means is it the largest production size in terms of size or transactions, but it’s significant and there are challenges.

At present, I have two production clusters (both active / passive) and four instances. There is a raft of development, test, qa, demo and live qa servers which are general purpose or client specific.

The databases are highly transactional and there is a lot of moving parts both in production as well as post production (data preparation for qa, dev, test and so on).

One of the interesting things for me was replacing a Senior DBA. In previous roles, I have been the first DBA so I have had to fix a lot of basic mistakes. This really isn’t the case. Thankfully, my predecessor did a great job and I stumbled across a data estate document where he highlighted flaws and problems and a good percentage of these items have been resolved to best practice standards. However, while most Senior DBA’s largely think the same, we do take different approaches and have our own strengths and weaknesses. I’m now diligently making my own review of the entire estate and our practices from the various teams around the organisation.

The approach I am adopting is to be have an open mind and not to be critical of anything as it exists right now. Every decision was taken with justifiable reason at the time. But times have changed and it’s part of my role to question whether that decision is still valid now.

Admittedly, this post doesn’t contain any horror stories of worst practices or specifics about the environment or data. There is good reason for that, but that’s not to say I manage a perfect platform…far from it. There are challenges but there is also a ton of really good stuff and we’ve adopted some strong design and management principles around our database estate.

But now it’s time for me to make my mark on this platform and take it to the next level.

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