Pre-Con Previews


Q&A with Robert Davis and Argenis Fernandez

Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices

Q: If your pre-con had a theme song, what would it be and why?
“Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow.” Better known as the theme song for the 1970s TV show Baretta, it has the famous line, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Whenever I hear it, I think of following best practices because DBAs can save themselves a lot of time spent fixing things reactively by simply following best practices. That’s the real crime, not following best practices.

Argenis: “We Will Rock You,” by Queen. Need I say more?

Q: Where does your workshop take attendees beyond what you might cover in a 60- or 75-minute session?
Robert: The longer format gives us the time for an interactive experience. We can discuss specific issues and questions that people have in the training session so that everyone benefits from the experiences that others in the class have to offer.

Argenis: We would barely be able to touch on some topics in a regular session. The pre-conference setting is ideal for in-depth exploration of different aspects of database administration.

Q: What's the most surprising statement attendees might hear you say during the pre-con?
Microsoft is wrong. Books Online is wrong. And sometimes, I’m wrong. That’s okay.

Argenis: That Robert and I differ on several best practices! What is cool is to hear our positions and figure out what works best for yourself.

Q: What’s the biggest myth in the world of DBA best practices that you’d like to debunk?
I’d like to debunk the belief that the DBA should be a lone, solitary person who does not work well with others. DBAs should be building relationships with their engineering teams and business teams.

Argenis: I have to concur with Robert on that one. It is something that I will speak to several times during the pre-con.

Q: What still trips you up in your adventures with keeping SQL Server up and running well?
People who perpetuate bad advice. For just about every best practice, there are people who will insist that the exact opposite is true. Some of those people have credentials that would seem to make them credible sources, but a good DBA must always practice the highly effective habit of “trust, but validate.”

Argenis: I cringe every time I hear DBAs say that they don’t test their backups. If you have corruption on your backup file, what good is it?

Q: If attendees could start putting into practice just one thing after your pre-con, what would you want that to be?
Don’t put any new SQL Servers into production until after you have completed a best practices checklist. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

Argenis: Safeguard your data! Do whatever it takes to make sure you will never lose it. It is your most precious asset.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2012 pre-con speakers.

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