Well Last week was a busy one for me, and really it’s been pretty busy over the last few months. I feel like I just got home from speaking at Las Vegas Dev Connections not but a month ago, but that was back in November, since then I have been on 6 trips including on to California and one to Orlando. Last week when I was speaking at SQL Connections about how to give your SQL Server a Tune Up I asked a question to that I do anytime I am speaking and I am talking about disk space.
I simply asked the audience to raise their hands if they had a database on a SAN. This session had about 60 people in it. Of the 60 people I would guess that 45 hand their hands raised. It was no different than other times I had asked the question as far as overall percentage. I asked them to leave their hands in the air and if they felt. I then asked them to continue to leave their hands in the air if they were confident that the SAN that their database was on was stable and did what the sales people told them it would do. I was left with 3 hands in the air…
This was about the norm when I ask this question. I find that about less the 10% of the people that have a database on a SAN are confident of the SAN that they are on. You may be thinking that I am not a big fan of SAN’s, and to be honest with you I have not worked on many that have a good reliability rate. Does this mean that SAN technology is bad? Am I saying that you should remove all your databases and put them on local storage?
No, and No. I am finding that there is a gap between Databases and SAN’s. Our data files (.mdf’s and ldf’s in SQL Server) do not behave like other files that many would see on a SAN. Many storage administrators are not thinking about spindle to database ratio, or logs being on a separate disk then the data files. So where is all this leading me?
I believe that it is critical that for a Storage Administrator to be really good at their job they need to understand how databases work. I think that we may be seeing Storage Administrators now dealing with how the Private SAN network is configured, or how the controllers are behaving even the number of HBA’s are in a system. I am sure they have their plate full. In the recent past I have had the chance to work with 2 really good people that understand storage and databases. Both of them are excelling in what they are doing.
My advice, maybe my thought of the day… Database Professionals are going to grow by 37% in the next 10 years according to the Department of Labor. It may be a good idea to try to learn more about the SAN world. I think the technology for SAN is where it needs to be, I just think we need to bridge that gap.