A Moment with Brent Ozar

Posted: September 17, 2008 in Uncategorized


One of the challenges that I face on a day to day basis is dealing with the cost of new servers, I mean this can hit us from so many directions. First we need the server, then the disk space, but if there is any amount of production material on this server then chances are you want it clustered. On top of all that the we have management buying third party aps from the lowest bidders where the application account needs sa access. We have server or databases that really need to be isolated just because they are a huge security risk. I went to a session with Sarah Barela and Dominic from Maximum ASP in the spring and for the life of me I cannot remember Dominic’s last name. See Dominic does a lot of work with Virtual Servers. Up to the point of seeing his presentation I was not sure I would use these for anything but Dev and test. But there was always a question about the disk storage. I remember thinking, what we really need is a trained good DBA that understands how the DBA’s want to see the Disk. How SQL Server will use a SAN and make good use of that space. Not a few weeks later I met Brent Ozar. Not as I write this Brent is doing some cleanup of his own of sorts. He lives in Houston and was impacted by Ike. Anyway, Brent and I talked for a couple of hours on the phone, and I have to tell you this is one of the most exciting sessions that I cannot wait to see. There is going to be a session on Databases and the SAN. Since the last time we have talked I watch Brent on Twitter and when he is not dodging flying debris he is doing a lot with SQL Server.

So I asked Brent the standard questions, here is what he had to say. I must say that I like getting to know these speakers from a different angle. Some may find the question silly but I really look at this as an opportunity to meet these people learn about then and learn from them.

CS – Technology jobs:

Brent – I love the way virtualization frees me from hardware worries.  I remember spending many a lonely weekend night doing bios upgrades and driver upgrades.  Now, I can migrate live servers from one piece of hardware to the next, do my bios upgrades as I go, and the whole thing happens during business hours.  That technology lets me enjoy more free time on the weekends.  Hooray, virtualization!

CS – Dream job:

Brent – My dream job outside of my current one: racing sailboats.  I’d love to race solo around the world in the Velux 5 Oceans race.  I thrive on that sort of one-man challenge.  Did you know that more people have gone into space than have finished that race?

CS – Worst day on the job – 

Brent – On a summer Sunday afternoon, the alert emails came in fast: servers were shutting themselves down due to excessive heat.  I called my boss, who lived closer to the office than I did, and we started racing in.  I got into the datacenter about half an hour later to find that one of the two air conditioners had failed, and then the second AC couldn’t handle the load and it failed as well.  To top it off, the building ACs were shut down on the weekends.  The racks and servers were too hot to touch, and even the drywall measured 160 degrees F.  That was a long day.

CS – Where next – 

Brent – Next up on the goal list: writing a book about database administration.

CS – How did you get started – 

Brent – I used to program ASP web apps with VBscript, and our shop decided to switch to either Java or .NET.  During the long, drawn-out decision making process, I realized if I stayed in development that I’d be relearning new languages every 5-7 years.  Ansi SQL stays the same, but the platforms improve.  I decided I’d rather stick with the same language and learn new platforms instead, and being a DBA gave me that opportunity.

CS – Biggest accomplishment – 

Brent – Getting handed a PASSCamp Germany shirt with my name embroidered on it for being a speaker.  That is number one for me because I live for helping DBAs, driving the SQL community forward, and making everybody’s jobs easier.  To get appreciated for doing that is beyond words.

CS – Most excited about – 

Brent – I work at Quest, and there’s a lot of stuff in our software that I’m really excited about, but this isn’t the place for marketing, so I’ll skip those.  After that, the next big thing is cloud-based computing.  I could go on and on about all the ways it’s going to revolutionize the technology industry in 5-10 years the same way that virtualization is started to revolutionize it now.  Right now, CIOs are starting to standardize on virtual servers as the default, and forcing users to justify dedicated physical hardware.  A few years from now, cloud-based computing will be the default choice – whether it’s an internal cloud or an external cloud.

CS – Apple

Brent – I use a Macbook Pro because it makes my job more fun.  I also like steak tartare, Japanese pop music and Edward Tufte.  I have odd tastes.  Your mileage may vary.

CS – Hobby

Brent – Writing.  I blog like I’m getting paid for it.  (Believe me, I’m not.)

CS – Born in any year

Brent – I think I was born at the perfect time: I remember life without personal computers, without microwaves, without cellular phones, etc.  I appreciate how much technology makes my life easier, but that I can live without it when I want to.  I unplug when I go on vacation.  I don’t think today’s kids find it as easy to unplug.



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