MSDN Event Yesterday

Posted: October 1, 2008 in Uncategorized


Yesterday afternoon there was an MSDN Event where Rob Bagby from Microsoft talked about Silverlight and a number of other topics for the afternoon at Configure Soft a local company here in town. With many of these events I feel that the best discussions always come out afterwards over dinner or a beer. Last night was no exception. I got to meet a number of great people that are very involved in their discipline. Ben Holting was one of those sitting at the table. The discussions went from the probably the number one question that you hear when you are in Colorado and that is “Do you Ski?” Rob talked about how he would like to get to each of the Major Cities in his area 3 times a year, which is a lot when you consider how big this area is, I think he can do it. If you have a chance to go see him speak he has a great desire to help developers along in their careers and learning what is coming out new.

The conversation that I found most interesting was a chat about the DBA role and what it used to be compared to what it is now. Even down to just the title of DBA and what developers may think about what we do. I believe I have mentioned before that the DBA job has been really split up for a number of years. There are DBA’s who enjoy to write out stored procedures, and those who don’t. There are DBA’s that like to use SSIS and those like me that would rather not. Then the discussion whet to design the difference between an Enterprise and a Soft Architect. I will say that I believe my thoughts ad Rob’s and others at the table seemed to be pretty similar. If I recall correctly this is how we defined the differences.

  • An Enterprise Architect – This is the person that will design items like the server room, security, hardware, hardware configurations.
  • A Soft Architect – Is the person that is looking at technology and how it fits into the requirements and the best way meet a set of requirements. For example should the company use SAP or design a custom system. A point that came up about the Soft Architect is that they are really there to not code, but more to test and be visionaries. The code that they do write is testing features of new technologies like spatial data types.

I guess that leaves me with the question Does an Architect fit in the roll of a Soft Architect or should the database require a 3rd architect. I could think of good arguments for both. There are some systems I have worked on where they currently using someone to architect the database, but the individual has no experience with the underlining layers of SQL Server. This person would be great in a Soft Architect position but not a database designer. It takes more than just a book to learn the in’s and out’s of SQL Server. Yet there are some databases where they are not that complex.

I am interested in hearing how you feel that these rolls fit and what tasks fit where. Please feel free to comment.


  1. Buck Woody says:

    Well, I’m not sure what a “software” architect is, but I was in a role that held the title of Data Architect. My job was to report to the CIO on matters dealing with data – all data – across the enterprise. That meant picking the technology we used for a particular solution (like Oracle or SQL Server or DB2 or hand-coded) and also licensing, storage, retention, standards, security, ITIL and so on. I worked not only with my DBAs but with the SAN admins, the application architect, and so on. It was all high-level design stuff, but I was also expected to know the strengths and weaknesses of each platform so that I could design a proper solution.

    – Buck

  2. chrisshaw says:


    Thanks for the comments. This was the first time I had heard the term “Soft” architect as well. But once we started talking about it, it started to make sense to me.

    Thanks again,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s