New SQL Quiz

Posted: November 5, 2008 in Uncategorized

I was listening to Brent Ozar today and in one of his session he had mentioned that mistakes can and has cost a lot of money. I started to think about this and I am going to try to start a game of tag. So here is the way it works, for many new DBA’s they may not realize that all of us have made mistakes and that our mistakes can be… rather stupid. I challenge each of the people I tag in my blog to post as least one mistake that they recently made I will start by describing 2 mistakes that I made. One of my mistakes was as a junior DBA and one about 6 months ago. The point of this game is to in no means embarrass ourselves or discredit ourselves. But more of a learning experience from our mistakes type of a deal.

So here are my mistakes that I made…

  1. My first full time job I was employed to be a Database Administrator, however my boss thought that I should learn more about setting up a domain. I spent two weeks in class, I learned all about Windows NT and Windows Workstations. When I took this class I paid extra attention, I would stay late I would do labs many times, I wanted to know all I could. So the first day back at work the boss man comes to me and says… Chris set this server up as the PDC and get all the workstations in the office to connect. I thought no problem. Well I swear it was two weeks of me using language that I would not dare to post. I just could not get it to work. I rebuilt servers I replaced NIC’s heck I even rebuilt the workstations. One day I though… This is not that hard I have to be missing something. So I decided that I was looking at the problem to close. I had some other work to do so I stepped away for what I intended to be a couple of days. I had some cable to clean up since I replaced all of it and left it a mess. As I was standing behind the rack, I noticed that there was a toggle on the back of the router. I thought about it and said well that is stupid why is there a toggle, there isn’t even a power wire plugged into it. Then I looked again. There was a place for a power cable, why did I not plug it in. I am telling you the second I did and turned it on the machines all connected first shot. Since that day I call that my O.N./O.F.F. dip switch project. Sometimes the problem is as hard as you make it.


  2. Just so that you don’t think we only make mistakes when we start just a few months ago I was loading 2008 on a my machine. I connected to the server and started to browse around to see what had changed. I had a client that I connected to with my Management Studio. I clicked on a server and looked at the properties. It said there was 3 gigs of ram. I was beside myself. I know my client had 8 Gigs. I was sure of it. I even double checked my work and logged on to the server and saw that I was right there was that memory on the server. I thought wow, no one else has seen this and posted about it. I think I found a bug. I was more then happy to jump on the Microsoft site and post my findings. I was going to be the one who discovered a bug. Well I did and a SQL Server Pro that I respect a lot answered my question. We started to look at the configs. Well thank goodness before we got to deep I realized that it was not the client server I was pulling memory info from it was my local server. So now I look dumb in the news groups.


So since this was inspired by Brent I will first challenge him, and another great DBA I know. Tell us something that you did that just was not quite right.

Brent Ozar

Jason Massie

  1. […] Chris Shaw started a new blog quiz for SQL Server DBAs: name two mistakes you’ve made in your career.  I’m glad he restricted it to two entries, or else I’d have had to start a whole separate blog category just for this. […]

  2. Liam Westley says:

    I’m not a SQL DBA, I’m a .NET developer, so this might explain a lot ….

    1. Had just completed an on site client installation, upgrading an ASP.NET application and backing up the main database (SQL Server 2000). I happily let users back into the system, booking new appointments into the system. I decided I could have a bash at updating the DTS package transferring data from the live database to a reporting database, despite never really playing with the DTS designer. The update didn’t quite work as I expected, so in the DTS designer I dropped some tables from the reporting database so they could be recreated with the new fields we’d added to the live DB. Only they were tables in the live database ….. two hours of customer bookings lost forever. Haven’t played with DTS since.
    2. More recently I was bashing my head against a problem when installing the same ASP.NET application on a backup server. Some areas of the application worked fine and displayed data from the SQL Server database, others produced an exception that the ‘the Underlying Connection was closed’. I checked all the SQL Server permissions, the connection strings being used which worked in one area but not another …. and after several hours discovered it had nothing to do with the database. This is an ASP.NET error regarding URLs being built from settings in the Web.Config configuration file, which need different host names on the backup server. Of course, to a developer like myself ‘connection’=’database’ and my code can’t be the bit at fault if it works on the live server OK ……

  3. chrisshaw says:

    Thanks for the great post Liam, Can you tag a couple of people to do the same?


  4. Liam Westley says:


    Have left a message on twitter (westleyl), which is how Jason Massie lured me into leaving a post.


  5. Isondart says:

    I don’t know if this necessarily fits but:
    When I was a Junior DBA, during a hotfix\service pack upgrade of SSRS on a virtual instance, we (the DBA team) did our own testing and concluded that everything looked fine from our end. We allowed the Developers a week to test and provide us some necessary feedback. After receiving no feedback, we went ahead with the promotion to production, and again asked for feedback. Having received no negative feedback after running for three days in production, plus the aforementioned week in development, I made the decision to remove the virtual backup of the previous instance. Less than two hours later, I receive a phone call from a manager who mentions three items that were missing. Most importantly, the Select All feature (if you have been doing upgrades to SSRS 2005, you might remember that one of the service packs removed the Select All feature). I was completely silent. When my supervisor came in, ummm I thought this was my last day as a DBA.
    We were able to get the necessary hotfix and everything was fine, but for about 24 hours, I thought I might be looking for another career.

  6. chrisshaw says:


    I think that counts. Is there anyone you would like to tag with this? If so leave them a note.

  7. […] I was tagged by SQL Ninja Brent Ozar after he was tagged by Chris Shaw for this brief SQL DBA Quiz. His quiz requests that I name two mistakes I’ve made in my […]

  8. […] Paul, Ted, Kathi you have been tagged. Please fess up to what mistakes you have […]

  9. […] Brent Ozar has tagged me to share two mistakes I’ve made as a DBA throughout my career. (Apparently this was started by Chris Shaw.) […]

  10. […] Massie called me out for a new SQL Quiz that was the diabolical idea of Chris Shaw.The gist is to post two mistakes you've made in your database career. I'm […]

  11. […] knows that, because he has made them. And he knows that you have too. Chris has started a game of blog tag, which he gets going by confessing two of his mistakes, before tagging Brent Ozar and Jason Massie. Unless I’m mistaken, this could be the longest […]

  12. […] Shaw has started a SQL Quiz tag post. This is a good place to learn some good pointers. Here are replies from Jason Massie and Brent […]

  13. […] Jason Massie called me out to answer the SQL Quiz begun by Chris Shaw.  The goal is to share a mistake you’ve made and what you’ve learned from it; […]

  14. […] the DBA Quiz – database administrators blog about their mistakes. Chris Shaw started this, Brent Ozar called me out to admit my mistakes. Other notables involved include Jason […]

  15. […] to me. Now I’m to provide two mistakes… Only two? This is another idea originating with Chris Shaw who apparently spends all day providing a duel service. He torments fellow DBA’s and […]

  16. […] was tagged by Grant to participate in a little quiz that Chris Shaw thought up. Describe two mistakes that I made involving […]

  17. […] Chris Shaw called me on a SQL Quiz. I like it. It is so much less painful to learn from someone else’s […]

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