A Day in the Life of a DBA #TSQL2sDay

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Career, SQLServerPedia Syndication, T-SQL Tuesday

I am getting such a kick out of the question this month, I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked what I do each day, or how did I get started with SQL Server and databases. For someone considering this career field I spend a lot of time recommending training, or conferences. All my recommendations have been directed to learning the SQL Server skills, but there is so much more to become successful. So when I saw this question, I thought wow, this is going to be telling but I never guessed my day would turn out like it did. At the end of the day, I did however sit back and start to review what I had done and I compared it to my normal day, boy was surprised at how common this day was, minus a few notable events. So have fun with the answer, I hope you enjoy.

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday post is about you and your job. Specifically, on Wednesday July 11th or Thursday July 12th, track what you do for an entire day and then write about it. Hopefully one of those days is a “typical” day and not a vacation day (if it is, then just pick another day or do your best), but ideally, everyone writes about what they did on one specific day. The host of this month’s question is Erin Stellato (B|T) . Be sure to check out Erin’s blog for not only good SQL Stuff, but look at the comments to the question. How does your day compare, is it that different?

5:00 AM – Time to start the 2 hour drive to the Littleton office. (I do this for a couple days a week, and then work from home or out of the Xtivia Colorado Springs office for the rest of the week.)

5:10 AM – Go back because I forgot something.

5:45 AM – Ok I need food.

7:17 AM – Whew made it to the office, time to get started. I hit my daily checklist that is in my inbox, I want to make sure none of the servers are feeling sick, and I have the process automated. I updated my project list, made updates and found some coffee.

8:05 AM – The afternoon before a developer had sent me an email asking me to review a couple tables, and a stored procedure to ensure that everything was running as well as it should. I had worked on it 2 hours the night before I had documented the average run time of the stored procedure at less than 1 second and also saw there was about 22 logical reads per execution. Not a prime candidate for the cause of a performance issue, but I moved ahead because this may get slower over the course of time, the developer had a reason to ask me to do it, so off to it. I did notice there was a cluster index scan, so there is something I can do for sure.

9:00 AM – The poor soul in the cube next to me walked in and asked me if I live in a forest (we often discussions start like this), she proceeded to show me a number of bug bites on her neck and seeing that I live in the mountains, I guess that makes me the official office expert on Bug Bites. So I did what all of us Entomology experts of my level do. I goggled it. I was able to have a little fun and convince her that it was a bed bug, and that she might want to seek assistance from the medical field. But eventually I realized I should let her off the hook, and I was back to performance tuning about 10 minutes later.


10:30 AM – I had a foreign key that I had found I needed to add, and in addition a covering index to make the hash a lot less intrusive, with my code in hand that I was so proud of I wandered over to the developer to share the good news. It was then I learned that the chances are this table will never grow by all that much, so the 4 hours to this point I had spent on tuning this has saved about 20 logical reads an execution, at 500 executions at most a day times the 2 tenths of a second that I trimmed off the execution time, for a total of 10 seconds a day on saved performance. I revisited my action plan and determined that they next time I did a performance tuning task, I need to spend a little more time understanding the total impact of the stored procedure to determine of the if the tuning time involved, would make a bigger impact. There are some true side benefits that came out of this, but impact on the system will not be noticed.

10:40 AM – A client sent an email asking if he was being changed for some data that I had sent the night before. After talking to a couple people I was able to determine that a different consultant that the client had hired, was looking at trying to add some work to the contract they were on. The client was not aware that the discovery the other consultant was doing would include engaging some of my time.

10:50 AM – Back to work, looking at results of a Database Mirroring failover test, to see what items I need to make sure get corrected and what items we were expecting. The test had a couple issues that we had anticipated, end result was future tasks and projects are going to resolve these issues. I could not have been much happier with the results we saw, and I am overjoyed at how fast we were able to move all of our databases over 21 miles with only 2 20-second outages (Moved the data, and then moved it back).

12:30 PM – Had lunch planned, I had a few discussion points around the client I mentioned before. It sounds like the information is going to be passed along to the other consultant, and corrections will be made.

1:45 PM – In the afternoon I had the opportunity to sit with some of the key players in relation to the DR failover, there were a couple issues we wanted to address, but the primary was keeping our reporting services install online when we do a mirroring or AlwaysOn failover. The reporting services configuration that is being used has one SSRS web server, there is a second one that the report deployment is kept in sync in the other datacenter. However, the 2 are not load balanced, and the data sources for the reports do not use the failover server in the connection string.

4:00 PM – Time to head home, for the first couple miles I ran into a couple traffic spots that slowed me down, but this is where the day gets a little odd, and out of norm for me. During the second traffic slowdown a Toyota had been weaving in and out of traffic because of the slowdown. Inside the car were 2 people but because of the sun I was not sure, either way they were dancing around in the car just having a good time. For the next 20 miles, I was amused by the activity. Around 4:30 or so, we reached the stoplight were I jump onto another freeway and the Toyota pulled up next to me. As I looked around the lady in the front seat waved at me to roll down the window. I was sure something was wrong with my truck and they were going to warn me. My eyes darted over to make sure the lap top bag and the iPhone was where it should be, because well I am the guy who likes to drive away with stuff on top of my car. They were pretty adamant about talking with me, but once I had the window rolled down, the only thing they had mentioned was they like my Truck. Man I love living outside of town…

5:45 PM – I talked to the wife a bit earlier and she had asked if I would pick up some Pizza for dinner. So when I stopped to pick up the order I had called in from the road, I was caught off guard when someone came up and asked me if I wanted to sign up to win cash, grass or gas. I guess some local radio station was promoting something over the summer and this was the contest, I usually don’t have much luck with this stuff, but the drawing was in 5 minutes, and you had to be present to win. I looked around and well I had a 33% chance of winning. They called my name, I ran up and gave the wheel a spin. Eventually when the wheel came to a halt, I learned I won some grass. What the heck is grass, they cannot be giving away what I think they are, are they? Thank goodness no, it appears that grass is grass seats for a local concert where BB King will be jamming.

6:30 PM – I got home, had some pizza pie, and then sat down to finish up some emails and work. I look back on my day, start this blog and at first I thought I had a crazy day. But the more I think about it, was it crazy? Na, this is just a day in the life of a DBA.

  1. […] Chris Shaw – Chris is a DBA in Colorado, and that guy leaves his house at 5 AM a couple days a week to go into his office (other days he works from home).  He leaves at 5 AM because he drives two hours.  I’ve seen Chris tweet a few times about driving, I had no idea it was such a commute.  Chris had two stories I related to – one was about how much time he spent trying to tune a stored procedure and the other was when he got involved in a client project, and the client was asking about billing.  One technical issue, one business issue; both reminders to get the whole story. […]

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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