SQL Dumbass

Fighting dumbasses, one query at a time…

DBAs Are From Mars, Developers Are From Uranus

Dear SQLDumbass: We have a vendor that insists we allow their shrink database job to run nightly. They are claiming that it is “standard” to have this type of job run frequently as part of any “sound maintenance plan”. How can I politely tell them that they are wrong? – Wang Chung

Dear Mark: Politeness won’t work, they are clearly too stupid to understand any better. Oh sure, you could point them to the plethora of blog posts from Paul Randal on the subject but they are more than likely going to say “Who the hell is Paul Randal and why should I care what he says?” And it is at that point you should politely excuse yourself from the meeting and go into the parking lot to rub dog poo on their car door handles because that is what Paul would do.

Dear SQLDumbass: There is a developer here that insists we upgrade to SQL 2008 R2 immediately so that they can use PowerPivot because they saw a great demo on PowerPivot over the weekend. I thought that PowerPivot was just an add-in to Excel, and you didn’t need R2? – Kraken

Dear Jules: You are correct, PowerPivot is an add-in for Excel 2010. You do not need to upgrade to SQL 2008 R2, you only need to get your hands on Excel 2010 and then load the PowerPivot add-in. You could point them to this link so they could see it for themselves but chances are they can’t read anyway otherwise they wouldn’t be bothering you with such inane requests and they could have looked it up for themselves. Being a developer, of course, we know they need to have thing spoon fed to them otherwise they go off on a tangent and before you know it they come back with a prototype for some widget that no one needs or asked for.

At the end of the day it just comes down to communication, and I often like to remind people that DBAs are from Mars and developers are from Uranus and that’s why we have so much trouble communicating with one another.

Dear SQLDumbass: We have a manager here that claims to know everything about databases. In a meeting yesterday she insisted that we should be reviewing all the queries that hit all 5,000 databases all day long and making certain they are “doing what they should be doing, returning the right data, in the right amount of time”. What the hell does she mean by that? I am fairly new and didn’t want to ask any questions, but her request seemed rather odd. How am I supposed to know if a query is returning the right data? I mean, I could figure out if it is taking too long, but how am I to verify a result set? – Billy

Dear Jason: Billy, this is simple: she’s an idiot. Next time she asks about this just say “yes, we take a random sample of the queries each night and verify the results are as expected by sending the imaging the query through the capacitor inside of the query engine but before the optimizer has a chance to distribute the query across a bad plan.” She’ll have no idea what you meant but won’t want to look like an idiot in front of everyone so she’ll just agree with you and smile.