The Multifunctioning DBA

April 5, 2010  8:06 PM

24 Hours of Sybase

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

So last week was our big go live of Sybase 15 in a production environment. Wow it did not go as smooth as I had hoped. 24 hours of College Basketball, 24 Hours of PASS, and perhaps 24 hours of some other things are pretty cool and fun, but 24 hours of Sybase was not. Now do not get me wrong, we had some fun moments but when an upgrade turns into a 24 hour marathon it is not usually about having a good time.

We did get the Production system up and runnin without too many hitches and I think we were about on schedule for that. We also needed to get the Reporting Server up and online and loaded from production and that did not go so well. I thought that we would be done and good by 10:00 AM on Tuesday after starting at about 8:00 PM in Monday. Well that did not work out. We were in the office working on it for a full 24 hours before going home. After I got home I was called a few times through the night and then back in the office at 8:00 AM Wednesday and putting out fires.

This all sounds bad, like we did not have a good plan or like we did not do our due dilligence and test. Well here is the thing, we had, for the most part, a good plan. We, the DBA team, had done our testing and validated that all of our stuff would work and worked through any issues that the application teams brough to our attention. The problem really lies in the application groups doing testing on all batch jobs and thuroughly testing the application. This was a huge upgrade and it inclded new client side drivers for the Sybase ODBC connections that are used all over the place. Well the application teams just did not do all the testing that they needed to.

So I guess, what I have learned from this is to babysit the application teams a bit more and make sure that the testing that needs to get done does get done. Make sure that they know what the runtimes of jobs were and what they are going to be. Do any code modification that you need to, since 15 is essentially a new optimizer, before the go live.

This is just me ranting about such a bad week last week that I feel could have been better if others had been a bit more proactive. That is OK though as I think that it made me a better DBA for having to work all these issues and it helped me understand them more as well. I think, if we ever do this again, that we will be better able to communicate and have a better upgrade.

March 30, 2010  3:02 AM

Sybase 15 Upgrade Issues before the upgrade

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

I have been working on a upgrade for one of our production systems from Sybase 12.5 to Sybase 15 for some time now. I, and my team, have done all the work from a DBA perspective to make sure that we are good to go for the upgrade. We have a system ready for testing and have provided connectivity and new drivers to all groups that connect. This was all done months ago and we have been loading data as requested from Production so groups can continue to test.

After months of this it finally came down that we were ready to go, all except one group that is. This group had just as much opportunity to test as all other groups and chose to wait until the last minute, and also never showed up to any of the meetings to give us updates. They waited until about 4 hours before a go no go decision had to be made and decided to start testing. I had to make myself available to them all day to work out any issues that they may have. Now I do not really have an issue with that. I do not mind being available to help work through issues as they pop up. With any big upgrade we are going to have issues. What I do have issue with is that they did not show up to any meetings, and they waited until zero hour to care about this.

This group has a history of behaving this way so it really should not shock me. The other thing that really did shock me was that 9 out of 10 issues, not real numbers but close, were issues with their code. Not really my job, I am not a developer I am a production DBA. Again, I do not mind helping but they make it difficult to work with them. As soon as a job breaks, they do not look into the code and try to troubleshoot, they just push it to me and say it is my fault. At one point I got a call from my bosses boss asking me about an issue that they had sent an email out about. I had not seen an email so I called the developer and he was still working on the email. No way I could have known about the issue but I was thrown under the bus anyhow. Very frustrating. Any way we have worked through all the issues and we are a go. It is going to be a long night Monday but at least we will knock this thing out.

March 30, 2010  2:50 AM

The SQL Server Community

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

As you know, I am pretty new to being a DBA and new to the community of SQL Server. I come from a background of being a Windows Administrator and I can say, that I never really found a lot of support from a community. I really never found a community to ask for support. I can honestly say that is not the case with SQL Server. The community is pretty big, and very tight and solid.

I know that I was a bit afraid of trying to get my foot in the door with the communtiy, and I think that a lot of people are like me in that respect. The thing with this communtiy is that you do not have to be. No question is dumb or below anybody to answer. We have all probably had that question or one similiar.

If you want to get involved then become a member of PASS and also get on Twitter if you are not already. I have never been a big fan of social networking like Twitter but it is an invaluable tool for beinbg involved in the SQL Server community. When I signed up I only followed a few people, only people like MR. Denny (Blog | Twitter) and Brent Ozar( Blog| Twitter), because I read the blogs all the time. That is where I started and I also read Brent Ozars blog post about Twitter. He talks about following groups, and I recommend that, as well as the #sqlhelp hashtag which works really well.

Also do not be afraid to tweet. Get involved and let people know that you want to be involved. Do that and you will see that we all are on the same team and are willing to help everyone out if we can.

I hope that this helps and I hope to see you out there.

March 23, 2010  8:06 PM


Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Yesterday I saw a lot of tweets about some plagiarism happening in the SQL Server Community. And even still today I see @sqltech2 defending his position on the matter. I am still pretty new to this community and I am also still pretty new to blogging. I understand that @sqltech2 would like to help people. That is also what I would like to do and I think that most people in the sqlserver community want to be able to help out as well. That is why the #sqlhelp hash tag is so great in Twitter.
I am not sure how @sqltech2 thinks that is a defense for stealing other peoples content. I know that I do not know everything and I learn a lot everyday from reading others blogs. Like MrDenny(Blog | Twitter) and Brent Ozar (Blog | Twitter), but I would NEVER just copy and paste that content to my own blog. I may quote something but I would give them the credit and link to the blog. I would also ask the owner of the content if that is OK. Most of the time I think that you will find that it is. As long as you do not take the credit. Is that really to much to ask? You can still get the information out there to a larger audience, and I think most bloggers will appreciate your help in getting there content to more readers.
I can not imagine that someone would read my blog and not many of the ones that I read, but it might happen, and if I can push some more readers to the writers that I like to read and admire, I think they will be happy that I did. Just do not STEAL!!! It is not a hard concept at all. Give credit where it is due and you should expect the same thing in return.
The SQL Server community is a great resource and I am not sure why anyone that is in this sql server game would want to be banished by the community for something as simple as not putting a link on your site and giving credit where you need to. Just like I will not take a candy bar from a store with out paying for it, I will never copy and paste without giveing credit. Just do not do it.


By the way, MrDenny and Brent Ozar (linked above) have some great blog posts about the latest instance of Plagiarism.

March 23, 2010  4:14 PM

Phoenix SQL Saturday Update

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

So it is going to happen. A couple venues are under consideration, sounds like we may have a few sponsers, and we are looking at mid to late July for the event. I can not wait. I just got off the phone with Quest Software and nothing is confirmed as of yet, but it sure sounds like they are going to be willing to sponser the event and provide some swag, perhaps some signed books, and maybe even an MVP. That would be great. They have some great talent and do some great free training as well. I am excited to have Quest getting on board with us for this event. I will let you know more as I know more. If you are in Phoenix keep an eye out for this event and sign up to be a member of PASS. Great stuff and we need the community to continue growing to make this event a success and I hope to have many more in the future.

Also want to say thanks to everyone that is involved in planning this event.. I do not know who you all are but thanks. I do know Samson Loo is heading this up and if you would like to be involved hit me or him up on twitter. I am @smithco32 and Samson is @sqlsamson.

March 22, 2010  4:44 PM

Sybase Upgrade

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

It has been a while since I spoke about the Sybase Upgrade from 12.5 to 15 that I am working on but it looks like we are very close to making it happen now. All of the application groups have completed testing and signed off on the upgrade. I have been working to make sure that all of the DBA Stuff will run smoothly as well as figure out a timeline for the upgrade.

One thing that we are going to do in order to save some time and be able to get the upgrade done in a reasonable amount of time is cheat a bit on the statistics. For the upgrade to work correctly and run smooth in the 15 environment, we will have to load all the databases from the 12.5, and then update all the statistics on every user table. That takes like 10 hours to run and we do not really have that much time on the go live date. We are going to cheat by doing a load this week, optdiag the statistics out and then when we do the load for go live we will optdiag the stats back in. This will give us 15 stats but they will be a few days old. That should not really matter and from the testing we have done it seems to work great. Then we will be able to run our re-indexing and update stats routines on our normal maintanance schedule and not have to take 10 hours during the upgrade to do so.

Right now I am working on our Re-Indexing scripts to make sure that all will go as planned on upgrade day and during our Re-Indexing windows.

March 12, 2010  5:28 PM

Phoenix SQL Saturday

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Like I said in my last post, I attended my first users group and it was announced that a SQL Saturday is in the early planning stages. I am excited about this and since I am so excited I contacted Samson Loo, who is the one that made the anouncement, to see if I could help and also if I could post his information here. He seemed happy that I reached out and that I am willing to help. Sounds like the more help they can get the better. So if you are in the Phoenix area and are willing to help out with anything please feel free to contact Mr. Loo. You can reach him on Twitter @sqlsamson, email, or give him a call @ 480-389-6930. Please pass this around and try to get the word out. I think this is the first SQL Saturday in the Valley and we need to do whatever we can to make it awesome so that we can do more. Hopefully we will be doing many more in the future and I would love to see some MVP’s come and do some presentations.

You can also get me on twitter @smithco32 and email

March 12, 2010  11:30 AM

First SQL Servers User Group Meeting

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Last night I attended my first SQL Servers Users Group here in Phoenix. I a so happy that we have one. It was a good meeting, I arrived and apperantly the speaker that was supposed to present was sick and could not make it. Luckily for us, the meetings are help at the MS offices here, and a MS employee was nice enough to volunteer and do a presentation on SQL Server 08 R2 Report Builder 3.0. Lots of great information. Not really anything that I use in my daily job but still good to know and wow, I had kow idea you could do so much. PowerPivot sounds pretty awsome and I think that users are going t love being able to pull data from multiple sources and create relationships and then pivot that data. I think MS really is trying to make the end user experiance better and kudos to them for that. I am not sure, if as a DBA, that is making my job easier, but I am not employed to do easy work.

March 12, 2010  10:00 AM

SQL Server Users Group

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Tonight I am going to be attending my first SQL Server Users Group here in Phoenix. Here is a link to the Groups site if you would like to join us for future meetings. I am really looking forward to it. Tonight, it looks like it will be more Development based but I am OK with that. Right now I do not know much about the developement side and I am eager to learn more about it. Perhaps it will help me to better help tune queries, or perhaps help me develope a tool that will help me as a production DBA. Either way it will be great to meet some others that do the same job that I do. Looking forward to it and I will let you know all about it when it is done.

March 11, 2010  10:30 AM

Free Training

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Last week I came into work 2 hours early so I could be a part of a free all day training event. I am very glad that I did , but do not worry if you did not see it live. Since it was all web based you can get all the good content at your own pace. Check it out at quest softwares site. Brent Ozar and Kevin Kline did an awsome job presenting. It can not be an easy task to present material for Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced DBA’s all in one day. I watched every session and some was old news to me and some way over my head. It was great though. I learned a ton and can’t thank them enough for doing it. This type of thing, in my mind, makes the SQL Community stand out. When I was a Windows Admin I never found the community to be this great. Thanks again and I really look forward to another great event.

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