Here are a few takes on the most recent T-SQL Tuesday.
The 2-year release cycle has been tough for some of us. Other outside forces have compounded the burden. DBAs have had to learn about virtualization and cloud computing. We’ve had to dip our toes in the No-SQL pool, and embrace automation like never before. Soon, if not already, we’ll be working with containers and supporting SQL Server on Linux. Yeah, it’s trite to talk about how “change is a constant”. (Is there anyone unaware of this?) But most seem to agree that the traditional role of the DBA is undergoing a drastic transformation. Others predict it will be completely unrecognizable, if not extinct, in a few years. What’s a DBA to do? Double down on SQL Server and stay the course? Or branch out to a different field like analytics, BI, or data science?
This makes sense. In business, you don’t want to be viewed as a cost center. You want to be on the revenue side of the equation. Whether IT is a competitive advantage or just plumbing depends on how it’s being used. If you’re just keeping the lights on, then you may be as critically important as the electricity itself, but you’re a commodity which can be replaced with a cheaper option. On the other hand, if you are providing insight which directs the company to profits, or if you are developing features which grow market share, your value is obvious.
So if you’re on the administration side of IT, you’re naturally more vulnerable in the eyes of the company. You make things possible, but you don’t actually do the things. You have to bring something unique to the table so that you can’t be as easily replaced with a service.
Unfortunately as powerful as these machines became they were expensive, aged out quickly, required knowledgeable people to maintain and sometimes our tasks required more computing power than we had on hand. So some smart people got together and created something new. The Cloud. Someone else maintaining the computers, replacing parts as needed, updating software etc. And then renting out storage and computing power. (If at this point you guessed that I’m saying there are some fairly obvious parallels between the old mainframes and the cloud, well, you are correct.)
I quietly ignored it and went about my life and job, putting off the problem until later.Time passed and Microsoft released a “public preview”/CTP of what they began calling “SQL Server vNext” for Linux, and it became more real. Then they released another, and another – as of this writing the current CTP is version 1.4 (download it here).I recently realized I hadn’t progressed past my original query:WHAT DO I DO KNOW?
I work for a fairly slow moving financial institution. This does not me we don’t adopt new technology but the leadership is very careful when deciding to move in a certain direction. Since we service rural America farmers, these decisions could have a huge impact on the ability of our customers to operate. The cloud, at least from a database perspective, is not something that I think is even on the radar. I believe that we will get there eventually, but not in the next year or two I would imagine.
Of course, this also means that I don’t get the shiny new cloud toys to play with either. I have had the ability to work with the cloud some years ago on a side project, but that was very limited. It was also at a time where Azure was fairly young and not as robust as it is today. Learning new skills around the Cloud is on my to-do list and one of these days I’ll get to it. I think with the help of MSDN, it’s a lot easier to play around with new technologies.
There are a lot of good posts on this topic this month.