SQL Quiz: Toughest challenges


Chris Shaw posted a new SQL Quiz where he asks: “What are the largest challenges that you have faced in your career and how did you overcome those?”

1: Managing a SAN

I was just sitting there, minding my own business, happily administering databases, when my manager said that our SAN administrator was resigning.

I truly can’t explain what happened next, but there is no disputing that it did indeed happened: Ben Block (one of my coworkers and a best friend) and I both said out loud, “I’d like to do that.  I’ll take on those responsibilities.”

My thinking was that I’d learn a lot about database administration, how storage works inside the black box, and that I’d have plenty of new toys to use for benchmarking.  Those things were indeed true, but there were two things I didn’t foresee:

  • SAN support people lie when they don’t know the right answer, and
  • SAN support people rarely know the right answer.*

* Veronica Lemmon at LSI, these rules do not apply to you.

Thankfully, Ben and I were good friends before this started, because the next year was one of those awful bonding events.  It was like combat: when the smoke dies down, the men left standing are buddies for life.  They share bonds that mere mortals will never be able to understand.

If I didn’t have a blog, I don’t think I would have had the firmware issue fixed.  I blogged about the IBM DS4800 firmware problem, and another SAN admin left a comment saying he’d had the same issues.  Together, we talked them into giving us a working version of the firmware.

2. Learning When to Say When

I like making my customers happy – whether they’re internal customers, like my coworkers or managers, or external customers.  Heck, I can trace challenge #1 back to that, because I wanted to know more about SQL Server and be a hero in the shop.

I still struggle with that one.  I can nail pretty much any technology problem somebody throws at me, given enough time, but the problem is saying, “I’m not touching that technology problem.”  I go from one extreme to the other – taking on every project, or taking on no projects to catch up – and I’m working on finding the right medium.

Who I’m Tagging

Let’s see, I’ll tag different people than I tagged last time.  I’ll tag:

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • I just saw my post yesterday didn’t go through, I’m going to try this again…. (lol)

    Nice post! I think #2 is probably all too familiar for many people, especially those reading your blog. I’m finding that the people who take the time to actually participate in the SQL Server community probably fall into the “overachiever” group. So if you ever find that happy medium, please share!

    Oh, and thanks for tagging me! (I think?) 🙂


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