When I get stumped I ….


October 2, 2012 by Kenneth Fisher

I work with a reasonably large team of DBAs.  There are 9 of us and we support not only 70+ SQL Server instances but DB2, IMS and Sybase.  We have SMEs for each DBMS and we cross train as much as possible, but even so there are some large gaps.  As it happens I’m one of the SMEs for SQL Server but I’m a novice at DB2, and I can barely spell IMS and Sybase.  So what happens when we have a problem and one of the SMEs isn’t available? 

One of my co-workers and I were discussing this yesterday and came up with the idea of creating a document called “When I get stumped I ….”.  In this document each of us will put the general process they use when they get stumped.  In the case of junior DBAs (for whichever DBMS) this tends to be “Call the SME”, but for the SMEs for the DBMS that doesn’t usually work.  Here is an example of what I might put for SQL Server:

  1. Always check help first.  I keep a help file for each version of SQL Server that we maintain.
  2. Google search (I prefer Google to Bing, Yahoo or Ask for technical searches but that’s mostly just a personal preference.)  I’ve found I get the best results with the following search format: “SQL Server SSIS, SSRS, performance, waits, DMVs, etc>
  3. Internal Resources: Names of people who are experts at various parts of SQL Server.  May not be DBAs.  They could be developers,  managers or someone else.
  4. Forums I like:  www.SQLServerCentral.com/Forums for example.

It’s too soon to tell but I have high hopes that this document will be very useful over the long haul.  Certainly next time I have a DB2 or *shudder* an IMS problem I’m going to give it a shot.

2 thoughts on “When I get stumped I ….

  1. I would add the #sqlhelp hastag on Twitter to your item on forums – quite often it can be much quicker than the forums if you have a question you can ask in 140 characters or less (or maybe 280 characters for a two-part question {-:)

    Good ideas otherwise!

    • Excellent addition. Although in the case of my group we are mostly old fogies who aren’t on twitter. I know I’m not :). However the idea was for everyone in the team to put their own ideas. That way everyone benefits from what everyone else does. I’ll make a point of adding this to our list!

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