October 8, 2019 by Kenneth Fisher
20 years ago
Third party tools are great and all but I don’t like using them. They take time to learn and I’m never sure if I’ll have them available at my next job. I’d rather take the time to learn how to do it using the native tools I know I’ll have wherever I go.
I’ll be honest, 20 years younger me wasn’t completely wrong. I still feel strongly that I need to know the native tools (SSMS, DMVs etc). I think it gives me a leg up on understanding what’s going on and there aren’t always 3rd party tools available. That said, I’ve realized/learned/reevaluated/had beaten into me, that 3rd party tools are capable of doing things I just can’t. Not because I can’t learn how, not because I don’t understand a lot of what they are doing, but because I don’t have the time or resources to build what they have. From interfaces, to storing information, to processing information, etc.
I won’t always have a specific tool available, although I might, but the more tools I learn, the more options I have. If I know 2 or 3 of the major tools then I have more options, it’s more likely one will be available. And if it’s not? More things to learn!
Another benefit of 3rd party tools? If you work in a team it becomes far easier to share information. “Go take a look at Computer XYZ at 4pm yesterday in Sentry1. See that blip? What do you think?” You can even build processes and documentation for your team around these tools to make life (and particularly on-call) easier.
Changing your mind isn’t a bad thing. We are never who we were 5 years ago, 6 months ago, or even yesterday. Keep an open mind, be willing to change, and always be learning!