Be warned: The way I’m feeling right now I might actually give you sysadmin when you ask for it.


April 20, 2020 by Kenneth Fisher

You want sysadmin permissions in production? And your manager has approved it so I shouldn’t have any problems giving it to you? Absolutely! it’s all yours.


You accidentally dropped a production database because you thought you were in dev? Yes, I can help you get that back. Yes, I understand you need it back immediately and completely up to date. I’m quite aware of how much money we are losing every minute it takes. I’m not sure why we are having a problem though .. don’t we have an availability group set up for this? I’m sure it just failed over.

Oh, you turned that off last week because you read it would cause performance problems? No problem, we will start a restore right away. Unfortunately this database is quite large so it’s going to be a bit.

Slight hitch though. It says you took a backup the day before yesterday and you forgot to use copy_only. You don’t know what that is? No problem, I’ll show you once we get this fixed. Now, where is that backup you took.

You deleted it because you didn’t need it anymore? Ok, well it will take a bit longer but we can just restore from the previous full backup, and the last differential before your backup. Then we can just use log backups to get to current.

You disabled the log backups because you felt they were unnecessary? And then you put the database in simple recovery mode because the log kept getting full? Hmm .. well .. we will just have to restore back to the differential before your backup. Yes, I’m quite aware that loses us three days worth of irreplaceable data.

So, while this is running. I’m curious how Bob ended up in the sysadmin role. Isn’t he a contractor? Oh, he’s a friend of yours and said he really needed access to some data in this other database so you just gave him sysadmin because it’s easier? Yes. Bob is a nice guy. Very friendly. Didn’t he just leave to go work for one of our competitors?

One sec, I have to go for a bit. The CIO just showed up at my desk wanting me to explain why the application is down.

5 thoughts on “Be warned: The way I’m feeling right now I might actually give you sysadmin when you ask for it.

  1. Sean Redmond says:

    Are there no policies in place for the handling of power? Senior hospital administrators are not allowed into theatres during an operation.
    So, how come his manager is able to authorise such a thing in the first place?
    And I hope that the CIO is on his way to the aforementioned manager’s desk, since it is his responsibility.

    • Oh I’ve certainly seen companies where this is more than possible. I’ve even seen places where that manager will complain up the chain until senior leadership will require that developers have sysadmin because “they need it to do their job”. That said, yes, it’s a terrible idea, which was kind of the point :).

  2. Michael Tormos says:

    I feel personally attacked by this post. 🙂 Great stuff, and sadly, I can say that I have been guilty in the past of granting a sys admin role because it was easier than me taking the time to assign the exact rights the person needed.

    • You won’t be the first or the last :). I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to just give someone the permissions they are asking for rather than fight it. And it’s not like there aren’t a ton of vendors out there who require sysadmin or db_owner “because their application requires it”.

  3. […] done more than a few rants in my time blogging. One more should be a piece of cake. Interestingly the day I read […]

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