DBA Survivor


Author(s): Thomas LaRock.
ISBN: 1430227877
Published: Mar 2010
Relevance: 5/5
Readability: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

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This wonderful book provides you an excellent material based in the huge valuable experience offered by the author and his Technical Reviewers and even by the Lead Editor about how to work in the DBA world.

This book offers solid basis to give you an idea about how to start from your first days if you get the job of a DBA, even if not, you will learn important ideas, point of views that definitively you can apply in your work

Here are the table of contents for this book:

  • Chapter 01: How Did I Get Here?
  • Chapter 02: Now What Do I Do?
  • Chapter 03: Some Basics
  • Chapter 04: A Development Server Is a Production Server to a Developer
  • Chapter 05: Production Support
  • Chapter 06: Basic Troubleshooting
  • Chapter 07: Where’s the Buffet?
  • Chapter 08: Training, Get You Some of That
  • Chapter 09: Connect. Learn. Share
  • Chapter 10: Summary

Be aware the material for this book is based in experience, consider like a history based with suggestions and tips, therefore do a deeper explanation for each chapter is not possible, however I going to give you a medium idea.

Chapter 01: How Did I Get Here?

Here the author shared his experience about how started all, career, preparation and something important in the life unique for each one of us, opportunity. Other experiences from other people too is shared. Then he give us some tips to be considered for us Preparation, Training, Certification. Practically the message is start to get experience as you can.

Chapter 02: Now What Do I Do?

The author does an excellent covered for this chapter, sharing an important section called Your Initial Checklist, it of course for your first days like DBA, covering with an expansion for its eight suggested elements, well covered in six pages, I like the explanation for this section; you definitively must take consideration this. The follow section is You Have Your Info, Now What? based in four suggested meetings with, Manager, Developers, Server Administrators, Customers. Very important because you learn what they expect from you and you what should expect from them.

The author now changes to cover something very important that you must expect in your work, is about Alerts, the author recommend us practically no ignore none, and furthermore how handle an alert, the author gives a list with its respective explanation to whom you should get information about the possible source of the alert, which are Developers, Server Administrators and Customers.

Now the author changes to something important, meeting or interaction with your colleague of work, suggestions that should be take it in consideration.

Chapter 03: Some Basics

Starting with an excellent material about RAID, be aware that is not technically based, but gives you solid basis, here the author cover about the importance of RAID itself and covering its types RAID 0, 1, 5 and 0+1, valuable information for each type, including images for a better complement, suggestions about which type you would choice is available too, it is based about your needs, SAN (Storage Area Network) is covered too.

Something very important is about High Availability, covering Clustering, Log Shipping, Replication and Database Mirroring, all these topics are well covered with solid theory and some images, other crucial section is Disaster Recovery Planning covering DR Testing and Carnegie Hall, I like the list available of questions and its respective answers about some reasons that could happen to cause that the server stop.

A section that you must take in consideration is DBA Stands For covered with the follow subsections:

  • People Will Resist Change
  • Having Standards and Processes Is Not a Bad Thing
  • People Will Blame What They Do Not Understand

Valuable and interesting material.

The last section must be consider too Blame vs. Credit, where within such section is very interesting the perspective available for the two follow categories that you would fit when you resolve problems Be Right vs Being Liked.

Chapter 04: A Development Server Is a Production Server to a Developer

Starting with the section Why Developers Are So Needy which cover the follow subsections Under Pressure, Business Needs, SQL Knowledge, I like the follow suggestion available:

No matter what the pressure, or the little amount of sleep, it is never appropriate to treat a colleague unprofessionally. Yelling, making bombastic demands, and verbal abuse is never acceptable.

And an interesting experience called 12 Angry Developers, Or More shared by Jonathan Gennick, about SQL Knowledge sub section, interesting the list suggested of components where SQL exists that you should consider.

The follow section is about Service-Level Agreements including an interesting point of view for the sub sections Being a Good Customer where includes a suggestion that should be noticed … ask yourself if you have been a good customer first before making your complaints known. and Communication Is Key where the author offer us two interesting scenarios or situations
for our consideration.

An interesting an crucial section is Managing Expectations really well covered its sub sections, I like particularly No One Cares About Effort, and Communicate Your Actions.

To end this chapter we have Time Management and Chris Hansen and Code Reviews sections, the first well covered about its subsections. The second has an interesting dialog scenario.

Chapter 05: Production Support

Important material to be considered definitively.

Starting with a long and important note shared by Jonathan Gennick called On Staying Calm followed with the section Service-Level Agreements, covering three important subsections that you should consider. Same consideration for the follow section Establish Support Process.

The follow section is ones of my favorites throughout the book Work/Life Balance, many of us forget this. covering the follow sub sections Communication, Protect Your Private Time, Happy Fun Play Time.

We turn to the section Outsourcing covering important and crucial sub sections like Quality of Work, Language Barriers, Security, Job Security, All Good Things.

Chapter 06: Basic Troubleshooting

The chapter start with two sections very related between them, the first CSI: SQL covering with concrete and inportant theory the sub sections Incidents, Interrogations, Surveillance, the second is Common Bottlenecks covering the sub sections Disk, Memory, CPU.

Therefore with the two previous sections now we can read the section Available Tools, covering through many pages, fourteen pages!!, with well theory and some images the follow options:

  • Reliability and Performance Monitor
  • Activity Monitor
  • Dynamic Management Views (DMVs)
  • Wait Stats
  • SQL Profiler
  • Web Sites

Be aware that is not based in deeper Technical material, is for give you an important overview plus little important details.

Chapter 07: Where’s the Buffet?

This is too an important chapter, not related with DBA it all, but valuable for a better quality of life/work interaction for us, you must read this chapter, hey you!, you have only one life and is yours!, health is crucial!.

Below I only share the sections and sub sections covered.

  • Food Can Be a Drug
    • Emotional Eating
    • Unconscious Eating
    • Overcoming Bad Habits
  • Social Gatherings
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Happy Hours
    • Traveling
  • Exercise
    • Extra Steps
    • The Need for Regular Exercise
    • Sleep
    • Calories
  • Life Is Good, but It’s Better with Bacon

Again, don’t play with your health

Chapter 08: Training, Get You Some of That

Interesting chapter, you must read it, covered with pure concrete theory and some suggestions included, among many sections and sub sections you have available, you should consider:

  • Professional Development
  • Changing Roles
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Employee Motivation
  • Improved Morale
  • Self-Training
  • Volunteering
  • In-Service Training
  • Professional Associations
  • Continuing Education
  • Classroom Training
  • Certifications
  • Calculate the Associated Costs/Expenses
  • Determine the Benefits of Training

Chapter 09: Connect. Learn. Share

Other interesting chapter, covered with pure concrete theory and some suggestions included, among many sections and sub sections you have available, you should consider:

  • Start Reading, Attending, Writing, Speaking
  • Writing and Speaking Opportunities
  • Networking
  • Building Your Network
  • Feeling Comfortable
  • How to Approach Others
  • Choosing the Right Room

Chapter 10: Summary

The shortest chapter, based in only three pages, covering the follow for your consideration Getting There, Being There, Staying There.

Well, that’s all, You have 161 golden pages available to improve
your knowledge based in the experience from thrid-persons.


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