Stuff I Still Haven’t Learned

The More Things Change

There’s often a lot of shouting about this brand new thing that you simply must learn, lest ye perish in the unholy flames of obsoletion.

Having worked with SQL Server for a while now, I’ve heard it about a great many things.

I’m going to be honest: Those great many things have never called to me.

There’s no need to list them all out. It’d take me longer than I’d like, anyway.

But I’ll tell you something funny: I’ve never opened SSIS, SSAS, or SSRS.

Don’t even know how to. I’m quite happy other people have found their passion with them.

It’s just not me.

Catching Flies

The very specific thing that calls to me is performance tuning, by way of understanding the query optimizer.

That’s quite enough to keep me busy. There’s a ton to learn, and the deeper you get, the more you find.

I’m not going to tell you to learn it, or that if you don’t learn it you’ll be playing bucket drums in a train station.

Either it calls to you, or it doesn’t.

If a new thing arrives that changes that space, you can be damn sure I’ll be all over it.

Even if it’s a dud, I have to know why it’s a dud.

I’m looking right at you, Hekaton.

Threat Of A Good Time

I know, I know. Performance tuning will someday be a thing of the past.

The database will be quantumly self-tuning, self-healing, and whatever other things a database does by itself alone in the dark.

(I’ll give you a hint: it’s not index maintenance.)

I’m comfortable with that eventuality, even if I don’t think the people making those claims are totally in touch with reality about the timeline.

It will likely depend on the lengths to which software will be allowed to make fundamental changes to a database.

I’d be happy if the optimizer would explore UNION/UNION ALL optimizations for OR predicates more often, but hey.

We Out Here

In about five years of consulting — I don’t have an exact count — I’ve looked at probably a thousand servers.

I’m totally willing to concede that I didn’t talk to the right people to make a big judgement call here, but I don’t see a lot of people out there using the things that I’ve been told I must learn.

Granted, I see a lot of people with performance problems, because that’s what I’ve chosen to specialize in.

I might not be seeing people with the problems that other things solve: I fully acknowledge my own myopia here.

With the exception of Availability Groups (I maybe see them in the 5% range), all those Next Big Things™ don’t seem to pop up at all.

They haven’t changed what I do, or more importantly what I love to do one iota.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Stuff I Still Haven’t Learned”

  1. This gives me some bit of comfort that I don’t have to kill myself learning every new thing that comes out for SQL Server. Especially now that releases are happening every 2 years or so, it’s just too overwhelming to even think about keeping up.

    1. Hi Lee,

      Yes, it’s especially tough when business needs don’t change either.

      But really, if any of the new things really grab you and make you want to learn, you should.


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