On occasion, an IT personnel (non-DBA) is tasked with providing SQL support. Either with installation, upgrading, backups, restores, moving databases or other tasks that normally would not fall under their “job description”. Trust me I have been there. We call these “Accidental DBA’s” and sometimes a strange thing happens, the person actually ENJOYS working with MS SQL. At least that is what happened to me, I was a .NET developer in a corporation with no DBA and over 20 instances of MS SQL in our network. As the developer, I did create databases, tables, views, etc.; but I didn’t lean SQL management until much later.
So if you are one of those accidental DBAs, where do you find more information on how to do DBA work. I have always found www.sqlservercentral.com, www.mssqltips.com, and MS MSDN invaluable resources to find answers to questions. I following some “gurus” of the industry on twitter and their blogs are never boring and always informative. Some of my personal favorites, to just name a few:
- Brad McGehee
- Steve Jones
- Brent Ozar, PLF (which in reality you get 4, Brent Ozar, Jeremiah Peschka, Kendra Little, Jes Schultz Borland)
- Penal Dave
- Thomas LaRock
Every non-DBA needs to know the simple and basic steps to manage MS SQL. Although I am a fan of GUI interfaces, I will attempt to provide both T-SQL and GUI images to help along. Yes, I know the evil GUI, most professionals will tell you that knowing and using T-SQL is the only proper way to manage a SQL instance. However, for those of us that are used to a “point-and-click” environments sometimes learning the point-and-click methods is the quickest and easiest way, especially for those of us who are visual learners. That being said, I encourage you to always script it out, so you can learn the T-SQL behind the GUI.
During this series I will hope to provide the following information:
- How to install SQL; standalone vs. network, there is a difference!
- Working with SQL Server Management Studio SSMS
- Documentation: Why, I can remember the name of the server?
- Documentation Part 2: Didn’t realize the database was that big.
- Maintenance plans (they are not just for backups)
- Definition of and creating a Disaster Recovery plan
As of now these are the topic I plan to cover in my Back to Basics series. Although I reserve the right to edit this, I believe if an “accidental” DBA would learn these, then they could probably drop the “accidental” form their title.