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Dear SQL DBA

Kendra Little's podcast for database administrators and developers who work with database, discussing performance tuning, software development, and working with data.
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Dear SQL DBA
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Aug 5, 2020

It's Down Tools Week at Redgate. I share what "Down Tools Week" is, what I'm working on this week, and why I think it's a terrific experience for fostering creativity, innovation, and teamwork. In closing I share some thoughts on variations of this kind of project which you might use in your own organization, whether you are a developer, DBA, or have another role.

Jul 23, 2020

Many people use entrenched processes for database development that have been in place so long that it's hard to imagine doing it any other way. In this episode, I share three things that should NOT be normal for database development-- but which are incredibly common. This episode is inspired by the book, "The Unicorn Project", by Gene Kim.

Jul 16, 2020

I'm not an expert on collation in SQL Server, but there are a few important facts which I've had to learn the hard way. In this episode I share the basics, along with helpful resources to learn more.

One small localization correction: the default collation on a SQL Server install will be "the oldest available version that's associated with each specific locale." So if your Windows installation has a different localization than mine (which are generally English USA), then you'll see a different default collation -- but it still won't be the recommended collation for *new* development.

Jul 8, 2020

Learning Git can be daunting for DBAs. In this 20 minute episode, I discuss why learning a VCS is necessary for DBAs, then give three tips on scoping your project, choosing the right tools, and making sure the project is successful.

The cheat sheet I mention in the episode is at https://littlekendra.com/2019/11/27/my-git-cli-cheat-sheet/

Jun 12, 2019

You're a DBA, and your development team is all-in on doing DevOps, and they want to include the database. Should your DBA team limit the permissions or options for automation? Or should you instead re-think how your two teams work together? In this episode, Kendra discusses DevOps team topologies, the changing role of DBA teams in DevOps, and the opportunities available in creating communities of practice around database development.

Jan 29, 2019

I've been working as an 'Evangelist' at Redgate for close to six months now, and one question keeps coming up: what exactly does an Evangelist do at a software company? In 21 minutes, I explain the core mission of Evangelists, and why I think being part of the sales process is an important part of the future of software evangelism.

Jan 17, 2019

Jobs change over time, and database administrator jobs are no different. In this 35 minute recorded Twitch livestream (my first ever!) I talk about threats to DBA jobs and the related opportunities.

Oct 2, 2018

In this session, I discuss scrum, continuous deployment, test driven development, DevOps, and related concepts. I close with a quick discussion of why Database Administrators and Developers should care about DevOps.

Aug 29, 2018

So you've got an employee agreement in front of you: now what? In this 23 minute episode, I talk about practical steps you should take to make sure that you understand the terms of your contract, and how to potentially negotiate the terms.

Aug 11, 2018

When you take a new job in software engineering or in IT, within the paperwork there often lurks an employee agreement: a contract between you and your employer. In this half-hour live episode we'll talk about why these contracts exist, and multiple anti-patterns you should avoid.

This is the first of a two part series. In the next episode, we'll talk best practices for understanding and negotiating the contract.

Aug 1, 2018

What makes a person a DBA Hero? In this episode, I talk about how Robert Davis made a huge impact on the SQL Server community, and the traits that Robert displayed that I hope to emulate.

Jul 19, 2018

I've gotten a few questions about whether I recommend learning Service Broker, and recently I was asked if I'm planning to make any courses on Service Broker. In this episode, I talk about why I personally haven't become an expert with Broker, the factors that I believe play into Service Broker adoption, and other resources online for learning Service Broker in SQL Server.

Jun 13, 2018

New to learning SQL Server? Get the scoop on free online resources to look up information, ask questions of community members, and learn SQL Server from the ground up.

Links from the episode are at: https://sqlworkbooks.com/dear-sql-dba/training-resources-for-sql-noobs/

May 18, 2018

This week I discuss a question that I've gotten in many forms over the years - a lot of the scenarios are so specific that it's hard to keep them anonymous, but they can be generalized as a bigger problem: how do I deal with being responsible for things that I can't fully control?

DBAs have huge responsibilities, so this is a common, frustrating scenario. In this episode, I talk about a few times that I've experienced this in my own life, what techniques didn't work, and what strategies were more effective.

May 3, 2018

Our question this week comes from someone who's excited to be on a healthy career path, building their work experience as a DBA. They're worried: will lacking a college degree block their career growth down the line? I talk about my experience and also check out current job listings to answer the question.

Apr 23, 2018

In this episode, I talk about how to strategize for and prepare for Microsoft Certification exams, using the Database Fundamentals exam as an example.

Apr 5, 2018

Our question this week comes from an IT pro who would like to be self-employed. In this episode, I talk about three big things you need to think about to start working for yourself, and two possible paths to get there.

Dec 1, 2017

A few folks have asked: will auto-tuning and adaptive query plans mean the end of performance tuning jobs in SQL Server? In this week's episode, I talk about why I'm excited about those features rather than afraid of them. Digging into this problem, I share the #1 mindset problem I had as a DBA, why this mindset is so common among database professionals, and a daily habit that can change your approach to new technology.

Nov 17, 2017

Are you worried that you talk too fast when you give a speech, talk, or presentation? Is fear being a fast-talker one of the concerns that keeps you from getting started with public speaking? In this episode, I give you simple, practical tips that I've used to successfully improve the way I give presentations. Four years ago, I got frustrated feedback from listeners who had a hard time keeping up with my mouth; now I get congratulations that the pace was great.

Nov 8, 2017

In this week's episode, I'm not answering a reader's question. Instead, I'm talking about my personal experience with anxiety.

This episode touches on on healthcare, religion, and squishy emotions -- and there's at least one curse word. I don't talk tech in this episode. (Don't worry, there's more of that coming in future weeks.)

Oct 5, 2017

SQL Server Service Packs are going away, starting with SQL Server 2017. I talk about why I think this is a good thing, and discuss Cumulative Updates, Service Packs, and the process of updating SQL Server.

Sep 28, 2017

People have strong feelings about SQL Server Management Studio: they love it AND they hate it. In this week's episode, I talk about why people have such conflicting feelings about SSMS, and how to work it all out.

Sep 22, 2017

A query is slow, and you figure out how to collect the query execution plan. Now what? In this episode I talk "big picture" about what execution plans are, what "cost" is, why to collect "compiled for" values, and the steps I take to analyze execution plans while performance tuning queries.

Sep 12, 2017

As a SQL Server DBA, do you need to be a killer with scripts? In this episode I talk about how much you need to know about PowerShell, and examples of ways I personally use (and struggle with) PowerShell.

Sep 7, 2017

I'll be attending and presenting at the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle Washington this year from Oct 31-Nov 3. In this week's episode, I share why I'm excited about going, and why I've purchased a seat for a pre-conference session. (Spoiler: pre-cons are awesome!) I also give my tips on how to get the MOST value out of a big conference like the PASS Summit.

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