Steve Jones on TechEd2007 and SQL2K8 Manageability Features

@ TechEd 2007 I presented an overview session on new manageability features in SQL Server 2008. SQL Server Central's Steve Jones blogged about the session. Steve provides a pretty accurate account of the session (thanks Steve). This is mostly a straight forward report with a little editorial sprinkled in here and there.

There are a few items I'd like to address:

  1. Backdoor in SQLCLR. The only assemblies that can run when the SQLCLR is off are those signed and shipped by Microsoft. When we build the product we pull in a group of assemblies into the resource database (a system database). This group of assemblies is the only one that is allowed to execute when the SQL CLR is disabled.
  2. Backdoor in SQL Server Agent. Steve hypothesizes that we also have a backdoor in SQL Server Agent. This is not the case. If the service is turned off jobs will not run. This means if the system is configured with policies that are to be checked on schedule, the policies will only execute if SQL Server Agent is up and running. If Agent is down, no scheduled policy checks occur.
  3. Performance Studio. He mentioned a Win32 API. If I said that during the presentation I misspoke. The API will be a managed API (not a native API).

And finally this: Steve writes "The database manages itself. Not totally, but close to it. It was an analogy made by Dan Jones with cars. Auto shop isn't really offered in high school anymore, people don't "tinker" with their cars much anymore.

If this is true, we have more time for data design, data architecture. I'm not sure I agree and as much as I hear, the more I think a DBA needs to be around because when something goes south, it goes way down."

The point isn't that we can eliminate DBAs or push them to the "design room". But rather, DBAs can focus on the harder more interesting problems. Think of it this way. It used to be the case when you put bad gas in your car, or the wrong octane, your car would ping. This is no longer the case. In addition, your car needed a tune-up every 30K miles or so. This is also no longer the case. Does this mean mechanics no longer see cars for pings or tune-ups? Absolutely not, it does mean they see fewer cars and time between visits is greater. In most instances the cases mechanics are handling are more complicated and require more advanced skills. I think this will be true for DBAs as well. The simple stuff will be handled by the system. The more complex stuff, though the system will help, will require the knowledge and skills of a rock star DBA.

It will be fun to see how this all plays out over the next 10 years.

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