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From: Tim Gorman <>
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2004 22:18:23 -0600
Message-ID: <>

My opinion, for what it is worth...
The creation of standards has no purpose for its own sake. Rather, the clear purpose is the wholesale automation of regularly-scheduled and routine tasks. Can't do that if each database is a "customized" configuration. Automation in turn leads to constant improvement of one's skills, as freedom from lesser tasks allows more rewarding higher-function tasks and research. Personally, I've found work as a DBA for an ASP to be very educational. Just have to dump Korn shell and learn Perl to truly achieve spiritual creaminess, Iım told...

On the other hand, the hours are excruciating and the impact on personal time is significant. If all of the routine tasks are automated, then you have to learn (and have permission!) to grab sleep and personal time when you can get it, because when things go wrong, they often do so in an extravagant way. One mistake I've made in the past was to keep a "regular" 9-5 schedule regardless of whether automation left me with nothing to do. Of course, some of that time can be filled with the "improvement" activities I was mentioning, but it is important to realize that the long hours waiting for a tape restore to spin are good for that too. Many managers are uncomfortable with DBAs not being "at work" during regular business hours. Then, when trouble hits, generally during off-hours, I end up with 40-hr days, and it's getting tougher and tougher to shake those off...

Just my $0.02...

on 7/10/04 8:53 PM, Mohan, Ross at wrote:

> Dennis,
> thanks for thoughtful and thought-provoking reply.
> I guess there is more volatility ( new apps, upgrades, migrations, new
> customers, etc) and
> less volatility (tighter standards maintenance, more teamwork, fewer "just
> this once" databases, fixes, etc)
> I'd imagine ASP DBAs need more/better in the way of monitoring and
> alerting.....and going out
> on a limb, i'd imagine they are *more* likely to do SA and DBA work -- can't
> back this up by
> experience as I have none, but my gut tells me that.
> My concern is that life as an ASP DBA would be a hamster wheel tedium of
> upgrades, patches and answering the same question for seventy different
> clients...and that it would be harder to fix problems
> because of the isolated/distributed nature of the clients, and the fact that
> they'd be more likely to
> be using canned crApplications.
> -----Original Message-----
> Sent: Fri 7/9/2004 8:58 PM
> To: ''
> Cc:
> Subject: RE: ASP DBAs
> Ross
> I'm hardly an expert, but based on my limited exposure to ASP DBAs, I'll
> give my opinions and that may provoke some more expert opinion.
> I think the major differences at an ASP (and this may depend on the
> specific ASP) is that you may be more visible. If the ASP is hosting
> specific applications then you need to be expert in how those applications
> interact with the database. Presumably handling a variety of versions of the
> application, migrating customers between versions, etc. If the ASP is
> offering the database as a product, then you will be more visible to the
> customers.
> In theory you are supporting many databases. So creating standards so all
> the databases look alike could be key. Or obeying the standards of a large
> team. Most of us support many databases, but my assumption is that at an ASP
> the situation would be more volatile, bringing up new customers, moving
> customers from one server to another, etc.
> To me the key issue is that the customer needs to have clearly
> communicated what you are and what you aren't doing. Most of the unhappiness
> results when the customer thinks you are taking care of all issues and your
> understanding is that you are taking care of a limited amount.
> Monitoring is a big deal at least being able to tell a good story for
> potential customers.
> Enjoy working weird hours and weekends.
> Dennis Williams
> Lifetouch, Inc.
> I said it "looked" clear - Riddick
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [ <>
> ]On Behalf Of Mohan, Ross
> Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 10:19 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: ASP DBAs
> LoL...nice....
> Yes, Application Service Provider. I was trying to be hip and fit in with
> the in-crowd
> by using acronyms and got myself into a RAC of trouble. I guess I'll just
> have to get
> into my yoga pose and hum "OEMMMM" until things get better.
> But...on topic...i am trying to find out more about the life of a hardcore

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Received on Sat Jul 10 2004 - 23:15:00 CDT

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