For those of you reading this in the US, the pronunciation of ‘luxury’ in this manner evokes memories of Derek & Clyde’s comedy skit of the same name (careful they are rude). My old friend Wolly has got in touch to let me know that Monty Python created the original ‘Luxury’ concept in their ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ skit. Derek & Clyde’s version was an underground bootleg version. Anyway, they (all) wax lyrical about how they used to have to “get up 4 hours before they went bed to clean the super highway with a toothbrush”. In our world “Boss: do we have backups, DBA: Yes and all tested, including a hot DR site and live tests twice yearly”. This=Luxury.
You get the picture I hope. Here is another picture
Its just been released about 1 month after the release candidate for SQL Server 2012 was announced. What a marvellous thing this manual promises to be. I say that because I just finished reading the SQL Server 2008 version of the book, authored by two of the authors who co wrote this one (namely Brian Knight and Erik Veerman).
So, back to Luxury.
I began reading manuals back in 1982 when I got my first job in a bank. There were loads of really boring, droll manuals. Interestingly, the new one about cash cards and ATM’s caught my attention.
Then when I got my first programming gig, I was reverently shown an IBM Red Book on DB2. I am not sure they were available to buy. Perhaps they were gratis with a million $ purchase of a new mainframe or something. I don’t know if they still produce these books, but it was a marvellous reference work. Of course there were ordinary reference manuals, but this one contained real world experiences of engineers in field. It contained “rules of thumb”.
A few years later I entered the arcane world of Tandem NonStop and the situation became even more dire. It remains the same as far as I can tell. Try searching online. The only thing I found was a google group. It is an ultra secure technical platform and I have always wondered whether the secret squirrel approach to information sharing stems from that or whether it was simply due to it being a very good, but niche database solution. You can’t just buy it and run it on a PC. Its very proprietary. SIG’s exist as the only method of information sharing. I remember a consultant from the US throwing out nuggets of info (“rules of thumb”) during a very large data migration project – “this many milliseconds per read, this many per write, take audit off the target file etc etc”. They were gods these people.
So back to Luxury.
Enter Microsoft and SQL Server 2012. Imagine what its like in the board rooms of the other major database vendors. The rate at which Microsoft and third party companies such as Attunity are releasing connectors for SQL Server 2012, customers are going to find it very compelling to federate all their data assets onto SQL Server and leave operational data on their “don’t fix it if its not broken” database servers.
The talent pool (and demand too) in the SQL Server arena is clearly growing. I was party to a conversation between two very respected SQL Server practitioners and they had remarked that only a couple of years ago all the contributors / experts at the big user group conferences would be recognised (eg. all know to each other). This is apparently no longer the case. The periphery has entered the mainstream. Critical mass? Maybe SQL Server was already there.
I think the reason for this enviable position, aside from the obvious quality of the SQL Server database engine and the incredible added value of Integration Services and Analysis Services, is the support communities.
Microsoft have built up this excellent ecosystem of information sharing, underpinned by
- its MVP programme
- the very committed people who give their time to make this happen
- the entire SQL Server community around that, whether they are just working from their own desk or part of a user group network