Chris Shaw posted a second SQL Quiz where he asks: "What are the largest challenges that you have faced in your career and how did you overcome those?”
When I was working at the University I was the primary DBA on the system for the student and Employee ID card. This card was swiped for access to dorms, parking, buildings etc as well as it was hooked up to a student accounts for cafeteria, laundry, etc and the numbers were used for websites access. There was a server at each of the three main campus throughout the state and the data was replicated via transactional replication. Being it was a university it was a Database Application that had to have all the business logic in the database as we had to open it up to any platform or data access technology that the individual campuses, departments wanted to use. However if the server was down or unavailable for any reason there were certain applications that didn’t cache data like the cafeteria services. Our service window which allowed downtime was Sunday mornings from 2 am to 4 am. This was run on Windows NT 4.0/SQL 7.0. We eventually migrating to new machines running Windows 2003/SQL 2000 and then upgraded to SQL 2005. Shortly after the upgrade to 2005 we went live with a new version which included utilization of service broker and clr and encryption. So in a little over a year we did a platform migration a platform upgrade and an application upgrade without missing any of target dates or times or affecting out users. Our core technical team was 4 people that was managing the entire process including communication to clients. Documenting and scripting each step along with running multiple tests and involving our clients in the tests as well to set everyone’s expectations made the whole thing a success.
I don’t think I’ll be shocking anyone by saying that in the consulting world sometimes you go onto projects in areas or technologies that you aren’t necessarily an expert in and therefore are sometimes learning on the job. For example I knew DTS fairly well, however when I went on my first gig that was teaching and doing SSIS I wasn’t extremely knowledgeable about it. However I crammed and learned about SSIS and the client was extremely happy with what I brought to the table. So sometimes when I’m billed out as an expert, knowing how to get up to speed and being able to is just as important a skill to have. And twitter has made that just more easier and fun!
Anyway that’s the two that really come to mind.
Tagging Dan English