Friday, August 28, 2009

The Clean House

This post was particularly inspired while cleaning my house today.  It’s easy, if you think you’ve got a clean house then just stand up on a ladder some time and change your perspective.  I think you’ll find there are lots of things about your clean house you don’t know.  And while nobody’s officially complaining about the condition of the house (and in fact, everyone thinks it’s in great shape), it clearly is in disarray when you shift to that new bird’s eye view.

The same is true for your DB.  I honestly can’t count the number of times I’ve been told that there was no reason to look at DB performance because nobody was complaining about it.  Then when I dig into it and look at things from a DBA angle, the system is actually abysmal.  So if performance is so bad then why isn’t anyone complaining?  Well there can be a couple reasons for that.  First of all the DB could just not be very busy comparatively so the users won’t notice the issues.  And second, they may have just gotten used to things running slower so again they don’t notice it.  I’ve actually seen that several times.  Things get slower and slower, or better yet, they just start out slow and nobody ever knows the difference.  And what’s even WORSE is that more often than not there’s some cornhole in the background telling them that Oracle would solve all their problems.  Listen, if you can’t write a simple process against mssql and make it run right do you really think you’ll be able to hit Oracle ok?

So I’ve gotten off topic a little… back on track.  The point of all this is that just because nobody’s complaining about performance that doesn’t mean that your system is performing.  I quite often find that companies have no idea what their systems can scale to and they just assume that they’ll be able to handle whatever they throw at them.  And it typically takes more forethought than most companies have to look at a system objectively and proactively fix problems.

So the next time you’re considering your system performance, stand on a ladder or crawl down on the floor and see how things look from there.

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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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