Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Have you ever heard something so stupid or been asked such a stupid question that it actually made your brain flatline?  And I mean truly flatline in the way that you actually can’t form a complete thought well enough to respond.  I suppose to a large degree you have to decide whether they’re being serious or not. 

One of the things I used to get flatlined on all the time was baselines.  In a gig I had a few years ago I was constantly being asked why the CPU was so high on the server, or why there were so many active connections in the DB.  Here’s how the scenario typically went… I would get a call from someone saying that the CPU was at 87% and why is it so high.  I would then ask what it normally is and to that they would reply, I don’t know.  That’s when my brain would just flatline.  I couldn’t think of anything to say.

Another one that used to kill me is when someone would call me very concerned because they were in perfmon and noticed that the disk queue was 15%.  I literally went blank and couldn’t think of any way to respond.  For those of you who aren’t up on perfmon, disk queues aren’t measured in %. 

Of course I’ve been flatlined enough over the years that I’m better equipped to handle the extreme stupidity that falls on DBAs sometimes… or so I thought.

It was actually earlier this year when one of my devs came up to me and said that he had a problem with one of his SQL boxes.  He then handed me a stack of papers like an inch thick.  This is the problem he says.  What he had given me was a bunch of printouts he’d taken from various websites that came up in his google search.  Now, these weren’t really a fix for a single issue.  No no… what these were, were a bunch of different possible issues to the problem he was seeing.  So he had gone into google and typed something like “SQL Server running slow”, and then printed out the top 50 results or so.  He didn’t read any of them;  he just handed them to me as a collective solution to his specific problem. 

And I, the experienced DBA and MVP… flatlined.

Watch my free SQL Server Tutorials at:

Read my book reviews at:

Blog Author of:
Database Underground – http://www.infoworld.com/blogs/sean-mccown

Follow my Twitter:



About Me

My Photo
Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to SQLServerCentral.com as well as SSWUG.org. I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
View my complete profile


Blogumulus by Roy Tanck and Amanda Fazani

Page Views