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DBA Survivor: Become a Rock Star DBA 1st ed. Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1430227878
ISBN-10: 1430227877
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas LaRock is a seasoned information technology professional with over a decade of technical and management experience. Currently serving as a senior database administrator for Confio Software, Thomas has progressed through several roles in his career including programmer, analyst, and database administrator. Thomas holds a master of science degree in mathematics from Washington State University and is a member of the Usability Professionals Association. Thomas currently serves on the board of directors for the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), and is also a SQL Server "Most Valuable Professional". Thomas can also be found blogging at http://thomaslarock.com and is the author of DBA Survivor: Become a Rock Star DBA (http://www.dbasurvivor.com).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1st ed. edition (March 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430227877
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430227878
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. J Kaucher VINE VOICE on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a Systems and Network Administrator for a manufacturing firm. I manage a few SQL Server systems and my career plan is to eventually move into a full time DBA role in the future. I see people posting in SQL Server forums and in general IT forums asking for advice on how to break into the DBA field.

I think this book does a very good job of addressing that question and Mr. LaRock provides some good advice for junior level DBAs like me. I will tell you straight up that I have not finished this book. I received it in the mail this afternoon and I am to page 78. Yes, 78 pages in just a few hours, so it's a very good read! At 161 pages it is quite small for the price. I was disappointed when I opened the box and found this thin flimsy thing, not really up to the quality of other Apress books that I own. But then I started to read it and I have to say I think it is going to be worth it and I firmly believe it is going to be something I use as a study guide for the next few months. Anyone who is working towards a goal needs a map and there are aspects of this book that make it a very good one. Here are some examples.

* Chapter 6: Basic Troubleshooting gives a very nice list of what the author believes to be some of the most important DMVs and Perfmon counters. I like this list and I am going to make sure that I am familiar with each and every one of them and that I know how to use and interpret them.

* Chapter 3: Some Basics has a very nice high level discussion of technologies that are related to the practical implementation of SQL Server such as RAID, SANs, etc. I think that knowing these technologies is key to foundational DBA skills and having read a good, short explanation of these will help in an interview where you may be asked questions regarding them.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a DBA for fifteen years, and in that time read lots of Database Administration titles. Handbooks, manuals, 101 optimization books, and advanced internal titles. Plenty talk about technical skills, and lead you towards further honing your subject matter expertise. But few if any look at the social side of database operations.

So picking up this book the first thing I thought was, huh, fresh perspective. Great. I also thought though that it may be a bit of an uphill battle. Tech folks are often like cats - awake at night, like to go their own way and not as social as we might like.

If you're new to the DBA role, I'd really recommend this book, and I wish I had it when I got started in operations.

Here's what he covers...

Chapter 1, his career path, and what led him to where he is today, some other stories, and so on. These are great for the aspiring DBA as much as one in a new role.
Chapter 2, he discusses what your first days will be like, from getting acquainted with the systems and responsibilities to getting to know coworkers, and socializing at lunch. Yes, you like to have lunch with colleagues, not at your desk right?
Chapter 3, he covers some of the basics, from storage and RAID to HA and Disaster Recovery. He also talks about something that I think a lot of tech folks struggle with. Being a very intellectual and rational pursuit, there is always a certain amount of one-upmanship. He talks about this and contrasts it with the often more important quality of being liked and likeable, an great person to work with.
Chapter 4, In chapter four LaRock touches on the all important topic of separating dev & production environments, especially if things don't work that way when you arrive.
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Format: Paperback
I am convinced that the biggest issues that confront database professionals are not technical, but are instead related to communication. Regardless of how cleaver your idea is, if you cannot communicate it, then it does not really matter. Also, if your own mind is closed to new ideas from others, then you will not be able to truly engage with your work. I was intrigued about this book for DBAs that shares my respect for the need for good communication.

"You do not know everything. Sorry to tell you, but better to find out now rather than later on." Thomas LaRock reminds us about this in his introduction to the job of a DBA because "...that simple fact will be questioned periodically." A sense of humility, and knowing your limits, helps you to keep an open mind, thus more able to solve problems and communicate.

Indeed, Oracle DBAs will need an open mind to get the most from this book. Its few technical examples are all for Microsoft SQL Server, not Oracle. Reading this book as an Oracle expert, I found myself feeling smug and superior in the few technical sections. I had to simply let go of that attitude, again and again. So why should an Oracle DBA be interested in this book? Because Mr. LaRock offers sage advice for the significant non-technical parts of our jobs. His focus on communication, business protocols, career growth, and selling yourself is unique and refreshing.

Although Mr. LaRock's target audience is someone just starting a DBA career, his advice provides general benefit, and it can be especially valuable for those who hire DBAs. Mr. LaRock's chapter on starting a new job was especially intriguing: I bet that many of us have yet to do all of the things he suggests for the first week on a job! I found that chapter so helpful that I shared it with friends starting non-DBA jobs.
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