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Cranky Series: Cautionary Tale: Beware of the Blogs


August 8, 2012 by Mike Hillwig

Welcome to the first post of my How Not to be a Cranky DBA series.

If you’ve seen this picture before, it probably means you’ve seen one of my presentations.  I try to put it into every presentation I give, regardless of the topic. This is because I think it’s really important for people to know the source of their information.

One of the things that is absolutely amazing about the SQL Server community is that we share so much of what we’ve learned with our colleagues, publicly, and for free. But that’s a double-edged sword.

There is some amazing advice on the internet. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of crap. That’s because there are no filters on the internet, and and anybody can put bad advice out there.

When you come across that script from Bernard’s Blogland that will rebuild all of your indexes, look at it critically. Would you run a script you’ve downloaded from the internet against your 24 TB data warehouse without testing it in your test environment first? If you do, you deserve what you get.

Everyone needs a barometer. I trust people I have met, people I know, and people who haven’t led me astray in the past. And there are some good names there. But know this, if it comes from Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, or anyone from SQL Skills, I’ll take it to the bank.  And if someone says you should ALWAYS or NEVER do something, I’m immediately skeptical. Why? As Paul has taught most of us, with one exception, it always depends. There is rarely a situation that has a cut and dried answer.

When I speak at an event, it’s typically the first time anyone in the room has heard me speak. I encourge them to challenge me and to assume that I’m an idiot. I haven’t earned their trust yet. Very frequently, I’ll ask one of my friends in the SQL Server community to vet what I’m proposing, but you don’t know that. There are about five people I would trust without challenge. You may have five people, too. I should not be one of those people. At least not yet.