Interview – Argenis Fernandez

I decided to start a series of blogs where I interview key people in the SQL Server community. Instead of me asking technical questions, I plan on asking about their outlook on the future, books they read (non-fiction and/or technical),  and their overall thoughts on where technology (mainly SQL Server) is headed. You can find more interviews here.

Next up: Argenis Fernandez (b | t):

Argenis Fernandez
Argenis Fernandez

Mohammad: Where do you see SQL Server technology evolving to 5 years from now? More cloud focused?

Argenis: I see SQL Server continuing to gain ground and becoming even more prevalent than it is today. SQL Server on Linux will be HUGE. It already is with more than 1M Docker repo pulls.

And SQL Server is today and will be everywhere. Cloud, On-Prem, your laptop. Now that it runs on Docker a lot of developers will love to have a local instance they can develop on – for free. Quick and easy. Microsoft has REALLY turned around from how things were pre-Satya. I’m loving it. I do feel that SQL Server could use a little more love on the “size of data” realm. Meaning, handling terabytes or data in SQL Server should be “easier” than it is today. And I think sooner than later Microsoft will acknowledge that and work on features to handle that scale problem..

Mohammad: Do you ever see the traditional SQL Server DBA role being replaced/eliminated?

Argenis: I’m not sure that we even have a great definition of what a “Traditional SQL Server DBA” is.

Let me give you an example: If you’re babysitting a reindex or DBCC process every weekend, trust me when I tell you – you WILL be rendered irrelevant. Maybe not next month, but at some point you will be. You need to provide value to your employer by automating everything that can be automated, and help your business achieve better outcomes by not only keeping the lights on…but so much more. You need to figure what that “so much more” means for your company.

Mohammad: What are you most proud of doing/accomplishing for the SQL Server community so far in your career?

Argenis: Quite honestly, Argenis Without Borders 2.0, when we raised over $25K for Doctors Without Borders. Not a technical achievement, but something that actually touches lives in peril.

I owe a lot of that success story to my good friend and fellow troublemaker Kirsten Benzel.

Mohammad: What non-technical/non-fiction book/s would you recommend? If you only read technical books…what do you recommend?

Argenis: I only read…stuff on the Internet. I’m too much of an ADHD victim to read a book all the way through. I have read quite a few, but it’s not something I do frequently.

Catch up on blogs, twitter, and really good sites like, for example, It’s time well invested.

If you want to get a feel for what the startup world is like and innovations taking place constantly, be sure to check Hacker News.

Mohammad: For someone who’s career focus has been on one aspect of SQL Server (i.e. high availability), do you think it would be wise for them to become a “jack of all trades” by starting to learn, SSRS/IS/Azure, etc. or remain focused on their area of expertise? In another words, which would you say is more valuable? mile wide / inch deep or inch wide / mile deep?

Argenis: That really depends. I consider myself mostly focused on the DB Engine, but I became a pretty knowledgeable person in the storage realm in the last two years since I joined Pure Storage. That combination has proven to be very good for my career. So I’d say…just find something you love and be really good at it. If you want to be a good generalist, you can be successful at that. If you’re bored and twiddling your thumbs all day, find something that’s intellectually satisfying.

And surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. Not that intelligence is contagious, but ideas and conversations spark good changes in your brain…embrace your inner geek!

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