Interview – Denny Cherry

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: Denny Cherry (b | t):

Denny Cherry
Denny Cherry

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

Denny: For a lot of people things are definitely going to be more cloud focused. Some companies will stay on-premises for a variety of reasons, but for a lot of people moving to the cloud is going to become a reality. The cloud isn’t that scary. It’s a little different, but that’s about it. Looking at Azure SQL DB, it’s basically just SQL Server. It does most of what normal SQL Server does, it runs queries, etc. There’s just less patching and day to day management that needs to be done because Microsoft is taking care of that for you.

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

Denny: No, I don’t see the role of the traditional DBA being replaced. Evolving? Absolutely. But not being replaced.

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

Denny: The best thing I think I’ve done for the SQL Server community would probably be getting Speaker Idol up and running at the PASS Summit. This gives new speakers who aren’t well known to the committee a chance to get in front of an audience at the PASS summit, get feedback from some great presenters (the judges) and one of them gets a slot the next year at the summit.

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

Denny: It’s been a really long time since I’ve sat down a read a book, technical or not. For technical knowledge I just Google these days. If you had to make me pick a book, then I’d go with Kevin Kline’s T-SQL book from 200 years ago (or something like that). It should be on every data platform person’s shelf.

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?

Denny: I would still say focus on one area of SQL Server, but broaden how you work with that component. Myself I’m an engine/HA/performance tuning guy. I basically never touch SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, etc. I can install all those things, but that’s about it. But because of how I understand how the engine works, I have a better understanding than most about how SQL DB in Azure works compared to RDS in Amazon for example. So while I’d stayed fairly narrow in SQL Server terms, I’ve been able to spread out a bit outside of the database engine so that I can see it in more global or enterprise deployment terms. The traditional DBA isn’t going anywhere, and there will be people who only deal with on-premises deployments for years and make good money. But there’s lots of money to be made in this cloudy world as well.

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