Interview – Tim Radney

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: Tim Radney (b | t):

Tim Radney
Tim Radney

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

Tim: I see the cloud focus still ongoing. Within 5 years, I see more small to mid-size companies embracing Cloud rather than building out their own large datacenters. Analytics will continue to be a strong focus as companies need to trend their data.

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

Tim: I honestly don’t. In my Azure SQL Database sessions I give, that is a big focus of the talk. Our job as DBAs are even more critical for tuning workloads. Running SQL Server on Azure VMs is no different than on-premises. You still support the instance as well as the databases. With Azure SQL DB, the instance, install, and infrastructure is handled for you, however you are paying for performance. Higher tiers cost more money, tuning those workloads to decrease cost will be very important.

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

Tim: For me, I think it would be paying it forward and getting others to start speaking and blogging. I have had a number of people tell me that a conversation, a session, or a blog post was a catalyst in getting them started. It is an incredible feeling to know that you had a positive impact on others.

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

Tim: One of my all-time favorite books is “The Cuckoo’s Egg” by Clifford Stoll. As for a technical book, one of my all-time favorites is the “Trouble Shooting SQL Server – A Guide for the Accidental DBA” by Jonathan Kehayias and Ted Krueger.

Mohammad: For someone who’s career focus has been on one aspect of SQL Server (i.e. Database Engine), 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?

Tim: This one is a hard question. As a consultant, you need to know your area of expertise a mile deep. If your focus is tuning, you need to be able to tune very well. With the data platform being so wide, you can’t know it all very well. It would be very difficult to be a SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, and Database Engine expert, however it is very beneficial for an Engine person to also know some SSRS, and SSIS. If you are the only DBA for a small shop, then you are sort of forced into being a “jack of all trades”, and those types make for great consultants down the road. As for value, I say focus on what you love to do, that is the value. If you hate reporting, try to not do reporting. The financial value of all the roles is good. You need to do what makes you happy.

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