SQL Server database administration is usually a one-person job. The day-to-day work of a database administrator (DBA) involves specialized, precise, and specific tasks that can’t easily be taught to a casual learner. Because there is usually only one DBA within an organization, they don’t always have someone to turn to with questions.
The social side of the internet gave rise to a lot of great resources for interacting with like-minded individuals to discuss similar interests. Those resources include forums, which are particularly well-suited for DBAs looking for answers to SQL Server monitoring questions. A few of the major benefits of being part of a forum include:
- Online forums provide a platform for DBAs to get practical advice from people who have worked through the same issue. It’s hard to beat firsthand experience when solving a problem.
- Most people feel great about reaching a level of expertise within their profession such that others can benefit from their knowledge. Forums are the perfect venue to share your experiences with your peers.
- The hive mind is a powerful tool. When you’re faced with a particularly tricky or complicated problem, forums are ideal for crowdsourcing ideas for solutions.
If you are new to your DBA role or you just haven’t had a chance to seek out your people, here are four SQL Server-friendly forums that DBAs can turn to for help with SQL Server performance and development issues.
Reddit is a social site that is divided up into communities based on interest. The SQL Server community has almost 20,000 members. The forum uses the traditional question-and-answer format and focuses on Microsoft SQL Server administration and T-SQL programming. Users can ask and answer questions, as well as vote content up or down depending on its usefulness.
The SQL Server Reddit community content also includes SQL Server tutorials and training, SQL Server certification, SQL Server database resources, and a lot of content directed toward developers.
The Spiceworks community evolved from conversations on their feature request forum into an IT pro-powered community with millions of users. The community is divided up into categories (e.g., databases), which are further divided up into groups, including SQL Server-specific groups for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 end of support.
Each group consists of IT pros with an interest in SQL Server who ask and answer SQL Server performance monitoring, development, and maintenance questions to help DBAs do their jobs better. Users can “spice up” or “spice down” questions and answers based on their relevance or level of interest to the community. Spiceworks’ communities contain some additional content, including polls, how-tos, scripts, and articles.
Database Administrators Stack Exchange
Stack Exchange is a popular network of question-and-answer communities divided up by topic. Stack Exchange encourages users to ask questions that can be answered definitively rather than ones that open the door for a long, drawn-out discussion. Users can up- or down-vote answers based on how well researched they are and whether they succinctly answer the question.
Although there isn’t a Stack Exchange dedicated to SQL Server specifically, the database administrators community has tagging enabled, which lets users sort questions and answers on specific topics, including SQL Server, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008-r2. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “SQL Server performance” tag, but you can sort by performance or performance-tuning to narrow down your search for SQL Server performance monitoring topics.
SQL Shack is a different format from the forums listed above. Instead of Q&A, SQL Shack publishes SQL Server performance- and development-focused articles that community members comment on for further discussion. Articles can be sorted by tag to help users find content relevant to the problem they are trying to solve.
SQL Shack publishes a lot of development-focused articles and many include query and code samples. Historically, SQL Shack accepted article submissions from users, but they currently aren’t accepting new articles due to a big backlog.
Being the lone DBA in your organization can make it difficult to find someone to bounce ideas off of or ask for help. But in today’s highly connected digital world, you are never more than a few clicks away from millions of other people who share your interests and challenges. The forums and communities discussed above are excellent resources for finding solutions, test-driving ideas, and connecting with other DBAs who get where you’re coming from.