Conversations you wished you didn't hear.

OK so if you're a production DBA you are probably paranoid or considered paranoid.
This isn't bad, corporate data is valuable for all manner of reasons, the data protection act and any regulatory compliance along with corporate auditors can be enough to give a DBA a nervous twitch - and we haven't even mentioned fellow employees.

In no particular order and drawn from the last sixteen or so years:-

"The Server has two power supplies"

Setting up a production SQL Server ( 2008 R2 ) on a cluster - the supplier came back with "We don't support our application on a cluster" - we said their single server recommendation didn't provide redundancy.

"It's Admin Admin."

Leaving a multi tenanted office at home time - so very busy - conversation between person on ground floor and first floor open landing concerning access to a server.

"This SQL thing is interesting"

Response from a new dev team member two weeks after joining a team responsible/writing a SOX financial application handling millions of GBP revenue. The team recruited dot net developers but didn't require any SQL skills despite the fact the team were writing code to a SQL Server database.

"I found it on someone's blog and thought it was cool"

Instead of using a lookup table for 6 values the decision was taken to implement "constants" as sql functions.
Once this change hit production it killed performance - as you might guess as it turned set based ops into row by row!
The most ironic part of this particular fault was was when it was changed back to a lookup table the particular process then ran too fast and broke something else - it took very many man hours to slow it down to not break.

"The largest file is xxxx.mdf can I delete it?"

Running low on disk space on a production SQL server - the support solution.

"Go to Administrators and see who is in there"

Lengthy this one .. I have been constantly amazed over the years at how so many HR and Financial applications run all their users as sysadmin or dbowner - it can be disconcerting to find numerous office/excel connections as SA on your production system.
I was unfortunate to overhear parts of a phone conversation which started "We're doing a security audit..." The person making the call was then explaining to someone who was a Local Admin on an Accounting System on how to navigate to the Local Users and Groups to extract the required information. It was very clear that the person on the other end of the phone had little idea on what was being asked, but they were an Administrator who could rdp to this production system.

And a few classics to finish

"We didn't put any indexes as it slows down inserts"

"Once we go to Azure we won't need DBAs"

"Windows 2003 must be more secure than Windows 2012 as it's been patched for so long"

"I need to reboot the server because SQL has taken 95% of the memory"

"There's no performance gains using Enterprise Edition"

The last point was around the disruption caused when indexes are rebuilt in a live database. It’s worth a whole blog post on its own of course !!


Some essential reading material:

The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll

The Anti-Hacker Tool Kit by Mike Shema

I read these books back in 2002 when I was involved in a on-line mortgage application project, in actual fact I actually bought three copies of the Anti-Hacker Tool Kit but had every copy confiscated because " We don't want you running that on our systems"  after I'd demonstrated a few basic examples.
We did in fact construct what we considered was a very secure and robust system.

Published Thursday, September 1, 2016 8:18 PM by GrumpyOldDBA
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