SQL Server 2012 New Features and Your DBA Role

There’s a lot of exciting new features in SQL Server 2012 now. But it really boils down to what you actually do as a DBA. You will start to appreciate these new features depending on your specific DBA role.

1. Production DBA

The Production DBA is in charge of, well, the production servers. All fingers points to the production DBA if there is an unexpected shutdown in the database servers. The production DBA is also in charge of making sure that the servers are healthy and performs optimally. I sometimes fit into this role as I also assist in troubleshooting and project consultations in my current organization.

The new features in SQL Server 2012 that will excite the production DBA are

  • AlwaysOn High Availability – I was able to play around this feature in TechNet virtual lab and it was so cool!
  • Additional file-base data storage
  • Extended Events
  • improved functionality and stability in SSMS which is now fully integrated in Visual Studio 2010 – the developer DBA will also appreciate this
  • Columnstore indexes for optimization of large data volumes
  • Improved statistics algorithm for very large database
  • Improved compression and partitioning capabilities

2. Developer DBA

This is the role that I currently fit in. Its more of a one-man team or in my case, one-woman team. I belong to all project teams as I collaborate with them for their database design that they want to work on and eventually implement. I make sure that all objects are designed with optimization and performance kept in mind. I also wear the developers hat because i actually do some programming and consultation on how to address issues like when to use a table variable and temp table and which columns to place an index.

The new feature that I’m totally thankful for in SQL Server 2012 is the full integration of the development environment with Visual Studio. Now I need not have SSMS and Visual Studio open in my desktop at the same time. And i love the color blue.

Other new features that I’m excited about also are

  • Spatial functionality
  • New DAX expression language
  • New tabular model for Analysis Services

3. Business Intelligence DBA

This is the latest addition to the types of DBA role. I think its because of increased business requirements for data warehousing and reporting and the increasing capabalities of SQL Server to address these requirements. In our organization for example, we have a growing needs for dashboards and reporting sites for our business development team. To address this new requirement our Head of IT decided to hire one SSIS developer. He is an expert with reports development using SSRS and ETL packages via SSIS.

Usually, the BI DBA peeps is responsible for reports development using Reporting Services or maybe responsible for developing SSIS packages using Business Intelligence projects in Visual Studio. They are also responsible for data warehousing projects like development of Anaylsis Services cubes and deployment of these projects to pass on to the Production DBA.

The SQL Server 2012 has a lot of improvements in Reporting Services area, and a new data exploration tool such as Power View. So these following new features in the SQL Server 2012 may excite the BI DBA peeps.

  • Rapid data discovery with Power View and PowerPivot
  • Managed self services BI with BI Semantic Model
  • Data Quality Services and the Master Data Management
  • Parallel Data Warehouse and Reference Architectures

To summarize, it will help a lot if you focus on your current role and any future shift in other DBA roles to fully understand and appreciate more what the new SQL Server 2012 has to offer you and your organization.


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