DBA Saves the World from Bad Pizza and Gets Promoted with Spotlight

Imagine a world without tomatoes.

Sure, it’d be great if you’re Fozzie Bear or some other old-timey comedian. But for the rest of us? It would totally suck.

Pizza would just be circular cheesy bread.

Spaghetti, a pile of sad, limp noodles. Ravioli? Oh, do you mean these bland pockets of cheese? I’d keep going, but all you Italian-loving DBAs out there are probably having heart attacks at the very thought. Plus, there’s chili, salsa, hot sauce, tomato soup to consider – so many foods!
And it’s not just about how boring and tasteless our favorite foods would be without tomatoes. Think of our health. Packed with antioxidants like lycopene, tomatoes provide nutrients that do everything from improving blood pressure, a biggie for us stressed-out DBAs, to preventing sunburns.

They can even cure scurvy.

But the story I’m about to tell you isn’t about pirate diseases. It’s about a hero of a DBA who happens to work at the largest tomato processor in the U.S. It’s about the mess of a database environment he inherited and how he used a single toolset to improve his career and the processes at the company for which he works. That company? Red Gold, Inc.

Meet Matt.

When Matt started out at Red Gold, Inc., he was just a wee junior DBA, reacting to constant database issues like work was an endless game of Whac-a-Mole, minus the fun and prizes. See, the senior IT resources at the company had jumped ship, leaving poor Matt to deal with a massive SQL farm on his own. And because this complex environment supports highly automated manufacturing facilities and a distribution center that’s more than a million square feet, plus perishable inventory, tight packing timelines and logistics, Matt felt the pressure.

Tomatoes make terrible stress balls.

When you’re dealing with databases that support a business built entirely on items with a short expiration date, you can’t afford downtime or even slow database performance. Which is why Matt stood up to the inefficiency, fighting for a better way.
After struggling to get by with PowerShell’s basic capabilities, and trying to solve database issues manually, Matt discovered a database monitoring solution called Spotlight® on SQL Server Enterprise. Matt knew he’d found the secret ingredient for improving the health of the tomato business and, ultimately, his career.

Saving the world from sauce-less pizza

Thankfully, Matt wasn’t the only one who saw the value in switching to a toolset that offers more visibility, historical playback, powerful automation, root-cause detection and analysis and more. As Brian White, Red Gold’s Senior Manager of Applications and Project Management, told me when we caught up recently, “We had some monitoring and alerting developed in PowerShell; however, Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise provided us with everything we were initially looking for and much more that we didn’t even know we needed.”

Going beyond basic monitoring

So what were some of those invaluable capabilities? Matt told me everything from benchmarking and data trends to the playback function that lets him quickly identify the real catalyst behind a performance problem were game changing. Oh, and he’s also a huge fan of the free Spotlight mobile app, which includes a color-coded heat map, so he can check performance on the go. It helps to quickly see emerging issues and understand what can wait and what can’t.

All the info, all the time

Armed with new insights and specific guidance from Spotlight, Matt quickly improved database performance. This put an end to user frustration, heavy volume of helpdesk calls – it even gave Matt more time for innovation.

And that’s how Matt went from database administration to project management.

As White puts it, “Spotlight is a tool that enables us to better leverage Matt as a resource and, as importantly, it provides an opportunity for him to grow in his career.”

Plus, it’s pretty great for the company’s bottom line, too.

Spotlight not only improves operations, but it also saves money by eliminating the need to hire more DBAs. Matt says, “Spotlight has enabled us to do more with existing staff and has prevented the need for headcount increases.”

Matt also echoed something I hear a lot from other Spotlight users, adding, “I was more than pleased with Spotlight from day one. In the trials that we did, Spotlight was far and away the most impressive to me, and I have not looked back since.” 

How can you become a DBA hero?

Get yourself a free, 30-day trial of Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise. And if you’re not ready to experience powerful database monitoring that’ll simplify your work, check out Matt’s full story.

Read the Full Story

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