Paul Randal On The Involuntary DBA

Richard and I talk to Paul Randal about the involuntary DBA — those folks that end up being the DBA without previous training or expectations. Kim Tripp (Paul’s wife) pops in here and there to support her husband’s ideas. Check out Paul’s blog.

Paul S. Randal is the Managing Director of SQLskills.com, which he runs with his wife Kimberly L. Tripp. Paul started in the industry in 1994 working for DEC on the VMS file system and its check/repair tools (the equivalent of chkdsk for NTFS. In 1999 he moved to Microsoft to work on SQL Server, specifically on DBCC. For SQL Server 2000, he concentrated on index fragmentation — well, removing it! — writing both DBCC INDEXDEFRAG and DBCC SHOWCONTIG, plus various algorithms in DBCC CHECKDB to support it being able to run online. Paul then spent the first 3 years of SQL Server 2005 development rewriting the DBCC CHECKDB and repair code-base, gaining extensive insight into disaster recovery scenarios and problems through close partnership with the SQL Server PSS (Product Support) group.

Paul spent the remaining two years of SQL Server 2005 development leading/managing a 9-person development team in the Core Storage Engine. His team was responsible for data access and storage (DBCC, space allocation, indexes & heaps, pages & records, text/LOB storage, snapshot isolation, bulk load etc). For SQL Server 2008, Paul decided to put his customer passion to better use and switch to a Program Management role within the Storage Engine team — first with responsibility for the entire Storage Engine for a year, and then with a narrower, more hands-on focus on the Core Storage Engine. This involved both feature set definition plus customer and partner engagements. It was during this phase of Paul’s career that he first started public speaking, with his first session being on DBCC Internals at TechEd US 2006. This was also where he met Kimberly, and they were subsequently married July 29th 2007.

In 2007, after 8.5 years on the SQL Server team, Paul left Microsoft to join Kimberly running SQLskills.com and pursuing his new-found passion for presenting and consulting. Paul regularly presents at conferences and user groups around the world on high-availability, disaster recovery, database maintenance, and Storage Engine internals.