I don’t know how many of you receive the SQLskills Insider email (sign up here), but if you know me, you know I’m a fan of SQLskills so of course I’m on the distribution list. Anyway, in Monday’s email Paul Randal talked about application vendors and how he frequently hears about incorrect configuration recommendations made by vendors that utilizes SQL Server as their RDBMS. One example that Paul gave is the recommendation to shrink the database on a regular basis. Since I work for a vendor, the topic hit close to home, and my immediate thought was, “Is there anything we’re recommending that is incorrect?” I don’t think so. And I say that because I have written a majority of our database documentation and have personally reviewed some of those recommendations with experts within the community. I do believe we do a good job of not only providing recommendations, but including explanations as to why we have certain recommendations.
However, I am not infallible and if I had recommended something that was not in line with a Microsoft best practice or other well-known recommendation, I would want to know. And this was Paul’s call to action in the email:
Next time you come across some guidance from a vendor that is clearly wrong or misleading, call them on it! Education is the key to getting things like this fixed.
I completely agree. If I am wrong, I want to know. And if I am wrong and spreading misinformation to thousands of customers, I absolutely must know about it. But I do have one request: be nice about it. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong. I won’t be happy with myself, but I will admit it and will be appreciative, even if someone is very smug or condescending. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a civil way to point out when someone is wrong – this is true in life, not just vendor recommendations. As a DBA, you wouldn’t like me too much if I pointed out that your backups were going to the same set of disks as your database and then said, “What were you thinking?”
So when you do find an error, get your data, present your case, and view the discussion as a partnership. You’re trying to help the vendor, and hopefully they will recognize that and realize the value in you as a DBA and customer. I truly enjoy some of the relationships I have developed with customer DBAs on both a personal and professional level. And on a professional level, that relationship can benefit both parties. They have a direct line to me and can email questions, I have a direct line to them and can ask them to check something in their database, or try something in their environment if they’re willing. Is that relationship atypical? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely.