SQL Quiz #5: SANs, Whack-A-Mole, and Code Monkeys.

So Chris Shaw is at it once again, keeping the SQL Server community on the balls of it feet as opposed to the other way around I hope!  by making us think about what others think we do.  He has challenged us to explain Database Mirroring to the non-IT folk out there.  He also asked us our opinion on whether we thought our SAN solution was solid.  Well gee, first someone needs to explain SAN to me in common-folk wordlie-doos!  He tagged Brent Ozar, who in turn tagged myself, Tom LaRock, and Jason Massie, the old Bacon Bits and Bytes crew.

Seriously though which means absolutely no seriousness will follow I feel my SAN solution is as good as I’m going to get.  Like so many of us out there we’ve been forced into the BIG BLOCK O’ SANNAGE whereby we are allotted massive chunks of RAID 5 from our even-more-massiver RAID 5 SAN.  This is not the dedicated, separate LUNs we DBAs long for where we can place logs on RAID 1+0 and data on RAID 5.  Nope it’s all RAID 5 and even though we can have different mapped drives for our SAN allocation for logs and data it all derives from the same chunk. 

The second challenge posed by Chris: explain Database Mirroring in common terms really depends upon the audience.  Therefore I’ve listed a few options below:

Target Audience: Kids

—>  Mirroring is like that Whack-A-Mole game.  Y’know, the one where you beat on the heads of hapless plastic moles with a little pillow on a stick corded to the machine so your Daddy doesn’t take home the stick to use with Mommy when you go to bed so it isn’t stolen?  If done right, Mirroring means that when the Server Gods pound on your SQL Server and it goes down, your other SQL Server that looks just like it pops up somewhere else so your users can pound on it until it goes down and the old one pops back up.  If done wrong though, the databases don’t end up looking the same and your mole over here (look left and down) may look like a ferret while your mole over here (look right and up a bit) may need to be seen by a doctor for possible early signs of melanoma.


Target Audience: Non-Tecnical Wives, Husbands, Boyfriends, or Girlfriends

—-> Blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, SQL, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Mirroring, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, so I don’t have to work late fixing the down server, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.


Target Audience: High School Physics Students

—->  It’s like when that dude Shroeder took a break from playing piano for that Lucy chick and stuck his cat in a box with some drugs.  Everyone knew there was a cat it the box (and that Shoeder was not to be trusted with his dad’s weed stash, but no one knew if the cat was dead or not.  On second thought it’s nothing like that. 


Target Audience: Musicians

—->  Mirroring is like paying your buddy Lou that you’ve know since High School go out on tour with you with the sole purpose of tossing you out a new guitar if you break a string.  The second guitar looks just like the first and if done right, it’s tuned to match the first.  Only a couple seconds of downtime and you’re back to shredding.  Plus it gives Lou some spending cash.  He’s not been the same since that high cat took out his left eye his sophmore year.  Even a one-eyed, tone-deaf burnout with Ailurophobia can mirror a SQL Database.


Target Audience: 1,000,000 Monkeys

—->  You know when you’ve been pounding away on keyboards for an infinite amount of time and the server goes down?  You have to start all over, right?  Well if the system you were using was mirrored you would only be hung up for a couple seconds and then right back to pounding away without any further hassle.  Now get back to work Code Monkey and finish building the software for that Oliva Wilde fembot you’ve been tasked with building.


Target Audience: Dogs

—-> It’s like when we play that ball game together where I fake the ball throw and you go after a phantom ball.  Only you end up finding a ball in the yard where I faked the throw.  Both balls look exactly the same, but you can only play with one at a time.  Speaking of that… here we trudge on Bacon Bits and Bytes territory… (treading lightly)


Target Audience: Porn Stars

—->  It’s like when you answer the door for the pizza guy and he sees you and your girlfriend obviously not able to pay because you have nowhere to store cash in your current state of undress.  Only one of you can repay him at a time for the pizza (in this scene) but if done correctly all users are satisfied with only limited interruption in connectivity, and no one calls it a failover.

I’m not sure who has been tagged on this, but I’ll push this exercise off onto Joe WebbGrant Fritchey, and Gail Shaw, because I always value what they have to offer!