Asking for Help

I always think it’s a great idea to ask for help. When I was a kid, my parents taught me that it’s always a good idea to ask for help – the worst that will happen is they’ll say no. In IT there is too much to learn so I always think it’s a great idea to ask for help – knows this and so is often one of the 50 most visited websites in the world.

Recently I ran sp_blitz from Brent Ozar on our SQL Server and it came back that checkdb hadn’t been run on a number of databases for a long long time. I noticed that all of the databases that were listed were read only.

I was quite worried as we have been running Ola Hallengren’s checkdb maintenance script every night on all databases on the server and we hadn’t had any errors – has it really been running? Has it been failing and I just haven’t noticed? I double checked the jobs and they looked fine. I then ran checkdb manually on the databases and then rechecked sp_blitz – they still reported not having checkdb run! The script must be wrong!

So I fired an email off to Brent and the team and asked why sp_Blitz wasn’t working. Within a few hours, the Brent Ozar team had replied to my email explaining why sp_Blitz was was reporting CheckDB not being run1, a demo script on how to prove that everything was ok,  instructions on how to configure sp_Blitz to ignore that warning for particular databases, and also explaining why I should keep running CheckDB on the read-only database! Erik has turned the answer into a blog post you can read over on their site.

I am always surprised by how willing people are to help. The Brent Ozar team provided sp_Blitz for free – probably months or years of man hours have gone into that script and they just hand it out to everyone. On top of that, they answer emails from a nobody from a country that does stuff upside-down (read the blog post). Brent’s team also do a weekly live webcast that you can attend for free to ask your questions and have them answered. If, like me, getting up at 3am for a webcast each week is a bit too much, you can podcast it on your way to the office (2 days before the recording happens apparently).

This isn’t an ad for Brent, and I know that there are 100’s of experts in SQL who do this type of stuff for free every day. I wouldn’t know what little I know today if it wasn’t for these people sharing their wealth of knowledge for free. There are people who respond to twitter questions, there’s a great slack community, there’s dba.stackexchange, there’s heaps of blogs, basically just heaps of people around the world ready and waiting to help you if only you ask – and the worst they’ll do to you is not answer.


Lesson for me to remember in the future: always be ready to ask for help


1: Turns out sp_blitz is working as expected, when a SQL database is read-only the flag that indicates when checkdb last ran doesn’t get updated (part of being read-only I guess).

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