Exceptional DBA Awards 2011

Time has come for the annual Exceptional DBA Awards contest, sponsored by Red Gate and judged by four really exceptional DBAs:

  • Steve Jones                   (blog|twitter)
  • Rodney Landrum            (blog|twitter)
  • Brad McGehee               (blog|twitter)
  • Brent Ozar                   (blog|twitter)

The judges picked their finalists and it would really be hard to choose the winner if I didn’t happen to know one of them.

I won’t talk around it: please vote for Jeff Moden!

I don’t know the other three finalists and I am sure that they really are very good DBAs, probably exceptional DBAs, otherwise they would not have made it to the final showdown. But I have no doubt that Jeff is the one to vote.

There is something that goes beyond being exceptional. I can’t give it a name, but I will try to explain it.

Some years ago, I was working primarily as a developer at a big shoe company and I was one of those “Accidental” DBAs lurking on the SQL Server Central forums struggling to expand their knowledge. I already had a long experience in database development, but, at that time, I also needed to start learning how to take care of my databases. Whenever I had an issue, SQL Server Central had a thread with an answer for me.

One day, I stumbled upon a question and, surprisingly enough, I happened to know the answer. That day, when I hit the “reply” button, I had no idea of the great journey that was ahead of me.

SQL Server Central people are exceptional and the forums are totally addictive. Long story short, I became one of the “regulars”. I could not stay away from the forums and checking the e-mail notifications became part of my morning tasks.

Among the other regulars, there was one folk with a funny signature, a sort of manifesto of the anti-RBAR party. “RBAR”: a made-up word that probably very few people knew at the time, which now is just the right word to say it when you do it “Row By Agonizing Row”!

That guy with the funny signature was one of the most active members and it looked like he spent the whole night posting on the forums (and he probably did). His replies were always smart, spot-on and humorous.

He also had published some articles where he preached avoiding cursors like the plague and replacing them with the T-SQL Swiss army knife “par excellence”: the Tally table.

Needless to say, the folk’s name is Jeff Moden.

His articles are always enlightening and thorough, shipped with the complete code and solid performance demonstration. Jeff’s writing style is unique and engaging: you would recognize one of his articles even if he published under a pseudonym (which he did, actually. Remember Phil McCracken?).

I have never met Jeff in person, but I consider him a good friend. He also helped me write my first article for SSC: his hair must have turned white when he read the first draft and his beard must have grown an inch when he saw my poor English. Nonetheless, his kind words, encouragement and suggestions helped me accomplish that article and I consider him one of the main culprits if now I’m not just a thread-aholic, but I also turned into a blog-aholic.

Jeff deserves your vote, because he is an exceptional person and an exceptional DBA. People like him are more than exceptional: they’re one of a kind. I don’t know the other three finalists, but I want to believe they’re not as exceptional as Jeff, otherwise I would have to feel even more humbled compared to them.

Go vote for Jeff, and, even more important, read his articles. You will find them enjoyable and inspiring.

Posted on July 29, 2011, in SQL Server, SQL Server Central and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Oh my… oh MY! {takes hat off and bows deeply to his benefactor}. Good Sir, your kind and thoughtful observations have left me very nearly speechless. I never expected to be a contender never mind a finalist. If I happen to win this competition, I’ll certainly be deeply honored by the event but that will pale in the light of the wonderful friends like you that I’ve made on this mutual quest for knowledge, understanding, and discovery.

    I don’t know if you’ll understand the term but you have been and continue to be on my “bucket list”. Thank you for your kindness, your continued and lasting friendship, and for sharing your knowledge. I count my blessings and relish the extremely good fortune to having had the opportunity to know and work with Gianluca Sartori, The “SpaghettiDBA”.

  2. Prasanna @ ColdCoffee

    Man.. Gian.. you are the man.. and the man u are vouching for, JEFF, is absolutely an awesome person.. this is one deep blog-posts that i read in a long time.. Why i say this, cuz’ it just comes right from the heart and it is exactly the same sentiments i have for Mr.Jeff B Moden.. Jeff, you are a wonderful person and i sincerely wish you get the Exceptional DBA..

    • Thanks, CC. Now all I have to do is study like the dickens so I can live up to the wonderful things you good folks have said. 😉

  3. The award has been presented and the party is over. It was one heck of a good time and I’m very thankful for being able to go to PASS this year. There were some great sessions and a whole lot of people I met that were on my “bucket-list”.

    Thank all of you for the great honor you’ve given me. Gianluca… I don’t know how many people actually read the very kind words you posted about me but I very much appreciate the effort.

    Even if there were no such thing as the “Exceptional DBA Award”, I’m still a fortunate man for having good friends like all of you.

    –Jeff Moden

    • I really wish I could be there with you at PASS, Jeff. Who knows, maybe some day we will have the chance to meet in person. It would be a great pleasure and honour.

      I don’t know if this post contributed to your award (probably it did not, since it had only 126 views all time and 16 clicks on the vote link), but one thing I know for sure: there was no need for an award to certificate that you’re an Exceptional person.

      You say that you’re a fortunate man, but those like me that were inspired by your hard work and contributions are the real lucky guys.

  4. My word. How time flies. Someday, my bucket list will be satisfied and I’ll finally get to meet you, good Sir!

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