The Remote DBA

I’ll start this week with a question, which I hope some of you answer in the discussion: would you like to, or do you, work at home the majority of the time?

I remember when I worked in a company and needed to leave my desk and walk to a room somewhere to get some work done on a server console. Some of those rooms were cold rooms, which necessitated me keeping a jacket at my desk. I still remember going to a large company that had cables run from the data center to a couple specific workstations near the administrators’ cubes. At one point we installed a remote IP device allowing us to get to the console of any server without having to walk downstairs, or even use RDP, which was just becoming to Windows machines.

That was the end of my visiting servers in person, and since then, the only times I’ve ever really needed to look at a server was when a critical error prevented me from connecting remotely. Even then, at many of the co-location facilities I’ve contracted with, I could call and have an individual go press a power button. These days, with cloud providers and virtual machines, even that is unnecessary.

Those of us that have worked with SQL Server typically understand that we always make a network connection to work with the server. Even when we’re working on the server console, SSMS, SQLCMD, and more all make a “connection” to the database server. Therefore, is it really necessary that we ever work near a particular system?

I’ve been working from home as a telecommuter for about 8 years. My wife worked in technology from home for nearly 20 years. More and more people are doing so, in fact, there was a piece on Fast Company recently that noted more people work from home than ever before. Unfortunately, this study shows that most people end up working more hours, adding a few from home to the 40 or more they spend at work.

That’s not good, but if we can get some work done at home, why not more? I know meetings and face to face time matter, especially in some jobs, but more and more I find that lots of people that need time working alone could do a portion, perhaps a significant portion, of their work away from the office.

So this week, would you like to do more work from home (or elsewhere)? Do you want more virtual meetings, more communication over email, Slack, Skype, or some other tool? Let me know.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 4.0MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and Mevio . feed

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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6 Responses to The Remote DBA

  1. rsterbal says:

    “Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 4.0MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and Mevio”

    Did you move your podcast from Mevio? The site seems to have stopped working.

  2. way0utwest says:

    I did. Mevio died. I didn’t upload the old ones, but I have newer ones (last year or so) on Libsyn: http://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/voiceofthedba

  3. yazalpizar says:

    I started working remotely about a year ago and I can’t be more happy. Don’t need to spend time driving (on my case cycling) going to the office. I indeed put more hours, even on weekends, on “dead hours” of the day. But I also manage myself better, so maybe at midday I can have lunch with my wife or take 1h to go the bank or alike. Later on I can regain those hours working at night or whenever I want. Is a win-win situation for both me and my employer.

  4. ArmorDba says:

    I started working full time from home a year and half ago. I am so remote, that I work on the other side of the USA from my company. I do fly back quarterly to the office. It has worked out very well. I do have to watch the work/life balance but it is all good. I hope I never have to go back to an office full time or the majority of the time.

  5. Norm Enger says:

    I have worked from home full time for 8 years after working the first year with my company on premise, and it has worked out great for both me and my company. In my case, I needed to move across country for personal/family reasons, and my employer offered the opportunity, which is the part that worked out great for me. It worked out for the company in that it was able to retain a valuable employee. Like you, I don’t have to touch physical servers because “I have people for that” (tongue in cheek) and most of our infrastructure is virtualized. In my case, the tools I have relied on include VPN, a broadband internet connection, a desktop PC co-located in my old office, to which I can remote in for work, cell phone, email, large HD TV as my display, comfortable office chair, ottoman to prop my feet, and currently Skype for Business for instant messaging and meetings (but only rarely video conferencing). In my situation, flexibility of my work from home schedule as a benefit is not as much a factor, since my arrangement requires me to work the at the same time as my in-office colleagues. I.e., even though I live in Arizona, I work east coast hours. The company has taken steps to make my arrangement as transparent as possible to my coworkers, such as giving me a work phone number and extension that automatically roll over to my cell phone, to the extent that some may not even be aware I work remotely. The biggest keys to making this arrangement work so well for so long have been disciplined work habits, and excellent communication by all modes available with both my manager and coworkers. Telecommuting full time is not ideal for every employee or employer, but I feel grateful every day for having been given the opportunity, and I do my best to make the best of it every day.

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