Up next in my 5 Questions series is an interview with a dog-rescuing, SAN-loving DBA from Minnesota – Amanda Crisp (linkedin | twitter | blog).

Amanda and I have gone back and forth across the border to the Madison and Minneapolis SQL Saturdays many times, and always make sure to catch up. She’s one of the sharpest DBAs I know, and, much like Meagan, another dog-lover!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a cosmologist. Lots of adults thought I meant “cosmetologist” and there was a lot of confusion for a while. Then a veterinarian, an Olympic ice skater and a war correspondent.

What’s your job title, and what do you do every day/week?

I am a “Sr. SQL Server DBA.” I troubleshoot a variety of homegrown and 3rd party applications, which means analyzing SQL server errors, digging into the code, error logs, virtualization environment and actual hardware. I start each day by logging onto my V-Center, our SAN administration tool, our SQL monitoring tool, and scanning my emails for specialized errors and alerts I’ve set up. I do a lot of capacity planning.

Every day is different, and I love it.

Let’s talk SANs. To most DBAs, they are a black box, but you’ve embraced them. What is the best way for DBAs to learn more about them?

ASK. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know how it works. I’ve found most SAN admins to be very forthcoming – like a lot of technology professionals, they love talking about what they do. It is all in the approach – imagine the difference between people who ask you “why” when their agenda is really to shift blame to the DBA, and those who obviously really want to understand how it works. “How does it work?” is a much better approach than “why”. Also: don’t ask “why” in the middle of an outage. Very important. 😉

You love rescuing dogs! Tell me a little bit more about some of the dogs you’ve had.

I could go on forever. I used to work mainly with Rottweilers, and had quite a few interesting fosters. I ended up keeping Belle, who had a pretty miserable existence until she came to stay “temporarily” with me. She was an amazing dog, and after all the awful things that had happened to her she wanted nothing more than to jump into a lap and cuddle.

I had an extremely LARGE fellow for a few nights. I used to have a utility room which was perfect for the first few nights a foster stayed – nothing at ground level to get into, just the washer and dryer. I walked in the next morning to find a 100 pound dog sleeping peacefully on top of the drying machine.

If you weren’t in technology, what completely different career would you choose, regardless of schooling required or salary earned?

Bookstore clerk. I did it for 2 years, and spending every day talking about books was wonderful.