Today, let me introduce you to Mike Fal (blog | twitter | linkedin). His blog header says a lot about him – it shows a pile of SQL books and a trombone – but it isn’t everything. First, it can’t show his sense of humor, or love of a good beer. Second, it doesn’t convey that he’s one of the smartest and most helpful PowerShell users I know. Mike even has his own GitHub repository of helpful POSH scripts!
Let’s chat with Mike…
Mike, what’s your job title, and what does that mean? What do you do every day?
I’m a “Senior SQL Server DBA” at Xero (http:://www.xero.com), but it’s not really not an accurate description of what I do. Right now I’m more of an architect, helping design Xero’s SQL Server footprint for AWS. This involves a lot of design, planning, and research. I still get my hands dirty with tech because we use a lot of Powershell to manage and deploy the platform. However, because I’m still a DBA, I will get involved with troubleshooting things when they break.
You’re a musician. Tell me a little about that – what you play, how long you’ve been playing, what groups you play with.
Ah, my “secret shame”. My college degree is Bachelor of Music Performance, Bass Trombone. (Yes, I got a B.M.) I’ve been playing now for about 25 years, starting in 7th grade and still going strong today. I currently play with two groups, Zing The Great Big Band (http://www.zingbigband.com/) and the Lakewood Symphony Orchestra (http://lakewoodsymphony.org/). Music is a vital part of my life. I love tech and it’s great for putting food on the table, but music feeds my soul.
There’s actually a lot of musicians in the tech world, especially in our community. What we do attracts musicians, because database work is very much an art form. The phrase “it depends” speaks to this, because while we have rules and best practices, we often have to craft a solution specific to our needs. With music, we play what’s written on the paper, but musicians will add and enhance that with their own style.
PowerShell – you knew this one was going to come up! Why do you love it and advocate for it so much?
I, like many others, am lazy. I don’t want to get stuck doing tedious tasks and when I fix a problem, I want to fix it the first time. In IT, there’s a lot of work that’s repetitive. If something is repetitive, it can be automated. Enter Powershell. Many seasoned DBAs already have their library of SQL scripts for doing work and checking things, but that’s limited to a SQL Server. Powershell works outside the “stack”, letting us script and automate so much more and giving us a more graceful way to perform a lot of tasks. I don’t think *everything* should be done in Powershell, nor is it a replacement for SQL, but when you combine SQL and Powershell you can do some pretty cool things.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three books do you want with you?
This is Your Brain on Music (http://daniellevitin.com/publicpage/books/this-is-your-brain-on-music/) was an amazing read. If you’re curious about how music affects us and how we process it, you need to read this book.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy (http://www.amazon.com/Hitchhikers-Guide-Galaxy-Douglas-Adams/dp/0345391802) just fits me. I love the humor, I love the randomness, and I love how it turns your thinking a bit on its ear.
Dune (http://www.amazon.com/Dune-Frank-Herbert-ebook/dp/B00B7NPRY8) is one of those few books I think everyone should read. This book is a ground breaking piece of science fiction, pushing the genre beyond where it was when the book was published. Plus, it’s really fun.
Should I move to Colorado, and why?
Because it’s awesome! 300 days plus of sunshine is a great start, making it an outdoorsy kind of state. Lots of great hiking, biking, skiing, running, etc. For a big city, it also doesn’t feel that crowded. We’re pretty laid back out here and we LOVE good beer. Sure, it’s dry and we don’t have any major bodies of water, but I can live without that.
Well, what do you know…I have a tattoo inspired by Dune (the Litany Against Fear), and I definitely want to move to Colorado! Make sure you say hi to Mike when you see him at a user group, SQL Saturday, conference, or Zing The Great Big Band Performance!