Shop Talk: 2022-04-10

The Recording

The Panelists

  • Kevin Feasel
  • Mike Chrestensen

Notes: Questions and Topics

Caring about GCP

I started off with a ramble around a comment I made on the SQL Data Partners podcast: that you’d have to pay me to learn about Google Cloud Platform. Someone reached out to me to ask for more info and if that meant that I dislike GCP or something.

The short version is no, I have no ill feelings toward GCP. Neither do I have positive feelings toward it. It fits squarely into a purposeful blind spot for me, which comes about because the opportunity cost of learning something is the value of learning the next-best alternative. In other words, there’s only a certain number of hours in the day to learn things, so I’m going to prioritize things I find interesting, things which are easy for me to pick up, or things which (eventually?) make me money. Azure I know because I get free credits and get paid to know it well. AWS I know because I’ve worked in jobs where they’ve paid me to know enough about it. I’ve never had anyone pay me to learn GCP, so there’s no external incentive. If a customer came to me and said that they were switching to GCP and would like me to learn it, then yeah, I’d pick it up and see how things differ from Azure and AWS. But otherwise, it’s not on my radar.

Now, one thing I didn’t get into is that philosophically, I do find value in the learning equivalent of “wandering aimlessly.” I’m the type of person who would walk up and down the aisles in university libraries, not looking for a specific book but just willing to let whatever drew my attention guide me. This style of learning doesn’t always pay off, though I’ve found its hit rate is a lot higher than you’d first expect. So even if nobody pays me, there is a chance that someday I pick up GCP and try out some things. But the probability is still low—there are a lot of books on those shelves.

Draft Flag Driven Development

Mala pointed out a link to this Alex Bunardzic article on what he calls Draft Flag Driven Development. It took me a bit of discussion in chat and noodling through the idea to figure out the problem that I have with it. I do understand that, for many companies, the signal from code in a test environment succeeding (or failing) is not an extremely strong indicator of production succeeding or failing. But the big concern I have with this style of development is the risk of “not only did I break this thing, but I also broke a bunch of other stuff along the way” problems, where reverting back to the prior release isn’t enough—think catastrophic data failure or sending permanent changes to a third party provider.

Ordered Columnstore Indexes in SQL Server 2022

Ed Pollack has a great article on ordered columnstore indexes in SQL Server 2022. We walked through the article in detail, covering scenarios where columnstore itself works well, where ordered columnstore indexes are useful, and some of the pitfalls you might hit when using this feature.

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