Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Working in the financial industry

I worked at Sammons Financial Group for almost 7 years, first as the only DBA for the annuity division, later as part of the enterprise DBA team.  Besides working way too long days, this was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of SQL.  Worked with some very talented people on both the .NET side and the SQL side, created some applications from some crazy specifications, and had 80 or so databases on one server.

Got my feet wet with the use of SSIS and SSAS, snuck in the use of SSRS while none was looking.  SSRS turned out to be highly liked by the user base, for once they could get ok looking reports fairly quickly, and they could set up their own schedules for when they wanted them and how to have them delivered.  Win.

After I had run SSRS for the Annuity division for about a year, the enterprise decided to do so as well.  They paid for a consultant to take a look at what they needed for hardware etc., without consulting me.  The specs they gave him for how many reports at the enterprise level was 100, at that time I had over 150 reports just for one division.  Fail.

During my years at Sammons I upgraded the annuity division from SQL 2000 to SQL 2005, and finally to 64 bit SQL 2008.  What a relief to be on 64 bit after dealing with too little memory for so many years.  Our production server went from 4 GB to 32, then to 64+.  Since we had a somewhat subpar SAN, keeping the caches warm for hours instead of seconds was a major plus.

Being the only DBA in charge of a division took it's toll on my life, and I decided a change was needed since one did not occur internally when they where given a chance.  The market in Des Moines is fairly small, especially if you do not want to work for any of the banks located there.  A few years earlier I had been in Chattanooga, TN on a motorcycle vacation that my wife insisted I go on.  I think she might have had ulterior motives!  So we started looking at cities within riding distance of the Blue Ridge mountains.  Soon I received an offer from AgData in Charlotte, NC.

This finally brings us to today.  Part of a team of 7 developers, 2 DBAs, working with a single client (it's a large client).  For the first time part of a team where the other DBA is competent, and we both can cover 100% for each other when the other is out.  Been MANY years since I could take a vacation for 2 weeks and leave my work behind completely with no worries about there being a meltdown waiting for me.  Even to the point that I went to Norway over Christmas 2014 in the middle of a large project, a project I was responsible for moving to production a week after coming back.  Very nice!

So here we are, up to date with where I am at.  Hopefully found a city we want to live in for a long time.  Weather is nice, not as hot as Texas was, nor as cold as Iowa was.  Yet we have 4 seasons.

Here is the reason why I love living in this area, best motorcycle roads pretty much anywhere.

Now that you know a few things about me, on to talking about SQL!


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