Skill Up or Give Up: Azure Data Studio or Bust

One of the things I have found over the years is that it is easy to get into a rut and do things “the way I’ve always done them.” While this is perfectly natural, it also leads to a degradation of skills over time. Even more importantly, there may be a MUCH easier way to do something with newer tools or techniques.

A great example of this is going back to when SQL 2005 was released. This was a massive change to SQL Server with the introduction of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Dynamic Management Objects (i.e. DMVs and DMFs) and much more. For those of us who had been using the product for quite some time, getting rid of Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer was big deal and a steep learning curve.

DMVs were even worse. To this day I still find myself querying old system tables such as sysfiles or sysprocesses when I’m not thinking about it. In fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did not really focus on using DMVs and upgrading those skills until 2008 or so when I attended a pre-conference workshop on DMVs given by Kevin Kline (Twitter).

What does this have to do with being a DBA in 2021? Everything. We have seen massive changes to the Microsoft Data Platform over the last 5-10 years — PowerShell, Azure, other cloud platforms, and the advent of technologies such as NoSQL databases and Big Data to name a few.

In 2018, Microsoft released Azure Data Studio (ADS). ADS is a fork of Visual Studio Code, so if you’ve used that at all it will be very familiar. Like many others, I have not been super fast to adopt and start using it.

In the spirit of skilling up, my co-worker Scott Klein and I were discussing this a couple of weeks ago and we hatched a plan: For the next 30 days, we are both going to force ourselves to use ADS for everything we do.

Then, on March 17th, Scott will host a Webinar on SSMS vs. ADS and what our experience has been. Watch for a blog from Scott in the next day or two for background on this battle of the apps.

Fasten your seat belts! This is going to be a blast.


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