About John Sansom

I’m a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM) of SQL Server. I’ve been working with database technology in a variety of flavors for over fifteen years. I absolutely love what I do and genuinely feel privileged to be a part of our tremendous technology community. Got a question about SQL Server or being a DBA? Ask me!


  1. Hi John ,

    I totally agree with you , I have been in situations where clients did everything manually and once they have been shown the way ,the DBA’s could actually spend more time implementing proper solution rather then fighting fires.


  2. John,

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this. Quite frankly, I don’t quite understand why people don’t automate more. If I have to do something twice I’m going to automate it because it will come back again. I can guarantee it.

    I have to disagree slightly with your response above. I’ve worked in several places where the DBA wouldn’t automate it so that he could appear as a valuable asset to the company. Totally wrong thinking in my opinion. This is also the same person (because of his actions) was too busy to go to training. So now his skills are falling behind.

    Thanks for the article.


  3. I’ve been automating as many dba tasks as possible for quite some time.
    A word of warning though… Don’t automate yourself out of a job.
    I say this because I have…


  4. I just read Noel McKinney’s T-SQL Tuesday post on Automation—he described how a team of Oracle developers he’d been working with wanted to set up this crazy system in C++ instead of using T-SQL, because the latter “wasn’t a serious database system.” Luckily, he convinced them :) manual vs. automation is like walking vs driving, only less pretty.

  5. Phil Helmer says:

    In my work, I often have tight time requirements. But I have learned 2 major lessons related to your premise:

    1. Automate/Document as much as possible on every pass. Even if you don’t have the luxury of doing it all at once, revising and improving every time you do the task eventually starts to have its effect. Remember that automating is, in itself, a form of documentation. Our processes are largely based on a library of T-SQL scripts, so the incremental approach is quite accessible for us. YMMV

    2. It’s not just you, but your team members as well. It could be that you’re directly saving other people some time (“here, run this script, look at the output, and try the load again when you’ve corrected the errors.”). Also, especially for you seniors and team leads, do not underestimate how much time can be regained when the devs and juniors only have to come to you for the truly out-of-the-ordinary situations.

  6. Thanks for the post John! 

    It’s given me some food for thought.  I’m a bugger for not automating the little tasks that take only seconds to perform, simply because they only take seconds.  But these little guys add up to become a right monster!  So starting from tomorrow I’m going to take a step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture by automating some of the smaller tasks that I have to do.

    One of my challenges is that one of our main production servers is not SQL Server, but a very old Informix database.  Imagine a world where LEN() and TOP() don’t exist with horrific join syntax to boot.  Fully automating things is very difficult because of this (no SQL Agent etc), but as a consequence I have learned many workaround skills.  I’m doing extracts out of our Production server to SQL Server, then using that to generate the SQL which can then be used to update Informix.  Although this means that full automation isn’t possible, I have managed to save a lot of time anyway.  So my tip is to use SQL Server to generate SQL!

    • Fantastic news Andy! You’re right it can be tough to get started automating some tasks because they seem so short lived in isolation but as you say the cumulative effect can really add up. Be sure to let us know how you get on. 

      I’ve not had the pleasure of working with Informix myself but it sounds like I’m missing out on some serious fun ;-) Thanks for your comments sir!

  7. Ed Pochinski says:

    I always said, if it moves “Script It”, great article and SO true…

  8. can someone share few Automation Ideas…we have few things automated but need few suggestions on automating new ideas…

    • Sharad – It’s not really practical for others to make suggestions because the key determining factor for you is going to be the environment that you yourself operate within, which only you are familiar with. Instead I propose that you look to identify potential candidates for automation by looking at what tasks/processes you have to repeatedly perform within your environment/role. These are what you might initially consider automating.

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