This month is hosted by Andy Leonard (b|t). Andy invites us to share our thoughts on how we deal with technology changing as we are working on our projects. This invitation didn’t take long to spark some inspiration.
The only stability in your life is continuous change.
This is mainly because my current projects revolve around Azure. And if there’s anything subject to change… But it’s not just the technology updates on Azure that keep changing and challenging. The way our customers learn is a large factor as well. They read stuff online (good and bad) and try it out. Usually the results are benign, sometimes you need to have a meeting with the customer to explain things. And that’s perfectly normal, they are learning, just as we are.
The fun starts when Azure starts changing things. One of the most changing elements I’ve seen is the security portal. We use it on a weekly basis to check on the baselines . But during the period of about three quarters of a year, the interface has changed at least three times, as has the security score. The contents of what is measured in the security score is changing constantly as well. Things are moved in and out on a regular basis. So you need to work out your own baseline for security and check that against the security centre to add things you might have missed.
One of the major things that has changed on a database level in Azure in the last months is the data classification. Last year, this was a major point in the security assessment of the database. Until I started a case with Microsoft when the data classification process started, but never returned results, or incorrect results. Even on a Hyperscale database. Granted, over 100.000 columns to check but even then I’d expect the process to be able to finish. The command line only offered a schema filter to apply suggested changes. There was no filter to select only one schema. This meant that at every run, the entire database got scanned and that process took too long.
After much discussion (and finding out our database was on Hyperscale but not really), the support team (who were awesome in working to find solutions to our problems) told me that the data classification was to be removed from the security assessment. The due date is somewhere beginning Q3.
Now, this is just one example, relatively benign. But is a change you need to be aware of. But changes can occur on a deeper level as well. Did you know that your database will get a different object_name when you scale up or down? We didn’t either until some parts of our monitoring broke (blog about that coming soon). Changes are everywhere, not just in data. Not just in meta data. Not just in GUI’s. Not just in portals. Not just in your or my job.
When I started at my employer almost ten years ago, we were working with SAP tooling, both front- and back-end. During those ten years, we started working with Qlik, TimeXtender, Jedox and Azure. And we had to keep up with the technology, the changes, the different approaches to data, to visualisation. There might be a breakthrough in technology tomorrow “that will change everything”. We’ll need to adapt that technology to be able to judge it. If we can.
But you can’t keep up with all technologies. One of my co-workers tried to get to grips with everything Azure. He gave up after two weeks because he saw it’s way too much. You can recognize all the parts and what they can do for you, but you can’t be a specialist in all those things.
I started with a quote I’ve heard and used a lot. Everything changes. Constantly. Some changes are good, some are bad, some make no difference. But you have to keep up in some way. You’re the only one who can decide what your best way is.
For me, it’s filtering out the things that help me in my speciality or the immediate neighbours. In other words, databases and ETL are my speciality with the neighbours of security, VM’s and networking. I’m not into function apps, nicely designed front-ends and all those things. There are others who can try and keep up with the changes in that area.
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