Tom LaRock, head geek at SolarWinds (www.solarwinds.com), has more than 20 years of IT experience, and is a Microsoft Certified Master, VMware vExpert, Microsoft Certified Trainer, and a 10-time Microsoft Data Platform MVP.
Articles by Thomas LaRock
2022 was a big year for observability. Many businesses made concerted efforts to gain a better understanding of its value. Leading technology research firms applauded its potential impact to simplify increasingly complex IT environments, with Gartner featuring observability in its "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends" report. Analysts predicted a bright future for the technology, with some suggesting observability adoption would increase at a compound annual growth of 8.2%.
Posted April 13, 2023
The British royal family safeguards its crown jewels—the treasures held by the English monarchy comprising more than 100 objects estimated to be worth billions—with world-class security systems, including two-ton steel doors and bomb-proof glass. When the crown jewels are transported or moved, such as for a royal wedding or the recent coronation ceremony, they are guarded closely by elite, ex-military members at all times—with access restricted to only a few security-cleared individuals.
Posted December 08, 2022
British mathematician Clive Humby famously said in 2006 that "Data is the new oil." In the 16 years since, companies of all sizes have drilled for and stored more and more data about their customers and business operations to drive performance and growth to reach their goals. In conjunction with the increased use of the consumer internet, data creation has exploded in recent years—considering the majority of the world's data collected over the course of human history has occurred in just the last two years alone. As a result, entire businesses and industries have been built solely on having access to unique and useful data.
Posted October 06, 2022
Working with databases causes friction. On one side, nontechnical managers want data pros to skip the jargon and clearly describe their needs. On the other side, data pros wish their managers had a deeper understanding of the tech involved. Nontechnical managers may think they need to understand the technology better and get into the weeds to close this inherent trust gap. But this isn't the case—managers are busy tracking resource allocations, Gantt charts, project plans, and punch lists. They must also fill open slots, upskill employees, and keep people from falling prey to the Great Resignation.
Posted August 11, 2022
Data plays a vital role in any successful business. Protecting this data is mission-critical, and it falls to database administrators (DBAs) to organize, maintain, and secure it. The most effective way for DBAs to protect data is through database backups, a process designed to copy the data and schema from an existing database and save it elsewhere for future retrieval. Like any process in IT, however, there are a few factors to consider when devising a database backup strategy to ensure it meets your business needs.
Posted June 02, 2022
Most database administrators know database servers didn't initially come in a cloud or cluster. Once upon a time, DBAs had to reconfigure disk files and handle data manually. Now, with virtualization and the shift toward the cloud, the evolution of database administration yields more opportunities to automate tasks and fewer reasons for DBAs to get their hands dirty.
Posted February 08, 2022
Modern businesses make decisions based on data that's been carefully collected, extracted, formatted, and analyzed. Data powers competitiveness, brings new products to the marketplace, and improves the customer experience. The use cases are nearly endless, but there's a catch: Working with all that data is becoming increasingly complex.
Posted October 05, 2021
The global pandemic has forced companies to pivot over the past year in significant ways. Whether it was transitioning to a remote workforce or reimagining how to interact with customers, digital transformation initiatives within businesses were happening tenfold. As part of that, the pandemic notably accelerated corporate planning for cloud computing.
Posted August 02, 2021
Traditional DBAs who have spent a lot of time with all the nerd knobs at their disposal need to think more about the movement of data. Instead of thinking in terms of data administration—and running the risk of becoming redundant—they should become more familiar with how data moves in and out of their enterprises.
Posted June 10, 2021
Remember, all data is dirty—you won't be able to make all of it perfect. Your focus should be on making it good enough to pass along to the next person. The first step is to examine the data and ask yourself, "Does this data make sense?" Data should tell a story or answer a question. Make sure your data does, too. Then, before you do anything else, make a copy—or backup—of your data before you make the smallest change.
Posted April 06, 2021
Slow is the new broke. But things don't have to be slow to be broke. A poor user experience with your online ordering system will hurt your bottom line.
Posted February 10, 2021
COVID-19 is accelerating the drive toward SaaS apps and cloud adoption, and many companies are now adopting a hybrid cloud approach. Most are going about their transformation wisely, with experienced personnel who are measured in their approach. But we've all heard of companies going dark when a cloud provider did the unthinkable and went down: Everything was great until it wasn't.
Posted December 10, 2020
Citrix and Microsoft have a complicated history, but they've recently taken their relationship to new heights by announcing an extension of their partnership to help businesses better manage a remote workforce. Since the pandemic began, CIOs have been looking for ways to bring the office experience to the home and in the process put their enterprises anywhere. At the same time, CFOs are wondering just how to do so with the evolution of OpEx subscription options.
Posted October 08, 2020
Even before the IT elements of data optimization begin, aligning organizational culture around a data-driven mindset will be a major challenge. Making the case for data optimization is important. Even before the IT elements of data optimization begin, aligning organizational culture around a data-driven mindset will be a major challenge. Making the case for data optimization is important.
Posted April 08, 2020
Hard skills, while still valuable, are only part of the necessary skill set to be successful as a data professional. But hard skills have a ceiling. Hard skills can be replaced. Soft skills have no ceiling and offer more value than many hard skills.
Posted October 01, 2019
Quantum computing will bring unprecedented advances in medicine, science, and mathematics—knowledge currently out of reach. Many secrets of the universe are on the verge of discovery. But, are we ready for everything to be unlocked? Are we prepared to manage what comes with quantum computing's limitless architecture?
Posted June 10, 2019
Managing business-critical databases is no easy task even for experienced DBAs, so for IT pros who might be new to the role—and likely already wear multiple other hats within their organization—it can be a challenging endeavor to say the least. Here are the 5 key areas that IT pros who have found themselves in the position of accidental DBAs should focus on.
Posted August 12, 2014