DBAs Bar Door Against

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-08-29 Print this article Print

Big Bad .Net Wolf"> "My particular interest for the past couple of years has been to really think deeply about the big impedance mismatch we have between programming languages, C# in particular, and the database world, like SQL—or, for that matter, the XML world, like XQuery and those languages that exist there," Hejlsberg told Microsoft Watch Editor Mary Jo Foley and eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft during the recent Microsoft Tech Ed conference.

"…When youre learning to program in C#, youre actually not just learning to program in C#. Youre also learning SQL," he said. "Interestingly, weve come to accept that thats just how it is. But it doesnt necessarily have to be that way. The two worlds are actually surprisingly unintegrated."

Microsoft is looking to make progress to fix that the gap between the two worlds, both on the tools side and on the language side, where well see the "Whidbey" release arm programmers with much more code sharing.

Read more here about SQL Server 2005s incredibly cool CLR integration.

So what are DBAs afraid of? A typical scenario is that programmers will write for a development server. The application seems to work well on that setup, so developers move the code over to the production server. Performance takes a nosedive, and it becomes the DBAs responsibility to fix it, according to Kline.

"[DBAs will] look at code in there and say, Youre using a cursor that consumes all sorts of resources it shouldnt have to, so lets change to an alternative [string] that works better," he said. "Now, the DBA traces to a CLR procedure, and when he opens it he doesnt know C#. Its code he doesnt know how to fix, but hes responsible for it."

Thus, many DBAs are at this point deploying a head-in-the-sand strategy to the impending CLR integration, Kline said, as few actively seek to acquire .Net or C# coding skills. "A lot of DBAs are saying, Ill be responsible for that when I know how to use it; when Im familiar with it," he said.

Much of the problem has to do with the fact that .Net is just too hard, Dobson said. "Most IT pro people—Im talking about the DBAs—did not embrace .Net" when it first came out in 2001, he said.

Dobson conjectured that this may be the reason for Microsoft to opt for turning the integrated CLR off by default when it ships the final SQL Server 2005 database. "Many DBAs have expressed concern about this CLR code hanging around their SQL Server databases," he said.

Between .Net being tougher to use than Visual Basic and having the integrated CLR shipped off by default, Dobson predicts that all this integration will be facing a languid adoption rate. "That combination of off by default and concern by DBAs suggests to me that the integrated CLR will get off to a slow start," he said.

Next Page: Will adoption of the integrated CLR in the SQL Server world be hampered?

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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