Interview with Tim Hayes, dbPAL Developer and CEO of IT-Map

Many companies move data between different databases or formats and use SQL Server’s DTS capability. What are the strengths and weaknesses of using DTS for this purpose.

That rather depends what yardstick you choose to measure DTS. Its plus points are that it is integrated, quite powerful, and of course ‘free’. But it really only does the ‘easy jobs’. For instance, it will not automatically sort out referential sequence of tables for loading data. Also it is a ‘one shot’ converter. In real life, database conversions take place over weeks and months, and often the source database continues to be used and modified. That’s real life and you need to be able to cater for it. Also, DTS just deals with a conversion to SQL Server. So if you have Oracle on board and want to go in the other direction, you have to learn and use the Oracle equivalent. There are a number of database conversion products on the market –- some bigger and better than others. Of course I would once again extol the virtues of dbPAL, which overcomes most of the DTS shortcomings and will provide conversion between all the big DBMS types.

Besides the information you have already covered, what other advice can you give to DBAs or developers to help make them more productive?

I think just once in a while, open up to the possibility of innovation and change. Look at how something is or is not being done and ask yourself if there is a better way. Whenever someone says to me ‘It can’t be done’ I always ask ‘Why not’. Time and time again the IT industry has attempted to lay down standards and consolidate. But it soon becomes stale. The real history of IT is one of innovation and change. I left the accounting profession because I found it boring (and could not stand jokes about boring accountants). Let me leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes….

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance- that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”-Herbert Spencer

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