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Introducing Shawn Ferris, DBA

By on December 8, 2012 in Profiles with 6 Comments

So this Tyner guy invites me to contribute on his blog and I’m thinking, what could I possibly have to offer an engineering/design blog!? Then he starts bragging about his site’s statistics.. Over 100,000 members (dave: Did I say that?? It’s closer to 4,000 but if you round up…), 20+ million hits a year, blah, blah, blah.. like that’s supposed to mean anything! Errr.. wait.. That’s pretty damn impressive actually! What really sold me though, was how awesome he says you all are!

So, what the heck.. I still don’t know what I can possibly have to offer anyone, but I do know a thing or two about databases! 😉

Anyway, I am Shawn, and I am a geek. (First step is to admit you have a problem) 😉 I’ve held a variety of IT positions over the years, mostly in systems and database administration.

As a system administrator, I’ve primarily managed Unix systems frequent appearances from the likes of Linux, Solaris and HP/UX. I’ve also done administration on legacy stuff , like AIX, Ultrix, Minix, Sequent, SCO (Boooo!) and probably some others that I’ve forgotten by now, and of course I’ve gotta give a shout out to VMS too. (A close 2nd to Unix in my personal favorites) All of my machines at home are running Linux and I’m no stranger to having root access. I do have a few windows desktops, but I spend the majority of my time in Linux.

I’ve been with Linux, basically since it was born. I had just started a new company that was primarily Unix, and I hadn’t had any previous experience with the OS. So, like any self respecting geek, I was on the lookout for something I could play with and learn at home. So, I fired up the old uucp link, grabbed the latest usenet feeds and found me a Minix group! A few weeks (months?) later, Linus announces his little old project he is working on and a fan was born! (IIRC, at the time, my copy fit entirely on a 3 1/2″ floppy and basically had bash and no multi-user capabilities) Anyway, since then, I can’t remember a time that I’ve been without, and really can’t imagine life without it. (Now I carry it in my back pocket.. who’da thunk?)

Fast forward to today, and I’m now a database guy. (Database Engineer) My current arsenal of DBMS’s include: MSSql, MySQL, Oracle, SQLite (and SQLCipher), Sybase and Vertica. I am definitely the most proficient in Oracle, but actively manage them all. I’m also starting to dive into the Amazon Cloud database offerings too. In fact, I don’t know what the Autodesk conference is named (I think I gleaned AU somewhere), but I was attending Amazon’s first annual re:Invent conference in Vegas at the same time. I’m guessing we unknowingly crossed paths there somewhere, if you attended.

I also do a LOT of programming, both for work and as a hobby. I started in Basic and have used too many to name since (Fortran, Cobal, RPGII to name a few), but am currently writing mostly in Perl, PL/SQL, Java, really enjoying Vala at the moment, and Shell. (Bash, Ksh, etc.. can’t run a unix dbms without it) I understand C, but I could never justify learning it, so I never really did. Vala helps to bridge that gap, and since I’m a GNOME’r, it’s a natural fit.

Anyway.. TMI.. Basically, just wanted to say Hi! I’ll try to hang out in the Forums (Nick: virtualSMF) from time to time, probably closer to the SQL topics of course. If there’s something I can answer, and I get to it fast enough, you can be sure that I will.

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About the Author

About the Author: Shaw is an (Ice) Hockey loving, electronics tinkering, computer programming, badass database superhero (BDBAS). He works mainly with MSSql, MySQL, Oracle, SQLite (and SQLCipher), Sybase and Vertica Programming Languages: (Perl, PL/SQL, Java and Vala. Shell Scripting too! .


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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jason D says:

    Hi Shawn, Just checking out the new blog and read your post. As I was traveling back from Autodesk University (AU) this year I kept noticing AWS knapsacks and other swag. Now I know why!


  2. dave says:

    Great to have you on board, Shawn! I am not sure I will be able to keep up with your awesomeness, but I look forward to trying!

  3. Aaron W says:

    Hey Shawn, Welcome! I really look forward to your blog. I really know that stuff like joins in SQL transact statements really hang me up and are probably a snap for you. Maybe an idea for an early topic 😉

  4. Troy says:

    Welcome to the blog Shawn. Looks like you’ve got some great experience and knowledge to offer, look forward to reading your posts.

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