It was a pleasure to find out it was a Long Int not an Int

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Personal Experiences

Within many enterprise environments we DBA’s support not only the I.T. but also our business areas. Many times we find ourselves isolated from the Business area either by separation of duties or by the nature of the business. Over the past week I have had the pleasure to work with one of our business areas due to an overflow error taking place within a client application.

It all started with an email from our internal Development team. They were assisting with the overflow error , but unable to identify the problem. Initial speculation was a database schema or security issue.
My initial thought was a data type mismatch between the application and database based on the error message presented to me. Lucky for me I was the Primary DBA supporting this database in our production environment so I knew we did not have any schema changes in the past year , however the application and support team was not willing to accept this. Since the Business user was able to get the application to work in staging I used Redgate Database Compare to validate the production schema against our staging schema. As I expected the Database schema and Stored Procedures matched 100 percent. Security matched 100 percent as well. I was still unable to convince the Development team that the issue was somewhere at the Client.

I needed to take another approach to stay sane. I stepped out of the norm and called our Business user directly. There was excitement in her voice that someone had reached out to her to discuss the issue. I explained to her that I was on a fact finding mission and asked for forgiveness up front since I was going to ask a bunch of questions.

Within 15 minutes I was able to determine the following:
1) The user had received a new laptop and the application was reinstalled
2) This issue had been happening for over 6 months
3) The Data was loading correctly, the Business user however had to click thru the error each time a row was loaded
4) The Business user was willing to execute the Application while I was executing profiler
5) Anything we could do would be appreciated

Working with the Business user I was able to grab the procedures and SQL being executed by the application. Once complete I explained to the Business user that I would need some time to examine the profiler trace. There were no reported errors and it appeared that all the selects and inserts were executing correctly. Looking thru the trace I was able to come up with the following facts:
1) The Table that was the center of the issue
2) The Data that was being selected/inserted into this table
3) That no user errors were being generated

At this point I have completely ruled out schema differences between staging and prod. My next step was to examine the data located within the table. Interrogating the data I found 2 columns in staging that contained data where production did not. The business user quickly brought me back to earth since She explained why we have this data in production and not staging. Our next step was to examine a column which contained data pointing to where a particular image resided. A conference call was started and working hand in hand we begin to evaluate the path to the image. One of the Business users was familiar with how to open up the code for the application in question. Walking thru it we quickly determined that one of the fields was set to an int and needed to be a long int. After a quick change to the application , Success.

This was a wonderful experience. I felt like a contributing member of the team. The Business team I was able to assist brings value to our company and I can say with certainty helps generated revenue which in turn pays my salary. I was able to come home this evening with a sense of pride since I accomplished the following:
1) work outside of the box without breaking protocol
2) gain some insight into a new Business area
3) effectively communicate my thoughts so that they could be understood by our non technical support teams.

Always keep an open mind when trying to resolve an issue. If I had followed strict protocol this issue may have dragged out longer, our Business user would maintain the thought that I.T. is a distant relative and I would have never worked with the good folks I did over the past few weeks.

  1. Beneficial facts Regards.

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