Knowing the internals of Sybase ASE not always helpful

There are many former Sybase employees that retain the knowledge of the Sybase ASE internals.  No, not the internals from the Data Internals class but the source code and design documents.  While we gave up the physical materials when we left Sybase, we still retain much of it in our brains.  Technically, we aren’t supposed to use that knowledge but it is very very difficult not to.

Think about this scenerio:

Corruption on a single page in a table.  Sounds easy, just bcp the data out, truncate the table, bcp the data back in.  Normally that is the way to fix it.

What if the system is a mission critical 24x7x365 system that might be used for international trading or even to provide medical information to medical surgeons?  BCPing the data or going to backups may not be possible.  If you had the information on how to fix the corrupted page by patching it (something that Sybase strongly frowns upon)?

As you can see, using the internal/proprietary information inside your head is hard to avoid.  Granted, ProActive DBA allows you to patch the individual pages, but they apparently have permission to do so — or at least Sybase is looking the other way.

If you know about SybMon and know how to use it, it is nearly impossible not to use it if your Sybase ASE server is hung and you can’t log into it.

If you fix a server using an unsupported method and report it to Sybase, there is a chance that they will not look favorably on your solution.  So, do you report the problem to them and your solution in the hope that they fix the problem or do you just keep it to yourself?

Harder yet, is how to explain to your boss that you can’t tell them how you fixed the problem because you’re still under a non-disclosure agreement with Sybase.  You might be able to explain the situation to your boss but if he pushes for the information and you refuse, you might be out of a job.  Luckily my boss is happy to have me and doesn’t push the issue. 🙂

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