Throwback Thursday: How to guarantee business will grow

It's early 2005, and this pilot fish works for an online retailer -- and pays close attention to the chatter about website development.

Spring 2005:

Manager: "Do we need a database administrator for the new attribute key-value design?"

Software developer: "No, we won't ever need more than 10 attribute key-val pairs. The business will never get bigger than that. Besides, storing data in columns means it's contiguous on disk and one select will mean one read!"

Summer 2005:

Developer: "Hmm, why is the database so slow? I wonder if it's the 100 attribute key-value pairs. We now have 100 columns instead of 10, but that should be fine."

Manager: "If the database seems slow, maybe we need a database admin."

Winter 2005:

Database admin: "Why do you have a single table with 250 columns?"

Developer: "Those are attributes. It makes a single select super-fast."

DBA: "I thought you said it was slow. Let me explain row chaining and row migration to you."

Developer: "Those will never happen. Besides, we won't ever need more than 250 columns."

Summer 2006:

Developer: "I told you 300 columns was enough."

Spring 2007:

Manager: "The business needs to add 1,000 attributes. Can a table handle 1,000 columns?"

DBA: "Nope, and as I have been recommending, we need a model that is scalable and performs well."

Developer: "But a single select is faster -- it makes one read and grabs all 300 columns. I can feel that is the way it works."

DBA: "Come here, son, let me teach you..."

Spring 2008:

Developer: "We need a new design for the 1,500 columns."

DBA: "Let's do a requirements analysis."

Developer: "No, no, the business will never need more than 1,500 columns."

Summer 2008:

Developer: "I still think we should create three tables with 1,000 columns each."

Manager: "The DBA just quit."

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