Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Interview: Warner Chaves

Warner Chaves is a SQL Server Certified Master and SQL Server Principal Consultant at Pythian, a global Canada-based company specialized in DBA services. He is a first-time SQL Server MVP awardee (2015).

Warner, please tell us a little of your background: employment, training, your first PC, etc.warner

My first contact with a PC was a 486 that my Dad got probably somewhere around 1990 with good old MS-DOS. And I also have to say thank you to my parents for continuing to upgrade our home computer and humoring my requests. I still remember the first time I played Tomb Raider on our Windows 95 with the 3dfx PCI GPU I asked for on my 12th birthday, I was blown away!

I started my first IT job in 2005 working for a very interesting startup in my home country of Costa Rica. That’s where I had my first contact with SQL Server and doing some professional .NET coding. From there I moved on to HP’s ITO organization as a full-time DBA and that’s where I really got into data management and administration as a career. Eventually I had the opportunity to move from Costa Rica to Ottawa, Ontario in Canada to work for Pythian and it’s been 7 years now with the company.

How did you become an MVP, and what were your thoughts when you first heard of getting the award?

I didn’t participate or know much about the overall SQL community until I met Edwin Sarmiento back in 2008 when he was hired by Pythian as well. Edwin has since left the company but he was definitely one of my main mentors and driving forces on getting involved with presenting in the different SQLSaturday events in North America, doing SQL related webcasts and volunteering for the local Ottawa SQL Server user group. The same goes for my friend Alejandro Cordero, a great Costa Rican DBA who convinced me to start our blog where we give people really practical material about database administration on Microsoft’s platform.

When I got the e-mail saying I was awarded I felt thankful and humbled. I’m included in a group that has some of the most amazing data professionals that I’ve followed and looked up to for a long time. To be part of that is a great honor and a great responsibility.

Warner, for those not familiar with what SQL is, can you briefly explain it in layman’s terms?

Absolutely! SQL Server is Microsoft’s relational database product and this is the type of software that allows to store and retrieve the data for the computer systems that we use throughout our daily life. From ATMs to online shopping, government processes, company records, online gaming, etc. I tell my fiancée Carley that database professionals are like data superheroes: we keep it healthy, available and protect it from evil doers or catastrophes.

Tell us about the company you work for

Pythian is a global company based out of Ottawa, Ontario that does managed services and consulting for business critical data systems. There are two things that I particularly love about the company: the amazing team we have built and the large variety of client environments I’m exposed to. No day is the same for us and there’s just something very cool about having SQL Server, Big Data or other techy subjects be the topic of water cooler conversation.

Downtime: what things do you like to do away from technology?

I love going to the library and picking up some new book, board gaming, going to the movies or just watching a good show or horror movie at home. I try to stay healthy playing soccer or lifting at the gym and I recently discovered that having a dog is kind of cool too!

Thanks, Warner!