Apr 12, 2010
DBA Survival Skills – Think Defensively
No matter how much of a Super Hero DBA you consider yourself to be, I can guarantee you that there that there will come a time when you have to deal with either a disaster scenario or some form of mistake. Interestingly however, it is what happens next that separates the Pro’s from everyone else.
Things Can and Will Go Wrong
So faced with the absolute certainty that things can and will go wrong at some point, what can you do about it?
My advice is to arm yourself with this knowledge. If you know that something will go wrong at some point then you can prepare what you plan to do about it ahead of time so that you are not caught out unexpectedly.
Adopting a Defensive Mindset
Your database environments are business assets and in your role as a DBA it is your responsibility to guard and protect them.
Before you implement any administrative tasks whether it be deploying a set of database patches to your environment, modifying table data or creating new objects, whatever changes you plan to make, I advise you to always adopt a doomsayer’s frame of mind before carrying out the implementation.
- What is the worst that could happen?
- What are the things that could go wrong?
- Have I covered myself adequately?
Preparation is the Key
Having identified possible risks for a given scenario you should then plan how you can either avoid them completely or what you will do if they come to bare.
To give you an idea of the type of preparation you may wish to undertake you could plan how you might:
- Avoid risk completely
- Do you really need to make this change i.e. does it have to be done?
- Minimise risks where possible
- Backup your databases
- Leverage database Snapshots
- Ensure adequate testing has been performed
- Perform certain types of changes during maintenance windows or out of business hours in order to minimize any possible impact there could be.
- Devise risk response plans
- Outline a plan of the steps that you will take in the event of a specific risk or disaster scenario occurring.
- Test the plan.
Start Thinking Defensively Today
Adopting defensive thinking is the first step to ensuring that you are ready to fight back against disaster scenarios and eventualities outside of your control.
Start thinking defensively today, what’s the worst that could happen?