Secretes to Become a Successful DBA
Everybody wants to be a success, so do I. You might have seen people as very successful Database Administrator (DBA) around you. I have been working as a DBA for around 7 years and got a chance to work with very good people in this field. Though your definition of successful Database Administrator could be different than mine, I believe If you are happy at home and workplace and does not carry work stress to home, then you are a Successful DBA. This is because only a happy person can be in a good state of mind and think of something new or an alternate way of doing something which eventually boils down to growth in career.
As you know the database is the most crucial information for any organization and depending on the industry if the Database is down it can lead to huge financial losses like banking or disaster as well as the aviation industry. Even then there are few activities which need planned outage. So DBA has huge responsibilities on his shoulders.
There are 5 Secretes to Become a Successful Database Administrator (DBA)
In this post, I will not tell you success mantra, but for sure a few small-2 habits which can avoid some blunders and help you to get appreciations at your workplace. Here I will suggest dos and don’t as a DBA. Let’s start
1. Make a Plan on Paper: Though Nowadays, Paper is replaced with MS Office Word file. But my intension is to tell you how important is to make a plan for each and every activity. I have seen very good technical DBAs red-faced during Production Implementation activities due to lack of proper action plan.
Let’s take a situation, Suppose you are going to upgrade the production database and you have done upgrade 100 times so you are confident about your upgrade technique. But when you did upgrade on your test machine it was only database to take care without any application connected to it. Since this is a production environment you have to inform the application support team to stop the application or to re-route it.
When production activity will start your focus will be on the database part only, so there are fair chances that you miss informing the application team. For you, this could be a small mistake but this can have a huge impact on business.
So, I would suggest to note down all steps with database technical commands as below:
- A. Pre database technical: This could not be related to a database but having a small detail about the application can help you to understand database activity and its impact in a better way.
- B. Database technical: Record each and every smallest to biggest command at a place, so that you don’t find them here and there at the time of actual activity. I will strongly recommend avoiding any new command or alternate at the time of production activity even though you are very confident about it.
- C. Post database technical: Suppose your production upgrade activity is down successfully, but the application is still not able to connect to the database then there could be a problem at the application side or database side. To avoid that kind of situation have a small test case with you to check everything is working fine at the next level. Though it’s not your responsibility it can save you from so many troubles.
2. Thoroughly Test Your Plans: No matter, How good the Plan you have made, there could be small variations in your test environment and production environment. So this gap can only be covered by thorough testing of your plan. Try to replicate your test environment as much as possible with the production environment. Think about as much as possibilities you can and test your plan with all possibilities. Make sure you test your plan two or three times and record the outcome of each testing to verify with the last one to find variations and improve your plan accordingly.
One very good approach to test your action plan is, ask some other DBA to execute your action plan and see the result. The second person will have a different thought process and will look at your plan by his point of view and can give you very good inputs.
However, When you are confident about your skills and knowledge testing seems to be a useless thing to do, but trust me this is very important to do. Once you will do it you will realize it’s worth and your confidence will be at the next level. So make a strong test plan and validate your action plan.
3. Strong Backup and Rollback in Place: As you are confident with your plans, so sometimes you don’t take backup and rollback options very seriously. But anytime technology can go wrong or you can see some unexpected situations like Hardware failure, OS issue, etc. So if DBA doesn’t have a backup and recovery option this could be troublesome for him.
This rule applies to every action plan like changing a small database parameter to a big upgrade or migration activity. So make sure you have take backup of a database, table, parameter file you are going to change. I would also suggest testing backup and rollback options as well.
4. Keep Some Spare Time: I have seen DBA doing things in a hurry on the Production environment, While what I think is DBA has to execute commands on production in a peaceful manner. This is because of the shortage of time to complete the activity.
Suppose Database Administrator is going to upgrade the production environment on weekend and upgrade take around 4 hours. So, I would suggest making an action plan considering upgrade time as 6 Hrs. In this way, if some mistake has happened or you miss something, this can be easily recovered. On the other side if you have asked for only 4 hrs you are always in a hurry and the chances of doing a mistake are quite high. So always keep some spare time when planning for production environment activities.
5. Get Ready for Unexpected Situations: Though Database Administrator has followed all the suggestion given in this post and then start production task. Suppose something unexpected happened As the “Add node” script in RAC fails with some “ORA-600” error. In this case, don’t panic and stay calm, don’t try any command or option which was not there in the action plan.
Get your Oracle Support user name and password ready and open a Service request at support.oracle.com according to the situation. Like if this is a complete outage open a severity 1 request if the loss in server opens severity 2 requests and ask for immediate assistance from Oracle Support and move on.
Though above give suggestions also apply to real life as well but more specific to DBA profile. This list could be very huge in size depending upon the experiences we have gone through. I would request readers to add a few more points into this to make it a perfect guide for DBA’s to follow in achieving their carrier goals.
When you want to make a strong Oracle DBA career then you should be aware of database services and other database technology. Without having knowledge of Oracle internals, Oracle performance tuning, and skill of Oracle database troubleshooting you can’t be an Oracle DBA expert. This expert DBA Team club blog always provides you latest technology news and database news to keep yourself up to date. You should need to be aware of Cloud database technology like DBaaS. These all Oracle DBA tips are available in a single unique resource at our orageek. Meanwhile, we are also providing some sql tutorials for Oracle DBA. This is the part of Dbametrix Group and you would enjoy more advanced topics from our partner resource.
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