Friday, February 24, 2012

The Pro-Active DBA List Updated

A couple of years back, in the heart of the economic tsunami, I proposed a list of pro-active steps to reduce long-term costs associated with the management of your SQL Server database systems.  An Updated list is below. 

Normally, I would be putting out a new content, but with my involvement in an abolitionist movement against discrimination based on language in our province, plus a recent death threat, life has been anything but ordinary.
Right, back to the updated Pro-Active DBA list:
1. Archive by means of purging data from the largest, worst performing and space hogging database tables you possibly can.  This will involve significant co-ordination with developers and application users of course, so by no means a quick step in reducing costs - in other words do not pull out the battle axe and truncate all!  Seek to satisfy the lowest common denominator needs (within reason) and prepare a COBIT style change management (or ITIL equivalent) deployment document to ensure no steps have been left out.  Follow up your 'great' purge with data file optimisation (indexes off to another disk if available) and then a one-off database shrink to seal the deal.
2. Mitigate the Data Explosion and Compress your largest tables in SQL 2005 Enterprise post SP2 , if your table has a Decimal datatype – or in SQL 2008 Enterprise or Developer, use Row and Page Compression.
3. For instances on 2005/8 Digg with activity monitor to narrow down what is hogging the system resources.  Check the Procedural Cache and watch out for tables scans, etc., and optimise stored procedures by the use of temp tables when there are many joins involved.
4. Certify yourself, or upgrade your certification to maintain your competitive edge and for simple self-enrichment within the profession. 
5. Run through Disaster Recovery Scenarios to ensure business continuity for your employer or client. Practice restoring onto your DRP environment with the appropriate restore scripts. Then, if popular, translate your work into French or Spanish J
Take a look at Database Mirroring as a cheaper solution for High Availability.
6. If you do not know your environment like the back of your hand yet, update server configuration documentation with various tools and create visual infrastructure documents (e.g. in Visio).
7. Gain experience with MySQL and Oracle, to broaden your perspective of relational databases, refine your problem-solving skills and give you a better appreciation of the relative strengths of different relational databases.
8. Kick up on the networking with LinkedIn and join groups from institutions you’ve been through, whether they are academic or professional. 
9. Start Blogging, share best practices, answer questions in groups and read up on the best professional magazines or books in the industry. Reach out to like-minded bloggers and support them, and finally, try to make presentations on your favourite topics (especially if you want to be make MVP someday).
10. When you’ve done all this…go on a holiday, you’ll probably deserve it by then; or at least clear your head by following other hobbies (as in Politics for example)! 

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