I get a chuckle sometimes of the off the wall answers I get when an end user approaches us as DBA’s and say, “The whole system is down, what is going on, fix it now” I think that for must of us as DBA’s this has happened at one point in time in our careers. I’ve learned over my 12 yrs of experience that the DBA has to dive into a problem and become and investigator. We should already have a pretty good working knowledge of how the front end and back end interact along with the structure of each. What’s the first thing you check on when there is a problem?
One of the main things I have done for myself is to keep a checklist I run through when something within the system goes awry. You may ask me, “Why do you have this if you consider yourself a strong DBA”. While I am confident in my abilities; we are all humans and we make mistakes. A checklist reinforces the checks of the most common mishaps before having to dive into bigger investigation purposes such as going through that plan cache or error logs. I learned early on to “keep it simple stupid” ~ just start going through your checklist and rule out the obvious first and foremost.
Another thing I have learned over the years is to treat people with true professionalism. There is an age old additive of the DBA and a DBA team. Developers will always blame the DBA’s and the DBA’s will always blame the Developers. One of my main goals is to bridge that gap at my current employment. I recently took a poll among my peers – developers, business analyst, QA personnel as to when they hear the name DBA Team what do they think of? Some of the responses were surprising and some were not but I left with the take a way that the team I’m on has some work to do in bridging gaps. How you treat people when a problem occurs goes along way, and not everyone has the ability to communicate.
I hope that if you don’t have a checklist that you’ll get one, and I hope that when situations do arise that as a DBA you treat everyone with true professionalism. In the end we all want the same goal; a good system that performs to the best of it’s ability.