How To Be A Stress-Free DBA In Four Easy Steps

Wouldn’t it be nice if your work life as a DBA was stress-free? Just imagine: you’ve methodically crossed items off your to-do list, and your phone and email notifications remain silent as every end user need is met. Applications buzz along, all properly patched, secured and backed up. When the whistle blows at 5:00 on Friday, you unplug and enjoy the weekend. 

 

Image credit: Spirit-Fire | Licensed under: CC BY 2.0

Unfortunately, the reality is that being a DBA is stressful, your workload is out of control and it seems like you’ll never get close to catching up. To compound that stress, most DBAs often find themselves in a situation where they don’t know what databases they have, what applications are running on those databases and where to go for answers. That’s a recipe for a full-on stress-induced catatonic meltdown.

Want to ease your DBA stress? Watch the on-demand webcast, “The Art of Stress-Free Database Administration,” led by SQL Server expert Brent Ozar.

In a recent webcast, 20+ year SQL Server wizard Brent Ozar of Brent Ozar Unlimited discusses another stress factor: too often, the term DBA stands for Default Blame Accepted. Whether an application or server problem is really the responsibility of a DBA or not, they’re often the first person end users call/blame when something isn’t right.

Brent recommends four steps to stress-free database administration:

  1. Make a list of what you’ve got: Get a complete picture of the environment, inclusive of servers, clusters and databases. Build yourself a SQL Server Inventory that documents versions, licenses, backup/recovery, maintenance windows, security, compliance and performance.
  2. Add responsibilities: Set standards and rules for each different type of server (mission-critical vs production, for instance) with regard to functions or processes such as backup, maintenance and RPO and RTO goals.
  3. Prioritize what you don’t have under control: Performing an inventory of a database environment will likely shine the light on some pretty scary gaps in information.
  4. Share with management: Informing management of your current state and daily responsibilities creates awareness to relieve stress. If you aren’t making progress on filling holes, documentation and regular communication can give you the ammo you need to push management for more help.

For more tips to melt away DBA stress, check out Brent’s webcast, “The Art of Stress-Free Database Administration.” He provides more details on his four steps to help you ease the pressures of database administration and become at peace with your work. He’ll even share some of his own documents to organize inventory and create a support matrix.

What’s adding to your day-to-day DBA stress? Let me know in the comments below.

About the Author
Claudia.Coleman
Senior Product Marketing Manager for Database Performance Monitoring products.