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Are You Always Up?

By Steve Jones,

I've had the opportunity to work for and with quite a few companies in my career. In some sense working as a database developer or database administratrator is very similar at many places. The "job's the job," as I've said in more than a few interviews, as I often ask to meet with others and better understand the environment. I'm rarely sold on the technology in use, usually more concerned with management and co-workers, though you might view employment differently.

At the same time, it can be amazing how different the environment may be and how varied the requirements are for my application and systems. One employer was a small, but busy and growing import/export company. We stretched the limits of technology at the time, and it was a challenge to meet the desires of management. At the same time, we were primarily a weekday, roughly 9-5 shop and I had the opportunity to bring down systems at night or on weekends for maintenance.

This was in contrast to my prior position at a nuclear power plant. There systems were expected to be up 24x7, with (grudgingly) scheduled maintenance once a quarter. That was the environment with the most stringent requirements, though I also learned over time that I preferred to have a bit more latitude in how I could architect systems or manage databases. Though that was when I had children, and I might be willing to work in a similar environment now.

Many of you probably have varying requirements by application, but I suspect more of you are expected to keep systems up more often than in the past. It seems the world has moved to a greater dependency on database platforms, with the expectation that the data is always available.

When you plan upgrades or maintenance, can you work with a flexible schedule? Or are changes always carefully managed? I'm sure some of you prefer one type of environment over the other, so chime in today with your preferences and restrictions. I'm sure some of you work in less busy organizations, and I'm curious if that's the case. 

 
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