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Be Prepared

By Grant Fritchey,

List of camping equipmentI spend a lot of time volunteering with the Boy Scouts organization. One of their standards, and they have many, is “Be Prepared.” In Scouting they’re trying to get across the idea that preparation is the means to success and that, while it’s important that you prepare for camping, preparation is directly applicable to real life as well. I assume the majority of you own, or have owned, at least one automobile. In operating that car I’m pretty sure you knew where the gas gauge was located and you checked it before driving away (most of the time). You probably had a spare tire somewhere on the car as well. Depending on the laws, and your own financial position at the time, you also had some type of car insurance. All signs of preparation. Many of you have families, and worrying about their future you’ve purchased life insurance on yourself, just in case. You may have a fire evacuation plan for your house and even practice using it on occasion. More signs of preparation. I know several of you have been involved in the martial arts. You have practiced regularly in whatever style, learning how to punch, or kick, or upset your opponents balance. You’ve learned how to block and how to fall without getting hurt. More signs of preparation. All this, believe it or not, brings me around to your database.

Why is it that I so frequently see posts by people who, while in every other aspect of their life are well prepared, haven’t taken fundamental steps to protect their database. I’m not talking targeted full scanned statistics updates because of a badly behaving index. I’m talking about regular backups. I’m talking about mission critical databases that are running in simple recovery mode, facing huge potential data losses. I’m talking about testing your recovery models so that you know you can restore your database should the worst possible thing happen. And that’s all the easy stuff. We’re not even getting into the serious preparations that any decent sized data shop needs to make around co-location, power backup and all the other aspects of disaster recovery.

If you have a spare tire in your car, why are you not running a regular backup on your database? If you have life insurance, just in case, why aren’t you backing up the logs on the most important data in your company? If you spend hours learning how to fall down without getting hurt, why wouldn’t you spend a little time learning how to recover your systems so that it’s second nature when you do it for real? If you’re answering these questions with “well, uhm, I never really thought about it before.” It’s time to get started.

Be prepared.

The Scary DBA Podcast

Grant has created a few versions of today's editorial as a podcast:

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