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Planning for Failure

By Steve Jones, this is better expressed with the Boy Scout motto: be prepared.

Things will go wrong. Mr. Murphy is out there, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and we all make mistakes. Hardware fails, disasters occur, and someone will knock their coffee cup over on a piece of electronic equipment. It's been happening for as long as I've worked with computers, and I'm sure it will continue to happen as long as humans build things.

When I give my basic SQL Server presentation, I talk about little disasters: the spilled coffee, the lightening strike that only affects your server, the DELETE query without a WHERE clause. These are the things that you prepare for, or you expect to happen and then build a plan to deal with when they occur.

In my career, I haven't had a lot of failures, but I have had a few. As I've gotten older, I've learned to be prepared, have backups (tested), and calmly followed through on my plans. I avoid trying shortcuts, but work through the issues as best I can, using my experience and well tested plans to get through the crisis.

No crisis will play out exactly as you have planned for it, but you should be following fairly well known procedures to recover in ways that you've practiced. Or you should call someone in that has more experience and can help you.

If I have a doubt, I move slower, not faster. I become more conservative, and if I am unsure about the outcome of an action, I've learned that time spent making another backup at that time is time well spent.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

Everyday Jones

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