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The Reliable DBA


The Reliable DBA

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Reliable DBA

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robert.sterbal 56890
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Uber offers a lot of red meat for social scientists. Sadly given the behavior of the organization as a whole over time, I'd try to find sources of confirmation for whatever story they are telling.
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Currently I'm the sole DBA on my team and quite frankly, I'm not a fan of the situation. I don't think my bosses are either, but budget and contract things are keeping them from getting me even a part-time backup. So far, I've not taken any sick days (haven't gotten sick,) I've only missed one day when my car wouldn't start (dead battery,) and I've not taken any "mental health days" (not that I've not been tempted, but it's kind of a bad idea to call in for the day when you've already been at work for a couple hours,) so I'd say I've been quite reliable myself. I'm working on building up some better documentation of the systems, both for my own notes and as a "I got hit by a bus and won't be able to work for several months, someone else needs to handle the servers" sort of situation.

I do have the advantage of only being required to be available during our normal business hours, but I've made it clear to them that if there's a server-stopping issue (and I've had one of those) in production, I'll work the problem regardless of when it hits. Unless I'm somewhere that I can't work remotely (vacation, out of the country,) then it has to wait until I do get somewhere I can work the problem. As for performance my understanding from the bosses is that the customers are quite happy with the performance of the systems, and the availability has (knock on wood) been very high.

I think the biggest challenge to me being the sole DBA is going to be this year, though, in August, when I'm taking a 2 week vacation and travelling down south. I don't plan to take my work laptop along, although I may take my work phone along, it'll spend 99% of the trip in the room safe only occasionally getting pulled out for me to check e-mail. I'll do my level best in the months between now and then to get everything in order so that best case when I get back I'll just have to catch up on a stack of e-mails, but there's always going to be the unexpected...
Steve Jones
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robert.sterbal 56890 - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:12 AM
Uber offers a lot of red meat for social scientists. Sadly given the behavior of the organization as a whole over time, I'd try to find sources of confirmation for whatever story they are telling.


This is a technical talk, solely discussing the reliability of their infrastructure. It has nothing to do with how/why/what their business model is or whether it's good/bad.

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Steve Jones
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jasona.work - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:40 AM
I think the biggest challenge to me being the sole DBA is going to be this year, though, in August, when I'm taking a 2 week vacation and travelling down south. I don't plan to take my work laptop along, although I may take my work phone along, it'll spend 99% of the trip in the room safe only occasionally getting pulled out for me to check e-mail. I'll do my level best in the months between now and then to get everything in order so that best case when I get back I'll just have to catch up on a stack of e-mails, but there's always going to be the unexpected...

Good luck with getting away. I've been in that situation, and for smaller organizations, it's a challenge to have a backup. Usually I try to doc things and get another person involved and teach them rudimentary solutions to things I know commonly occur.

Outside of that, until there's a problem, likely management won't do more.


Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwest
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My Blog: www.voiceofthedba.com
robert.sterbal 56890
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:13 AM
robert.sterbal 56890 - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:12 AM
Uber offers a lot of red meat for social scientists. Sadly given the behavior of the organization as a whole over time, I'd try to find sources of confirmation for whatever story they are telling.


This is a technical talk, solely discussing the reliability of their infrastructure. It has nothing to do with how/why/what their business model is or whether it's good/bad.

They seem to use the support they get by sharing to offset their challenging behavior elsewhere.

They have a pretty good sense about what to publish and how to get attention for it. I don't think it is accidental.

Eric M Russell
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... I ran across a talk from Uber on reliability. It's more of a high level architecture talk about distributed systems and being able to detect and respond to issues. Certainly Uber works at a rate and scale that few of us will reach in our organizations. ...


The folks over at Uber certainly know how to build software. I'll give them that much. Their mobile application is amazing. Unfortunately that's about all they excel at. Their executive management are lousy when it comes to compliance, human resources, and netting a profit. The business as a whole is a money pit that generates billions in loss each year.

The folks who drive for Uber don't make much money in the first place and complain that they are treated like a cog in a machine. In fact, what they do could be automated. My prediction that sometime soon Google, Elon Musk, or one of the other companies developing driver-less car technology will offer to buy out Uber just for their ride share software. Once done, customers could use the Uber mobile app to call up a driver-less car to take them to the airport or wherever at a fraction of the cost.

It's inevitable. It will happen.


"The universe is complicated and for the most part beyond your control, but your life is only as complicated as you choose it to be."
jasona.work
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:15 AM
jasona.work - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:40 AM
I think the biggest challenge to me being the sole DBA is going to be this year, though, in August, when I'm taking a 2 week vacation and travelling down south. I don't plan to take my work laptop along, although I may take my work phone along, it'll spend 99% of the trip in the room safe only occasionally getting pulled out for me to check e-mail. I'll do my level best in the months between now and then to get everything in order so that best case when I get back I'll just have to catch up on a stack of e-mails, but there's always going to be the unexpected...

Good luck with getting away. I've been in that situation, and for smaller organizations, it's a challenge to have a backup. Usually I try to doc things and get another person involved and teach them rudimentary solutions to things I know commonly occur.

Outside of that, until there's a problem, likely management won't do more.

Yeah, I won't be too surprised (won't be very happy about it, but not surprised) if I get at least one call during those weeks. My bosses have both my personal and work cell numbers (and they still keep calling my personal,) but I'll be roaming around a convention and likely won't hear my ringer, so they'll just have to wait until I check my phone at some point.

Although I think I will discuss with the bosses about possibly taking my work laptop along with me, just in case there's a major malfunction that no one here can resolve.
Teach me to take vacations in the continental United States...
HeheCrazy
jay-h
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:15 AM
jasona.work - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:40 AM
I think the biggest challenge to me being the sole DBA is going to be this year, though, in August, when I'm taking a 2 week vacation and travelling down south. I don't plan to take my work laptop along, although I may take my work phone along, it'll spend 99% of the trip in the room safe only occasionally getting pulled out for me to check e-mail. I'll do my level best in the months between now and then to get everything in order so that best case when I get back I'll just have to catch up on a stack of e-mails, but there's always going to be the unexpected...

Good luck with getting away. I've been in that situation, and for smaller organizations, it's a challenge to have a backup. Usually I try to doc things and get another person involved and teach them rudimentary solutions to things I know commonly occur.

Outside of that, until there's a problem, likely management won't do more.

One memorable experience I had was doing support by telephone from a gas station way out in the Utah desert. A challenge. Wink


...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
Chris Harshman
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jasona.work - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:40 AM
...I think the biggest challenge to me being the sole DBA is going to be this year, though, in August, when I'm taking a 2 week vacation and travelling down south. I don't plan to take my work laptop along, although I may take my work phone along...

Yep... did that in November, but had to take my work laptop with me too. Fortunately I only had to take care of 2 issues the week I was out of state. I try to document everything and anything database related in our IT department's Wiki, and the day before my last day I always put together a list of routine stuff, known issues and how to handle them, where I store all my "magic" scripts that no-one else seems to understand, and the third party password manager file location. I still get questions though.

I've put a lot of effort to improving the database ecosystem, and when I started people didn't have a good view of things. The first 3 months here was difficult as I wrestled the octopus to get things to a manageable level, but once I did it allowed me to focus on being able to help the developers better learn SQL to improve their applications and make things run smoother so that people weren't always upset with performance and problems.

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