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How to be a Good DBA - Strategy and Tactics


How to be a Good DBA - Strategy and Tactics

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jeffrey yao
jeffrey yao
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Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/j



Dan Carollo
Dan Carollo
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Excellent article! One way I've found to measure my own progress as a DBA is to read job descriptions of Senior-level DBA positions and find out what they're requirements are.

I'm often suprised about certain areas I've never considered before.

Some job descriptions emphasize more of a development role, some more of an operations/administrator role --- so you have to kind of know what you're own goal is as well. But it's a great place to start.


Steve Schwarting
Steve Schwarting
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I think that an additional trait of a good DBA is to know as much about the applications that use the databases as possible. In my estimatation this is huge, to be able to make proper decisions on how to resolve problems, what the proper backup schedule is, even how a particular table is used, etc...

A lot of organizations shelter DBAs from the programmers and make them inaccessible, even put them in a different room or building or farm out the work to a services group that know nothing about what they are supporting. I think this is a bad idea. Unless you have so many of them that you have them organized into DEV dba and PROD dba groups where it is the DEV dba's responsibility to interface more with the applications and be the liason with the PROD dba.

I have found it invaluable having been a programmer and rising up thru the ranks to be a DBA. Just my two cents.





Thokozani Madikane
Thokozani Madikane
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I think it's a great article, I'm trying to get into databse management/administration and I found this article to be very useful. Keep it up and keep them coming...
Ron Colwill
Ron Colwill
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Great article!

I agree with the previous poster - understanding the context becomes more and more important as one progresses. There are so many ways to approach and solve a problem, and all of them can be valid and appropriate. It comes down to lots of trade-offs in the design and coding. Without context, it's hard to determine where the emphasis should be.

Also, in my experience, a DBA is most valuable because of the rationale (:wow approach to storing, organizing, retrieving and protecting a business's data. So, as time goes by, I have found myself being included in many more business meetings just to provide input and advice... definitely changing the nature of the job to more "soft" skills.

Thanks for a good article that helps to illuminate the path that some of us have "accidentally" travelled.

Ron C.


currym
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Very good and thanks for opening up about lessons learned!



talltop
talltop
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I have been a Senior DBA for many years and the one thing I have learned the hard way is "CYA" at all times...I have seen too many talented and hard-working DBA's get fired because they did not pay enough attention to this. The DBA is a high-paying enviable position that many in companies today both managers and co-workers sometimes try to you knock out of the position. If a lower-payed developer has sights on becoming a DBA themselves, or a manager trying to make points with the CEO, will often attempt to make you look bad by any means they can find, particularly if you are caught in the middle of mistake... They will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat if they can mileage out of it. It may not be right, but that is just the way it is.. IT departments tend to be very "political" work places and your elaborate and extensive skill set doesn't always help you in these situations. I have often found in this job that 1000 atta-boys don't get nearly enough attention as 1 "aw crap!" Always have an out prepared and back it up with e-mail.. Don't ever rely on verbal commands from anyone in this job. When you are sitting in front of CEO explaining why you did something on someone else orders, always be able to back it up with e-mail. Otherwise, the other party that told you to do it in the first place always tends to get amnesia at these times, thus leaving you out on a shaky branch. E-Mail quickly resolves someone's memory problem much later and can often mean the difference of whether you are around the next week too. I have seen it happen too many times. That is why I am still around after 20 years of doing this. Travis.

Senior Database Administrator





tibins
tibins
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Great article. I'd like to brush up on some of the areas mentioned in the article. Any suggestions for books that folks have found useful?
Jon Baker
Jon Baker
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Jeffrey,

Good stuff. I liked the article well enough that I blogged about it here. My $0.02 added in the post.


Thanks for writing this!

Jon Baker


K. Brian Kelley
K. Brian Kelley
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I would add: know thy operating system. Know file and share level security (share level for replication and log shipping, for instance), know how services work, understand user rights and what SQL Server needs to run in various configs, understand how SQL Server uses the OS, and how the OS interacts with it, especially in situations like with clustering.

K. Brian Kelley
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