The Seasons of a DBA

As busy as I am these days, I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, (no, it’s not a train!)  We have a new DBA training that is doing bang up job and I do believe there is some lull in the demands of our busy season. As a database administrator, I’m happiest when I have a number of demanding tasks, along with mysteries to challenge me that often, the business isn’t even aware of the level of importance it is to having resolved until I’ve implemented the resolution and they have reaped the benefits. 

I have two solid managers that allow me a wide berth to allocate many of my own tasks, along with the ones that they designated high priority.  I have quite a wide bandwidth and my ability to multi-task at a dizzying degree allows me to focus on more tasks than most people are comfortable with.  I’m a very low-maintenance employee, so it is rare for them to have to come smack me with something hard for not working on what I should be, (although when I’m telling one of them what I think he needs to hear than what I think he wants to hear, I’m sure he would like to hit me up-side the head just for the fun of it…:))

One of these managers is gracious enough to call me his “pinch hitter in the ninth inning of the world series”.  As for many business’ that world series is now-  we are exceptionally busy, have been building to this time in the year when demands run high and systems have to perform top-notch.  This requires all of my energy, time (and often brain cells) to ensuring I’m in top-notch, gung-ho, fire-fighting mode.  The demand to place my project DBA skills on the back burner during these crucial service times where quick-thinking, ability to assess situations at blinding speed and low impact, high resolution skills are essential.

As rewarding as this is, (and shows you just what you are made of!), I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead to bring my project skills back to a fore-front.  A quality technical project, well done is something to take great pride in.  Once the season slows a bit, I get to work with new technology, test and implement new projects that will offer our business more opportunities to grow that we identified during the last number of months.  To return to new feature and design projects that are put on hold to ensure that priorities are met for the business at it’s high time, is a nice change of pace and widens the area of interest for any technical resource.

I am about to take on a number of projects involving 11g features with ASM, OEMGC, data guard, Apex, partitioning and parallel execution.  I have another set of project work that involves SQL Server reporting services new features, including work that bridges to our Oracle environment and work more with our MySQL environments. This is when a DBA gets to stretch their technical legs and learn new features and gain knowledge that is put on hold while supporting the current production environment. 

While working on these projects, research will need to be performed to ensure we are making the best decisions every step of the way.  This then allows another aspect of education that we rarely get when we are in fire-fighting mode-  learning in a slower, more controlled environment vs. hurried and very specific knowledge to solve a specific problem that is creating the “fire”.  Each of these decisions will be carefully discussed with the DBA team and documented.  No hurried trouble-shooting document added to handbooks or emails sent with “up to the minute required” information.  These are quality documents that contain all of the data that is needed to support the project work being performed, including the goal, scope and requirements for the project, (and should for any company’s project!), not just the technical details behind the project.

As the adrenaline rush ceases and demands/hours come back more in line with where we all like to be,  there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that the business needs were satisfied and that we were able to deliver what people needed to be successful in their own positions to offer the company more success in turn.

As a DBA, you can’t ask for a whole lot more… 🙂