Three Operational considerations
- Can you carry out your backup and recovery plan?
- What could go wrong operationally?
- If you have a plan, can your people carry it out?
While working as a DBA for a brokerage firm, I was responsible for implementing database changes and running test scripts from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day. One Friday, I was running the scripts for a change and it bombed. Only then did I discover that the programmer had not provided a back out script to remove the changes. I called his residence and then his manager’s residence and no one was home. I ended up working until 2 a.m. restoring the database to the last backup because I didn't have a 5-minute script to undo the changes. I should have checked to make sure that both scripts were provided. Operationally, I messed up.
Defining operational procedures is important, but make sure you have a fallback position. An alternative plan is vital since surprises can arise
with even the best, most well thought out plan. Here are some of the operational concerns related to backup and recovery: ?
- Can I bring the database down to do maintenance (OS, hardware, software, and so on)? ?
- Do I store backups off site? ?
- Can I support the business requirements with the current staff? ?
- Is the database schema changing frequently? ?
- Are my tables being updated heavily? If so, which ones? ?
- If I get sick can the replacement DBA do my job?
As you can see, operational concerns play a major role in determining your backup and recovery plan. Just as you know that your database is only as powerful or stable as your technology allows, your plan is only as good as the ability of the people in your department who support the plan. Question your plan frequently to be sure it will function when you must use it.