Tuesday, 2 November 2010

TSQL2SDAY #12 - Why are DBA Skills Necessary?

WOW this is the 12th TSQL2Sday albeit this month’s is week early because of the PASS summit next week, so these little blog parties have been running for a year now. This month is being hosted by none other than Paul Randal (Blog|Twitter) and we are going to be discussing Why are DBA Skills necessary?
There is a wide range of topics that I could write about here and Paul has listed several topics areas on his blog, I am going to be discussing how business continuity could be affected by a lack of DBA skills.
Paul in his Master class, in London in the summer just gone (review here) gave a great example from his time with Microsoft when a bank got their disaster recovery plan wrong and it ended up costing them dearly, I’m won’t go into much more than that here but it was a great story demonstrating firstly how important data can be to company or firm and also how important it is protect and look after that data – ultimately in lots of cases (backing up the database) = (backing up the business). Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are one the main responsibilities of the DBA and it is important to get it right, not only for the safety of your own job but also for the safety of the business.
Thankfully, (knock on wood) I count on one hand the times I have needed to restore a production because of a disaster or an unexpected  problem of some kind, fortunately when those situations have come about I have been fully prepared and practiced for it and had relevant up to date documentation on hand that made the process as painless as possible. Database backups are only good if you can restore and recover from them, so I would recommend that anyone with responsibility for backing up a production database has a process in place for periodically testing those backups so you can have confidence in your restore process should the need ever arrive.
If you are backing up your databases regularly, hopefully you are also storing your backups in a secondary location(s) hopefully on a different server, hopefully off site some place so if your main building becomes unavailable…for whatever reason you can get your database back online by using the backups stored in a separate location.
I see lots of forum posts, “my database is corrupt and I have no backup please help”, “my database has accidentally been deleted, can I get it back without a backup?” which means lots of businesses out there is the big wide world are suffering because they didn’t have the essential skills of a DBA. All of these could have been prevented if someone with DBA skills/knowledge had been involved with DR Business continuity plan

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