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  • November 24, 2014

The DBA post-it notes... what's weighing you down?

Guest Author

I once heard a story of a manager who had just taken over a department with a large number of employees and many managers. This department had been struggling, trying to meet goals and objectives. In a meeting with his managers, to put things in context, the new manager stood up a large figure of a man.  Then he took post-it notes and wrote the things that this person, a typical employee, was responsible for. When the manager was done, the stick figure was filled with post it notes. So much so that you could not see most of the figure behind the notes. The point was, our employees are already over burdened - we can't add to that, we must remove from it.

 I was thinking of that the other day and I created my stick figure for the typical DBA. This is what it looked like:

What does this stick figure tell us? It tells us that we need help. That we need to learn to prioritize things, automate as much as possible and to rationalize our responsibilities. The key to me is automation. This includes everything from automating as many daily administrative tasks and reporting as possible - to enabling self service as much as possible.

The post-it notes are not falling off, nor is the work associated with them getting any easier... We have to work smarter, harder and, most of all we need to learn how to make the work we do scalable. We are IT people, after all - these kinds of things are what we do every day. So, let's take some time and give ourselves the benefit of our own experience. Stand-up OEM, configure it to work, and work properly. Stand up automated and centralized backups and backup reporting. Get rid of monitoring scripts running from CRON and run them from OEM. Get right of "positive" reporting (ie: the backups worked on these databases) and move to "exception" reporting. Centralize as much as you can, while at the same time providing a HA framework for that centralized system.

There are important things to do - when we are burdened by post-it notes, we often find that we have either failed to do them, or we have not done them well.

It's time to shed post-it notes folks!


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