The Right Ways to DBA

Have a Database Problem? Speak with an Expert for Free
Get Started >>


What can you do every day to better manage the infrastructure of your database? That’s a question that many database administrators (DBAs) must ask themselves. The act of putting into effect database administration best practices isn’t accidental. The more thought you give to the following questions, the more positive changes you’ll make on purpose. Let yourself ponder each inquiry listed below as you reflect on the personal insights about your own company. All the while, consider these words: right ways DBA.

1. In automating the administration of your databases, what procedures and practices work best?

For decades, the word “automation” is a very easy statement to make for many vendors of database management systems (DBMSs) and DBA third-party tools. Ask yourself how close are you to an environment where your database is working around the clock as a self-sufficient, reliable, and functioning model. Your ultimate goal should be to get there.

2. How specifically are you automating the monitoring of your scripts or features of your DBMS?

If you haven’t already, it’s time to look at the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning may be your competitive edge. Consider taking advantage of what it has to offer in the way of helping with daily DBA tasks.

3. How do you handle database modifications?

Coordinating synchronization for schemas and applications makes a difference in accuracy and timeliness when changes to your database occur. If you’re not harmonizing your changes now to save yourself some steps, figure out why. Understand the impact and toll of not streamlining processes and what it does to your DBA management efforts.

4. What roles do your software development (Dev) engineers and information technology operations (Ops) play in your company?

Inspect your DevOps policies. After you develop applications, database integration and automated testing of those applications become paramount to your company’s success with them. To remain competitive during the testing phase, improvement changes must be made for ongoing deliveries whether they’re for in-house usage or outside for your customers. If your DBA methods don’t allow this to happen automatically, it will become difficult in a laborious way, and nearly impossible to handle productively.

5. Do you have a recovery backup plan in place if your database fails?

Think of any possible problem that can materialize. Consider all the scenarios. Even if you’ve just completed a backup of your databases recently, consider how you safeguard your applications too. For example, special tools are required to fix a run of detrimental transactions or inaccurate data entry inputs. In addition, a disaster recovery plan should be tested and ready. Review it on a regular basis. Track what worked and what needs improving if you have used it before.

6. What’s your database-auditing procedures look like?

Be sure to monitor the changing of any of your data, including those who have read-access and modification permissions to do what they do with certain data. In close connection to being aware of “who” is doing what to your data, how you track changes is just as vital. Take stock of whether you audit some or all applications, and make a few changes to some or all of them. There are auditing regulations of which you should be aware as well. Some are industry-based and government required.

7. How do you manage patches for your DBMS?

As long as you have a DBMS, you’ll need patches. That’s a fact in regards to providing better security and continuous improvement for software, hardware, and even the cloud. Think more broadly here though. Examine your patch management processes. Note when you apply system patches and packs to fix issues and what causes you to make those determinations. Analyze the procedure for tracking the sequence of servers that have been patched and also the timeliness in getting all fixes applied.

Fixes for your database applications that rely on remote server cloud database management should be tracked just like the others. A DBaaS provider may supply the patches and if so, there may be times when a pack of fixes aren’t compatible and cause havoc. Put a plan in place to deal with that so there’s less downtime. Review your existing plan if you’ve already designed one.

8. Are your Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and requirements for performance in sync?

Productivity and profits go hand in hand. If your DBAs are running around trying to find performance issues that fall below service level requirements, their work efficiency level will also suffer. Here’s one way to curtail DBA downtime. Set up performance monitoring alerts that activate with certain triggers, not just when levels are not met, but better yet, before they’re low. Access how you handle checking performance levels. Examine how you send out alert messages, to whom, and why. Be honest about what you currently do in dealing with your SLAs and your customers, and check yourself if you’re sending out alerts to fix problems only when customers complain.

9. When do you accomplish data structure reorganization?

There’s no right or wrong method to reorganizing your data structures. It’s important to get it done though and take time to comprehend why you do it a particular way. Only then can you measure the outcome and figure if it’s working for your company. Reflect on if you use a mix of statistical database information and scheduled timelines to reorganize your data structures or base it on just statistics or dates already pre-set throughout the year. In addition, review which methods you use for disk volumes and applications when you reorganize data structures.

10. Prior to rolling one out, do you explain each SQL statement?

Check if you habitually analyze SQL statements only after a problem arises due to a performance in production. It might be best to have a process that involves an in-depth explanation to reduce production-based issues.

11. How do you manage database security?

Identify the roles of security administrators and DBAs when it comes to revoking, granting, and sharing security tasks. This includes whether a user has the same logon for the various types of DBMSs or if it varies from server or application. You should be able to distinguish if a user on a SQL server or Oracle is the same person.

12. What’s the degree of DBA input for the design of databases?

From concept to the logical model building of databases, describe the DBA involvement. Consider how you handle database design. It could be where you have data modelers and data architects who take care of that and then write the data definition language (DDL). The opposite is when your developers and DBAs build database objects with little to no advanced planning.


Best practices for DBAs take some considerable thought. While each solution might not be the same for every DBA, there are consistencies that may become apparent through trial and error. The right ways DBA involve automation, preparation, and dedication to quality. Hopefully, these questions have prompted you to take a serious look at your company’s DBA procedures. If you’re less than content, realize that you have the ability to make some positive modifications.

Pilot the ObjectRocket Platform Free!

Try Fully-Managed CockroachDB, Elasticsearch, MongoDB, PostgreSQL (Beta) or Redis.

Get Started

Keep in the know!

Subscribe to our emails and we’ll let you know what’s going on at ObjectRocket. We hate spam and make it easy to unsubscribe.