Root Cause Corrective Action Reports

Computer architectures are complex by nature. Actually, stating they are complex is like describing the Titanic as having suffered from “a small leak”. If they weren’t, many of us wouldn’t be in this profession. Our services wouldn’t be needed. However, as we all know, computer architectures are not becoming ”administrator free”  or “self healing” as many industry pundits would have us believe. Instead, they are continuing to increase in complexity.

Computer systems are also inherently dynamic. (more...)

Application Change Management Best Practices

Database and operating system administrators are ultimately responsible for guaranteeing the quality of their organization’s information processing environments. From protecting against unauthorized access to providing 24×7 availability – “the buck stops with the support unit.” Although the database infrastructure (DB binaries, O/S, hardware) doesn’t change much, there is one component that usually changes a lot – the application. This blog post provides readers with helpful hints and tips on application change management best practices.

(more...)

Using Customer Surveys to Evaluate Service Delivery Performance

Effective measurements are required to judge the success of any activity. The quality of support the DBA team provides should be reviewed on a regular basis. Customer surveys allow business and application development units to provide feedback on the quality and timeliness of DBA support activities. The survey also allows your customers to measure how well they feel you are meeting your internal Service Level Agreements.

As a remote services provider, we are judged daily (more...)

The Non-Technical Art of Being a Successful DBA – Third Party Product Evaluations

Database administrators are much more than just “table jockeys.” Because of our well-rounded expertise, we are often asked to help evaluate third-party business applications, application development tools and database administration and monitoring products. Over the years, I have developed a Product Evaluation Methodology that you may find helpful.

Introduction

A methodology can be loosely defined as a body of best practices, processes and rules used to accomplish a given task. The task in this (more...)

The Art of Being a Successful Service Provider – Support Services SLAs

We have learned in previous blogs that identifying what our customers expect from us is an absolute requirement in meeting their needs. We probably won’t be meeting all of our customers’ expectations if we don’t have a firm understanding of what they are.

We also know that each IT organization, group, application team and individual user has their own unique set of value drivers they will use to evaluate the quality of service being provided (more...)

The Art of Being a Successful DBA- Soliciting Customer Feedback

Introduction

In today’s business environment, being a successful DBA requires more than just being known as a technical expert. There are thousands of those folks readily available. If you want to excel in this profession, you must be viewed as someone who understands both the business and technical aspects of the applications you support. You must also be viewed as someone who understands the importance of continuous improvement and not be satisfied with the “status (more...)

The Art of Being a Successful DBA- Keeping Customers Happy, Part 1

Introduction

If you have been reading this blog, you probably have noticed that very few posts have discussed complex technical topics in-depth. There is a wealth of information available on database administration and tuning topics provided by a host of qualified (and totally unqualified) presenters.

Being a successful DBA requires much more than just technical expertise. Over the years, I’ve found that becoming lax in non-technical areas of database administration and not following my own (more...)

The Art of the Interview

Over the last few years, RDX has been growing at a rapid pace.   During this time, we have hired literally dozens of database, operating system and Oracle Applications support professionals.   One of our key value propositions is the talent and experience of our support teams.  The quality of the service we provide to our customers depends on our ability to attract, hire and retain the most talented individuals possible.   Our customers (more...)

The Art of Being a Successful DBA – Paranoid DBA Best Practices, Part II

Last week, in Part I of my series on Paranoid DBA Practices, we learned that our jobs are somewhat unforgiving and we do make a mistake from time to time. This week, we will discuss what can we do to reduce the chance of an error occurring.

Poka-Yoke for DBAs!
I am a big proponent of Poka-Yoke”.  Poka-Yoke is a Japanese term that means “fail-safing” or “mistake- proofing”.   Wikipedia’s definition of Poka-Yoke is: “its (more...)

The Art of Being a Successful DBA – Paranoid DBA Best Practices, Part I

Ever look at a screen’s output and get that puckered feeling in the pit of your stomach? If you have been working in this profession for any amount of time, you know the feeling I’m talking about. The feeling that makes you think you would rather be living in Montana making woodcarvings at a roadside stand than being a DBA. In my next two posts, I’ll be taking a somewhat lighthearted look at the perils (more...)