The trials and tribulations of 24/7 database management
July 16th, 2009
James Cockayne, Principal DBA at Camelot Group gives us his views on key issues for DBAs, the newest active-active availability solutions and how a DBA can ensure they get their all important beauty sleep!
Just how important is it for organisations to ensure they have a robust database availability & disaster recovery solution?
The database is always the lynchpin of an application. Without the database, the application doesn't function, and there's a bunch of angry users wanting to know why (not to mention angry managers seeing money slipping down the drain). More and more there is an expectation that the services we provide will always be available when the customer wants them, and as expectations get higher the tolerance for failure gets lower. It is vital that we not only ensure the customer can access the service they want during the traditional ‘working day', but increasingly all the way up to 24x7 availability.
What are some of the issues for database administrators looking after databases in a 24/7 environment?
DB2 UDB on distributed platforms offer a highly reliable database solution, but in the real world many different applications and scripts run against our databases which are hosted on various pieces of complicated hardware and problems will occur. An outage during the day is bad enough, but at least the DBAs and other support teams are at work and ready to respond. When supporting a 24x7 system failure in the middle of the night can be, literally, a nightmare as the DBA has to get connected and conduct a diagnosis and fix as quickly as possible - after all, in a 24x7 system the middle of the night here in the UK is daytime for customers elsewhere in the world. Often an issue will mean calling (and usually waking up) other support personnel from teams such as server support, storage, or networks for diagnosis or resolution - not to mention managers on the escalation list...