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Welcome to a sneak peek into a typical working day of our DBAs. Today we follow James Newton-Brady, Consultant DBA who has been working with databases for over 15 years, and we discover what keeps him busy on a morning. Enjoy!
“A Consultant DBA’s day is never boring. The work is dynamic, and days are always different from each other. This is part of the job of being a DBA, and it is also why it is so interesting.”
Every morning, between 7 am and 8 am, starts with daily checks, reviewing alerts, and any overnight activities. I may need to do a handover with the on-call DBA if any critical issues occurred out of hours.
We have automated scripts that gather the data on the performance and the availability of each database we manage. We then review them and send an email to our clients with a summary of what has been happening with their databases, the state they are in and what work needs to be done. This is when we start to work on the various support tasks: examples could be backup failures, job failures, capacity warnings, or unusual errors in the log that we need to investigate further. That’s why daily checks are so important and are always the first place to start. Obviously, if anything major had happened – for instance, if there was something handed over from on-call, like a corrupt database or similar – we dive straight onto that.
Monday morning daily checks can either be fine or a nightmare. Luckily, with our real-time alerting, we know about anything that happens out-of-hours when it happens so that it doesn’t all pile up for Monday morning, but you can still get some other lower-level issues that you need to address.
After the daily checks, what we look at are proactive reviews; but again, the typical day could look like anything, but there are several actions that are common throughout the week.
At this point, we check all those items that might not have any red alerts yet – i.e., something is broken – but might have Amber Alerts, i.e., something has changed. A good example of that are database locks. Locking is a fundamental part of how databases work but can be problematic if higher than usual.; And they would trigger what we call an Amber Alert, which would prompt us to undertake some proactive investigations and establish e.g. Why is the database locked? Why are the number of locks higher? Is that an indication of a mounting issue?
After all of this, of course, there are incidents and requests from clients; and with the contract that WellData offers, there are unlimited incidents, requests and tech support. These get speedily addressed as and when they come in: we speak to the clients and swiftly act on those requests.
Finally, we have regular catch-ups with most of our clients to make sure we are all aware of what is going on with any planned work. Also, sometimes, we just have a quick chat and a break from the day-to-day stuff, which is a really cool part of the job as we get to work with a lot of really nice clients.
New potential customer consulting
As a consultant, I also have an additional task, which is talking to potential new clients and implementing consultancy engagements. These prospects might be looking for a specific piece of work to be done in the database arena, or it could be that they are looking at a full managed service.
I take the initial discussions, explain WellData’s services, see how we can help and if we can help. Then there are the actual consulting engagements when you move from the initial discussion to an agreed piece of work and implement the work. I am still involved in daily operations but with the backing of the team as well.
For the whole technical team, research and development is a massive part of the job, so dedicated time is always provisioned for research, training, and experimentation to keep on top of our skills.
Obviously, there are many other bits and bobs, but these are the most typical tasks.
Relax time with pets
My typical day is not only work. In between the many tasks I have, I always try to find the time to take a break and relax. It is really important to press pause now and again.
I have two dogs, and they are very good at motivating me to go out for walks. For me, that is important because otherwise, I could easily sit in front of my desk all day, and that is not good for you. I also have a cat, Molly. Probably most clients that I speak with know her because whenever I start talking, she comes and jumps on my lap or jumps on my shoulder. Most clients seem to like that there are lots of cat-people out there!
So, the dogs keep me active, and the cat keeps me on my toes.
If you wish to contact James or the team, give us a call or get in touch via the button.
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