Indifference towards database administration


I got in a situation where we had a problem with database systems which luckily was easy to resolve. I didn’t know the network architecture that well and started investigating the database servers.
There was no one who had the responsibility to do the database administration as a whole. Instead the database servers where managed as good as they could do and nothing more.

indifferenceAs I came to become more known around the systems I started to as questions to the administrators why certain decisions were made.
Appearently I struck a chord because the administrators became defensive and answered my questions in short without supplying the full context.

One of the questions was: Why did you install a 32-bit SQL Server instance on a 64-bit operating system instead of a 64-bit version?
I got the following reply: We do that because the server can never use more memory than 3 to 4 GB.

A second question was: Why are all the databases set to simple recovery mode instead of full?
I got the following reply: We had trouble with disk space because the t-logs grew and it was easier to set it to simple recovery mode.

A third question was: Why is the largest database of 200GB one large data file?
I got the following reply: I don’t know it just is and multiple data files make the administration of the database a lot of work.

Seriously! Seriously! If you don’t know what you’re doing make sure you do know or don’t do it all and leave it to the people who do.

I wasn’t surprised about the fact that they installed the 32-bit instance or the other replies, but I was surprised at the indifference towards database administration. I can’t stress enouph how important database administration is and especially when you have a large set of databases which are business critical.

I’ve worked at several companies and when I come in as the DBA I’m always astonished about the indifference that administrators have towards SQL Server or any other database system.
You can’t expect the systems to keep working when you don’t have the knowledge.

What can you do to make database administration more prominent in the IT department:

  • Make sure that the CTO or th any other lead in the IT departments knows the importance of the continuity of the database systems
  • Write proposals stating the problem and what the impact is on the systems
  • Make sure you have the mandate to make the proposals
  • Make little steps. Rome wasn’t build in one day..

One last few words about this before I

Now get up and get your act together and don’t expect everything to keep working all the time. At least read into some of the basic literature of the database systems.

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