“A Database Administrator has a special responsibility for a component that is critical to the success or failure of a business: its DATA. This makes being a DBA very challenging and stressful given its many responsibilities.
While working in development, architecture, administration, and management of databases for the last 25 years, I faced many challenges that kept me under a high-stress level. Notably, the most common challenges I have come across as a DBA were:
- Data Corruption: I remember that once my critical 7 TB database got corrupted and it took 7 days to create a copy just so I could start debugging to provide a fix. The larger the database, the more time it takes to debug and provide a fix. And more stressful it is.
- Backup Verification: I was always worried if my backups were any good due to the lack of an easy verification method of backup for large databases.
- Backup SLAs: We used to have a significant spike in DB I/O and performance starting at 6 AM PST. At least twice a week, our nightly backup didn’t finish by then which meant that the backup had a huge impact on production performance and vice versa.
- Database Clones for Dev/QA Testing: Not having the full production copy in development always led to poorly performing code. What works for a 50 GB test database doesn’t typically work for a 7 TB production database. Many times, I have had to finetune queries in post-production deployment.
- Lack of Automation: Lack of automation tools led to a cascaded series of manual steps for backup verification or database cloning.
It was not unusual for application owners to get mad at me because of production database performance issues due to full backups. However, I had CIOs breathing down my neck when the critical databases were down for many hours and so had no choice. DevOps & Analytics teams liked to yell at me for taking so long to clone databases to their test environments. Now you can see why I said that being a DBA was a highly stressful job. I badly wanted to fix these problems since all DBAs go through the same pain.”
Our own Sachindra Kumar, VP of DB Engineering, listed reasons for why DBAs are stressed in his recent LinkedIn article, “Every DBA Needs a Best Friend.”
He touched upon these stressors and how they affected him while in his previous role as a DBA. We are lucky to now have Sachindra focused on fight the good fight, helping DBAs lower their stress levels with Actifio’s technology and improving the lives of his brethren.
Are your very large databases stressing you out?
Learn more about the problem and a solution in our Very Large Database Problem Whitepaper