Welcome to my first blog post. The first of what I hope will be many posts about databases, technology and random thoughts on the use of data in our modern world.
Let’s begin with what is a prescient DBA? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines prescient as
“the ability to know what will or might happen in the future”.
This is definitely a handy special power to have if you are DBA. It is fortunate that you don’t have to be a mythical figure (an oracle – not the Larry Ellison kind!) or depend on magic to become prescient – at least in a technical sense. It requires work to acquire this power of prescience.
So, you ask, how does a DBA show prescience? Well, as a truly “prescient DBA”, you would know:
1. If I try to restore one of my backups, I know it will definitely restore completely and cleanly within the time required.
2. The new stored procedure code I wrote, I know will work fine in production.
3. All parts of the software upgrade I know will work on Monday morning when everyone comes into the office.
4. Users ask for a new report…..which you “knew” they would need, so you starting working on it already.
Let’s look at this short list then. I know my backups will restore (which by the way, is the reason for doing backups) because I have put processes in place to prevent corrupted backup files and I have tested restoring those backup files before I really need them. So when the worst thing happens, I know my restores will work just fine!
I know the new stored procedure I wrote will work fine in production because I thoroughly tested the stored procedure in the dev environment before it ever saw the light of day in production.
Similarly, I know the new software upgrade we did over the weekend will work for everyone on Monday morning when they arrive in the office because it was first deployed into an isolated test environment. Then each change made by the upgrade, was completely tested before it could be promoted into the production application.
As a prescient DBA, you stay in close contact with your business users – you do don’t you? Because of this you know what their reporting needs are and what the next report they will most likely ask for.
Sorry to say, it does take work now , to become “prescient” later. As I said , no magic involved but it will seem like magic later!
I say, we should all aspire to become a “prescient DBA” !