Do you have a checklist?

Too often, when I search the net for some information I need, I find something completely unrelated that catches my interest. Normal people may bookmark the interesting article for later review and continue searching for the original piece of information. But I am not normal people, I have N.A.D.D – so I’ll read the interesting article, think of it for a bit, then write a blog entry about it, discuss it with friends, and few hours later remember that I still need to find that original bit.

This time, the interesting article is “Oracle DBA Checklist“. Its a nice list of things DBAs do daily, weekly, monthly, etc. At first glance it looked like the kind of thing that every DBA should have, and I was starting to wonder if I’m a bad DBA because I don’t have one.
At second glance, I figured out that I hate this list and everything it stands for. No DBA should have such list. The correct name of the list is “Monitors to set up when configuring Oracle system”.

the first problem is the entire idea of having the DBA go though a checklist every day, or even every week. This is an unbelievable waste of time. Everything that has to be done at such frequency should be automated during the first week on the job. While the list author does mention that “some sites may wish to automate this”, this is not good enough. It should be phrased as “Automate the entire checklist or find another job”.

The second problem is that of frequency. The suggest to check that the instances are up once a day. Don’t know about their implementation, but we can’t afford a day of downtime on our databases. Our monitors check for instance availability every 10 minutes. Verifying resources should also be done more frequently – Disk space problems can occur very fast and crash your instance, high CPU can cause severe performance problems. You want to catch these sooner rather than later.

however, they were few gems in that document – I loved the suggestion to read manuals for an hour a day. So I decided to write my own mini-checklist despite my hate for anything that involves routine and repetition:

Daily:

  1. Go through mailbox and dashboard to verify that no alerts were sent during the night from our monitors and scheduled jobs.
  2. Read DBA manuals
  3. go over blog aggregator for interesting news and posts

Monthly:

  1. Review reports of CPU, Disk, network, memory and response times for trends, future scalability and ideas for improvement.

The rest of the day can be dedicated to the usual disasters, urgent requests and firefighting. Oh, and maybe some system improvements, in our spare time.

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7 Comments on “Do you have a checklist?”

  1. Noons says:

    Couldn’t agree more!
    Great post.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Awesome!
    Great post.

  3. Virag Sharma says:

    I agree with your points/ideas, but one size not fit for all.

  4. It should be phrased as “Automate the entire checklist or find another job”.

    — Absolutely! —

  5. Abdul kalam says:

    thats true..day today activites should be automated,coz we need to find solution for many issue in our carrer, why should me stuck up with same issue that too on daily basis..
    i accept ur words..

  6. oraclelabs says:

    Agree, but… The referenced checklist is 12 years old, Oracle had a manual wind-up back then and backup was done to floppy disks. Today we set up OEM monitoring and then read funny and educational blogs most of the day.

  7. oraclelabs says:

    About NADD… I disagree on the acronym meaning. We do not lack attention to cool stuff. The real meaning is “Nerd Acute Attention to Details”.


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