Everyone is Free (To Verify Backups)

Had some spare time due to the holiday vacation, and I decided to have some fun. The following post is based on a popular song and another holiday post, and is not meant to be taken seriously.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the DBA Team … verify backups.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, backups would be IT. The long term benefits of backups have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and simplicity of sql*plus. Never mind. You will not understand the power and simplicity of your sql*plus until you wasted years on unstable GUI. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look at your screen and will realize in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility sql*plus gives you and how it was worth taking the time to learn.

The DB is NOT as slow as your users imagine.

Don’t worry about the crashes; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The really bad crashes are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; The kind that happen in the middle of routine maintenance that you successfully did million times before.

Test one thing every day that will never make it into production.


Don’t be reckless with optimizer hints, don’t put up with people who are.


Don’t waste your time on proving the DB is not the problem; sometimes it is the application, sometimes it is the network. At the end of the day, no matter what you say, no one will listen.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep old appreciation letters from customers, throw away company memos.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t have CMDB. The most stable and well managed systems I know don’t have CMDB. Those that have CMDB don’t know what to do with it but spend most of their time managing it.

Make sure you have plenty of disk space.

Appreciate the stable system you currently have , you’ll miss it after the next upgrade.

Maybe you’ll use ASM, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have a data warehouse , maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll quit tomorrow, maybe you’ll receive a gold watch at the company anniversary in 25 years. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy Oracle, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest database you’ll ever manage.

Upgrade. Even if you have nowhere to do it but on your development system.

Read the installation instructions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read PC magazines, they will only make you stupid.

Get to know your application owners, you may need to do their job when they’re gone.

Be nice to your team mates; they are your best support in crisis and the people most likely to remember how you resolved the exact same issue 5 month ago.

Understand that colleagues come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the more experienced you get, the more you need the people who know what they are doing.

Work for a startup once, but leave before you burn out; work for a big corporation once, but leave before you become lazy.

Go to conferences.

Accept certain inalienable truths, storage will run out, network will be slow, you too will get old waiting for export to finish, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young databases were smaller, networks were faster and newbies respected the senior DBAs.

Respect the senior DBAs.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a support contract with the vendor, maybe you’ll have a favorite forum; but you never know when either one will have no clue what they are doing.

Don’t mess too much with query tuning, or by the time you’re done, the added benefit will be almost unnoticeable.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of moneymaking, dispensing it is a way of assuming that your past experience is valid for everyone, usually running away before anyone can validate whether it is true.

But trust me on the backups.


2 Comments on “Everyone is Free (To Verify Backups)”

  1. dhoogfr says:

    lol 🙂

  2. I’m always amazed when I hear sob stories of web site owners and even DBAs who had to restore from backups but they couldn’t because they were corrupt or configured incorrectly.

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