A Day in the Life of a Database Administrator

A day in the life of a database administrator (DBA) really is a 24-hour one.

“Typically, systems are 24×7 now, so they never get shut down,” said Dwaine Snow, IBM database administrator. This means Snow is always on call — if a significant problem with his database arises in the middle of the night, he can be paged and have to address it. With any luck, this doesn’t happen, and a DBA’s standard business hours are conducted with this in mind.

Snow begins a day of database administration by checking for alerts.

“These are anything that could potentially have gone wrong overnight, whether that’s looking in the native database alert information, or you can set up alerts that are generated automatically for you,” Snow said. “Hopefully, it didn’t get so bad that I got paged in, but I always check to see if there’s a problem.”

Next, Snow looks ahead to the remainder of the day within his department to anticipate any fires that might need to be put out.

“I typically have scripts that will alert me when things are not performing well, so I look for any signs of impending doom,” he said. “If something hasn’t happened yet but might happen soon, I’ll fix it before it happens.” The remainder of Snow’s workday depends on whether his team is in a development or testing cycle.

“In a development cycle, what I’m going to do is help our developers write good DB2 (Database…

Daniel Margolis


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