Because big data has gained paramount importance in today’s economy, database administrators (DBAs) often play the role of frontline personnel to keep data secure and protected. Due to the nature of their work, DBAs must pay extreme attention to detail, leaving zero room for error. However, DBAs are humans like all of us, and like it or not, we all make mistakes at some point in our lives.
Despite the best intentions and training, mistakes are made occasionally. A single blunder can sometimes cause severe damage to the IT environment and users. As a business owner, you must hire database consultants who are extra vigilant about committing such errors.
We’ve curated a list for you if you’re curious about what these DBA management mistakes could be. Keep reading!
- Not Having Backups
Every DBA understands database backups’ crucial role in the IT environment. Though disaster recovery technologies are highly available, backups are the foundation of a data protection strategy.
They are often seen as the last line of defense. And the worst time to find out that a backup isn’t working is when the database needs to be restored. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that no DBA makes this mistake, and the BACKUP VERIFYONLY command comes in handy to ensure that the backup is functional.
In addition, it is also an excellent idea to use CHECKSUM on all backups because it acts as an extra data validity check to analyze whether a database is corrupted. Performing regular database restores on non-protection systems also gives the added peace of mind that backups are working efficiently.
- Security Oversights
Security is paramount for all SQL Server implementations. However, security can go overlooked by some DBAs when they grant higher levels of permissions to applications or people than necessary. Such careless actions could lead to data exposure, loss, theft, and even database corruption.
Similarly, granting administrative privileges to developers to give them direct access to production data is something that DBAs should avoid. Though it is done to expedite the debugging or development process, it isn’t seen as a best practice.
When it comes to data security, the principle should be to provide the ‘least privilege,’ which means only the lowest levels of permissions should be granted to developers, users, and even administrators.
- Infrequent Database Maintenance
Though SQL Server has several self-healing and auto-tuning capabilities, nobody should think that a database can run by itself. A whole host of essential database maintenance tasks need to be performed regularly.
It includes the basic integrity checks with the help of the DBCC CHECKDB command for all production databases. DBAs also need to check fragmentation indexes while regularly updating production databases’ stats. Several scripts and third-party tools are available and should be appropriately leveraged to keep databases operating smoothly.
However, these high-resource consuming tasks shouldn’t be conducted during the peak production working hours.
- Irregular Monitoring of Server Utilization
Timely system benchmarking and monitoring is another critical activity that must be performed judiciously. It would be a mistake to wait until the system starts having problems before monitoring database activity workloads and levels.
Periodically checking the performance statistics of the system gives an idea of normal workload and patterns that can help pinpoint various abnormalities and other changes. An efficient DBA must periodically check memory, CPU utilization, locks and blocks, and availability of free space on data and log files.
- Disabled Page Verification
SQL Server comes with built-in features that prevent data corruption. Your DBA can set page verification at torn page detection, the value of checksum, or none. However, none should be the default setting. Doing so can leave your databases vulnerable to corruption, and it could already be too late when corruption is fully discovered using other means.
- Password Sharing
It is an essential requirement that all IT professionals must understand – passwords shouldn’t be shared with anybody. Sharing passwords can negate audit control and obscure the actual culprit when there is a threat to the integrity of a database.
A DBA can never have a compelling reason to share passwords, and such a transgression should never be committed or overlooked.
- Hesitance Towards Automation
If a DBA does something manually more than once, it is essential to ask whether the task can be automated. A good DBA analyzes data, looks at facts, and improves services. By automating tasks, a DBA can reduce errors, enhance accuracy, and scale up the total number of databases they can manage.
The key is to work smarter, not harder. Surprisingly, automation can be achieved through scripting. The DBA can look at various SQL Server communities for the best automation practices widely promoted by others.
- Unstructured Methodology for Troubleshooting
One of the prime mistakes that a DBA can make is not following a structured approach to troubleshooting. DBAs don’t necessarily have to be experts at troubleshooting. However, they need to have a step-by-step checklist that allows them to conduct root cause analysis. Without having one, the DBA may waste their energy and time while missing out on all kinds of problems and errors.
- Ignorance Towards the Business
Many DBAs consider that working with databases is their sole responsibility. In contrast, they must start looking at themselves as the guardian of an organization’s greatest asset – data. And to play that role, they need to know how the organization uses the data and who all are affected when any application goes down. DBAs cannot add value to their workplace without knowing crucial business-related information.
A database administrator’s job is to act as the protector and guardian of data at all times. While mistakes could happen to anybody, DBAs lacking sound technical know-how and experience are prone to making more mistakes. Because of this, it is essential for businesses that aren’t hiring in-house to partner with the correct database services provider to avoid pitfalls that could potentially harm their company.