Friday, February 4, 2011

Get the information fast

I was reminded today, it is good to be a DBA. A DBA can mean so many things and have many different roles. It definitely keeps my life interesting.
Data can be very helpful to the business and provide important information to make decisions, execute transactions and keep things moving. The problem for the DBA is to keep things moving. Existing system can be monitored to check if queries are executing efficiently or if there is anything bogging the system down. One day things might be running great and the next day it only one query is barely getting through. What happened? Things might have changed, a batch job could have run long. Are backups still running? Statistics? If applications are running slow, the question comes back what is wrong with the database.
At this point if you are a pro-active DBA you have a question back! is this a normal process or is this something new? It seems like we are pulling more data, new data loaded? Thank goodness for tools and those monitoring scripts that are in place. How can I tell this point can you quantifiy the problem.? Only if you have some benchmarks, you can then tell if there is more data, how much slower things might be running. Simple benchmarks on basic application queries, backup times, how long to gather statics can help with how slow or fast things are running. Space benchmarks, object counts and object changes also provide good benchmarks for the system. If gathering this information, the benchmarks are there for changes. Because I have to ask if you make improvements and can't tell anyone how much you improved, what fun is that!
Another nice things about proactively monitoring the performance, when there are issues, you already have quick information and can start looking into other things for the problem. Monitoring the performance is something you are continuously doing, because things do change.
Systems van be designed and configured for performance. The initial build and implementation should take performance into consideration.
I am looking forward to an upcoming IOUG Training Day that addresses this topic of real world performance and archectiting database systems to get the information fast. Real World Performance