From the Trenches

I have been following a seminar on how to be a DBA. These talks give you hands on advice. They are geared towards individuals who find themselves appointed as a DBA by accident. While I am not formally a DBA, I often do some light DBA tasks. So I thought I would study up.

When you start a DBA job, you obviously need to find out what servers and databases you are responsible for. But another important discovery is to find which databases you are not supposed to manage. You should gain info on your systems by talking to actual users. If they are not available, rely on knowledge from developers and testers of the system.

I found out about a nice option in TOAD where you are execute a query against many databases at once. My tool of choice is an old copy of PL/SQL Developer. So far I only log into one database at a time to run queries.

Make sure you find out the cycles of use by the business. This will help you scope out the best time for backups of the database. Speaking of backups, make sure you can recover using the backups. Test out a restore to a different system. It is no good to do backups if in the end they do not work.