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Steve Woody, Senior VP Ross Group Inc

Top 10 Database Essentials - A Catalog of DBA Coverage Necessities

Steve Woody, CommitDBA Director

December 3, 2014

How do data-driven companies know that their enterprise databases are managed holistically utilizing industry best practices that cover all administrative tasks? There are many aspects to that question and include such requirements as - utilizing expert DBAs or DBA services, database management policies and standards, change control procedures, proper oversight and embedded project management. In addition, and very importantly, a catalog of database topology coverages is required so that the DBA understands completely what database components are to be serviced. That’s why CommitDBA has created a Catalog of the Top 10 Database Essentials by which DBA best practices are administered.

The enterprise database is the most important, sensitive and financially valuable intangible asset for any organization. All critical and key data is stored in the enterprise database, whether it be in the form of a Transactional database, Mirrored/Replicated database, Data Warehouse/Data Mart/BI database, Big Data, hybrid database or various other database types. No matter what the mixture of applications, data types, database structures and other variances, if an organization incorporates the “Top 10 Database Essential Areas of Coverage” their enterprise databases will be accessible, protected, sustainable, optimized and reliable.

So what are the Top 10 Database Essentials that every organization should have database services provide?

Top Ten DBA Essentials

1. Database Management Execution

Database management execution reflects the professionalism and ownership of the DBA or DBA Services firm to manage, implement and execute necessary database support requirements successfully. Without proper database management responsibilities and oversight, there is high risk that the remaining Database Essentials will not be implemented or administered properly.

2. Database Security Safeguards

With ever increasing data breaches and data security incidents, it has never been more important to ensure that all database protection points are covered and preventive controls are in place. The database is the “last line of defense” once other IT infrastructure perimeter components have been compromised. Implementing a risk management approach for database security enables each organization with a proactive model for critical database security safeguards.

3. Database Recovery Reliability

Solid backup execution and recoverability is a key component of IT continuity operations and disaster recovery strategies. There have been plenty of cases where data recovery was impossible or slow due to a variety of reasons. Solid database backup strategies and processes should be foolproof and worry free from whatever points of failure that might occur.

4. Database High Availability Maximized

Database services and DBAs must possess the expertise to implement best-possible availability options and redundancy solutions along with the skills and methodology to support such solutions. With rapid and explosive data growth, ongoing Big Data requirements, e-commerce/e-business and web service advancements, emerging mobile apps and enterprise application software (EAS) the norm, 24x7 high availability (HA) mandates are common.

5. Database Performance and Monitoring Maximized

Performance issues can occur at both the macro and micro level with severity levels from low to extreme. Poor performing databases at worst can cause financial business loss. Database services should include database performance experts to properly manage the numerous database options, configurations and decisions that are critical for sustained and optimal performance. In addition, a best-in-class proactive database monitoring tool such as Dell Foglight is absolutely necessary for the DBA to respond immediately to performance related issues.

6. Database Architecture Maximized

Today’s databases are comprised with many types of physical and structural components. Proper database architecture affects database performance, backup and recovery, redundancy, high availability, data growth and other areas. Databases have been known to have outages due to poor architecture and configuration.

7. Database Scalability Maximized

With today’s unprecedented data growth, increased database traffic, user base expansion and application growth there is a constant strain on database infrastructure capacity. Being proactive with data growth and processing requirements involves always evaluating capacity levels and reviewing data growth trends via monitoring and historical analysis.

8. Database Development Execution

Some organizations have designed and built internal applications which normally require backend development DBA support for such things as stored procedures, functions, packages, triggers, design, object modifications, privilege modifications, application problem detection (related to database), ETL and other internal database needs. While the level of DBA development requirements may vary based on various factors based on application and database environments, it is an important skill to have within the Database Essentials Catalog of Services.

9. Database Remediation Assurance

Database problems, incidents and issues can cause business operation disruption that can range from minor pain and interruption to extreme pain and interruption and various levels of discomfort in between. If you cannot trust your DBAs or DBA Services to remediate database issues in a timely manner, then database sustainment remains at high risk. Superior DBA services must also have process controls and standards in place so that escalation occurs between a primary and secondary DBA in case backup is required to quickly mitigate and remediate the problematic conditions.

10. Database Maintenance and Deployment Execution

Enterprise databases will always require ongoing maintenance and updates along with rolling release upgrade and deployment requirements. Having credible and reliable maintenance plans will continue to be a key essential to the success of database continuity and optimal performance. Deploying new database versions can range from the simple to the complex. The DBA must be totally prepared for all types of database upgrades and deployments to ensure smooth and risk averse execution.


The expansion of DBA responsibilities and coverages continues to grow rapidly with enterprise database new features and options, overlapping middleware, unrelenting data growth, greater high availability requirements, emerging web and mobile application requirements and ever increasing complexities. Without a holistic database services approach, which provides the framework and catalog of DBA coverage essentials, there is high risk and potential for DBA service gaps that could cause significant operational issues for data-driven organizations.

The Top 10 Database Essentials described in this blog provides the full catalog and portfolio of high level areas of coverage required by DBAs to perform the full spectrum of DBA services. By categorizing these coverages, the DBA understands all of the functions necessary for complete and holistic management of the enterprise database environment.

For a more comprehensive understanding of these DBA responsibilities, please see the white paper - Top 10 Database Essentials – A Catalog of DBA Coverage Necessities.

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