Automation is King – Manual Monitoring is Out

By | In Database Administration, Remote DBA | November 29th, 2017

With data underlying all but the most trivial of applications, it’s crucial to make sure that your database environments are as available and reliable as possible. For these reasons, many database administrators have chosen to write custom scripts for monitoring and other common database tasks that provide alerts when they can’t resolve an issue automatically.

Overreliance on custom scripts and manual monitoring has many serious flaws, from the stopgap nature of writing custom scripts to the high potential for user error. Fortunately, a new class of solution has risen in its stead: automation, which is taking over database environments across a variety of organizations.

Much of what database administrators do can be automated. This is for the benefit of both DBAs, who are saved from having to perform low-level, repetitive activities and for your organization itself, which can cut costs and become more effective and productive. This article will look at some of the ways that DBAs are leveraging automation to reduce errors, identify issues faster and improve their own efficiency.

The Problems with Manual Monitoring

Trying to monitor non-trivial database environments manually, whether with your eyes and ear alone or with the help of custom scripts, is an admirable yet foolhardy task. Some of the problems here include:

  • Support issues. When your database environment goes down due to problems of your own making, trying to bring it back online can be a highly frustrating task with no way to bring in external support.
  • Fragility. Custom scripts are highly context-sensitive and often need to be interpreted by the original author in order to make any sense out of them, which makes them next to useless otherwise.
  • Messiness. When left unchecked, script authors can suffer from out-of-control “script sprawl” across the database environment, with both highly popular and defunct scripts sitting side by side.

How You Can Use Automation in Your Database Environments

As the figures responsible for the health, security and availability of your databases, DBAs have a lot on their plate. From assessing the system’s performance and making optimizations to integrating data and supporting software development efforts, it can often seem like the job of a DBA is never quite done.

The good news is that many of the routine tasks of DBAs can easily be automated, freeing them up to concentrate on higher-level activities. Just a few of these actions include:

  • Checking to see that all instances are up
  • Watching error logs for any noteworthy or unusual events
  • Verifying the successful completion of all jobs
  • Assessing the integrity of database backups
  • Monitoring the amount of storage remaining

These administrative tasks are prime candidates for automation: they are repetitive, following a clear sequence of steps, can potentially occupy significant amounts of time and can integrate with existing interfaces to make the transition to automation as straightforward as possible.

Automated database monitoring helps DBAs and IT managers address the challenges of large databases, like complex IT environments and unexpected downtime and outages. Not only do automated database monitoring tools provide tremendous value in themselves, they also unlock the door for you to automate a whole suite of other database actions. Monitoring solutions like Datavail’s Delta ensure that your databases are in good hands so that you can respond to potential issues with just the right amount of attention and start seeing benefits like improved productivity and lower costs.

Learn more by downloading our new white paper, Monitoring Databases with Datavail Delta.

Contact Us
Eric Russo
Senior Vice President of Database Services
Eric Russo is SVP of Database Services overseeing all of Datavail’s database practices including project and managed services for MS SQL, Oracle, Oracle EBS, MySQL, MongoDB, SharePoint and DB2. He is also the Product Owner for Datavail Delta, a database monitoring tool. He has 21 years’ experience in technology including 16 years in database management. His management success and style has attracted top DBAs from around the world to create one of the most talented and largest SQL Server teams. He has been with Datavail since 2008: previous to that his work experiences include DBA Manager at StrataVia, Senior Web Developer at Manifest Information Systems and SQL Server DBA at Clark County, Nevada.

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