Why “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” Is Bad Advice for Databases

“Every defect is a treasure, if a company can uncover its cause and work to prevent it across the corporation.” — Kilchiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota

Regular and comprehensive database monitoring enables you to identify problem areas in your database environment that are degrading performance at an early stage.

Why delaying maintenance is a bad idea

If you don’t perform database maintenance regularly, small problems can develop into something serious. A poorly maintained database can rob your business of profits, limit communication efforts, and damage return on investment. Carrying out regular database maintenance can help you reduce the cost of upgrades and maintenance by catching problems as they happen and not allowing them to pile up until the next upgrade or migration.

Database health checks should be comprehensive and should attempt to cover all areas. A measured approach is usually required for tuning the system back as a result of problems developed over time. Reactive maintenance and problem solving is time consuming, resource intensive, and expensive. A proactive database health check plan will save money and time in the long run.

Identifying database issues

A great percentage of outages impacting mission-critical services are a result of uninitiated health checks and are usually caused by human error. Ultimately, any issue related to database tuning, configuration, performance, security, size, and space is a “people and process” problem. Carrying out periodic health checks helps discover and solve those issues in the database. It also takes into account the experiences of end users.

You might have a database problem if you are:

  • Having system access problems at peak times – receiving frequent complaints from users about slowness, long delays in dashboard refresh or updates, difficulties logging in, or being locked out for long periods of time
  • Unable to accurately replicate data
  • Having difficulty backing up data
  • Losing transactions
  • Unable to recover the database when needed

Health checks enable you to not only troubleshoot database problems, but also get a feel for how your database can be expected to perform under peak conditions. This ensures that you’ll be aware when you need to expand your capacity and upgrade your software to manage growth.

Health checks also enable you to measure the performance of your mission-critical database in the areas of availability, capacity planning, and security. Adopting a proactive approach to conducting health checks ensures that your database performs at peak efficiency. Regular health checks help provide an overview of your database’s stability, identify issues, and eliminate bottlenecks.

To learn more about why and how to perform database health checks please download Datavail’s recently released white paper, The Real Value of Oracle Health Checks, or contact Datavail today. With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest database services provider in North America. As a reliable provider of 24×7 managed services for applications, BI/Analytics, and databases, Datavail can support your organization, regardless of the build you’ve selected.

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Megan Elphingstone
Senior Oracle Database Administrator
Megan has been working with Oracle databases for over 15 years, including 10 years as an Oracle Database Administrator. Megan has supported over 200 production databases - performing upgrades, infrastructure moves to the cloud, tuning, performance testing, implementing high availability solutions, including moves to ASM, Data Guard, RAC, and Golden Gate. Megan’s favorite part of being a DBA is helping customers and users solve problems and implementing solutions that are automated, stable, and reliable. When she isn’t working, Megan is biking or snowboarding with her family.

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