Do you, as a Database administrator, live in mortal fear of your Database failing one day? Database failure comes from the Server software failing or the hardware failing. Worry not for there are numerous tips and tricks for the savvy DB admin to put your fears to rest. Database administrators should have his favorite bag of tricks to deal with the numerous daily challenges of the job.
As a DB admin, you will frequently have the following tasks:
- Check on any alerts from the SQL server
- Do the necessary backups while ensuring proper verification and encryption
- Develop scripts for tasks
- Compare and synchronize database schema and contents
- Generate documentation
Knowledge and Tools for a Database Administrator
For efficiency, as a DB admin you should sharpen your skills and use the necessary tools for your tasks. These tools should help you automate routine tasks. The areas to sharpen and deploy tools in are:
Base knowledge of SQL
You should never forget the basics. You should always be conversant with Data Manipulation Language (DML) and Data Definition Language (DDL). Even as your knowledge in SQL becomes top notch, there are tools that will help you automate functions.
Use a tool like SQL Squirrel, which will help you issue SQL commands and view the database structure. It will work with all the major DB servers like from Microsoft, Oracle and PostreSQL.
Do basic optimization
Knowledge in tasks like indexing or table reorganization is very crucial, as these tasks are inescapable. There are tools to help you automate these tasks. Have a look at a tool like SQLite Database browser. It can help create and modify databases, tables, records and indexes. This tool can also help you import or export data.
You must be conversant with how your data is stored. Database efficiency depends on how fast data can be fetched from storage. Is your data on local disks, Storage Area Network or the cloud?
Tools to help you monitor Input/output Operations per Second are, for example, FlySpeed SQL Query. This tool is useful in data handling and will work well with Excel and CSV file formats
Read Query plans
Query plans should be familiar to you. You should be savvy enough to argue and counter argue points like changes in Indexing. Experience in reading query plans helps you make the necessary changes while making the necessary compensations so as not to affect the efficiency of database operations.
Use a database administration services tool like HeidiSQL. This tool will help you create and modify triggers and scheduled events. It will assist in bulk export of data from one database to another database optimization and repair, and help you with bulk editing as it has an inbuilt editor.
Operating system interactions
The way your DBMS interacts with the host OS is a factor in data integrity. You should be familiar with interactions with Active Directory, security settings, naming conventions and the Light Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
Use DB Visualizer that will assist you modifying settings, and do your naming conventions and set the necessary protocols for your data base administration services
Scripts are very useful when you have to do repetitive tasks. You can automate functions like shutting down of servers. Intimate knowledge in script building will save you a lot of time. Scripting is always a plus when you are showing off your skills.
DBeaver is a useful tool in creating and executing scripts, database transaction management and ERP support.
Storing procedures and triggers
Any DB admin worth his salt should be able to develop stored procedures and triggers while putting in place the necessary logic for their deployment. These procedures and triggers are more precise than generic SQL statement and can achieve more with the proper logic.
You can use Firebird, which is a tool that supports several programming languages like PERL and Python to develop very good logic.
Backup and retrieval
Backup operations are essential for database security. You can always be sure that your data is safe in case of a crash or hardware damage. This also calls for a sound retrieval plan. You should be familiar with DBMS inbuilt mechanisms like that in Oracle recovery manager.
Other Essential skills for Database Administrators
Database administration is part of the wider IT operations in an organization. This means as a DB admin, you are part of a wider team. You must be able to interact well with these team members so that objectives can be achieved faster. For this, you have to develop soft skills. These skills help you fit in the organization and become a productive cog in the wheel.
Developing soft skills will aid you in getting information across in a clear manner and knowing how to handle different personalities in the organization. Having hard technical skills with no soft skills will only leave you frustrated as you feel out of place and misunderstood. Develop the soft skills outlined below and see your career thrive.
- Legal skills – Being on the right side of the law is always crucial. Being a handler of personal data, familiarize yourself with what you can and cannot do with it.
- Project management skills – Skills in project management help you achieve set outputs with minimal time and resources. You must be familiar with creating PERT charts showing inputs, activities, timelines and outputs
- Teamwork skills – As part of a larger team, learn to build on the strengths of others and take advantage of those with better experience and skills. See to it that you feel you are onboard what is being done and you are moving in the same direction as the rest of the team.
- Communication skills – Learn the organization lingo. It will help you get information across faster. Develop your speaking and listening skills so that you are clearly understood.
- Writing skills – Writing good reports, emails, and papers will add value to what you are doing. There will be little value to doing a diagnostics and being unable to tell your bosses where the problem lies.