Re: Urgent, please: what are my options - Drifting into DBA communication skills or lack therof...
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2009 18:52:20 -0800 (PST)
In my life I've found that the answer to almost anything is "it depends".... :-)
I think what you see in the responses to this thread is a bunch of DBA's who have been there.
Who have seen companies do stupid things to save money... Who have seen companies do stupid things because they don't understand... Who have seen companies do stupid things because the DBA's could not communicate their way out of a box. Who have seen contracting companies sign support contracts without clear SLA's because it was lucrative. Who have seen way to many companies coming to ask for expert help when the damage is done, rather than before the damage is done (you can pay me now, or you can pay me later)...
At the end of the day, there are 1000's of ways that incidents such as the one listed in this thread could be avoided. I don't think anyone knows enough about this specific situation to be able to provide an accurate postmortem on it. Rather what you see is the diffusion of experience oozing out.
With respect to my OCP comment, it was a JOKE.
One other thought related to this:
>> On the other hand, if losing a database means that CT cannot continue
>> with business, then they should've heeded the warnings of the DBA
>> *before* the problem occurred, providing the DBA actually warned them.
I have no idea what the DBA said or did in this case to warn the customer so this is not directed at that issue, but you have touched a pet peeve of mine. In my 20+ years of experience, including managing a fair number of DBA's, I've found that a certain number of DBA's (not all certainly) don't communicate well (with management or even each other at times) and even disdain it or find it unimportant.
Some think that communicating with management is beneath them....or it scares them. Some try to wow'em with technical speak, some try to make arguments in technical jargon, some are just plain not well spoken and some are either anit-social or just try to avoid social situations. Then there are the turf protectors... Many DBA's' are just comfortable in their cubes, sending an email here, and email there, thinking that email is a sufficient medium for solving problems. They will not actually bother to get up and socialize the problem, to talk to people. Then, at the end of the day when something went horribly wrong, we are vindicated. We stand noble and mighty in our attempts to communicate when in fact we did nothing of the sort.... when in fact it really *was* our fault. Management needs to be holding DBA's accountable for effective and disciplined communication.
The days of sitting in our cubes, of designing databases heads down without talking to anyone are fast coming to an end. The days of not keeping up with current technologies (I've met DBA's in the last few months who are quite content to stay with their 7.x level of knowledge) is coming to an end if one wants to remain employable. If we are to do our jobs as DBA's then we have to acknowledge that the job is changing. We are agents of change, we are subject matter experts and we better start learning how to communicate effectively or these kinds of things will be the result.
Nothing in this response should be taken personally....
Robert G. Freeman
OCP: Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Professional Study Guide (Sybex) Oracle Database 11g New Features (Oracle Press) Portable DBA: Oracle (Oracle Press)
Oracle Database 10g New Features (Oracle Press) Oracle9i RMAN Backup and Recovery (Oracle Press) Oracle9i New Features (Oracle Press)
Other various titles out of print now... Blog: http://robertgfreeman.blogspot.com The LDS Church is looking for DBA's. You do have to be a Church member in good standing. A lot of kind people write me, concerned I may be breaking the law by saying you have to be a Church member. It's legal I promise! :-)
- Original Message ---- From: Guillermo Alan Bort <cicciuxdba_at_gmail.com> To: Robert Freeman <robertgfreeman_at_yahoo.com> Cc: Howard Latham <howard.latham_at_gmail.com>; eugene.pipko_at_unionbay.com; "oracle-l_at_freelists.org" <oracle-l_at_freelists.org> Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 5:17:41 PM Subject: Re: Urgent, please: what are my options???
It depends on the terms of your contract. If you are a dedicated DBA, whose only responsability is that database, or a consultant hired to perform the recovery, then you need to do all you can to save the situation. If you are a leveraged dba, who manages over 500 Databases, then you can't justify letting other databases have problems because you invest all your time trying to solve a problem for a database that you didn't support in the first place.
In outsourced dba services, at least the ones I've worked for, there were certain standards the database needed to meet in order to be accepted in the service. Otherwise, it was in an 'unsupported' status that didn't have SLA and was a 'best-effort' situation.
Mind you, I never actually let the CT burn, and I had to perform some really interesting juggling a pull a few all-nighters to get databases in such situations back up and running, but that IS what they paid me for, and it WAS considered overtime AND project, so in turn it was about 200% my regular hour. And database was a lousy SAP system that didn't actually do much (just payroll and stuff, that could be recovered from hard copies, and some historical data might have been lost).
On the other hand, if losing a database means that CT cannot continue with business, then they should've heeded the warnings of the DBA *before* the problem occured, providing the DBA actually warned them.
Oh, and I'm taking 1Z0-043 in a few days, and as far as I remember, there is no topic on 'Actually Caring About CT'... in fact, I think you'll find that people at Oracle Support usually care more for procedures than actually helping CT.
Sorry for the OT and flaming properties of this mail.
In the end, I wouldn't let a CT burn (even though I might want to and actually say so), but I would charge them extra *if* I had warned them.
Oracle Certified Associate
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 4:37 PM, Robert Freeman
> I agree with you 100%, you can't let the customer burn.
> Robert G. Freeman
> OCP: Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Professional Study Guide (Sybex)
> Oracle Database 11g New Features (Oracle Press)
> Portable DBA: Oracle (Oracle Press)
> Oracle Database 10g New Features (Oracle Press)
> Oracle9i RMAN Backup and Recovery (Oracle Press)
> Oracle9i New Features (Oracle Press)
> Other various titles out of print now...
> Blog: http://robertgfreeman.blogspot.com
> The LDS Church is looking for DBA's. You do have to be a Church member in
> good standing. A lot of kind people write me, concerned I may be breaking
> the law by saying you have to be a Church member. It's legal I promise! :-)
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Howard Latham <howard.latham_at_gmail.com>
> To: Guillermo Alan Bort <cicciuxdba_at_gmail.com>
> Cc: robertgfreeman_at_yahoo.com; eugene.pipko_at_unionbay.com; "oracle-l_at_freelists.org" <oracle-l_at_freelists.org>
> Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 11:00:55 AM
> Subject: Re: Urgent, please: what are my options???
> You cant just say let the Customer Burn
> It might mean the end of their business and their ability to pay you!
> If I get a customer with a trashed DB I will try EVERYTHING to help.
> Telling them their Backup Strategy of lack of one is Bad Practice can be saved
> until later.
> There are several DB unload utilities that can at least recover SOME data.
> This could be enough to save them.
> Also opening DB with parameters mentioned above can also save the day. Sometimes
> the DB is fine - though Oracle won't support it.
> Howard Latham