Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

From: Herring Dave - dherri <>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 14:22:46 +0000
Message-ID: <>

I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever, go into an office and work side-by-side with other DBAs on your team. For those who answer "yes, I rarely go into the office ...", then have you come up with any effective methods for managing communication and support across the team?

My current team is spread across the world in 4 timezones and we use email almost exclusively for communication and monitoring. OEM & crontab monitoring is handled by sending us emails for various warning/critical events, on which we need to respond within a given amount of time. We also get various information emails from these monitoring jobs to keep track of what's going on across the many systems we support. All this leads to a tremendous volume of email.

What have we done to still be effective? All emails from monitoring jobs have a Subject line prefix that categorizes the email, so we can write all sorts of Outlook rules to manage the incoming emails. We've also worked hard at making sure we only get emails from these jobs when absolutely necessary for our job. I've also given examples of how to set Outlook rules to auto-forward incoming email to your cell phone when it's an emergency and you're oncall, even an example of how to create rules with multiple ANDs and ORs by flagging emails and then rules against those flagged emails.

Yet with all this, emails are still getting ignored and/or half read. Volume shouldn't be an excuse, because we all get tons of emails and organizational solutions have been presented. Emails I send out are also ignored/half read, so emailing about the issue won't work.

I'm not sure what else to do, which is why I'm asking you all for strategies/rules/guidelines that you follow. Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing support-related email? Do you have other methods and are they a requirement? Email doesn't appear to be going away, more systems seem to be 24 x 7 and DBAs seem to be given higher demands on what they monitor. To me it doesn't appear our current methods are working, much less handle future increases.

I'm not sure I want responses to this, but is the problem with me and that I'm too wordy, have too high of expectations and am a perfectionist?

Hopefully this thread can be a worthwhile discussion and not just ranting on others, which I can't help but do when trying to explain my current frustation. Thanks to anyone who is still reading this!

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Received on Wed Nov 02 2011 - 09:22:46 CDT

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