Intelligently Automating Database Administration Tasks

Implementing, managing and maintaining complex database applications spread throughout the world is a difficult task. To support modern applications a vast IT infrastructure is required that encompasses all of the physical things needed to support your applications. This includes your databases, desktops, networks, and servers, as well as any networks and servers outside of your environment that you rely upon for e-business. These things, operating together, create your IT infrastructure. These disparate elements are required to function together efficiently for your applications to deliver service to their users.

But these things were not originally designed to work together. So not only is the environment increasingly complex, it is inter-related. But it is not necessarily designed to be inter-related. When you change one thing, it usually impacts others. What is the impact of this situation on DBAs?

Well, for starters, DBAs are working overtime just to support the current applications and relational features. But new DBMS releases are being made available faster than ever before. Yet many organizations cannot react fast enough to run on the most recent (and therefore most secure and most functional versions).

So, the job of database administration is getting increasingly more difficult as database technology rapidly advances adding new functionality, more options, and more complex and complicated capabilities. But DBAs are overworked, under-appreciated, and lack the time to gain the essential skills required to support and administer the latest features of the RDBMS they support. What can be done?

Intelligent Automation

One of the ways to reduce these problems is through intelligent automation. As IT professionals we have helped to deliver systems that automate multiple jobs throughout our organizations. That is what computer applications do: they automate someone’s job to make that job easier. But we have yet to intelligently automate our DBA jobs. By automating some of the tedious day-to-day tasks of database administration, we can free up some time to learn about new DBMS features and to implement them appropriately.

But simple automation is not sufficient. The software should be able to intelligently monitor, analyze, and optimize applications using past, present, and future analysis of collected data. Simply stated, the software should work the way a consultant works–fulfilling the role of a trusted advisor.

This advisory software should collect data about the IT environment from the systems (OS, DBMS, OLTP, etc.), objects, and applications. It should require very little initial configuration, so that it is easy to use for novices and skilled users alike. It should detect conditions requiring maintenance actions, and then advise the user of the problem, and finally, and most beneficial to the user, optionally perform the necessary action to correct the problems it identifies. Most management tools available today leave this analysis and execution up to the user. But intelligent automation solutions should be smart enough to optimize and streamline your IT environment with minimal, perhaps no, user or DBA interaction.

Only through intelligent automation will we be able to deliver on the promise of technology. As IT tasks get more complex and IT professionals are harder to employ and retain, more and more IT duties should be automated using intelligent management software. This is especially true for very complex jobs, such as DBA. Using intelligent automation will help to reduce the amount of time, effort, and human error associated with managing databases and complex applications.

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About craig@craigsmullins.com

I'm a strategist, researcher, and consultant with nearly three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development.
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7 Responses to Intelligently Automating Database Administration Tasks

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