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DBA vs the Rest of the Company

I have been reading some interesting blog posts over at ITToolbox. There is a debate/discussion about the DBA vs developer situation. The post that started it all was Ralph Wilson's entry titled "Ten Most Irritating DBA Habits and Responses" . Then Dratz posted some responses of the DBA to the developer in a comment. And Dratz posted an entry in his bog refering to Ralph Wilson's blog entry.

When I found myself starting to compose a large comment that didn't quite go with what was being said in either blog entry, I had to create my own post.

I have rarely had any problems with a DBA as a developer. Currently, I am a developer DBA. This means I'm responsible for several MySQL servers. I have been a developer DBA at several other jobs.

I did comment in Dratz's blog entry about a project I got involved in after the developers learned a bit more about how a database operates. Well, you just have to read my comment there!

Any ways, here are my responses to some of the situations I've been with the DBAs.

I did drive one DBA crazy one day when I deleted a whole bunch of records and needed them restored. Although what he did in response, was a pain in the neck, it was definitely something we needed. He wrote a program that would first show us how many records a particular SQL statement would affect if it was a delete or update. Then it would ask us if we really wanted to perform the operation.

There was one time I helped the DBAs solve a major problem. They had done an upgrade of a post office address checker database application (I don't remember all the details of it, but it was an outside application probably from the USPS) and all of a sudden an application was hanging. To recover we had to get the DBA to reset something.

What I did was set up a program to run every few minutes which checked the address of the company, and if the program couldn't access it, it paged the DBA who was on call. After about a week they discovered that it had something to do with the database now was opening up a new process for each query or something like that, and it ran out of processes after about 18 hours of use.

BTW, this program was in the scope of my job function as the liaison between the help desk, the user, the developers, the sys admins and the DBAs. At first I wasn't paging the DBAs, but when I would call them before they discovered the hung database, I eventually asked them if they wanted to be on the paging list. Once they were on the paging list, they had a greater desire to solve the problem.

At the last company I worked for before I went out on my own, the DBAs were overworked. It was painful making changes to the databases, and even though we were right next to them, they still had other groups in the whole company to support. Also, only one of the two were really knowledgeable so if he was on vacation or took a day off, we were left waiting.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 16, 2007 1:45 PM.

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