Time for a Database Checkup

Sound Advice to Start the New Year Off Right

Rick Sabarese
Data Center

New Year’s resolutions and promises to improve abound at this time of year. Just about everyone wants to go to the gym more or eat better. But getting healthier applies to more than just waistlines. Your databases need a checkup as well.

Start with small steps, like ensuring all your database support pieces are current. Check the front-end applications, the back-end data storage programs, and even the server operating systems. It’s painful when you find a batch of old apps hiding underneath others, but it’s better to find them proactively than during a crash postmortem.

And if a database does crash, how many people will complain? In other words, do you know your Daily Active User count for various databases? When you find a database that has a user count in the low handfuls, what’s the policy? There may not be one, because people rarely consider databases falling into disuse. But assigning a couple of unused databases to an end-of-life plan may be the quickest way to improve the health of your total database environment.

Next, do a database/cloud checkup. No doubt your organization has embraced the cloud – but does that mean there are no local links or physical dependencies? Harking back to our first point, when you check versions of software platforms, the server hardware, operating systems, and supporting storage should be checked for cloud friendliness. Even if the databases in question aren’t really “in the cloud” – in the remote-access-from-anywhere sense – that might change tomorrow. If so, tomorrow is a bad time to discover the software that you think is cloud-enabled is really grounded by specific server hosts, SANs, IP addresses, or VPNs.

Finally, when you rid yourself of local dependencies, test the data protection in several ways. Can the database in question fail over properly? Can it fail over from on-premise to cloud, if that’s the policy, without compromising user access? Do the backup systems include the data from all databases and store them remotely? If your on-premise site is compromised, do databases migrate properly to remote cloud sites while remaining easily available? These are all critical questions to ask.

Start the year off right by making some New Year’s resolutions for your databases. I guarantee you’ll feel much better knowing you’ve checked some important items off your 2016 to-do list. Who knows, it might even get you motivated to work on your personal resolutions for the New Year!