An old phrase used in business is that knowledge is power. When you understand more about a particular situation, you can develop solutions and better understand which ones would both suit your environment better and solve any issues faster.
As someone that has worked in a variety of production environments managing all different types of platforms, I have found it extremely career-enhancing to have knowledge about the entire environment. Knowing what is happening at any point in time has allowed me to answer pointed questions about the applications. With comprehensive monitoring set up in database servers, I have often found myself in a position to proactively prevent issues, or make preparations for a quick response when I do find problems.
Over the years I developed a variety of techniques to monitor my own servers, often using third party solutions, enhanced with my own queries. I have learned that each system has its own idiosyncrasies, which often require custom queries to keep an eye on the pulse of the system. I’ve also learned that a regular exception report is the most valuable tool for me as a DBA. I assume most of my applications and scheduled tasks are working well; I just want a list of those things that have broken, or are not performing as expected sent to me every day, using the data from my various monitoring tools.
I have found that tracking metrics and analyzing the data is a valuable tool in my DBA tool belt. I would go so far as to say that monitoring the systems that you work with is not only a best practice, it’s essential if you want to be an exceptional DBA.
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