Automate Yourself to a Coffee Break

I’ve worked as a production DBA in a few companies, and in those positions, I’ve always worked to make my position one of “insurance,” with me able to respond when things go wrong. My goal has been to understand, improve, and enable an environment that runs smoothly, which allows me to take leisurely coffee breaks and not hurried (and harried) sips of coffee as I walk from the coffee pot back to my desk.

There was a good article published recently about the mindset of a DBA and how automation is an important part of your job. If there’s something you can easily automate, then it’s probably something you should automate. There are plenty of tasks that are easy to script into jobs, set alerts for, or have the system perform some action when they occur. If the system is performing that work, then you have time to deal with other, higher value tasks.

What are those higher value tasks? Well, what things do people complain about, but you never get the time to work on? Perhaps tuning queries? Maybe practicing your skills for a disaster? Finding time to analyze the performance of systems and plan for the future? There’s probably no shortage of things that you wish you had time to deal with because there is no shortage of busy work you’re assigned.

Do yourself a favor. Look for places to introduce automation through T-SQL scripts, Powershell commandlets, alerts, and more. Practice writing some small program to manage a task for you. It might seem like it will take longer than doing the work, and it will. However the next few times you’re asked to complete the same task, it should take you much, much less time.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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