Much of the world economy is now in a recession. Companies are failing; unemployment is rising. How badly will IT be affected? Will DBAs still have jobs? This article addresses nine topics for the DBA’s consideration; addressing all of them can help you stay productive—and may help you keep your job.
Notion #1: Database Recovery
Ensure data recoverability. If there’s one thing to get right, this is it. While other things (such as performance or security) may seem more urgent, ensuring data recoverability is the database administrator’s most important responsibility. (For more on this, see “The Laws of Database Administration” in October/November 2006 z/Journal.)
Consider implementing a database to support a critical production application. If a disaster occurs, will the data be available in the agreed-upon Recovery Time Objective (RTO)? If not, in the case of medical and financial data, this may breach contracts with vendors or violate audit guidelines. Data recoverability is another major consideration in some legislation. Here are some that affect financial institutions:
• Expedited Funds Availability (EFA) Act, 1989 requires federally chartered financial institutions to have a demonstrable business continuity plan to ensure prompt availability of funds.
• Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Handbook 2003-2004 (Chapter 10) specifies that directors and managers are accountable for organizationwide contingency planning and for “timely resumption of operations in the event of a disaster.”
• Basel II, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, Sound Practices for Management and Supervision, 2003 requires that banks establish business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure continuous operation and limit losses.
Most IT shops use regularly scheduled standard backup procedures (e.g., DB2 image copies), but few have actually tested the recovery time of these objects and analyzed whether their backup procedures are sufficient (or necessary) for their recovery requirements.
You should ensure you have all of the following:
• A regularly scheduled process for determining (and documenting) the recovery status of all production objects