Why Should I Hire My First DBA?

June 16, 2014

A question I regularly get from clients involves whether or not the service I am providing as a consulting DBA is something that needs to become a full-time employee resource. I honestly discuss with them the tasks that a FTE DBA can provide.

To make it easier to understand what a new DBA hire could do for your IT department, I've broken it into three categories: Tasks You Already Do, Tasks You're Probably Not Doing Right, and Tasks You Need to Start Doing.

Your first FTE DBA should be able to take on many of the following tasks:

Tasks You Already Do Now

  1. Monitor backups and scheduled maintenance
  2. Monitor and troubleshoot overnight data loads and warehouse processing jobs
  3. Deploy database changes for custom application development
  4. Custom development of SQL Server stored procedures, views
  5. Database Design and Architecture for custom databases

 Tasks You Are Probably Not Doing Correctly Now

  1. SQL Server backups with point-in-time recovery for restoration from database corruption
  2. Index Maintenance
  3. Database Integrity Checks
  4. Proper alignment of database files on disks
  5. Properly maintain pre-production environments with fresh data and structure copied down from production

Tasks You Need to Start Doing Now

  1. Regular proactive health checks on your SQL Servers
  2. Index tuning and performance optimization and diagnosing slow performing applications, even on third-party vendor applications
  3. Code reviews for application rollouts, benchmarking and testing throughout development process
  4. Use passive metrics for troubleshooting wait statistics and cached execution plan statistics
  5. Researching SQL Server deadlocks to reduce application errors and timeouts
  6. Horizontally partition very large tables for better performance, use partition switching
  7. Use PowerShell to backup those SQL Server Express edition databases
  8. Tracking SQL Server Reporting Server usage and timing statistics
  9. Implement SQL Server Resource Governor to protect important applications
  10. Monitor SQL Server PerfMon metrics during peak usage hours
  11. Setup SQL Server email Alerts for >16 severity error messages and SQL error codes, setup and utilize Database Mail
  12. Develop replacement applications for that terrible Microsoft Access-based platform you've been using for the past 15 years
  13. Develop Business Intelligence using tools you already own inside the SQL Server license – without the purchase of third party visualization or data modeling tools
  14. Deploy a SQL Server Analysis Services data cube to serve reports data faster
  15. Implement Transparent Data Encryption to secure data files and backups
  16. Implement SQL Server Database Compression to reduce data footprint on storage and in memory, implement SQL Server backup compression without use of third-party tools
  17. Properly secure database access, service accounts, SQL Agent security, SQL Agent proxies

 If you have any questions about the tasks you and your new FTE DBA can accomplish together, Sparkhound would be happy to help.

Now, where to find your new FTE DBA? Try the upcoming Baton Rouge User Groups Networking Night on July 9 at the Louisiana Technology Park. More information here: http://www.brssug.org/group-news/batonrougeusergroupsnetworkingnight

Every second Wednesday of the Month, the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group (brssug.org), an official chapter of the Professional Association for SQL Server (sqlpass.org), provides the user community an opportunity for professional networking, skills training and technical presentation skills development. Finding your new FTE DBA at a local SQL Pass chapter means you'll be finding a professional who has dedication and enthusiasm for their career development.

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