Monday, August 01, 2016

The Tao of DB2 - Part 2: Beyond the Manuals

When last we left our intern DBA his mentor, the experienced DBA, had sent him off to read the DB2 manuals. What a thankless task!

The intern was busily reading manuals on line while he downloaded the PDF versions to read later. But he was not gaining a lot of insight from the task. Although he was used to technical jargon, the manuals were difficult to consume and understand. He threw his hands up in frustration and went back to his mentor...

"These manuals seem to take the most mundane thing and draw them out into a long, complicated explanation. Am I missing something here?" opined the intern DBA.

"Aaaah," his mentor replied, "so you have been reading the manuals! Sometimes the manuals are not easy to understand until you get used to the terminology and the writing style. But do not panic!"

"So I am not crazy for thinking these are difficult to use to learn DB2?" asked the intern.

"Alas, you are not crazy for that reason, but we have not ruled out other reasons yet. The manuals are precise and are written to cover as many aspects of DB2 as possible. But don't give up... there is a lot of good information there... you just need to augment it with other material and learn by doing (with a little guidance)," stated the expert DBA in a soothing and convincing voice. "It is now time for your next lesson... tell me about the production customer system."

"But, but..." stammered the intern "I haven't worked on that system yet!"

"Yet you should know how to get some information, shouldn't you?"

The intern took a moment, rolled up his sleeves and remembered that there was valuable information in the DB2 Catalog... and he also remembered that his mentor had shown him how to get to the application documentation on the intranet...  His mentor smiled.

"The mouse in the trap squeals with pain,” explained the expert DBA, “not first examining the cheese for a spring. The lesson here is to know your data and monitor your systems. Understand how your applications work and what features of DB2 that they use. The more you know about the design and intent of your systems the better you will be at managing them."

And his mentor sent the intern away to learn more about the applications and the tools that were available to monitor and manage DB2 applications and systems.

This was important as the next step was to enlist the intern to work on the new database that he knew was about to be started.

So tune in next time as we watch our intern learn more about DB2 and database design...

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