Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016

It is that time of year again. When we all take some time to pause and spend time with our family, friends and loved ones. We take time off of work to celebrate and reflect on the past year... and to welcome the new year.

No matter what holiday tradition you celebrate, I wish you an enjoyable holiday season. Happy holidays, that is!

And we'll meet back here again in January 2017 to talk more about DB2 stuff!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Tao of DB2 - Part 14: A Short Lesson on Wisdom

After a long day of dealing with problems the DBA and his intern were readying themselves to head home for the evening. The mentor glanced over at his trainee and saw that something was troubling him.

"You seem to be troubled," noted the DBA.

“I guess so," replied the intern. "We did a lot today, but a lot of our time was consumed answering what seemed to be the same, or at least similar, questions over and over. Surely it must be annoying to you to answer the same question multiple times a day?”

“Hmmm,” said the Taoist DBA, “how many times have I answered that?”

The lesson here is that every DBA must be ready to assist without wanting to bask in glory. Solving problems is more important than who caused them, and even who solved them.

"Remember always the reason we are here," replied the mentor.

"Not everybody has had the same access to the information that we as DBAs have. That can mean that sometimes you will have to explain things that you probably have explained many times before. This is not a bad thing. What is worse is to not even be asked!" said the DBA.

"Again, the words of Lao Tzu can help. He teaches us..."

"So I am a sage?" questioned the intern.

"That you have to ask tells you that no, you are not yet a sage," replied his mentor. "But keep learning and you may yet be able to act as a sage soon..."

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Tao of DB2 - Part 13: Constantly Learning More

It is time, once again, to look in on our intrepid young DBA as he continues to learn database administration as an intern to an older, wiser, but soon-to-be-retiring DBA.

The intern approached his mentor and said "You have taught me a lot in the past few months. I am more prepared now when it comes to supporting the developers, database/application performance management, making database changes, backup and recovery, and more. But surely there is more to learn?"

Impressed, his mentor shook his head and said "You are securely on the path to becoming a good DBA. Knowing what one does not know is as important as knowing what one does know!" 

He continued... "With that in mind, remember the Tao and the wise words of Lao Tzu, who said 'To know, yet to think that one does not know is best; not to know, yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.' "

Just then a developer came into their cubicle with his hair on fire shouting about not being able to access the test databases. "Oh, I’ve seen this problem before," said the intern. " All I have to do is start the database like before and…” 

“To a hammer all problems look like nails,” snapped his mentor. "Learn this lesson well! Do not rush to a solution, even when things may seem to be obvious. Take your time, learn all there is to know about the issue, and only then respond. Though you should rely on your past experience, do not force fit that experience to every problem."

"Hmmm..." said the intern, as he displayed the status of the test database to see find a table space that was in copy pending status. "It might be better to back that up than to just force start it."

"Yes,' sighed the mentor contentedly. "Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Patience is always a virtue and humility is a quality that all DBAs would do well to exhibit."

And then the phone rang. The intern picked it up and listened as the person on the other end started to explain a WebSphere issue. His mentor listened intently to the intern and picked up on it not being a DB2 problem. Just as the intern was about to balk at helping his mentor stopped him and politely told the person on the phone to hold on for just a moment.

"But that is a WebSphere problem, not a database issue. Surely that is not my job?" balked the intern.

The mentor clucked and explained to his protege "When you say it is not your job, soon it will not be your job." 

The lesson here is that a good DBA must be a jack-of-all-trades. Expanding your knowledge and sphere of influence is always good. The more you know, the stronger you will become at your job and the more employable you will be in the long run.

"I feel like I have to know everything," complained the intern.

"Someone has to," laughed the Taoist DBA.

The job of database administration is complex and you cannot know everything. Learn as much as possible and always be willing to take on new challenges and learn from others. Understanding who is the expert in each technology at your company will help you to tackle problems in your own management discipline. Network with other DBAs, system programmers, developers, web masters, network administrators, and so on... both within your company and externally.