5 Top Database Administration Mistakes DBAs Must Avoid

All the routine and standard tasks are performed by the database administrators working on different enterprise DBA services are not the same. Based on the size of the database, its functions, and the customers it serves, the intensity of DBA tasks varies mostly. Neglecting the critical elements of database administration can lead to grave errors, including significant financial losses, to even complete the business's crash, as seen in many cases. While most of the precious time of the DBAs are dispensed to deal with the issues and mistakes by the users and developers, the impact of which occurs on the database they handle, it is also essential for them to keep a close watch on their critical daily tasks too.

In this article, we will discuss 5 major and common mistakes. DBAs tend to make in routine database administration, which should be avoided at any cost to optimize your database performance and prevent the scope of any errors at the first point.

Top DBA mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1: Forgetting to test the backups

As we have seen above, in the hustle-bustle of the everyday DBA activities, there is a chance for some things to be overlooked. However, make sure that testing your data backup is not one that you tend to miss out at any situation. Regardless of your DBMS's ability to recover any disaster and the techniques used for the same, you must always perform the backup tests to ensure it is working and ready to be used at any given point.

The worse scenario you may face in case of restoration after a breakdown is that you do not find the backup in good shape while attempting to restore. Conventional SQL Server users must use the command of ‘BACKUP VERIFYONLY' to ensure that the backups are working correctly and may use the CHECKSUM option to make sure that your database is not corrupted. Performing database restorations regularly on the non-protected systems is also crucial to ensure that your backups are ready to restore at any time.

Mistake #2: Being careless about setting up access restrictions

It is a typical case found on auditing security vulnerabilities at many database administration scenarios. Those DBAs who do not understand the risks of backfiring security vulnerabilities tend to overlook this key thing while administering database systems. Whether it is letting people or external applications access information or offering the developers and users administrative privileges.

All such mistakes may result in data loss, damage to data, theft, open exposure of data, and even database corruption or deletion. While you may think that giving the developers easy access to underlying data may expedite the process of development and debug, in an actual scenario, it is not an ideal practice to follow. Considering the catastrophic impact of database security issues, giving access to the wrong person can be a grave mistake. DBAs should make sure that access is granted only to those who are authorized to access the specific parts of the database. For expert database best practices advice, get in touch with experts.

The developers, users, and even the low-level administrators should grant only the minimum possible level of permission to ensure their activities' smooth run. In case of requirement for additional privileges, there should strictly be a procedure with various levels of approvals to grant the same, which also needs to be kept under strict monitoring.

Mistake #3: Overlooking Consistent maintaining of your database

No database can run by itself. So, the DBAs mustn't overlook the need for regular maintenance of the database by only relying on the self-healing and auto-tuning tools. There are plenty of crucial tasks that DBAs need to keep track of and execute continuously. These include, but not limited to

  • Run primary integrity checks for all available databases in production
  • Check indexes for database fragmentation
  • Update the statistics on the production database etc.

It will also help automate such tasks as long as any activities that consume high-level resources do not run during peak production hours. No matter what other things you set priority to, this should not be avoided. On avoiding the same, it may most of the time end up in costly mistakes.

 Mistake #4: Waiting until the system faces issues to monitor the database loads and activity level

Once your system gets down, you start losing money immediately, and the users start to get frustrated. So, it is crucial to keep a close watch of the server utilization benchmarks regularly. Keeping track of the database systems' performance statistics will help you easily understand the workload and the working patterns to know instantly if any issues pop up related to any changes or DBMS abnormalities.

 Always makes sure that you have the essential database monitoring tasks in your checklist as:


  • Tracking CPU utilization
  • Checking memory utilization
  • The recording I/O
  • Blocking and locks, and
  • A close eye on available free space for the log files and further data.

Mistake #5 Disabling page verifications

 The latest SQL Server databases may have it as a default setting to check for any corruption by executing the checksum over the entire page and writing the value on to page header. When this page reads into the memory, it will again check the checksum value and then compared these two numbers to verify the same. On ding a mismatch, the page will be corrupted, and an error message will be sent to the admin. So, keeping this setting will be highly beneficial, without which you are giving a default option for the database to fail in such a scenario.

Similar to the above, there are many critical mistakes which the DBAs need to know and avoid. For a DBA, there are also many do's and don'ts, some of which may be generic, and many others may be related to your particular database administration situation. There are many crucial tasks, and skipping those may ultimately lead to a complete DBMS failure and adverse severe business impacts. As a competent database administrator, you always make sure that you always learn from other mistakes too, and do not commit any such big ones by yourself.


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