The role that the database administrator, or DBA, plays within organizations is not easy. Few ever recognize, let alone acknowledge, the monumental efforts put forth by the DBA to ensure that database migration and upgrades run as smoothly as possible, preventing database downtime.

Database Downtime: The Numbers

In many cases, DBAs find themselves “behind the 8 ball” when applications are not released as planned due to database downtime. Here are some statistics that speak to the unenviable position DBAs often find themselves in:

  • Database downtime costs companies an average of $7,900 per minute
  • 80% of outages are due to a mistake made by human error
  • 50% of outages occur during change configuration and release integration
  • The average duration of a database downtime is 90 minutes
  • On average, companies endure 97 hours of database downtime per year


5 Keys to Prevent Database Downtime

Here are five ways for DBAs to prevent database downtime and become modern day heroes in the eyes of the CIO.

1.  Review

Make sure you start your migration only after you have reviewed the important applications, processes, and users, to determine what exactly needs to be modified. You’re not ready to start migration until you’ve thought about the existing environments and have contemplated the potential impact on infrastructure and work flows.

2.  Schedule smartly

Do whatever it takes to not mess with regular operations so that the programmers don’t get frustrated. Scheduling resource-intensive migration tasks for off-hours can be helpful if you think they’ll slow down customers or cause database downtime.

3.  Keep traffic moving

If the migration is taking a while, make sure that users don’t get stuck in different database versions or in completely different products. Facilitate coexistence (and if necessary redundancies) between the old and new systems so that all of your users can continue to perform the necessary tasks.

4.  Have a backup plan

Always keep an eye on your recovery and backup plan to make sure that no data goes missing. While the migration may be keeping you busy, it’s important that you don’t lose track of what you will do if you have to suddenly restore data mid-project.

5.  Be a good manager

Don’t forget that project management plays a key part in well-executed upgrades and migrations. Despite your keen abilities to work with 1s and 0s, your job also includes scheduling, communication, resource management, and reporting on your progress.

As such, making sure you do all these things well can ensure that you don’t have a huge mess later on. If this is an area you are less experienced with, learn from the people around you.

Just Another Day At The Office

Having such a prominent role on both the development and operations teams presents a unique set of challenges for database administrators. Preventing database downtime during migration and upgrades is an important part of the database lifecycle management skill-set for every DBA.

The DBA’s primary concern is protecting the organization’s valuable data, thus, preventing database downtime is of the utmost importance. These tips will help prepare DBAs to coordinate database migrations and upgrades without causing costly missteps.