SQL Homework – April 2020 – Continuity planning.


April 1, 2020 by Kenneth Fisher

Normally for April 1st I’d try to post something a bit more lighthearted but with the state of the world at the moment I thought I would give you something a bit more topical to do. This month I’d like you to work on your continuity plans. Now, this is not the same as a database recovery plan. It’s all well and good if you can do operational recovery but that’s just the start of things.

Your homework is to come up with a plan for each of these situations, or if your company already has one make sure you know it and if at all possible you’ve tested it. Also, start with a plan, then figure out how long it will take. If this is outside of your normal recovery objectives, then you need to either re-plan, or renegotiate.

  • Someone (could be a developer, could just as easily be you) accidentally deletes every row from a table.
  • A server was rebooted as part of an upgrade and now it won’t come back up. You need to re-create it.
  • There was some massive flooding in your area and your data center is under water. (This happened in NY not that long ago.) Not only are all of the servers in your data center gone, but any tapes, papers, etc in that building are also destroyed. Note: You don’t have to be able to do everything yourself but make sure you can re-create all of your database servers, from scratch, with only information that isn’t in the data center.
  • There is a measles outbreak at your company. All of the DBAs are sick. Is everything documented well enough that a contractor can be brought in and at least function?
  • There is a massive world wide pandemic and everyone has to work from home. Do they have the capability? Do they have practice? Probably not your responsibility, but do you have the bandwidth?

I realize that most of these are pretty unlikely (except maybe that first one) but the whole purpose of this series is to try things out you will probably need eventually, or things that while unusual, you don’t have time to try it for the first time when it happens.

Good luck, stay safe, and happy planning.

3 thoughts on “SQL Homework – April 2020 – Continuity planning.

  1. Vladimir says:

    “There is a massive world wide pandemic and everyone has to work from home. Do they have the capability? Do they have practice? Probably not your responsibility, but do you have the bandwidth?”

    You knew it!

  2. Vladimir says:

    I would add one more item to the continuity plan, train at least one backup DBA.

  3. Vladimir says:

    Once upon a time I was on vacation in Germany and asked my backup DBA to take care of database changes. Everything was fine … until he was taken to the hospital right from the office with the severe back pain. No surprise, “the day after” occurred, we’ve got a serious issue that required DBA intervention. Luckily, I stayed in the hotel with a good WiFi and had Citrix Workspace installed on my iPad. It took a couple of hours to resolve the issue and from now on I have two backup DBAs. Of course, I trained them to perform only basic functions, mostly execute change requests and refresh development databases form the production backups.

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