Editorial: Automation

Often I find myself thinking to myself, “if only I had one more DBA.” I’m sure we’ve all said this often enough and probably not just to ourselves, I’m sure the boss gets an ear full every now and again. But, there comes a time when you know you just won’t win. Either the decision makers completely disagree with you and won’t be convinced or maybe they agree with you but don’t have the money to spend on a new employee; either way, you are stuck having to do the job of many all by yourself.

Having been in this situation many times, I’ve learned one very important lesson. If you ever do the same thing twice; don’t let yourself do it a third time. This is where automation comes into play. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of short term costs with long term gains. Often we feel that we don’t have enough time to spend on writing dynamic scripts or putting the effort into researching the necessary methods to develop automated solutions. However, repeatedly I’ve learned that the investment is worth it.

It comes down to how we build ourselves. As DBAs we are continuously expanding our knowledge base and improving our skills. Developing dynamic and reusable scripts and processes is another form of growing. When you become the DBA who can fix a problem in the amount of time it takes to sit down at your desk and press F5, your reputation grows along with the knowledge base that you already work to expand. You begin to set yourself apart from your co-workers because, while they might know how to solve that problem as well as you do, they aren’t capable of jumping to the execution phase of the solution as fast as you are. They don’t have a library of pre-made scripts which are dynamic enough to be applied to unexpected situations.

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