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James Luetkehoelter

Nearly any SQL topic presented at times in a slightly eclectic manner.

Silly: A day in the life of a DBA

Since it is leap day, I thought something semi-serious would be in order. See if this sounds familiar. I often tell a joke like this to a group before I speak and see lots of heads nodding. If this is your life, sound off!

[Queue film-noir music]: "My name is James. I'm a DBA. I was barely in to work one day when the phone rang..."

[Sully-Business Application Specialist]: "Hi James, sorry to say it, but it looks like this patch we installed last night caused some problems. I'm on the phone with support right now. Just a heads up"

[Queue film-noir music]: "Sully was a good guy. Didn't know the database side of things, so when we're testing a patch for his application he relies on my heavily. But, he takes responsibility if there's a problem with the app. He's a rare breed of IT staff..."

[Phone Rings again - Roger, Business Area Liason] - "James, there's a big problem with the database."

[Queue film-noir music]: "Roger was smart about the business side of things, not much of a clue about the database"

"Yeah, I know there's a problem, Sully is working on it. It's because of the patch we loaded."

[Roger]: "Well when will you fix the database?"

"It isn't a database issue, it's something to do with the patch. Sully is working with tech support"

[Roger]: I know, he called me this morning to tell me about it. So when will things be back up?

"You already knew about it? Why are you calling me? And if you want an estimated time of availability, you have to talk to Sully first."

[Roger]: I just thought you could find the database problem before Sully got an answer. Just get the database up, we need that application..."

"But there's nothing wrong with the database..."

[Dial Tone]:

[Queue film-noir music]: Roger hung up on me. He'll pay for that.

[Phone Rings]

[Queue film-noir music]: "It was Bob, my immediate supervisor..."

[Bob]: "I got a call that the database is down, when will it be up?"

"It isn't down, there's a problem with the applicaiton"

[Bob] "Well didn't they test and sign off on the application changes in the QA environment"

"Yeah, but apparently they missed something"

[Bob] "Well, just get that database fixed...I'll check in later."

"There's nothing wrong with the database..."

[Dial Tone]

[Phone Rings]

[Queue film-noir music]:"It was Bob, Bob's manager"

[Bob managing Bob]: "The database is down. When will it be up?"

"It isn't down, it's an application problem..."

[Bob managing Bob]: "Just get it fixed, and keep me in the loop"

"Isn't Bob talking to you as well"

[Bob managing Bob]: "I don't trust him - you know that database, not Bob"

"But there is no database problem..."

[Dial Tone]

[Phone Rings]

[Queue film-noir music]: "It was Bob, the CIO, who manages Bob who managers Bob"

[Bob managing Bob managing Bob]: "Hi James, how are you today? I hear the database is down"

"No, it isn't a database issue, it's a problem with the patch."

[Bob managing Bob managing Bob]: "Well we have to get them to test and sign off on those patches then..."

"We do...apparently the missed something."

[Bob managing Bob managing Bob]: "I'll look into that"

[Queue film-noir music]: Bob managing Bob managing Bob was a good guy, but he had a drive to find root causes as soon as possible, even before solving the  problem at hand..."

[Phone Rings]:

[Queue film-noir music]: "It was Roger, and he was mad."

[Roger]: "What are you ratting me out to Bob for?"

"Which Bob? Bob or Bob managing Bob"

[Roger]: "The main Bob. Quit putting the blame on me and fix that database."

"But I didn't blame you at all - plus the database is fine..."

[Dial Tone]

[Phone Rings]

[Queue film-noir music]: It's a user of the application, someone I've never met nor heard of...I wonder how they got my number...."

[Unknown User]: "When will the database be up"

[Queue film-noir music]: At this point I've given up. "At least two hours, maybe more."

[Phone Rings]

"Hold on, I have another call"

[Sully]: "Good news, I have a patch from the company, things are fixed."

"OK, but do I need to bounce the database"

[Sully]: "Yeah, how long will that take"

"2 hours"

[Sully]: "Ouch. I'll relay the message"

[Queue film-noir music]: I keep the database down and leave for lunch. It's currently 8:30. Maybe I'll come back, maybe not.


Published Friday, February 29, 2008 10:51 AM by James Luetkehoelter

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jerryhung said:


*nodding my head*, glad I haven't run into this extreme situation

February 29, 2008 3:27 PM

Kevin3NF said:

You aren't a true DBA until the database has been blamed for everything from 404 errors to muddy carpet in the lobby.

Fun story :)


March 5, 2008 1:06 PM

Denis Gobo said:

You aren't a true DBA until you have manually typed in data from microfiche because there was no backup  (BTW this did not happen to me  :-0)

March 5, 2008 1:19 PM

James Luetkehoelter said:

Kevin - muddy carpet? Haven't seen a database do that yet... :)

Denis - You've got to be kidding me!! How long did that take????? (I sure am glad I wrote that DR book now...)

March 5, 2008 2:31 PM

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About James Luetkehoelter

I am passionate about what I do - which is DBA, development, IT and IT business consulting. If you don't know me, haven't met me or have never heard me speak, I'm a little on the eccentric side. One attendee recently described me as being "over the top". Yup, that about says it - because I only speak on topics that I'm passionate about.
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