I read a very interesting post on Kimberly Tripp's blog which was about indexing, but she had a very interesting set of requirements for good indexing that I think apply to everything when designing, tuning, backing up, etc., any database. What strikes me the most are 1) and 2) - how can you tune any sort of system if you don't really know what the data *is* and how it is used? As Kim says:
"So, what is â€œfinding the right balanceâ€ in indexing? In my opinion, there are three requirements/pre-requisites:
knowing the data
knowing how the users use the data
knowing how the underlying structures and database stores/manipulates and uses indexes"
I can't count how many times I've run into clients where I'm asked to tune or create a disaster recovery plan or secure for a database where no one is really sure what things mean and how it is used. Everyone should start here, and I'd take it to the step of actually know not just the data, but the information; that is, what is the business meaning behind the data. It's a mantra to adopt - "Know thy data".