DB2 Performance Tuning Your DBA Staff

As a consultant over the years, I have seen the characteristics of a number of shops and discovered there are many different ways to develop, support, and get the best DB2 performance tuning out of a variety of situations.  I believe the most important component of successful DB2 performance is the people, especially the DBAs.  The database professionals make all the difference helping developers, providing good database designs, diagnosing, resolving database availability and recoverability issues and providing the best DB2 performance tuning for their company’s unique applications.

The following five things I have seen help keep your DBAs happy and retained in your company.  If you don’t pay attention to these aspects, your DBAs may get fed up and start their job search today.

  1. Recognize the DBA and data management staff’s dedication.  There are always problems and your DBA staff is on-call, too frequently interrupting their sleep and life.  Constant overtime, holiday and weekend work needs to be noted, documented, recognized and compensated.  If your company or management doesn’t, the DB2 performance tuning done by the DBA staff will suffer and they will find some other company that will appreciate them.  Make sure on-call rotation is flexible, optimized often and as convenient for everyone involved.
  2. Include the DBAs in the discussion.  The DBAs are an anomaly in IT because they are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and critical to success, yet sometimes cut out by management and avoided by developers.  Make sure upper management always includes the data management people in project discussions and brings them in early in the process when starting an innovation initiative, new analytics platforms or application development efforts.  Management might be surprised by their innovative ideas and cheap solutions for getting the problem solved with an extra DB2 table, performance tuning, or a new application function/design.  It is always better to include, collaborate, and discuss instead of later dragging the DBAs in to fix a poor performing platform or application design when they weren’t consulted in the beginning.
  3. Train your DBAs for everyone’ success.  The budget is always tight but given the new database versions, options and complex application issues, additional training is vital.  Attending conferences, reading new books, and collaborating with others to improve their DB2 performance tuning skills will pay off with better DB2 performance tuning ideas, database designs, application performance, and system availability.  These benefits pay for any training sometimes ten-fold.
  4. Provide IT advancement opportunities.  No one wants to be firefighting, on call, or even just doing DBA type tasks their entire career.  DBAs build and gain a tremendous amount of business and application detailed knowledge.  This knowledge can be used in a number of other departments to expand, specialize and improve the business profitability and bottom line.  Provide possible advancement opportunities from the data management area and DBA position to other IT or business positions.  Spreading DBA knowledge and experience around the company helps improve all aspects of data management, DB2 performance tuning, understanding of the importance of design, application development and development procedures in other business units.
  5. Provide two-way and collaboration communication.  Communication and collaboration within all aspects of the development cycle is vital for everyone.  For a data management department and its DBAs good communication is critical to share knowledge of the business, the DB2 performance tuning solutions, database design, common problem determination, and business solutions.  If your communication and collaboration is poor, feedback is inadequate, or only in one direction, then there is no chance management is understanding or rewarding the DBAs for their on-call, DB2 performance tuning, or constant business vigilance.

The DBA staff is critical to DB2 performance tuning efforts and the company’s overall operations.  Just ask Amazon, Google, and NASDAQ after their recent outages how much business their downed systems and poor platform choices cost them during those dead-time situations.

These are only five of some of the best that I have seen in various shops that have been most effective.  There are many other ways and additional ideas that can help your company’s data management area and DBAs.  Please add your ideas and ways that you have seen in the comments below.
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Dave Beulke is a system strategist, application architect, and performance expert specializing in Big Data, data warehouses, and high performance internet business solutions.  He is an IBM Gold Consultant, Information Champion, President of DAMA-NCR, former President of International DB2 User Group, and frequent speaker at national and international conferences.  His architectures, designs, and performance tuning techniques help organization better leverage their information assets, saving millions in processing costs.

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Also as President of the Washington DC DAMA National Capital Region, I wanted to let you know of the great speakers and topics that we have for our September 19th DAMA Day.  Register today!

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Also I will be talking more about Big Data design considerations, the new BLU technology, Hadoop considerations, UNION ALL Views and Materialized Query Tables during my presentation at the International DB2 Users Group IDUG EMEA conference in Barcelona, Spain, October 13-17, 2013.  My speech is Wednesday October 16th at 9:45 “Data Warehouse Designs for Big Data” in the Montjuic room.

This presentation details the designing, prototyping and implementing a 22+ billion row data warehouse in only six months using an agile development methodology.  This complex analytics big data warehouse architecture took processes for this federal government agency from 37 hours to seconds.  For more information on the conference go to www.idug.org.

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I will also be presenting at the Information on Demand (IOD) conference in Las Vegas November 3-7, 2013.  I will be presenting “Big Data Disaster Recovery Performance” Wednesday November 6, at 3 pm in the Mandalay Bay North Convention Center – Banyan D.

This presentation will detail the latest techniques and design architectures to provide the best Big Data disaster recovery performance.  The various hardware and software techniques will be discussed highlighting the Flash Copy and replication procedures critical to Big Data systems these days.

1 comment to DB2 Performance Tuning Your DBA Staff

  • Good stuff, Dave. Thanks for the note. As a very senior DBA who’s been around most of the blocks, this is good food for thought. Let’s hope it goes beyond the IT team.

    One thing I’d add is making sure the DBAs are business-trained and business-friendly. Many, if not most, DBAs I’ve worked with over the years (mostly with Oracle so DB2 folks might be different) are at best non-friendly to the business. Many are openly hostile. At the end of the day, we’re more than geeks, we’re business enablers.

    Understanding the business beyond the stated requirements is an absolute must. I liken this to when HP had their calculator engineers working in retail stores and interacting with actual customers. It makes a difference to how you interpret requirements. One company I know of requires new senior technical folks to rotate through a series of “office” jobs including manufacturing, sales, delivery. Being the victim of software that doesn’t match the job is a tremendous education for any of us.

    /Bill

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