Three Ideas to Maintain Database Availability and Performance

Organizational demands for application database availability, reliability and performance for petabytes of big data and 100s of billions of rows of information continue to rise. These trends are ramping up at a faster rate as web, mobile, social, unstructured and streaming transaction and analytical data flood the corporate data landscape. Unfortunately, the data administration team is overwhelmed with these diverse data issues.

Today’s management executives are unaware of their exposure to and impact of the risks their companies face through overworked, overwhelmed and mistreated data handled by a data administration team that is hungry for any support to resolve the database availability, reliability and performance data issues they deal with every day. The following three ideas will help your management understand these vital and current data administration trends and database availability issues.

First, define when to get rid of old data to improve database availability and performance. Too often when new applications come to the data administration team, the application design has already been completed and the database schema is “thrown over the wall” to the DBAs to create and keep the database availability at 100%. When this happens to you, ask a simple question. “When do we get rid of the old data? Unfortunately, these days the answer you’ll probably get is “Never” or “Keep it forever.” While those answers may be appropriate for some health care, life insurance and government systems, it probably isn’t appropriate for the majority of business systems. A great place to find support for getting rid of old data is from the legal or compliance department. They can help your applications and executive management teams evaluate and understand the lawsuit risks of having the old data and will quickly help you resolve your discussion.

Next, plan alternative business processing to insure application database availability requirements are met. Too often application owners want 100% database availability and the DBAs are stuck managing the application database availability requirement in spite of poor database design issues. DB2 offers clones, table versioning, on-line reorganizations and HADR state of the art functions to provide high database availability options. The business needs to plan for outages for platform, hardware, software and other maintenance and even database structure changes. Discuss what transactions really require 100% database availability and how they can be processed during outages. Duplicate or mirrored databases, partial systems, leverage of disaster recovery sites and allowing limited functionality for minutes or even an hour can provide the maintenance window necessary to insure system reliability and database availability. Discuss these options with the application team immediately to get all operational aspects in place before any outage is required.

Third, define and write up a service level agreement (SLA). I have not seen a documented service level agreement for database availability or performance in years. Maybe your shop has this as a standard, but it is becoming a rare document. Below is a summary of one that I used a while ago. The supporting documentation for this database availability reliability and performance summary was over 15 pages of detailed application operational information. If your shop doesn’t have this type of documentation for each of its databases and applications, define these summary database availability SLAs as soon as possible and then follow them up with the details quickly. When maintenance is necessary, hardware fails or when disasters occur, you’ll be happy you documented your data administration’s commitments to database availability, reliability and performance.



Service Objective

Service Description

Application Order Processing Availability

99.5% availability with 98% of all transactions service in less than 0.5 seconds

Portions controlled by data administration available to the transaction processing environment.

Batch Throughput

95% or better on-time completion rate

Rate and on-time delivery by specified time during the batch window.

Job Failure Notification

Within 15 minutes

During batch processing hours notification will be made to on-call associate.

Data Retrieval Services

10 Minutes

6 Hours

Tape, on-site (mount)

Tape, off-site (disaster site)

Database availability, reliability, and performance happen through good database and application design. Unfortunately, the data volumes and speed requirements of new systems are not allowing time for good design. Document your data administration SLAs as soon as possible so your management can understand and mitigate the risks for all your old and new systems.

I will be speaking at the Heart of America DB2 Users Group on March 12 in Overland Kansas. (

I will be doing my new speech: Agile Big Data Analytics: Implementing a 22 Billion Row Data Warehouse

This presentation discusses the design, architecture, meta-data, performance and other experiences of building a big data and analytics data warehouse system. You will learn through this presentation the real life issues, agile development considerations, and solutions for building a data warehouse of 22+ billion rows in only six months.

This presentation will help you understand techniques to manage, design and leverage the big data issues for a more in-depth understanding of your business. Also the agile development processes will be detailed, showing how to uncovered complex analytics requirements and other issues early in the development cycle. This presentation will help you understand all these experiences that took processes from 37 hours to seconds so you can create a successful big data design and scalable data warehouse analytic architecture.

Also I am beginning to plan my Regional DB2 User Group support for 2012 year. Please send an email to me at moc.ekluebevadnull@evad if you would like me to come and speak or offer a DB2 class at your local user group.

I look forward to speaking at the IDUG DB2 Tech Conference 2012 North America conference. The conference will be held in Denver, Colorado on May 14-18, 2012. Sign up today at


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