This chapter is about the job of the database administrator and this lesson in particular is an overview of that job, you know what goes into it, what does the database administrator do? This is like answering the question that you might answer to your kid when you come home from work and they say, "Daddy, what do you do at work?" Maybe it's a little bit more detailed than that. But the job of the DBA is a very complex one, there are a lot of different aspects to it. So one of the first things is the DBA is in charge of the installation configuration and upgrading of the server. So that's not just installing the production server, that's installing the test server, the development server the backup and recovery server, all the replication slaves, all kinds of MySQL servers that are going to need to be set up at some point. And once we get those things basically installed on whatever operating system and whatever hardware their being installed upon, then we have to configure them. And part of that is setting up variables for how the server is going to operate but we also have to decide where is the data directory going to reside on each of these things to make sure the Configuration File reflects that. Where are the log files going to be? Where is the Configuration File supposed to be located? And all kinds of other things. So the DBA has to do that. And then every time there's a new revision of the server software and the decision is made that we need to upgrade, then the upgrade has to be performed. All of that comes under the preview of the database administrator and that's just for starters. Another thing the DBA is in charge of is backup and recovery, not just the physical backup and recovery of the data but also the policies for that. How often do we want to back up? How do we want it to back up? There are a number of different possible ways that the backups can be done. Where do we want the backup databases to be housed? And on a drive, on a shelf next to the host machine where the server is running is not the right answer. So we have to decide upon these things and then we have to decide what is the actual procedure? How do we not only perform the backup but whose job is it going to be and how is it going to be done to test the backup and make sure that it's viable. Because it's not a backup until we know that we can recover from it and things like that. So that's another part of the job of the DBA. A third part of the job is the idea that we are now in charge of this database and everything that happens to it including making it work better. So the best analogy for this if you're a Star Trek fan, I don't care whether your favorite engineer was Scotty or Geordie or Trip, you are now that engineer for the Enterprise where you work. This is the core system, this is the thing that makes your business go, the database and you are in charge of that. And you've noticed on those programs, those guys are constantly trying to find improvements to the system. They're monitoring everything, they're in charge of a whole group of people who do that and your job is database administrator is no different from that of your favorite Star Trek engineer. You also have to implement security policies, how do we want to deal with user accounts? Just all kinds of issues there. The database administrator's also in charge of monitoring the server, analyzing the results from that monitoring and then deciding whether there is some way in which the server has to be tweaked in order to run. So not only are we concerned about tweaking the database design so that the tables work better but tweaking the MySQL server so that the server works better. And then the database administrator is also in charge of setting up and maintaining documentation about the system. Now this is not user documentation, this is not how do you use an application. This is the documentation of what changes have we made when did we do the last backup? Who did the backup? Who tested the backup? Where do we put these things? Do we have verification that they got put where they were supposed to be. That kind of documentation, the more detailed the better. And then finally the database administrator is also part of the team that's planning for growth of the system. So the database administrator's the one that has all the information about how it has been growing and can do projections into the future as to when we're going to run out of disk space and we're going to need more space to store things. For years at database conferences I have had a little presentation that I make on what I call the seven P's of database administration. So if you'll indulge me I summarize these things in this little presentation. The first P is protection and that's what I was talking about before with all the security stuff and everything. So the database administrator is in charge of protection of the database. Preservation is the next one, making sure that the data continues to survive. That's backup and recovery besides other things. Permissions, that's the user accounts and who has access to what. Performance, that is the tuning of the database tables and the tuning of the database server itself, that's the job of the database administrator as well. Process is another thing, coming up with the processes and procedures and policies for managing all of this information. Okay. Very important part of the job of a database administrator. And then the other two are a little bit lighter but they're still very relevant. Paranoia is the penultimate P of the database administrator. We always have to think in terms of worse case scenarios and how can we recover from those. So how do we deal with people who are trying to attack or hack our system in some way? How do we deal with the fact that various disasters happened at three of our backup sites simultaneously? How do we deal with all of those kinds of issues so paranoia's a very important thing. And then finally the ultimate job of the database administrator is paperwork. It's documenting all of this stuff, not only for our own use but also for the hidden P or the phantom P and that is for posterity. For the person who comes after us. For the next shift when we're not working, for the people who are there working while we're on vacation so that we don't have our vacation interrupted. So paperwork is the ultimate thing that a database administrator has to do. It is after all an administrative job hence the name. Okay. If that sounds like a lot for one person you're right, it is and so what we're going to look at in the next lesson is how we can delegate some of this authority and how we set up teams of database administrators because it's too much for one person, especially at a large institution.
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