The only way is automation!

Basically I’m a lazy person with a short attention span, so when I’ve done something once, I get kind-of bored of doing it again and again. As a result, automation is a perfect solution to me. Figure out how to do something, script it so I can repeat it easily, then move on! *

In my current role I’ve been a little sloppy about automating things. In part, this is because I’ve been doing such a random variety of things it’s been quite hard to see the patterns of repetitive tasks and it’s been difficult to find the time to actually automate the things I have spotted. The fact I’m currently the only DBA in an organisation that believes DBA stands for Do Bloody Anything, means I’ve been slowing sinking into the weeds of late. Over the last week or two I’ve drawn a mental line in the sand and decided I won’t do anything without scripting it or automating it in some fashion. It requires a lot of discipline to do that when it means potentially missing deadlines, but it really is the only way to work.

Most of what I’ve been doing is standard stuff. Scripting cloning procedures, so I can refresh an environment by starting a script and leaving it to do it’s thing. Making sure developers can get their own application server logs without having to ask me. Making sure applications can be deployed by nominated people without my intervention. Hopefully over the coming weeks I will be able to get things to a state where I can actually see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Cheers

Tim…

* It seems people take everything so literally. 🙂 This does not mean I only ever do something once. The, “figure out how to do something”, part is a process of investigation and testing, not just some random crap that gets thrown together in a script. This is true of any process, manual or scripted. 🙂

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

9 thoughts on “The only way is automation!”

  1. Hmm…Interesting. This is the second post on automation that I have read in last couple of months. Kyle Hailey had written one some time back. When it comes to automation the key points to remember are 1) Figure out how (best) to do it ; 2) make sure you revisit the process after version change and 3) NEVER EVER automate database recovery.
    On a side note, I hope you are not going to make people believe that everything you can do can be automated (and make yourself redundent…)

  2. Narendra: I have no problem with automating myself out of a job. If I were only hired to do donkey work I would not be happy anyway. The more I can script and automate, the more productive I become and therefore the more valuable I become. Trying to protect your job by being slow and unproductive is not a concept that works for me. 🙂

    Cheers

    Tim…

  3. @Jeffrey: I did not literally mean once. I’ve added a note into the post to mention this. Like any task, manual or scripted, there is a process of investigation that goes into it.

    Cheers

    Tim…

  4. Tim,

    I guess me forgetting to add a “tongue-in-cheek” at the end of my last post made the last comment look like I am that “insecure, rigid guy from public sector” 🙂 . For the first part (of my earlier post), it was based on my personal experience. In the past, when I had automated some “DBA activities”, I have seen people (read “leaders”, “architects” and “managers”) assuming that it is either a) fool-proof and/or b) written in stone aka no need to review/understand.

  5. @Narendra : Your points were valid. I am not a fan of any carved-in-stone process. Systems and businesses evolve and your processes should evolve with them. The XKCD stuff is correct in so far as you can end up spending more time maintaining your automation than just doing the job manually. The trick is to find the sweet spot. I think after about 19 years doing this I’m pretty good at spotting that if I have time to take a step back… 🙂

    Cheers

    Tim…

  6. i agree with automation concept. we have a thumb rule, that if a task is assigned to any of the dbas three times, it has to be automated. revisiting is a nice idea as versions changes & technology improves, it becomes importatnt to review it over period of time.

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