Home > A DBA’s Habit for Success: CMMI (Part Two)

A DBA’s Habit for Success: CMMI (Part Two)

Welcome back to our five-part series in which we discuss a top habit for DBAs to increase business functionality. In part one of this series, we discussed the importance of a capability maturity model (CMM) and more specifically Level 1 of the information management maturity model (IMMM) and how the framework can provide a step-by-step process for DBAs to follow while also allowing businesses to gain skills along the way. Let’s get into Level 2 and how being reactive can be a step in the right direction away from a chaotic process.

CMMI – 5 Maturity Levels

Before we get into Level 2, let’s discuss the overall outline maturity models follow. While the IMMM process we’re discussing in this series is specific to DBAs, the CMM has a general map applied to every maturity model. This sets a foundation that’s proven to help organizations grow at a steady pace without taking any shortcuts, ensuring the vital skills for each step are gained along the way.
  1. Initial: Process isn’t planned and is in a state of chaos.
  2. Managed: Processes are planned, documented, performed, monitored, and controlled at the project level. This stage is often reactive.
  3. Defined: Processes are well characterized and understood. Processes, standards, procedures, tools, etc., are defined at the organization level. This is your proactive stage.
  4. Quantitatively Managed: Processes are controlled using statistical and other quantitative techniques. This is referred to as the data-driven stage.
  5. Optimizing: Process performance continually improved through incremental and innovative technological improvements.

Level 2: Reactive

Level 2 is what we call a reactive stage. Rather than having complete chaos like Level 1, the reactive stage focuses on being aware of a problem when it happens and taking action to solve it. This stage in the IMMM teaches DBAs how to be aware of their surroundings while monitoring and tracking issues. Level 2 of the IMMM is characterized by the following habits:
  • Firefighting: Since there’s no visibility into the future of potential issues, DBAs are left to tackle issues when they arise.
  • Inventory: Listing customer’s equipment such as patches, software, and hardware along with standardized equipment for comparison helps DBAs to track equipment and make note of any differences.
  • Desktop Software Distribution: Software is safely and simultaneously distributed to both the end user and the organization, allowing for better monitoring processes and communication.
  • Initiate Problem Management Process: With visibility into current issues, DBAs can begin to build a guide into how they should be handled in the future.
  • Alert and Event Management: Notifications for basic alerts should be set up. These include CPU, networking, IO throughput and latency, and memory utilization.
  • Monitor Component Availability: DBAs who fail to monitor will have a harder time reaching any level of maturity. Learning to monitor and track issues can help DBAs stay ahead of issues before they occur.
Similar to Level 1, Level 2 comes with its own progressive landmark. After maturing to the second level, a business learns the habit of monitoring and situational awareness. Just like a player on the field has to know what’s happening around them, DBAs need to be aware of what’s happening in their enterprise. Maturing to this step allows DBAs to create a process behind tracking and reacting to issues, getting them one step closer to solving issues before they occur. In the next part of our series, we’ll discuss Level 3 and the benefits of learning to be proactive rather than reactive.
Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline is a Head Geek, noted database expert, and software industry veteran. As a 13-time Microsoft Data Platform MVP and with 35 years' experience…
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