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

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

Welcome back! As we enter the halfway point of this five-part series, we’ll discuss Level 3 of the capability maturity model (CMM) and the role it plays in helping DBAs grow their organization and increase the functionality of their business. By now you should be familiar with the definition of CMM and the Information Maturity Model (IMMM). If you need a refresher, part one and two of this series cover the basics of the models and the overall benefits of following a maturity model.

Level 3: Proactive

In this level, DBAs can start to say, “now we’re getting somewhere!” Level 3 is known as the proactive stage in which DBAs are no longer firefighting issues when they arise but are now able to retain information from monitoring and analyzing trends to improve database performance. By tracking the issues that occurred in previous levels and even monitoring the progress of their team, DBAs are now aware of reoccurring trends and earn credibility from being aware of how their systems work. Level 3 of the IMMM is characterized by the following habits:
  • Analyze Trends: DBAs can now create runbooks and checklists with previous issues and their solutions by tracking system trends
  • Set Thresholds: Threshold alerts allow DBAs to see potential issues ahead of time and gives them time to tackle them before they occur
  • Predict Problems: Setting thresholds and tracking previous issues can help DBAs calculate when an issue may occur again
  • Monitor End-User Response Time: Tracking response time can help DBAs note signs of an issue, so they can work to improve the end-user experience before end users are even aware of an issue
  • Automate: DBAs can fix issues faster through automated scripts and reduce the chances of errors from trying to fix them manually
  • Mature Problem, Configuration, Change, Asset, and Performance Management Processes: Advancing these management processes means DBAs can lessen the risk of an issue occurring by staying cautious of changes
Level 3 is also defined by the progressive landmark of proactive processes. Runbooks and checklists help DBAs fix issues quickly by having a record of previous occurrences and taking advantage of open-source scripts to solve them. Any time changes are done manually, there’s a chance to introduce error. Having a script to automatically fix an issue can reduce the chances of an error occurring. Once DBAs start to collect monitoring data, two additional proactive processes they can perform are baselining and benchmarking. While baselines are a collection of performance metrics of a database system at a normal workload, a benchmark is a predesigned baseline at higher than normal operation. Baselines and benchmarks help DBAs compare their systems to others and help ensure they’re running up to speed and are prepared for changes. DBAs are now also working to mitigate risk as a proactive process rather than just keeping things up and running. Management techniques or CI/CD processes can help DBAs reduce risk by staying cautious of changes in their systems. Basic threshold alerts can also assist by notifying DBAs of current changes or increased chances of potential issues. Having several proactive processes in place can help DBAs increase the credibility of their organization and help them to advance to the next level in the IMMM. In the next part of our series, we’ll discuss Level 4 and building out processes for customers to provide great service.  
Kevin Kline
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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