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

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

Welcome back! We’re nearing the end of our five-part series, and I hope you’ve gotten the information you need as a DBA to mature your business. In this part of the series, we’ll discuss Level 4 and the importance of servicing customers and teams with the skills acquired in levels one, two, and three. Starting from a place of chaos and firefighting and progressing through the reactive and proactive stages, Level 4 brings DBAs to a stage of fully understanding their systems and creating service plans based off previous workloads and issues. At Level 4, DBAs now have a good handle on what normal and abnormal look like. Performance metrics and thresholds are now set to automatically alert for database abnormalities, and processes are controlled with statistical and quantitative techniques.

Level 4: Service

When I say service, I mean DBAs have done the infrastructural work required to make their systems better, and they’re building out the database management processes required to tend to customer needs. Whether they interact with the customers face to face or not, DBAs provide a service to both their teams and the business’s customers. Level 4 comes with a highly successful approach to onboarding and caring for customers through a mix of habits. Level 4 of the Information Management Maturity Model (IMMM) is characterized by the following habits:
  • IT as a Service Provider: DBAs now act as service providers for customers through onboarding and account management.
  • Define Services, Classes, Pricing: In this level, DBAs can reach a decision on what services they can offer to which customers and how much it will cost.
  • Understand Costs: DBAs are now asked to take on the responsibility of providing a service, and budgets will need to be set.
  • Guaranteed SLAs: After maturing to Level 4, DBAs have a better understanding of how long their services will take and can factor in time for issues based off previous errors. This allows DBAs to provide customers and teams with realistic SLAs.
  • Monitor and Report Service Availability: By monitoring server workloads and recording historical data from previous customers or projects, DBAs are able to report their service capacity.
  • Capacity Management: DBAs can now look at their servers and previous workloads to get a clear visual into how much work they can take on.
Level 4 unlocks the skill of service and account management. Customer service and onboarding are achieved in this level. With an established company reputation, DBAs become service providers for incoming and existing customers, maintaining current customer accounts and providing onboarding. Project planning and queuing are also important in this level as customers feel more comfortable bringing projects to a company with a good reputation. DBAs can now plan around their capacity and operate like a business of their own, providing services to different teams within the organization. And with visibility into accounts and system records, DBAs can now create realistic SLAs and give customers and teams an SLA based on their requirements. New customers and projects can also mean an increase in alerts. With thresholds set in Level 3, the number of alerts and noise will increase, but not all alerts are necessary, and the noise can tend to overwhelm and distract from more important issues. In Level 4, DBAs are now able to customize alerts and reduce some of the noise. Rather than alerting for every crossed threshold, DBAs can now analyze their thresholds more closely and customize alerts based on each server and its workload profile. Our next and final part of the series will cover Level 5 and give an overview of the maturity model and the final processes to maturing a business from a DBA perspective.
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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