Your database plays a key role in the overall performance, reliability and availability of your ERP as the foundation for storing and managing critical business data. Maintaining the health of a database is therefore important in ensuring that it can effectively support the organization’s mission-critical applications.
What is a database health check?
A Database Health Check (DBHC) is a periodic review of a database’s performance, stability, and security. It helps identify and resolve potential issues to prevent downtime, data loss, and other problems. The process includes evaluating the database architecture, configuration, and performance metrics, as well as checking for security vulnerabilities and data integrity.
What is the expected result?
A DBHC should review the database system (not just the DB itself) with a focus on vulnerabilities and risks that can cause an outage or service interruption. This includes checking available space for the database to grow, and whether there are processes in place to do daily care and feeding such as backups and log file purging. The DBHC report will highlight areas that may not receive daily attention.
The DBHC should also look at security and compliance. Are patches to the OS and the DB current? What is the DB and OS backup strategy? Has it been tested; can we restore our DB system in the event of a failure? How long does it take? What users have access to the system and what privileges do they have? Are user accounts configured to force strong passwords and password changes on a regular basis?
The results of a DBHC can be used to optimize the database for better performance, implement preventative measures for potential issues, and ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices.
How often should a DBHC be performed?
The frequency of database health checks depends on various factors, such as the size and complexity of the database, the volume of transactions, and how critical the data being stored is. Some companies who hire audit firms for their annual audit prefer to schedule a DBHC at the same time; this is usually the suggested minimum of when a DBHC should be performed. A suggested approach would be quarterly, and it is also a good practice to perform one after hardware / software upgrades, after any significant changes in the IT environment and before and after a data center or cloud migration.
Who can do a DBHC?
Anyone can run a DBHC by executing a supplied script or following a set of instructions. However, a skilled and experienced DBA should review the results and output of the data gathered. Just like our annual medical checkup, you can look at your blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol levels, but if you are not a doctor, providing an accurate assessment is unlikely.
After analyzing the DBHC results, a DBA can provide recommendations for improvements and share the report with interested parties including non-technical individuals that can answer business-related questions (“how long can we be down in the event of an outage?”)
What are the benefits of a DBHC?
Performing a database health check can be time-consuming, depending on the size and complexity of the database, the resources available, etc. Every database system is unique and its purpose and characteristics should be considered. However, because regular health checks are important for maintaining its performance and stability, the time invested can be well worth it.
The goal is to mitigate the risk of system outages for our mission-critical business services. Understanding the health of the DB systems and taking a proactive stance will help safeguard your business from loss of revenue due to unforeseen outages. This results in allowing you to sleep at night and having the peace of mind that your systems are in good health.