Your DBA is Absent: What Do You Do?

Lukas Vileikis


If you are running a company, chances are that you already have a lot of things to take care of – you need to hire developers, designers, perhaps a couple of security experts, as well as database administrators. However, have you ever thought of what could happen if one or some of your database administrators could go missing? That is, take a couple of days, or even a week off?

So, if your DBA is absent, what do you do? Thankfully, you have somea couple of options: one of those options are tools. Tools, in this case, are related to database management tools: there are multiple companies that deal with database tooling. Some of the tools related to database management are better than others, of course, some worse. By choosing a database management tool, consider these factors:

  • Is the tool developed by known experts in the field? If the tool is developed by developers that are almost unknown to the industry, it’s probably not that good of a sign – on the other hand, if the tool is developed by world’s leading software or database experts, you’re in good hands!

  • Does the tool do what you ask from it? Does it solve your issues? Your database-related problems? Consider the fact that if you are dealing with performance-related issues and the tool only offers support for the high availability of your databases and the security related to them. What do you do then? Do you have a sheet of what you require from the database tool itself? You should!

  • Perhaps most importantly of all, would the tool of your choice even be able to replace the database administrator in your company or organization? Perhaps it would be more of a hassle than it’s worth? Is it even performing to the best of its ability? What do other people think of the tool? Did reputable companies use it?

Once you have considered the aforementioned factors, you should be able to easily choose a database tool from those available. Look around on the web and you should see at least a couple of database management tools – one of them should be ClusterControl developed by Severalnines or CCX also developed by the same company.

ClusterControl to the Rescue!

If you find yourself searching for a very good database management tool, you have probably already heard of ClusterControl developed by known database experts over at Severalnines. Here’s how the tool looks like from the inside:

If your DBA is absent, you probably need a tool that can take care of at least the majority of things that are taken care of by a database administrator that might be present in your company: as you can see, ClusterControl comes with a lot of features too! ClusterControl, when launched (and once you have logged in to the system, of course), will display what’s happening inside of your database servers (you will be able to observe the server load), it will let you know how the queries on your database instance are doing, what’s happening with the performance of your database instances, and it will even let you back up your data – automatically, mind you! We will start from queries and move on from there:

  • If your DBA is absent, how can you know how the queries of your database instance are doing without running queries that depict your database status? Well, with ClusterControl that’s easier than you could ever imagine – simply switch to the Query Monitor tab and you will be able to observe top queries, what’s happening with your database connections, and you will also be able to observe query outliers:

    The top queries tab will let you know what’s happening with your queries in your database instance at present – on what database they are running on, how many rows are being sent or examined according to the query, are they creating temporary tables, what’s their execution time, and when were they last seen too. Query outliers tab, on the other hand, will display all of the queries that deviate more than 2 sigmas from the response time.
  • Once your DBA is absent, you might also discover that it’s getting harder to get some advice relevant to database performance, storage engines, indexes, and whatnot – in this case, worry not: ClusterControl’s performance advisors will save the day.

    ClusterControl performance advisors, as you can see, are split into a few different categories – ClusterControl can advise you how to better optimize your MySQL schemas, how to advance your security procedures, what to do regarding replication, how to optimize performance, and so much more! In this case, we also see that all advisors can be also edited (for that you would need to have some knowledge of javascript) or disabled if you don’t want to use them at all – why use something that you don’t have a need for? Before disabling them though, make sure they are unnecessary.
  • If your DBA is absent and you need to observe settings relevant to your database instances and perhaps change them, what do you do then? In this case, you don’t ever need to worry too! ClusterControl has a section especially for that – it’s called “Database Variables” (or DB Variables for short) and it depicts, you guessed it, all of the variables relevant to a certain database instance. For example, if you want to modify your InnoDB parameters, simply start typing InnoDB… and ClusterControl will filter the list without you even needing to blink:

    Once you have figured out what the parameters for a given database instance are, you can make use of the Advisors to know whether to change them or not, and change them if necessary. How’s that for a virtual DBA?
  • You might also want someone capable of optimizing your schemas and keeping an eye on indexes, primary keys, and the like, however, it would be pretty hard to do without a DBA at your disposal. Again, worry not because ClusterControl also has a dedicated schema analyzer available for you to use! Excited yet?

    The schema analyzer, in this case, would observe all redundant indexes inside of your databases, provide you will a list of all of the columns in a covering index, and, obviously, provide you with some recommendations on what you need to do to make the indexes actually help your database instances and for them to work properly.
  • What happens once you notice that you might have a deadlock and your DBA is not around? Well, you wait for him or her to come back, and then voice your concerns, right? Not with ClusterControl: the tool has a transaction log letting you know everything about deadlocks related to transactions, long running queries, and the like:

    Still miss your DBA?

  • Sometimes you might need to ask your DBA: “wait, what is our database topology? Are our database nodes writable, or are they read-only?” but he or she might be missing. Oh no! What do you do now? Obviously, you turn to ClusterControl – it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s also able to provide you with the entire topology of your database cluster, is it?

ClusterControl is also developed by the leading database experts at Severalnines, so when choosing it as your database management option to replace your database administrator, you will never go wrong. Give ClusterControl a try today, reach out to support, or read the docs if you need any further information about any of the products that Severalnines can offer, and we will see you in the next blog!

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