If you are a DBA for a database, do you must have physical access to the server?

I think most tasks can be done remotely (i.e tuning, monitoring, managing users) but my thinking is backup/recovery. Can you do daily/weekly backups remotely and recovery if needed?

If you are doing for exampl,e D2D2T (disk to disk to tape backups), can you backup to tape in Newyork if the server/database is in Texas?

I think there must be a local system admin too in Texas for the machine for physical access when media fails ot otehr problesm happen. correct?
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sdstuberConnect With a Mentor Commented:
yes,  there is one script that requires root.  However, installing oracle isn't done very often.  When a new version comes out or a new server is available we simply do the install up to that point call the sysadmin to run the script, which takes a few seconds only, then continue.

I don't do all of it by myself, we have a staff of several dba's,  but a lot of it depends on what you mean by "manage"
most of the databases require no intervention on a regular basis.    rman backups are automated,  statistics collection is automated,  awr/addm collection, where licensed, is automated, filesystems are autoextend, etc.
We have our own monitoring scripts and tools that email for various things.

The size of the database is pretty much irrelevant as to the time it takes.  The quality of the application, number of users and the frequency of changes (new apps, bug fixes, patches, etc) will be the greater determinant.

A multi-terabyte database with a stable application will very likely not need much intervention.  But a new application with a new database might consume all of your time day after day.
George K.Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Physical access to a server is absolutely nevesrary  and there must be at least someone available for tasks like  push the power-start button on a server since there might be a hardware failure , a long-lasting power failure or a restore from a tape set not already inserted in the backup device/tape library.

Generally speaking, all DBA administration tasks can be done remotely having in mind the above,
George K.Commented:


since telecommunication technology has improved so much,


with secure  VPNs  and


tools like Toad, Oracle Enterprise Manager,


taking advantage of automated mail,


mobile phone automated SMS messages for alert systems etc.,


it is now possible to work remotely also for DBA 's more than ever.
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sam15Author Commented:
But I think the on./off button and media failure is more of System admin guy.

Can you still do backups and recoveries remotesly or not? Can you backup to tape a database in texas to tape in new york.
I support over 800 oracle databases.  I have physical server access to exactly 4 of them.

If you have a network between texas and new york,  yes, you can do just about anything you want remotely that you could locally within the constraints of security and bandwidth.
sam15Author Commented:
Don't you ever need to turn the server ON/OFF? How do you do it remotely.

I assume you can do all BACKUPS/RECOVERY from tape and to tape without issues?
"somebody" needs to be able to turn the server off, but not me and it's not common in any case.
Also, many of our servers are virtualized, so there isn't a "physical" server anyway.

yes, we do local and remote backups,  the backups go to both local and remote backup systems.

sam15Author Commented:
so you do most of your dba work using a client workstation/PC, network connection, and some tools like OEM and TOAD or SQL*plus on your client PC?

Do you need  "root" acces for the unix box to do your work? I think you need when you first install the oracle software only but not needed after initial installation.
I don't have root access on any of my main employers servers.

I do almost everything from Toad, sometimes sql*plus or oem, and, on the rare occasions when I need to log in to the sever, I do so remotely with ssh from my pc
sam15Author Commented:
correct me if i am wrong. oracle requires root access to install the software.

one last small thing since you manage 800 databases.

How much time (hours per week) approximately you need to manage a 200 table database with client nad web connections supporting about 500 users. Size is about 25 GB and transactions are relatively small, Would 8 hours per week a good estimate or on the high side.
George K.Commented:
Regarding this part of your question
"If you are doing for exampl,e D2D2T (disk to disk to tape backups), can you backup to tape in Newyork if the server/database is in Texas?"

This depends a lot on your bandwidth.
Generally, for multiple remote sites one should use storage technology allowing data synchronization/replication to/from central sites.
sam15Author Commented:
<< But a new application with a new database might consume all of your time day after day. >>

just curious, is the time spent on SQL tunining and optimizations.

Does not it also depend on whether the application also uses STORED PROCEDURES and VIEWs or whether everything is written in jAVA or .NET. You can tune and optimized the objects in the DB but you cant do it  in the java or VB application.
depends on the type of tuning required.

if it's something as simple as an index that needs created, you can do that regardless of where the query originates.
also, you can change optimizer parameters.

however, if the change required is altering the queries themselves your options become more limited.
you could try dbms_advanced_rewrite

or work with the developers to change the queries in the source code.
Sometimes they might say they "can't" because the code is generated on the fly but there are often "native" or "passthrough" options that will let you use the query of your own choice.
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