Holiday Readiness ... Databases

Would like to hear from the gurus, what we should do or the checklist; to best prepare ourselves for this coming holiday season, our primary focus is databases; Oracle & Sql Server

Please do share your valuable experiences & guidelines too.

Thanks in advance
Mushfique KhanDirector OperationsAsked:
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DavidSenior Oracle Database AdministratorCommented:
Stay hydrated.  Assign designated drivers if appropriate. Nothing special should be required for the systems.
DavidSenior Oracle Database AdministratorCommented:
What do you anticipate?
Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
Curiosity overwhlems me ... is there a question here, or is this a 'let's swap war stories' thread?

Not that there's anything wrong with war stories.   'No sh&t, there I was...'
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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
As far as databases go, they don't what a Holiday is so they don't care.

As far as administration:  It is just another day as well.

Now if you work for Amazon/Walmart or some other retailer, then you can expect a HUGE increase in traffic.  Then you might need to have more bodies on site during this period.
As others indicated there aren't really any technical issues related to the holidays but you may have logistical problems/opportunities.

Many people take vacation around the holidays.  Do you have coverage or will everyone be gone for some period.  If there is no coverage - is that ok? If not, how will that be handled?

If you're in the northern areas you may have weather problems as well.  Iced wires causing power outages., snow and slippery roads causing accidents and people late or unable to come in at all.  
Again - not strictly an Oracle issue; but your database won't run if the server is without power and if your staff can't make it in, then what?

Even if your entire staff is fully available - are your partners?  Are the sysadmins available or are they on vacation/snowed in somwehere?   What about your customers or upstream providers?

Maybe the problem is in reverse.  If you support a manufacturing facility that has a scheduled down time  then are you paying a bunch of contractors to support a system that nobody will be using for that time?  If so, maybe rotate the staff or use shortened work days to save money.

On the other hand.  If your customers aren't going to be using the system - that can be great time to do patching, upgrades, installations, restructuring, etc. without having to worry about impacting the business.
Mushfique KhanDirector OperationsAuthor Commented:
Thanks, we are in the retail business and expecting a huge amount of traffic on to our servers/dbs and for this reason, would like to prepare ... as we are already going through, some extensive exercises and checklists too; what needs to be done/checked/verified/tested, before we hit Thanks Giving.

This is the only reason, came here too, eg.,
- storage: are we able to grow?
- fail over: if we'd failed over; can the server able to bear the load ... & etc.

Some thing on these lines, primarily from database perspective; Oracle & Sql Server only.

And please do update/reply ... only, if you have anything good to share, otherwise ... it's just wastage of time and kind of annoying too ... when reading your thoughts, why really people share these kind of garbage ... some one said correct:

"Garbage in ... Garbage out"

Thanks again ... for sharing "Good" only.
Mushfique KhanDirector OperationsAuthor Commented:

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also note, in addition to basic capacity planning - look for special runs.

Not only is retail entering prime shopping season, it's also end of year, so in addition to an increased level of the normal business (i.e. normal capacity planning) - you also have year-end tax preparations and other human resources issues like vacation. retirement and bonus payouts.  New year allocations,  many businesses will be doing next year's insurance signups now and for the next several weeks.

So, for your ramp up in the main retail business where you might simply do a simple estimation of 2x, 4x, 10x level of activity (transactions, sessions, processes, cursors, archive logs, etc.) you will also have these other processes that will run sporadically and aren't simply an extension of your normal execution profile - they are distinct operations that will cause spikes of activity that don't correspond to the rest of the retail actions.

Ideally you will have previous years to compare to, both for your estimation of retail factoring but also these special processes.  If not - you'll just have to guess what you'll need.
May want to look at cloud computing or other means of flexing to your traffic as it increases.  Distributed databases can also help, and you will definitely want to ensure your databases are backed up periodically.
DavidSenior Oracle Database AdministratorCommented:
Mark, it would be helpful as well to learn your role in the business -- IOW are you a decision maker, or even a decision influencer?  

As a technical expert, I'm also curious what precipitated the question.  Is there any history in past seasons of performance/storage problems?  Are there metrics and alerts in place to monitor your resource consumption?  There are tools and procedures available, to simulate a stress load, if you need  any forward-facing guesstimates.

Finally, the topic begs the year-round question about the adequacy of your Continuing Operations (coop) plan.  In the event of a catastrophic failure, what is in place to mitigate its cost?  How much financial risk are the owners/managers willing to absorb?
Mushfique KhanDirector OperationsAuthor Commented:
the only & a bit comprehensive
why the penalty grade?
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