Change is a constant in the lives of database professionals. It can manifest itself in many forms. At one end of the spectrum, new systems may be introduced that demand a modified skill set to properly administer. Less extensive changes such as updating a user’s login credentials are more common and take up a substantial part of a DBAs workday. Between these two extremes are many other changes that need to be made to keep their systems running smoothly.
From a purely theoretical point of view, managing the changes that are made to their databases is something that should appeal to a database team. Keeping track of what they have done will, at the very least, help them minimize lost productivity from repeatedly going over the same ground. They can look back at their collected changes and refrain from wasting time by identifying the actions that have already been taken to address an issue.
In a very small shop with a single DBA and a small IT staff, change management may be able to be handled informally. Simply keeping notes for their benefit may suffice to satisfy the administrator concerning previous changes they have made. Advising the rest of the team of these changes can be accomplished with an email or through personal communication with the handful of affected users.
Formalizing the Change Management Process
Most database professionals do not work in single system shops and need to employ a more formalized method of managing changes to the IT environment. It’s a necessary strategy to avoid chaos in a dynamic computing installation. But unlike some easily defined concepts like storage capacity, change management has a wide variety of definitions. Organizations need to decide how they want to control the changes that impact their infrastructure and, by extension, their customers.
Change management best practices suggest that several defined roles need to be assigned and work together to successfully implement changes. These roles are:
Practical Reasons for Structured Change Management
There are many reasons to conduct change management in a structured manner. Here are some of the most important ones.
Using the Right Tool to Manage Change
IDERA’s DB PowerStudio is a comprehensive database portfolio of tools that is comprised of four products designed to work together to improve and streamline system management. The DB Change Manager component offers a database team a platform from which to keep change under control and provide historical records to demonstrate the modifications that have been made.
The tool provides reporting capabilities that can track and report on changes and generate notifications when modifications are made. You can create snapshots of changes before they are implemented so they can be rolled back quickly if necessary. Point-in-time reporting can be used to furnish evidence of when changes were made to sensitive information to satisfy the demands of regulatory auditors. Multiple database platforms are supported including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, and IBM Db2.
Don’t allow your database team to get caught in a morass of uncoordinated changes that leave them scrambling when issues or auditors appear. DB Change Manager will be a welcome addition to their toolbox and help everyone stay on the same page regarding the natural changes that are an everyday part of life in the world of database support.
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