Database Ownership: An Editorial
Over the last few months, I have talked to a few different DBAs who tell me that their environments are setup in such a manner that many DBAs are involved yet no one ‘owns’ any of the servers. When I ask who is responsible the answer is either everyone or no one in particular. Obviously the DBAs in question are high quality administrators working within a system that they have no control over. Maybe this is the norm for large organizations, ones with hundreds or thousands of servers. Personally, I have never worked on such an economy of scale.
I understand that there are a large number of servers, but I would think that somewhere those numbers would be sliced up into smaller groups of administrators allowing for redundancy but incorporating ownership by a small group. Then that group takes ownership and is responsible for the bank of servers.
My style is such that I love and care for my servers as well as taking ownership of them. I know their history, their quirks, their specs, and if it is a detail that I cannot memorize then I track it. I have 32 SQL servers with almost 300 databases, therefore it is impossible for me to memorize all of the nuances but I have them tracked and the information easy to find such that I can tell you within a minute or two if you ask. How can you do that or do you even need to do that when you have thousands of servers?
In addition, ownership allows me to make those servers a priority and hopefully nothing slips through the cracks. However, if it does then it is my mistake and mine alone. I am responsible. End of story. In those organizations no one is really responsible from what I understand. How do you accomplish or do you even care in a larger organization? Is this much ado about nothing?