We have a morning “production control” meeting daily where key people report on the status of their systems as well as announcing approved change management items. Most days this is an exercise in repetition but it is necessary in order for administrators to announce changes to their systems that might affect other connected systems. For me, bringing down one of my SQL Servers can have a far out reaching effect upon many other systems.
For example, we have one particular server that houses all of the databases for our internal IT systems, such as VMWare Virtual Center and Citrix and a few smaller ones such as Blackberry Enterprise Server. This is a beefy server to power our infrastructure, however it is a major hassle every time I need to do some maintenance on it. Yes we have maintenance windows. However, for many of these systems the particular admin has to intervene before I can take their particular database offline. The usual cry is that “hey you cannot take that down on that day because I have X job running” where I say “no problem, how about tomorrow?” Then someone else chimes in with “no good, I have this process that runs on that day.”
My solution? Setup a meeting and coordinate the maintenance, which will happen come hell or high water. Cooperation is key. The database server must be patched and maintained, but without cooperation many other systems will suffer.