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#DBHangOps 09/03/15 -- Relax Ops and more!

Hello everybody!

Join in #DBHangOps this Thursday, September, 03, 2015 at 11:00am pacific (18:00 GMT), to participate in the discussion about:

  • How do Ops people reduce ops work?
  • How is Ops/DevOps viewed in the workplace?
  • "Relax Ops" -- how do you decompress when not working?

You can check out the event page at https://plus.google.com/events/chahiq5eu03e65m9fae2bfh6g70 on Thursday to participate.

As always, you can still watch the #DBHangOps twitter search, the @DBHangOps twitter feed, or this blog post to get a link for the google hangout on Thursday!

See all of you on Thursday!

You can catch a livestream at:

Show Notes

How do Ops people reduce ops work?

  • "Automation" obviously...but what do you focus on first?
    • Config management (puppet/chef/etc)
    • finding ways to empower developers and other people you work with
    • Allow developers to make production changes and schema changes to move things along
    • If you can't give access for production changes, provide a method for people to read production data for debugging so you don't need to run queries all the time
    • Spinning up of new machines and databases
    • Orchestrator! Helps make replication changes very easy to make
    • Help provide easy insight into replication topologies for database clusters
  • Documentation!
    • Write down answers to common questions
    • What's one of the first things you focus on documenting?
    • Site books
    • Any documents that make things better for DBA and other teams interacting with them
    • Runbooks for remediating alerts
      • If it isn't customer-facing, maybe it doesn't need to be immediately escalated!

How is Ops/DevOps viewed in your workplace

  • A lot of work for co-ownership of uptime and performance
  • Empower developers to make config management changes (e.g. chef/puppet)
    • Spend a lot of time educating developers about maintainability, performance, and how to address manual operational tasks
  • A lot of shops usually hire a DBA when they're database infrastructure starts to have problems
    • this doesn't necessarily lend itself to the database infrastructure being treated the same as the rest of the infrastructure
    • as much as possible, you should push to have your database environment as similar to other parts of the environments
    • Make if so that youre aren't a SPOF!
  • At Booking.com:
    • Mostly all DevOps (though the application is a different team)
    • There's a lot of collaboration between the production and application teams
  • At Okta:
    • Mostly a DevOps team
    • Since DBA was initially a contracted role, there's been an evolution to DevOps over time
    • A lot of the SysAdmins are DevOps engineers
    • Figuring out where automation breaks down and how to make the databases more resilient to manual work
    • Is there more about AWS or Chef to be learned to help automate further


  • how do you decompress? How do you manage your time with the rest of your team/organization?
    • Set your hours and stick to them
    • Turn off e-mail notifications when you're not in the office
    • Work with your team to set boundaries for when you get escalated to
    • Turn off work chat if you're not working! :)
  • Different timezones can be challening (but helpful for on-call rotations sometimes!)
  • Working remotely can be really challenging
    • You miss out on in-office conversations and chats. This can be stressful.
    • Get a remote presence setup!
    • Get a fancy remote presence robot
    • Setup a persistent Google Hangout
    • Get a dedicated room to be your office so work can stay behind a closed door when you're done
  • Manage your time!
  • Silvia wrote a blog post about identifying burnout -- http://dbsmasher.com/2015/07/29/on-burnout/
    • Do you find yourself heavily context switching?
    • Are you working late in the evenings or overworking because of timezone differences?
    • Are you taking enough vacation?
  • Set an expectation around managing burnout with your team
    • work to remove SPOFs in your organization so people can take breaks
    • Set a cultural expectation to take breaks
  • Unlimited time off can be a blessing and a curse
    • Make sure you have expectations around taking your time off
    • If you have unlimited PTO, it's easy to fall into a trap where you don't go on vacation
  • Burnout
    • It's okay to be a workaholic as long as your workplace doesn't expect it of you
    • Not all work you do is burn out work. If there's a very engaging
    • Make sure your work doesn't burn you out
    • Acknowledge your own respsonbilities to help avoid it and make sure other folks can help
    • Working
  • Commiserating with others in your field
    • Sometimes you just need to rant about a crappy thing at work to other people that understand. It's okay! (Just make sure to get back to being productive once it's out of your system)
  • Presenting at conferences
    • Share your experiences
    • Find other people who are interested in your solution or experience
    • Help make things better for everyone by sharing knowledge
  • Side projects
    • Having time to focus on side projects are a nice decompressor
    • Regular Hackathons to work on fun projects on company time
    • Being able to contribute to open source sometimes
    • Finding overlap in side projects and work projects
  • What do you do besides all this to decompress?
    • Spend time with family going outside, watching movies, and more!
    • Dancing!
    • Music festivals and concerts!
    • SLEEP!
    • If you work at home -- anything that gets you out of the house or away from the work computer!
    • Eating a lot of fried food!
    • Go hiking with your dog!
    • Go to meetups with other dogs!
    • Make wine!

Links of supreme interest!