New Builds – Do You Have a Checklist?

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In case anyone is wondering why I’m currently just barely managing one post a week, the first and most obvious reason is preparation for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Retail clients really stress their databases on these days, and a bit of proactive work can go a long way. The other reason is because somehow someone thought it would be a good idea to schedule a go-live for a rather large client for early/mid November. If I figure out who, I may have to complain. But it got me thinking about a checklist in my own head that I roll through before go-live, so I thought this week’s two-hour or less post would be on that.

Purpose of a go-live Checklist and Details

Many people who work on WebSphere Commerce just for their smallish employer may have only one go-live, or maybe 2-3 over 10 years to cover hardware and major software/site upgrades. The DBAs where I work handle about 6-12 per year, on top of the on-going support, builds, and training. After a while we’ve built up a list of things to double check. Most of these we do during a build process that is 2 months or longer and just check off when we’re getting close to go-live.

My list is very specifically DBA focused – there is plenty more for WebSphere Commerce or your specific application that it may not cover.

DBA e-commerce Checklist for go-live

The things I check are for WebSphere Commerce, but they should all apply to all e-commerce and even many DW/DSS databases.

  1. Basic database maintenance is scheduled. This includes:
    • Backups
    • Reorgs, Runstats, Rbinds
    • Performance monitoring/Snapshots
    • Archiving of db2diag.log, instance.nfy, and cleaning up of DIAGPATH
    • Fail-safe maintenance check script to find silent maintenance failures
  2. Standard starting settings are in place. This includes:
    • DB2 Registry
    • DBM Configuration
    • DB Configuration
  3. Standard permissions scheme in place. This includes:
    • Revoking connect from PUBLIC
    • Giving the WebSphere Commerce database id DBADM and/or DATAACCESS
    • Creating groups for read-only and select/update/insert/delete access – per server if LDAP is used for database connections
  4. Data pruning strategy in place. This is one step that can be done either pre-go-live or shortly after go-live. This includes:
    • Discussing detailed plan with dev team and client to identify any gaps or custom pruning areas needed
    • Sign off by dev team and Project Manager and Client on all retention guidelines
    • Coding of custom pruning areas if needed
    • Scheduling of pruning scripts in crontab
  5. Failover tests for all types of HA and DR solutions used
  6. Performance review. This includes:
    • Preferably load testing. Please, please, please let this client do full load testing.
    • Detailed review of physical database performance, and tweaking of parameters
    • SQL review – even if client doesn’t do load testing, look for problem SQL
  7. Quick physical storage review – is any filesystem getting full as we load data in?
  8. Code – may not have time to apply a DB2 FixPack, but I like to know if I’m going to need to in the near future. Sometimes a new one came out between the time I built the servers and the time we go live.
  9. Licensing – did I remember to apply a license file to all servers?
  10. db2look – I like to grab the structure of the objects via a db2look as it is during the pre-go-live code freeze

So what am I missing?

Most of this is in my head and the head of one of our other DBAs – between two of us, we handle most of the go-lives.

Lead Db2 Database Engineer and Service Delivery Manager , XTIVIA
Ember is always curious and thrives on change. Working in IT provides a lot of that change, but after 17 years developing a top-level expertise on Db2 for mid-range servers and more than 7 years blogging about it, Ember is hungry for new challenges and looks to expand her skill set to the Data Engineering role for Data Science. With in-depth SQL and RDBMS knowledge, Ember shares both posts about her core skill set and her journey into Data Science. Ember lives in Denver and work from home for XTIVIA, leading a team of Db2 DBAs.

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