Why Service Level Agreements are Full of Awesome

I was reminded this week about how important it is for everyone to understand who can do what, and how long will it take. It reminded me about the section in the book where I talk a bit about SLAs and give some common examples:

Service level agreements (SLA’s) are a must have for any DBA. If your shop already has SLA’s defined you must take the time to review them. Knowing the defined SLA’s will help you to prioritize your tasks. For example, if you have two tasks to perform and one must be done in four hours and the other has a limit of two days then it is easy for you to decide which one to work on first.

Tip:            SLA’s are good for a variety of reasons, most notably in can help you to prioritize your current tasks.

If your shop does not have defined SLA’s then you must sit down with your manager and start discussing them. Do your best to define the SLA for groups of requests that you get most frequently, and also discuss the varying levels of environments. For example, if an end user needs a password reset in production then that should be given a priority over a password reset to the test environment. It will be hard to draw a hard line on times surrounding each and every possible task that you may receive, so it is best to classify requests in a particular category.

Some examples of categories could include:

  • Password resets
  • Database restores
  • Database backups
  • Create server logins
  • Create new database
  • Performance tuning

For each of those categories you should also consider the level of environment. So, production requests take precedence over anything else, right? Well, maybe.

It also depends, of course, on your customer.

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