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Last Updated Date May 26, 2021 |

Challenge

Once the data warehouse has been moved to production the most important task is to keep the system running and available for the end users.  

Description

In most organizations the day-to-day operation of the data warehouse is the responsibility of a Production Support team. This team is typically involved with the support of other systems and has expertise in database systems and various operating systems. The Data Warehouse Development team becomes, in effect, a customer of the Production Support team. To that end, the Production Support team needs two documents to aid in the support of the production data warehouse (a Service Level Agreement and an Operations Manual).

Monitoring the System

Monitoring of the system is useful in identifying any problems or outages before the users are impacted. The Production Support team must know what failed, where it failed, when it failed and who needs to be working on the solution. Identifying outages and/or bottlenecks can help to identify trends associated with various technologies.  The goal of monitoring is to reduce downtime for the business user. Comparing the monitoring data against threshold violations, service level agreements and other organizational requirements helps to determine the effectiveness of the data warehouse and any need for changes. 

Service Level Agreement

The Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlines how the overall data warehouse system is to be maintained. This is a high-level document that discusses system maintenance and the components of the system and identifies the groups responsible for monitoring the various components. The SLA should be measurable against key performance indicators.  At a minimum, it should contain the following information:

  • Times when the system should be available to users.
  • Scheduled maintenance window.
  • Who is expected to monitor the operating system.
  • Who is expected to monitor the database.
  • Who is expected to monitor the PowerCenter sessions.
  • How quickly the support team is expected to respond to notifications of system failures.
  • Escalation procedures that include data warehouse team contacts in the event that the support team cannot resolve the system failure. 

Operations Manual

The Operations Manual is crucial to the Production Support team because it provides the information needed to perform the data warehouse system maintenance. This manual should be self-contained, providing all of the information necessary for a production support operator to maintain the system and resolve most problems that can arise. This manual should contain information on how to maintain all data warehouse system components. At a minimum, the Operations Manual should contain:

  • Information on how to stop and re-start the various components of the system.
  • IDs and passwords (or how to obtain passwords) for the system components.
  • Information on how to re-start failed PowerCenter sessions and recovery procedures.
  • A listing of all jobs that are run, their frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and their average run times.
  • Error handling strategies.
  • Who to call in the event of a component failure that cannot be resolved by the Production Support team. PowerExchange Operations Manual.

Table of Contents

Success

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