Interview with Eric Vanier – A DBA expert
Large scale application performance is of utmost importance. Millions of people use Enterprise applications every day and organizations make sure that these applications are running smoothly.
When it comes to performance, databases are the first things to be looked at and maintained. Many issues in the application often link back to them. And the people entrusted with the responsibilities of finding, fixing and optimizing the databases are the “Database Administrators” (DBAs)
I got the opportunity to interview Eric Vanier, Consulting DBA, and MySQL Expert. Eric has been consulted by many Fortune 500 companies to solve their database related issues.
It was a humbling yet enthralling experience to learn about his contribution to Multi-National organizations. Following are the excerpts of the interview.
Question 1: Hello, Eric. Thanks for joining me. So, it’s been almost twenty years in the industry. How has your journey been so far?
So far, I have to say that at the end of the day, I’m always happy because I have helped business and people to improve their critical databases and save a lot of headaches. I have been able to do this by helping these businesses with a proactive plan to avoid any disruptions, answer pertinent questions that will avoid any mistakes.
Also, the most important aspect for me is to work well with client’s team and I’m always completely willing to do a knowledge transfer while fixing issues because, at the end of the day, the data is owned by the client.
Question 2: I completely agree with that. I know that the Fortune 500 companies approach you for consultation. That’s a really big thing. Could you share what kind of issues they face?
In general, Fortune 500 companies approach me to evaluate their existing MySQL Database design and make any recommendations for improvement.
Sometimes, I would have to look over their existing MySQL environments because they would have had some major performance issues. These are particularly tricky because the source of the problem is hard to detect and only with time one can quickly Identify them.
Question 3: This raises a question. Would your clients get just the solution to their problems or is there more?
Oh, there is lots more to it than to just solve problems that exist. My main goal is to make sure that not just the problems at hand are solved but also look into other potential threats and come up with strategies to mitigate them.
I help all my clients save time in researching, assisting DBAs, Directors, System Administrators, Developers in query optimization or database performance. This way my clients save time and a lot of financial resources as well.
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Question 4: What is a typical procedure you follow while solving issues?
Most of my clients would want me to point out their major problem and have a list of recommendations to correct their MySQL performance issues quickly. The procedure I follow would vary depending on the client’s need and what is being addressed.
In my experience, I have found that different clients have their unique way of approaching problems and solving them. And over the years, I have learned to take these into account while understanding their systems and infrastructure so that I can provide a tailored service that suits them perfectly.
Now, that being said, there are a few diagnostic checks that I perform for almost all the clients in order to gain more understanding of the problems related to the databases. This analysis would typically involve things like scrutinizing the database design and structure, examining the slow queries and performance glitches, and so on.
I make it a point to work closely with my client’s team so that they too know how to solve problems in the future and understand what is being done during the solution implementation phase.
Question 5: There might be many companies around the world who would want to hire DBAs. What are the key qualities that organizations must look for when hiring an Expert DBA or an expert consultant?
That’s a very good question. There are a few things anyone can look out for either while searching for or hiring an expert DBA. Firstly, please do not to just go ahead looking at their profile. Meet them, ask questions, understand what they would do and then proceed.
One can look at a few qualities like their experience in working with Enterprise Applications and making sure that they are capable of providing Enterprise-wide services and not something that is very specific.
I also believe that DBAs should be very patient and listen to their clients carefully, understanding the requirements and issues very clearly. If they aren’t, then the company is going to have a hard time working with them.
DBAs who have experience working with the Fortune 500 companies have an added advantage. The reason for that you gain a lot of knowledge working with critical databases and delicate infrastructure designs. There is no room for error you know. One small mistake might lead to millions of dollars in loss for the company.
Question 6: We have a lot of readers who are either aspiring to become DBAs or have just started. What advice do you have for them?
Ah, that’s an important question that needs to be addressed. For those aspiring to become a DBA, the first thing they should have are:
- A good monitoring tool that will alert them to any performance issues.
- A knowledge regarding how to find and optimize in deep their queries.
- How to use MySQL tools and understand MySQL to review the slow queries
- Knowledge about where to look to see where is the issue and then apply the proper solution.
Always be ready for the worst: plan for a failover, backup strategy, etc. And finally, always have an external Expert who can answer or address their concern and questions.
So those were the excerpts from the interview. I hope you got something to take away from it. You can read the full interview on Eric’s blog where he shares more about the DBAs work and the services that he provides.
You can contact Eric via his website https://www.ericvanier.com/ to know more.