As a DBA, you’re in charge of keeping the systems healthy, and getting them back up and running quickly in the event of an emergency. This is perfectly right and proper, right up until you start defining a service level agreement.
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) defines the level of service you agree to provide, to get the system back up after a downtime. An SLA is usually expressed in terms of time. So, if you have a two-hour SLA, that means you agree that when there’s a grave issue, you’ll have the system back up within two hours.
But how did you get that two-hour SLA in the first place? Usually, it goes like this:
- The customer explains that they must have the database up within two hours of a problem.
- You don’t see any problems with that.
- Maybe there’s even a written agreement that you sign, knowing full well your database experience can easily handle a downed database in that time.
Like so many things, this sounds perfectly reasonable on the surface, but doesn’t hold up once it comes in contact with reality.
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