Database Maintenance

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Database  Maintenance

Database maintenance is an activity designed to keep a database running smoothly. A number of different systems can be used to build and maintain databases. The maintenance of databases is generally performed by people who are comfortable and familiar with the database system and the specifics of the particular database, although some maintenance tasks can be performed by people who do not have experience.

Databases are used to maintain a library of information in a well organized, accessible format. They usually are not static, however, because changes are constantly being made as material is added, removed, and moved around. People may also change parameters within the database, decide to use different indexing systems, and so forth. Over time, this can cause the database to start to malfunction. Database maintenance is used to keep the database clean and well organized so that it will not lose functionality.

One important aspect of maintaining a database is simply backing up the data so that, if anything happens, there will be another copy available. Some databasing systems actually do this automatically, sending a backup to another location every day, every week, or within any other set period of time. Backups are usually not enough, however.

There are a number of administrative tasks that a database administrator (DBA) usually has to complete as part of his or her daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly task list to keep the application and database functioning at expected levels. At the Microsoft SQL Server database level, these tasks include:

  1. Developing a backup/restore strategy (as discussed in the “Backup/Restore” guide).
  2. Removing index fragmentation.
  3. Ensuring that statistics are up-to-date.
  4. Confirming that the database is structurally sound (by using Database Console Commands [DBCC]/database consistency checks).
  5. Managing the size of the data and log files.
  6. At a more detailed level, these tasks may include security patch, update, and service pack management
  7. Make sure that everyone on the company is coded as such, and that these groups have up-to-date information in the core fields. Getting the above correct may mean printing out a report and asking another staff member to go over the information to you.Complete and correct information about company makes your organization look effiecient and consciencious; incorrect information can offend a big supporter.

Get rid of duplicate records on the database. Most database programs come with a function that will find duplicate records for you, based on certain criteria. If not, you can sort the information by various fields to find duplicates. The three searches that will turn up most of your duplicates will be searches for:
1.   same first name and last name and company name;
2.   same last name and company name;
3.   same first name and company name.

Each of these searches, done seperately, will usually find all of duplicate records on a customer database.

Taking too much time to get rid of duplicates on a database can lead to a lot of confusion when you are trying to look up information about an individual. De-duping once a month will make it easier for you to determine which record to keep and which to discard.

Make sure that the important people on the database have correct information, and that all appropriate important people are on the database in a proper fashion with correct reference.
Make sure that information is correct, particularly the information in the core fields.
Make sure all appropriate staff members are accounted for on the database
Professional colleagues should know what your organization is up to; such a courtesy on your part could lead to collaboration in the future (and funding agencies love collaborating organizations).

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