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How can I escalate a database issue

09 January,2016 by Tom Collins

We’ve all been there as DBAs. You hit a problem – which you spend hours \ days troubleshooting. You reach a point where the problem persists. Maybe you have found a workaround, but as a professional you have this nagging feeling that a root cause analysis and fix must be applied.

Escalating a database issue – either internally , to the wider community or a vendor can be an art form .

As a DBA – you are very aware of an issues that may lead to a production outage. You are normally monitoring and generating reports to highlight potential issues. The last thing you want are users escalating immediately to the CEO – everytime they can’t open a web page.

It is with the same sensitivity I try and apply in an escalation process. Although if it’s a severe issue the brute force approach will be applied.

Normally there should be service level agreements. This makes it easier to quantify a response time and can add some urgency

Here are some steps I apply when preparing a document to escalate.

  1. Is the statement describing the problem correct? Have I understood the problem? Am I describing the problem in a way the support person will understand and allow them to investigate? Do I have supporting documentation in place?
  2. Am I making it clear what is the impact to the business or end users?
  3. Do I have a workaround in-place? For how long can I sustain the workaround
  4. If this escalation is part of an implementation phase – for example – an implementation phase over a weekend – have I made it clear? Is there a Rollback plan or are the business OK about progressing but with known issues?

Although this information may take longer to prepare – I’ve found there is a swifter response from colleagues and other support teams.

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Author: Tom Collins (


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