Are your DBAs supporting your business? Or is the database company supporting you? If it’s the latter, you’re taking a huge risk and may not even know it.

We recently had the chance to talk to someone who was dealing with a problem related to this, where the DBAs had been heavily relying on Oracle support to deal with issues instead of taking ownership of the problem themselves. It’s a danger for any business, especially if you’re dealing with inexperienced people or those who don’t want to be proactive.

Databases are complex and get more complex every day, and keeping up with documentation is almost as big of a job as the actual work itself. Our DBAs not only know what they’re doing, they’re willing to go after the problems and find out what’s going on.

The problem this company ran into was that its support staff weren’t really supporting—they were only maintaining, and becoming more and more dependent on the Oracle support staff for help. The database became slower and slower until it was entirely bogged down, causing untold expense and loss for the business.

This could have been avoided easily had they gone on the offensive.

With our clients, we rely on our own investigation and assessment. When you’re dealing with a database issue, it’s easy to rely on other people for your information, but you’re better off getting it directly from the source. Determining the problem for yourself helps you collect evidence on how it started and how it can be fixed. And that evidence comes through the process of investigation, not just trying to put together clues based on what’s been handed to you.

For our databases, Oracle support is a last resort, not a first. Instead of relying on them to do the grunt work of investigation and evidence gathering—or shortchanging them on information—we do our own legwork.

We’ll gather up everything we have on the problem, then let them reference their own documentation and unpublished repository of data. They can assess the evidence that we gathered themselves.

That makes it easier for them. It makes it easier for the business we’re working with. And it means issues are caught sooner and dealt with more effectively.