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12 Days to a Great, Relaxing Vacation or Holiday
by Stephen Wynkoop

Going on vacation can be a stressful time for any data professional.  Getting calls while you're gone is less than ideal and proper setting of expectations, along with support steps put in place ahead of time, can make all the difference in the world.  

Here are some quick tips to making sure you have the best possible opportunity to have a relaxing time away from the office. 

12 days in advance, notify people that you’ll be out of the office
11 days out,  check jobs, make sure you know what’s running, what it’s supposed to do and how to confirm it’s working.
At 10 days, check backups, both database and transaction, and make sure you have documented recovery steps and procedures
T minus 9 days -  Check your remote access tools – make sure firewalls haven’t changed, IP addresses still known, etc.
8 days prior, write up “how to get help” steps and distribute
7 days to go, remind users, stakeholders that you’ll be out on vacation, remind of steps if they need help.  Make sure stakeholders know the steps you’ve taken to make sure they’re covered.  They should know how/who to escalate issues to.
6 days, check back on your jobs and other automated processes – are they working as you determined on Day 11?  No surprises or missed jobs is the goal
5 days to go, check with users, stakeholders to determine what they’ll be doing on the systems while you’re out of the office – this gives you a foothold if they contact you and have questions – you can immediately know where to start looking or asking questions
Just 4 days more, double-check with your backup staff or help – anything else they need to be able to respond to any issues that arise – do they have the documentation, have they gone through it, any questions, etc.   
Day 3, check with key stakeholders – see if they need anything else before you’re out of office.  This gives you enough time to complete last minute requests without them being emergencies prior to leaving. 
2 days left, check allocations for anything that is consumed computing-wise.  Disk space, backup storage, data warehouse systems, etc.
1 day - the last day - check in with your support team, NOT the end-users, let people know you’ll be heading out and handing over the keys.

Have a great vacation and holiday - you've earned it by taking care of your systems and those that use them - Enjoy!

Stephen Wynkoop

Founder, SSWUG.ORG
Microsoft SQL Server MVP



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