A recent episode of the Freakonomics Podcast was entitled “In Praise of Maintenance,” and asked the question: “Has our culture’s obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?” As usual for Freakonomics, it was an excellent discussion, and it got me to thinking: When it comes to managing our databases, the fun, new, exciting stuff gets all the attention, but it’s the drudgery and maintenance that actually sustain a successful database long-term.

I’ve written plenty before about the cycles of virtue and doom in database management. This is all about maintenance.

I’ve written all about the need for data integrity reports and clear business rules. This is all about maintenance.

I’ve written about the data management cycle. This is all about maintenance.

Innovation is fun. New technology is fun. And it’s also important. Your technology needs to keep up with what customers are demanding. But the reality is, for long-term success, you need to be good at maintenance. It’s the unsung hero of database management.