As organizations become larger they need to deal with an ever-increasing number of customers as well as suppliers. Consequently, the administration of databases becomes extremely complex requiring the intervention of database administration specialists who can formulate effective strategies to build and maintain databases with humongous amounts of data. Increasing globalization now means that managers need to have access to data online on a 24×7 basis, and any disruptions can severely impact production, logistics, sales and ultimately the business reputation.
What Do Database Administrators Do?
Database administrators are responsible for directing or performing all activities that are necessary to maintain and operate a large database. DBAs are charged with the responsibility of designing, implementing, and maintaining organizational databases in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. DBA experts are also often engaged to assist in the analysis of big data that may present a severe challenge to the normal IT infrastructure of an organization. Many organizations have found it really worthwhile to engage the services of remote DBAs to maintain and operate their databases than taking on the responsibility and cost of maintaining a dedicated IT team. Such remote database administration also frees the business concern from the hassles and expenses of office space, equipment, and logistics, not to mention executive compensation and training.
Handing over the responsibility of the database to a remote service provider also means that the business is liberated from the uncertainties of having to rely on a relatively smaller in-house team with all the associated limitations of expertise and manpower availability. One of the biggest benefits of engaging a remote DBA services provider is that the HR department is finally freed from having to continuously lookout for replacements for database administrators who quit for better prospects every few years. Additionally, the loss of a DBA no longer poses a risk to the institutional memory since the database is being managed by a remote team. As with every activity, handling by a specialist team that caters to multiple customers, automatically means that a larger pool of expertise is available, a feature that is simply not possible for any in-house team to match. Since the remote DBA service provider maintains a relatively larger manpower pool, it is less sensitive to people quitting or taking leave as the rest of the team can take up the slack.
Key Tasks of Remote DBAs
Apart from the main task of maintaining the database and making the records accessible on a round-the-clock basis, the best team of remote DBA experts has the responsibility of taking backups of the entire database according to a specified schedule. These backups that are taken on storage devices are also mirrored on separate sites so that the chances of data loss or corruption due to any reason whatsoever are minimized. The DBA will also ensure that the procedures are compliant with the regulatory environment as also the vendor license agreement. Update planning is a very important part of the DBA responsibility set as this ensures that the database can manage any new functionality that is added or program bugs that might have existed can be fixed.
The DBA services agreement executed with service providers can include additional responsibilities like technical support staff supervision, strategic planning, preparing information policy, budgeting, and employee training. Many remote DBAs offer these extra features so that the service basket is more complete and over a period of time the customer becomes more reliant on them thus locking them in. Remote DBAs may also be tasked to interact with IT project managers, programmers and system analysts during implementation of a project or even on a day to day basis. The expertise of remote DBAs comes in very handy when a completely new database is being rolled out as they can offer advice regarding determination of the database user, identification of users and linkages for data interchange, as well as testing the performance before implementing it.
Remote database administration service providers also offer network monitoring services and database reporting automation, planning for capacity building and outage alerts. They will generate tuning and trend reports that will help to fine-tune the performance of the database with optimization for factors such as CPU utilization, memory usage, internal database metrics, etc. as well as exception reports for the attention of the higher management. The DBA team will also work with specialized vendors for data security and hardware issues.
Trudy Seeger is the chief manager of a reputed remote DBA services provider. He is also a visiting faculty at a leading computer science and engineering college.