At first glance the terms maintenance and strategy may seem to be at polar opposite ends of the IT lexicon. The former calls to mind the daily grind of all that is required to keep all of your enterprise apps up and running to keep your business running smoothly. The latter evokes visions of smart, industry-redefining actions that will give a company a competitive edge.
But in today’s digital-first world, having plans in place should something go wrong should be part of every organization’s strategy so time won’t be wasted struggling to find a solution.
For this reason, a strong database maintenance strategy is imperative to preserving the integrity and reliability of your most business-critical data and to keeping your company on track. If you feel like your database strategy is lacking, here are three critical pieces that should be part of your database maintenance plan to keep your databases in line with your business strategy.
Establish a Plan and Schedule for Regular Database Backups
Routine backups and archives for all of your databases are key to ensuring data preservation and keeping your databases efficient. For that reason, it may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many corporations lack actual guidelines and uniform processes for this integral piece of maintenance. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits all backup plan. The best process will depend on your unique data environment.
A good place to start to determine the best backup plan for your company is with the answers to these questions:
- How often do you capture important data?
- How quickly is your data growing?
Armed with these answers, you can determine the frequency with which you need to backup your data and the rate at which to grow your databases to accommodate your growing level of data. Setting up a regular process for archiving data once it’s no longer needed for regular access is another important part of this step to keep your databases running at their best.
Regularly Groom Your Databases to Keep Data Fresh
Grooming your databases (i.e. cleaning out old, unused data) is another process that should be a part of any database maintenance plan. Of course, without set guidelines to determine if and when data should be removed, this could spell disaster. Lost data due to not having these steps clearly outlined means lost time fixing the issue and lost productivity for your entire business with the inevitable downtime of this mission-critical technology.
Having the proper procedures in place (i.e. having the proper backup parameters and processes in place as well) can keep your databases slim and swift and avoid any lost data due to oversights. By regularly cleaning out data that your business no longer needs, your databases have the bandwidth for optimal performance.
Identify and Establish Your Database Recovery Model
Should catastrophe strike and your databases go down, your data is only as current as your last backup. Do you know when that was? It’s simple. If you’re not backing your databases up as frequently as you should be, that could be a truly devastating blow for your business. Having a database recovery model in place that suits your data and databases (and business needs) is crucial to avoid such circumstances.
This means not only determining how frequently you’re backing up data, but making sure it’s segmented in a way that you can recover pieces of data without needing to reboot the whole of your database, which would mean more downtime for everyone. Identifying the appropriate recovery model for your data ecosystem ensures efficient and effective disaster recovery should the worst happen.
Have the Right Players in Place
According to Oracle, about 80% of IT budgets still go toward support functions like system maintenance, which is a vital function but doesn’t provide much in way of business growth or strategy. As businesses continue to move to the cloud and additional functional pieces like security and regulatory pressures need support, that number is likely to increase.
However, the rate of advancement of technology in the cloud has left companies struggling to bridge skill gaps, particularly in the area of database management. Keeping someone on staff who is truly qualified to optimize your organization’s databases can get extremely time consuming, not to mention expensive.
For this reason among others, many organizations are benefitting from partnering with a managed service provider to give their databases the experience and time that they need, with remote database management and a dedicated team of experts (often for less than the cost of a full time employee). You can learn more about how businesses are changing the way they manage their databases in this complimentary eBook.