When it comes to the management of your databases, there’s a lot to consider. This technology is at the core of your company, and without it, most of your business processes would come to a screeching halt. Making sure it’s getting the support it needs is crucial.
But don’t let database management spook you! There are several options available to you, each with its own set of capabilities. The top choices include:
- Internal Senior Database Administrator (DBA)
- Freelance Consultant
- Independent Consulting Firm
- Managed Service Provider
Knowing which solution is right for you depends on your business’ unique database needs:
Ideally, you want 24/7/365 coverage to account not only for database issues that happen during the day but also outside of regular business hours. If your database experiences errors overnight, and no one is monitoring the system, an internal employee will have to take time out of the workday to diagnose and fix it; not to mention the likelihood of your business operations being impacted.
A singular internal DBA is only one person, and inevitably that person will be unable to keep an eye on your system at all times. Unless you have a team of several DBAs, there will be lapses of time without monitoring or maintenance. The same goes for independent consultants and consulting firms; since they work with numerous customers, it is impossible to dedicate full time and attention to your support while helping with other strategic projects.
A managed service provider can administer ongoing support in addition to project-specific initiatives. With around-the-clock support, problems are detected and resolved promptly, minimizing the amount of time your data is at risk and lowering the chance of any information being compromised.
In addition to sufficient support, you want whomever is managing your database to have the knowledge and experience necessary to do so effectively, starting with your business operations and needs. While you can spend time explaining the ins and outs of your organization to an external person or team, it is unlikely anyone will see the full picture better than internal personnel.
While an internal DBA will know your business, they may not be keeping up with technological advancements in the marketplace to discover opportunities for database best practices, including security considerations, performance tuning, etc. Expertise across architectures, projects, and solutions means the ability to handle a wide range of systems, including backups, table extends, and optimization. Consultants and managed service providers handle all kinds of architectures and have knowledge of the industry they can impart to ensure you are currently maximizing the value of your database and will continue doing so moving forward.
If your internal DBA is an expert in all things technology and provides excellent ongoing management for your database, what happens if they are sick or decide to leave your organization? Unless you have a full team of DBAs, chances are you don’t have someone just as savvy who can step seamlessly into that role.
This means you are left in one of two potential situations: either your database goes unmanaged until you find a replacement, or you are stuck with an “accidental DBA.” The accidental DBA is a person on your staff who knows just enough to manage your database as a secondary role, which often results in configuration errors, overlooked maintenance, spotty security and lack of preparation in the event that your database is down.
Both consulting firms and managed service providers consist of teams with multiple people who have diversified skill-sets and offer significantly improved management and support. When one person is out, the rest of the team can handle your business needs, like implementations, integrations, updates, projects, ongoing support, and more.
A Manageable Cost
Ultimately, you want to select an option that fits your needs but won’t put you over budget. A full team of internal database administrators is costly — you may pay upwards of $100k annually per person (and usually more)! A freelance consultant will cost at least the same (and typically 25+% more), and a consulting firm will likely cost considerably more. Managed services are more cost-effective in that you will pay less than you would for a full-time senior DBA, while still getting loyal and consistent service. As long as you find a provider that uses fixed-fee pricing, you won’t have to worry yourself with surpassing your budget or incurring hidden fees.
Navigating your database management options can be a complicated process with a lot of pieces to consider. That’s why we built a Database Management Cheat Sheet to make it easy for businesses to weigh all the options that matter most to your organization.
Get your copy here: