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4 Tell-Tale Signs that Database Management has Outgrown In-House Capacity

Any size of business can outgrow its internal Database Administrator (DBA) management capacity and the need for support can emerge faster and more urgently than expected.  

Identifying if (and when) your organisation can benefit from additional database management resource and expertise can be unclear.

We typically become aware of four tell-tale signs that indicate it may be time to consider bringing in a managed service provider (MSP) to ensure database performance continues to meet business goals cost-effectively.  

Your DBAs are stuck in a maintenance cycle  

Although maintenance is a key DBA skill, not all their time should be spent in this area.  

If most of your DBA expertise is continually focused on maintenance, or even firefighting, it may be a not-so-subtle indication that management has outgrown in-house capacity.  

This isn’t because your DBAs aren’t doing a fantastic job – it’s because they are stuck doing only that job. Often, without a third-party providing background support and on-demand assistance, your DBAs can become trapped in a loop of endless maintenance, bogged down in the day-to-day, with strategic oversight gradually narrowing.  

Should this happen, a resource crush can creep in. So, when a critical data platform issue occurs, your DBAs may feel inadequately prepared to handle it. Being stuck in a maintenance cycle also diverts focus away from the big picture – let’s always remember that DBAs have an abundance of valuable knowledge about the building blocks of your IT infrastructure.  

  • By working with a managed service provider, you allow your DBAs to share this knowledge in a structured, actionable way and therefore contribute to wider business improvement.  
  • An MSP acts as both a maintenance loop buffer and a strategic partner. They can translate internal insight into improved database performance and effective modernisation – making organisations more resilient and agile.  

YOUR LEADING EDGE IS FALLING TO THE WAYSIDE  

Have you recently found that project impact is falling short, timelines are stalling, or some projects have been put on hold altogether?  

If so, these may be symptoms that database management has outgrown in-house capacity.  The principle extends to broader digital transformation projects too, the scope and speed of which can be limited by database strategy considerations.  

For one of many reasons – such as the maintenance loop we discussed above – a skills or awareness gap may be developing within your DBA team. To safeguard and strengthen productivity, security and overall business competitiveness, database performance and platform modernisation must continually improve and remain fit for purpose.  

Fundamental to this is driving high quality data platform performance telemetry combined with utilising the latest technologies, processes, tactics and expertise. But for most organisations in the mid or SME market, having these skills in-house is an over-investment. They’re simply not needed every day and as such, many DBAs go without.   

  • However, outsourcing database management to an MSP offers the best of both worlds and provides tight vendor support alignment. 
  • Support can be developed that suits your needs, from resource to knowledge gaps and budget, finetuning database costs and recapturing your leading edge.  
  • You benefit from the next-generation technology investments of an MSP without inheriting an intimidating budget.  

A CRITICAL DATA PLATFORM ISSUE IS WELL OVERDUE  

If everything is fine with your databases, there’s nothing to worry about, right? We’re all wary of the so-called “calm before the storm”, and this applies to your DBA resource too.  

At Node4, we’ve found that organisations most commonly approach us for managed database support after a critical performance of availability issue has occurred. In some cases, it’s too late to avoid operational disruption and data loss associated with a critical database platform issue.  

Although your DBAs and IT performance may not be feeling the pain now (and without being too alarmist), it’s inevitable that you’ll have a critical database performance issue at some point. The challenge is identifying when it will happen, and whether your DBAs will have the resource and tools available to resolve it before effects cascade throughout the business.  

Solutions like Node4’s DBA Managed Services significantly mitigate the risk of critical workload issues – and their consequences – from materialising. For example:

  • Proactive monitoring and event management improves uptime by identifying issues before they develop into business impacting problems.  
  • Similarly, Data Engineers and database performance experts analyse key metrics to pinpoint where optimisation gains can be made to your database environment.  
  • Our clients enjoy peace of mind that databases are in top health, resilient to downtime and able to meet the growing IT demand of the business.  

BUSINESS-WIDE PRODUCITIVITY HAS DROPPED OR STALLED

High performing databases sit at the heart of productive businesses and when they’re not on full form, may cause a productivity plateau.  

As digital transformation progresses, the role of DBA evolves e.g. the majority of our customers are working in the hybrid world which combines critical data workloads in both private and public cloud infrastructure. As a result, you may find your team light on the resource and diverse expertise required to ensure continued database efficiency, resiliency and availability. The performance of mission-critical applications may dip, contributing to a productivity tail-off.  

  • Your DBAs can potentially benefit from outsourced support that helps to bridge resource gaps, while sharing evolving knowledge in the process.  
  • As an end-to-end managed service provider, Node4 has an immersive and wide-ranging understanding of the IT functions required to run a productive, modern business, in addition to high levels of database management expertise.  
  • You have the ability to tap into highly valuable additional skillsets, such as Data Engineering to build out Modern Data Warehouse solutions and to create advanced analytic solutions to drive value from your data. 

In today’s world, database environments can change rapidly, and we understand that it’s often difficult to take a step back and take stock of how the database and applications are really performing. To ensure system optimisation, turn to our Database Health Check service, which is designed to give a point-in-time assessment of the health and performance of a critical database environment.

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