A Guide to Efficient Database Infrastructure Operations

Taking control of their data is every company's number one job.

Database operations encompass a number of functions, including the initial deployment of a solution, configuration management, performance monitoring, SLA management, backups, patches, version upgrades and scaling.

In this white paper, we will discuss the operational aspects of running database infrastructures, and how companies can make these more efficient.

Table of contents

  • 1. Database Infrastructure Operations in the Modern Enterprise
  • 2. The Impact of New Trends on Database Infrastructure
  • 3. Why are Organisations Struggling with Their Database Operations?
  • 4. Driving Down the Cost of Operations
  • 5. Taking Control of Their Data – Every Company’s Number One Job

1. Database Infrastructure Operations in the Modern Enterprise

The management and operation of database infrastructures is an area that companies often find themselves spending more on than they expect. At the moment, many database management tools and processes are inefficient, do not offer adequate functionalities and consume a large amount of resources. This manifests into escalating operating costs, project delays and database outages.

For the typical firm, database operations encompass a number of functions. These include the initial deployment of a solution as well as numerous management options, including configuration management, performance monitoring, SLA management, backups, patches, version upgrades and scaling. Development and test teams also rely on operational staff to clone production environments, either for testing, benchmarking, troubleshooting or migration purposes.

All of these are essential if enterprises are to have control over their database infrastructure and minimise the risk of falling victim to unnecessary downtime. However, it is sometimes the case that companies without significant expertise in database administration will only focus on some of these areas and take shortcuts with others, which can lead to problems.

System administrators are increasingly being asked to manage databases, especially in smaller businesses. But while a system administrator can get a database cluster up and running, database administration is a distinct role and skill-set. If the data is critical, the company management should make sure operational staff are trained and equipped with the appropriate tools. The average cost of downtime for a small to medium-sized business is calculated to be $74,000 per hour and with human error a common reason for outages, it’s clearly an area businesses cannot afford to cut corners with.

Patching of databases is another area which is overlooked. McAfee has estimated more than 40 per cent of firms will not apply essential patches for at least three months after release, while 16 per cent are not aware of their patching frequency.The use of open source databases had historically been associated with small, non mission-­critical use cases. However, recent evidence suggests that enterprises are now turning to open source databases to reduce database costs and avoid supplier lock-­in.

McAfee has estimated more than 40 per cent of firms will not apply essential patches for at least three months after release.

The harsh reality is that while projects very often only think of the upfront costs of deploying a database, such as hardware and the necessary software licences, 80 per cent of total database costs is spent on ongoing operational expenditure.

Many of the largest costs of running a database may not be immediately obvious on the surface

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