Database management outsourcing on the rise

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Outsourcing database management skills is a growing trend that will certainly keep escalating over the coming years in the South African market.

So says Johan Lamberts, MD of Ascent Technology, commenting on the findings of the ITWeb-Ascent Technology Database Management Survey, which ran for two weeks and attracted 135 responses.

The survey found that 47.22% of respondents believe outsourcing database administration and management is not a viable option, while 37.5% said it was.

Lamberts says the trend towards adopting an outsourcing model when it comes to database administration and management is a growing one, and that there is clearly still room for more growth.

The survey also discovered that most organisations (43.75%) believe obtaining outsourced expert database skills is a viable option, compared to 38.89% who say it's not, and 17.36% who were unsure.

Lamberts is convinced this is a clear indication of the growing trend of skills outsourcing. He points out that a lack of database management skills makes it increasingly difficult for these organisations to acquire and retain people with the right level of expertise.

It also emerged that the database environment is critical to the day-to-day operations of these businesses, as cited by 88.67% of respondents. Only 8% said otherwise, while 3.33% were unsure.

“This is as expected; today, more and more organisations are relying on their database environments for their operations,” says Lamberts. “An organisation's data is one of its most valuable resources and should be managed and protected accordingly.”

Some 54.86% of respondents have access to an unbiased, trusted partner or advisor in respect of their database and data strategies, the survey also discovered. Meanwhile, 22.92% do not have access to such a partner or advisor.

The study also found that the majority of organisations (75.33%) believe their data is secure. Some 70.67% said they know where their crucial data resides, with 62% saying they know who is accessing their data. Some 61.33% noted that they know what is happening to their data.

Also, the survey found that 64.67% have not lost critical data or experienced substantial downtime or revenue loss due to a database system failure, while over a quarter (25.33%) have been affected.

Commenting on these findings, Lamberts says it is noteworthy that one in four of the organisations do not believe their data is safe, and that the same ratio has experienced substantial downtime or revenue loss due to a database system failure. “There is room for much improvement on these ratios,” Lamberts notes.

It was also discovered that 43.33% of organisations believe the new personal data privacy and data security legislations are going to affect their organisations going forward. However, 22% said the coming laws will not affect them, while the remainder were unsure.

Lamberts believes that laws like the Protection of Personal Information Bill will certainly affect all the businesses that handle customer data. He says that with the rising incidences of identity and personal information theft, it is in the interest of businesses to protect themselves and their customers, and to comply with data privacy and data security laws.

Most organisations (83.33%) have database disaster recovery strategies in place, the survey also discovered. Only 12% do not. “It is interesting to see that most organisations are prioritising disaster recovery. It only shows that their databases are handling critical and strategic information, which they cannot afford to lose.”

According to the survey, 68.67% of organisations have a database archiving strategy and system in place, while 23.33% do not.

The most popular database technology in organisations is Microsoft SQL, selected by 76% of the respondents. This was distantly followed by Oracle (39.33%), MySQL (27.33%) and IBM (15.33%), among others.

The survey also discovered that the majority of organisations (33.33%) have less than six database servers deployed in their organisations, while 21.33% have 11 to 50 database servers, and 15.33% have six to 10.

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