Managing databases? Here’s how to make your day less stressful
By Tracy Odendaal, Chief Operations Officer at RadixTrie
As a manager of database systems, you’re in a unique position.
You walk the fine (and often, precarious) line between supporting your technical team and implementing direction from the C-level executives. As a team, you’re also responsible for ensuring that your applications and their supporting databases are security compliant, stable and available 100% of the time. When there are issues, your team’s job is to get them resolved before a customer notices or it reaches C-level stakeholders.
There are only three times that the C-level wants to hear about the databases. Typically, this is when:
- Money needs to be saved; typically, it’s around budgeting cycles;
- There are critical outages; and
- Risk is involved, like when vendors request licensing audits.
Let us know in the comments section when else you think a CIO wants to get involved in database matters.
With that in mind, here’s how you can get the most out of your database environment and stay in your manager’s good books:
1. Do more with less budget
Budgeting makes up a substantial portion of your C-level’s list of concerns. Budget, opex and capex discussions are planned, predictable and very much guided by the team looking after the databases on a day-to-day basis. They are usually centred on motivation for new and additional licences, monitoring tools, people and skills.
Knowing this, there are two major ways that you can keep management and your C-level happy by keeping the budget low by doing more with less. This is through database optimisation and automation.
The number one rule for ‘doing more with less’ is to make the best use of what you’ve already got. Optimising your database will make the best use of your available system resources and ensure that queries are executed in the quickest time possible.
Automation is another way you can make the most of the (human) resources you have available. Free up your DBAs' valuable time by automating the tasks like database health and configuration checks that need to be performed on a regular basis.
Not only will this allow you to divert your DBAs to more important and value-adding tasks, but it also increases the output consistency and improves productivity.
2. Minimise critical outages
Critical system outages are a major source of headache and stress for CIOs; 24x7 availability and sub-second performance of critical customer-facing systems is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a necessity. If a customer encounters a slow response or – even worse – the system being unavailable, this can and will have astronomical financial and reputational implications on the business.
As a manager of databases, you can keep your C-level happy by ensuring that your databases are optimally configured and having access to the right expert skills when a crisis strikes.
Configuring your databases for optimal performance is a good start, but the only way you can really minimise critical outages (or at least, be prepared when they do occur) is to proactively monitor your databases. Keep a close eye on the most important database metrics to identify any performance issues before they cause major problems.
If you’ve seen a major issue coming but you just can’t fix it, what do you do? You’ve got the best DBAs you can afford on your team, but they only have so much combined experience; they’ve only worked with a small percentage of database issues that can present themselves. The answer is to reach out to senior experts to augment your team.
With a single phone call to a provider like RadixTrie, you can access the huge knowledge base of experts who have been working with databases for 30+ years each. These experts will be able to work with your team and find a solution before customers are affected.
3. Proactively monitor licensing
Licensing audits by software giants are becoming a large source of concern for the C-level.
The identified shortfall sometimes runs into hundreds of millions of rands, consuming many man hours to investigate, remediate, negotiate and sometimes damaging key relationships.
These audits and shortfalls sometimes drive companies to look at alternatives, taking focus away from their core business and their customers and potentially wasting yet more valuable man hours.
In your role as an IT manager, you can minimise the effect of audits and keep your CIO happy by proactively monitoring your licensing or outsourcing your licence management to trusted experts.
Have you read the fine print of the database software you’re using? Compliance can be tricky when contract wording isn’t 100% clear and the conditions are always in flux. To minimise risk, you need to be proactively monitoring your licensing and usage.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for licensing, so each use case involves a lot of review to ensure you’re lowering risk and cost where possible. However, if you aren’t completely clued up on licensing best practices, or you simply don’t have the capacity to have a dedicated person monitoring your licensing, why not outsource?
Reach out to a trusted licensing advisor and identify where you’re under- or over-licensed. A provider like RadixTrie will be able to review your licensing and advise you on the best and most cost-effective licensing options for your usage.
Managing your database estate can be simple if you choose the correct partner. With over 200 collective years of experience, the RadixTrie team will be able to assist you with your data environment, no matter the issue.