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Remote Database Administration for Big Data: Operational Costs and Benefits

Updated on October 4, 2015

What is a database administrator (DBA)?

For many years, many enterprise applications have been designed for use and storage in relational databases. For the efficient running of such enterprise applications, it is necessary to have constant supervision to ensure optimal performance of the hardware and software components on which they rely.

In large organizations, database administration teams were assembled, made up of various experts whose only job is to oversee the environmental requirements of the enterprise application databases. However, such experts do not come cheap, and therefore smaller companies would come together to share remote DBA services available in a certain area.

In this age, relational databases are moving deeper into obsolescence as NoSQL databases on-premise and in the cloud take precedence for storage and management of big data. However, this does not change an organization’s need for effective, skilled data management experts.

The DBA wears a number of hats according to the organization for which he works. In general, it is the DBA’s job to stay on top of the operating system’s requirements and coordinate the work of data analysis, scientists and application developers (in a bid data environment). Part of his/her job entails performance analysis and tuning, disaster recovery, directory maintenance, network and outsourced service administration and error fixing.

In a nutshell, however, the work of the DBA is to ensure continuous availability and high performance of an organization’s data storage and processing infrastructure.


Outsourcing the DBA’s function

No matter how dynamic a development environment is, the majority of the DBA’s man-hours are dedicated to lower level administration work. These tasks, though routine, are critical for any organization’s operations, but they do not directly contribute to the company’s core competencies in line with revenue generation.

For smaller organizations, or during harsh economic times, database administration for many companies becomes a problem, since there is little money in the budget for IT, forcing employees to seek better opportunities elsewhere. The declining headcount, together with related costs such as costs of recruiting and training replacements are compelling reasons for such organizations to look for an alternative.

Outsourcing the function of the DBA helps many companies to improve and maintain their competitive age. In this age of cloud computing, remote database management is much easier and attainable for virtually every organization.

As organizations look for ways to reduce expenditure and increase profitability, processes in the IT department can be easily automated and streamlined, dba work being among them. Even though you cannot afford to keep your DBA team on staff, you must have somebody managing the expansive data environment, especially in enterprises deploying complex hybrid data management and analytics solutions.

With large volumes of structured and unstructured data streaming in from virtually every corner of the organization’s internal and external environment, organizations are on the lookout for cost-effective and minimal risk methods of managing the huge amounts of proprietary, mission-critical and often sensitive information.

Doing the math: Remote DBA ROI

Remote database administration services give companies and small businesses a unique opportunity to optimize IT operations and reduce costs. By turning to experienced, established remote DBA service experts, you can enable your business to increase the level of productivity and reduce the costs associated with enterprise computing.

This will help you stay competitive in an increasingly demanding business environment while curbing system vulnerability and upholding institutional integrity. Consider the following benefits remote administration services provide.

  • Fixed costs – Not only is the cost of hiring remote services much lower than in-house DBA teams, these are delivered on contractual basis following a granular outline of the enterprise’s management needs. This allows for better financial planning in future IT budgets.
  • Increased productivity – where companies can afford to have skilled IT professionals in staff, they can be reassigned to more business-critical tasks which directly contribute to revenue generation for the company, rather than low-level support tasks such as DBA.
  • Faster problem resolutions – remote database administration solutions are entirely about provision of round the clock administrative support. The result is faster responses to crises, problems, user requests and other admin and performance related problems.
  • Round the clock availability – on-shore remote administration eliminates the issues of time gaps and employees having to work off-hours to provide DBA support when organizations outsource their DBA services overseas. On-shore solutions also guarantee cost savings without the lapses created by offshore solutions.
  • Latest technologies – the costs that would be incurred to procure, implement and maintain in-house database and network monitoring tools are eliminated with remote services. In addition, as technology grows obsolete, the costs of system application and equipment updates do not fall on the organization.
  • Audit and tracking – remote services include full reporting on type of work performed, case tracking as well as resolution analysis. This provides insights into the organization’s needs for purposes of IT planning as well as a granular breakdown of expenses for budgetary purposes.
  • DBA mentorship – typically, remote DBAs are more experienced in a variety of databases and can provide their input with common problems IT managers face, especially in light of new technologies and/or limited experience.
  • Supplementary services – organizations that lack the resources to increase the number within their IT teams may turn to remote service providers for support at much less cost.


Cost benefits of remote DBA

As it becomes more difficult to access capital, remote database management provides an out for many enterprises so that whatever capital is present can be directed towards their core revenue-generating activities. According to research, cost savings of using remote services can be between 40 – 60% of what in-house DBA teams, depending on the size of the organization and its data management, needs.

Additional benefits

  • Give issue response terms of upto 15 minutes, with this being ensconced in the contract/SLA
  • Capital resources and IT man-hours can be redirected from lower level support to strategic initiatives
  • Allows a company to leverage service expertise and DBA best practices
  • New database platforms can be seamlessly absorbed during changeovers, mergers and/or acquisitions
  • Reduces staff turnover in IT departments
  • Eliminates need for staffing on weekends and at night to have 24/7 response teams available
  • Enhances adherence to best governing practices and security and compliance regulations
  • Eliminates costs and time spent in ongoing training for the DBAs


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