Database administrators (DBAs) are under extreme pressure as firms attempt to increase revenues and efficiency, modernise data warehousing and business intelligence environments, incorporate social media, and enhance employee engagement.
Some may believe that pressure is increasing at the same rate as demand. The nature of DBA is simple: ‘If you’re doing your job well, nobody will notice. If you screw it up, everyone will notice.’
So, in this post, we are going to discuss 5 most common issues that almost all database administrators face every day or at least some point time in their career.
DBAs are continually challenged by increased demand for performance. While DBA job descriptions have not changed significantly in the past five to 10 years, the pressures to improve performance in response to the explosion of data volumes, the adoption of new technologies, and the growing demand for better business intelligence has led to job description changes.
Two types of change management occur in a database. The first is the management of the data’s changes themselves – how they are accessed, changed by users, and stored. The second is how the business around the database changes, affecting the database itself.
The first DBA concern is user management, which ties in closely with security (below). Most DBAs realise the importance of keeping date-stamped backups of original data so that if something is changed and the changes must be reversed, they can be. That’s the basics of change management in data.
In business, changes are constant, and for the DBA, this means new hardware, software changes, and client machine upgrades, and more. All of these can affect the DB, so the administrator must keep a fluid system capable of growth or alteration. Managing the lifecycle of your hardware, for instance, can mean 30% in savings over a year, thanks to lowered replacement and disposal costs.
Likely the most important (and hated) aspect of database management is compliance. There are whole volumes of legal books dedicated to document and data storage requirements as well as retrieval needs for those legal documents the company stores. Literally, every department of a business will have compliance requirements for the DB. Often these must be preserved for long periods as well.
Balancing the company’s data storage needs with its retrieval requirements is often the most demanding thing a DBA does.
Securing an organization’s information technology infrastructure against external threats and malicious activities is a constant challenge. Data theft and losses are on the rise if the news is any measure. While this has been a core issue for DBAs since the days of DBA 101 classes in school, it’s becoming a forefront subject and the impetus for many changes happening in business today.
Security tools are essential to preventing malicious activities from infiltrating an organization’s IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, this requires time to implement, test, and monitor. The reality is, that this security initiative will only be useful if implemented. As a result, it’s more important than ever that DBAs are skilled at integrating security capabilities within their business environment.
One of the key issues for any application or database is to be able to recover from or to recover quickly from problems or disasters. By focusing on five areas, an application or database has a better chance of surviving a failure.
‘Backup once, then back up regularly’ is the mantra of all IT workers. In DBA, it’s said twice. Nothing is more disastrous for a company than having its database lost and irrecoverable. The ability to quickly restore lost data, change access accounts and passwords, etc. is paramount to security and asset safety.
By covering these five areas, a database administrator can be better prepared to recover from issues that can result in failure. It can also reduce the time and cost associated with investigating problems, troubleshooting, and applying fixes, as well as reducing the impact on business operations if an issue is not spotted early enough or if it is allowed to escalate beyond the boundaries of an organisation.