Why do I need DBA as a Service for my business?

By Charles

June 10, 2022

data, database administrator, DBA


Let’s jump straight in with why you need a DBA. Hopefully, you would agree that all businesses are now data businesses and that a team of data experts manage your organisation’s data needs.

The database management specialist’s role is the humble Database Administrator (DBA).

DBAs design, build, manage and support data platforms to ensure your data is secure, compliant, available, backed up, and recoverable and that the data platforms are optimised and performing to the highest standards.

The Power of One

Like binary, most businesses tend to employ zero or one DBAs. Only the largest even have the budget for a team of DBAs. In some cases, DBA Administrator Consultants are used as a stop-gap, but this does not come cheap.

If you have one, you need two, you know, for redundancy…

We are experiencing a data skills shortage in the UK, and if you have recently tried to recruit a DBA, you will know that it is a challenge. A significant (and growing) demand for DBAs, and finding certified and experienced individuals is becoming very expensive.

Couple this with organisations requiring experience with various cloud platforms like Azure, AWS and GCP; You can see that the ideal candidates are becoming harder to find – especially within budget.

The result is that smaller businesses are priced out of having a good DBA, and larger organisations that use more powerful (expensive) features are settling for DBAs without the required skills, certification and experience.

As we’ve said, the role of the DBA is critical, and this isn’t an area to scrimp on – have a look in the news, and you will find examples of where data mismanagement has cost organisations tens of thousands.

What does ‘DBA as a Service’ offer you?

DBAs available immediately

With DBAaaS, instead of going through a recruitment cycle, DBAs are available and ready to start working on your data platforms from signing the contract.

We can begin to ensure a proper handoff is completed and as much operational knowledge is passed on and retained.

This is even more important if you run out of time on your current DBA’s notice period.

Fully certified and experienced DBA experts

There are DBAs, and there are expert DBAs. If your organisation invests in DBA resources, you want highly experienced experts.

Our DBAs are battle-hardened from decades of database management on your data platforms.

Our team holds the most up-to-date and relevant certification across various database technologies, including cloud and on-premise installations.

Cost-effective

Whatever your current team, the size of your data landscape and how much coverage you need, using DBAaaS is a cost-effective way of bringing on expert DBA resources.

We recommended getting a quote as the cost of DBAaaS is typically a lot more competitive than most would expect.

Additional DBA skills

Most job descriptions for DBA roles include ‘Desirable’ skills in areas like SSIS, data warehousing, cloud technologies, performance tuning, data analytics, Power BI, data migrations, etc. 

Many of these desirable skills are outside of DBA’s core responsibilities. They fit the work completed by a Data Engineer (SSIS, Azure Data Factory), BI Developer (SSAS, Data-warehousing, SSIS for ETL) and Data Analyst (data analytics, Power BI).

As a DBAaaS customer, you will get access to these additional skills at reduced rates and flexible time requirements, removing the need to ‘save up work’ to get a contractor for three months.

Always available (24/7/365)

If you have a single DBA, what happens when they want to go on holiday? Who will cover if they are off sick? What happens if they leave? Who fixes problems when there are outages at 3 am? 

The good news is that with DBAaaS, you can choose three packages offering different service levels to fit your needs. The highest level of support comes with our 24/7 box to cover all of your highly available systems daily.

This may not be right for everyone, but it is an option we provide for those special requirements.

No recruiter fees

Higher wages come with higher fees (I think that’s a direct quote from Spiderman). Recruiters charge typically 15-25%+ of an employees salary as commission to find DBAs.

This can add up over time and get messy if a new starter doesn’t work out.

With DBAaaS, this is a cost you will never have to pay again. Think of the savings!

Laser-focused core DBA activities

What happens the most with DBAs is that a new project from somewhere lands on their desk and gets prioritised as priority 1.

Then another one lands on the same desk, which is also a priority project.

This goes on until every project is on the DBA’s desk and is prioritised as Priority 1, which means something has to give, which tends to be the BAU (Business as usual) work.

By using DBAaaS, you know that the core DBA activities are always being completed (it’s what we do). Backups are being monitored, test restores completed, performance is being maintained, and security is being monitored and audited.

All critical aspects of the DBA role are our focus, locked in with our agreed SLAs.

SQL Licenses

Data platforms undoubtedly change over time. Old systems get decommissioned and replaced with the latest bleeding-edge tech; think SQL 2022; it’s coming!

New systems are implemented, but the decommissioning is not always done on time (if at all). We actively work with you to find unused and over-provisioned SQL licenses to make savings for you.

Sometimes this costs us revenue as the less for us to manage means the less you need to pay for our services, but we would feel terrible for overcharging if we did. The savings we have made for customers over the years total in the millions (SQL licenses are pretty expensive, you know).

Like most people, we love saving money and prioritise finding ways to streamline your SQL infrastructure where possible.

SQL Monitoring

A trusted SQL monitoring solution is essential for DBAs to effectively manage data platforms at scale, whether on-premise, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment.

DBAaaS includes licensing for best-in-class SQL monitoring for all of our support packages. We install, configure, monitor and remediate any issues that arise – around the clock (according to your package choice).

Conclusion

As you can see, the increased demand for DBAs in businesses of all sizes has fuelled rising salaries, created expectations of additional benefits like hybrid working and cemented these skills as part of your core IT requirement.

Hopefully, you can see that DBAaaS is a solid alternative to hiring an in-house DBA and offers many benefits over contractors.

Do you need DBA as a Service? Absolutely but you may no longer need internal DBAs.

If you urgently require DBA assistance but do not have a support agreement with us, we offer a SQL Server Health Check to identify problems our team can quickly resolve.

Charles

About the author

Microsoft Certified SQL Server DBA with over a decades experience including work for large FTSE 250 companies amongst others. The SQL Server stack has been the focus of almost all of my career in IT. I have experience designing, supporting and troubleshooting large Data Platform deployments.

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