June 10

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

By Charles

June 10, 2022


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

The specialist role for database management is of course the humble Database Administrator (DBA).

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

The Power of One

Just like binary, most businesses tend to employ zero or one DBAs. Only the largest even have the budget for a team of DBA’s. In some cases DBA Administrator Consultant 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. There is a big (and growing) demand for DBAs and finding certified and experienced individuals is becoming very expensive indeed.

Couple this with organisations also requiring experience with various cloud platforms like Azure, AWS and GCP and 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 a critical one and this isn’t an area to scrimp on – just have a look in the news and you will find examples of where data mismanagement has costs organisations tens of thousands.

So what does DBA as a Service offer I hear you ask?

Available immediately

With DBAaaS instead of going through a recruitment cycle, DBAs are available and ready to start working on your data platforms from the point of signing the contract. This is even more important if you are running out of time on your current DBA’s notice period. We can start and make sure a decent hand off is completed and as much operational knowledge is passed on and retained.

Fully certified and experienced DBA experts

There are DBAs and there are expert DBAs. If your organisation is investing in DBA resource then you really want experts who are highly experienced. Our DBA’s are battle hardened from decades of database management on the data platforms that you use.

Our team hold all of the most up to date and relevant certification across a wide variety of database technologies including cloud and on premise installations.

Cost effective

Whatever your current team, the size of your data landscape and how much cover you need, using DBAaaS is a cost-effective way of bringing on expert DBA resource. We recommended getting a quote as the cost of DBAaaS is typically a lot more competitive than most would expect.

Additional 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 a DBAs core responsibilities and actually 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’ in order to get a contractor for three months.

Always available (24/7/365)

If you have a single DBA then 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 3am? 

The good news is that with DBAaaS you have the choice of three packages offering different service levels to fit your needs. The highest level of support comes with our 24/7 package to cover all of your highly available systems, all day, every day.

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

No recruiter fees

Recruiters charge typically 15-25%+ of an employees salary as commission to find DBAs. With higher salaries, come higher fees (I think that’s a direct quote from Spiderman). This can add up over time and can 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 DBA’s is that a new project from somewhere lands on their desk and it gets prioritised as priority 1. Then another one lands on the same desk and it is also a priority 1 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 and that 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 and test restores completed, performance is being maintained, security is being monitored and audited.

All key aspects of the DBA role are our focus, locked in with our agreed SLA’s.

I’m huntin’ wabbits (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 get put into place 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 really bad for over charging if we did. The savings we have made for customers over the years total in the millions (SQL licenses are quite expensive you know).

Like most people we love saving money and we make it a priority to find ways to streamline your infrastructure where we can.

SQL Monitoring

A trusted SQL monitoring solution is essential for DBA’s to effectively manage data platforms at scale no matter if they are 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).

Thoughts

As you can see the increased demand for DBA’s 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 not only a strong alternative to hiring an in-house DBA’s but also offers many benefits over contractors too.

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

Final Note

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 which our team can then quickly resolve.

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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