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Suspicious Minds
by Laura Hood, Marketing Manager, Triton Consulting
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It is understandable for in-house DBAs (database administrators) to view a remote database support service with some suspicion.  Afterall, managing the day to day running of the database is their primary role.  However, depending on the size of an organisation, DBAs are frequently being asked to take on more than just the traditional day to day management and monitoring of a database. 

In a survey by IDUG & CA in small organisations (1-1000 employees) 31% said they were primarily involved in database administration.  This means that more than half are primarily involved in other activities which take them away from day to day administration and maintenance.  DBAs, especially in smaller teams have huge responsibility as their workload increases and they are pulled into different projects whilst still having to cope with the day to day tasks.

In many small to medium sized organisations there may be just one or two DBAs managing a mission critical system.  Perhaps those DBAs would actually welcome an extra pair of hands.  Would they object to having another full-time team member to help carry some of the load?  Probably not, in fact another team member would likely be welcomed with open arms.  So why shouldn’t this extra pair of hands be a virtual team member rather than another person in the office? 

For IT management there are compelling financial reasons for taking the decision to outsource database management.  There’s a tipping point for most IT teams in small to medium sized organisations where they go from having just about enough resource who are just about coping, to a point where they absolutely have to make a change.  When this point is reached it’s time to take the decision – hire a new employee or take out a managed service contract.  Many organisations want to keep their existing talent and knowledge in-house, especially in the world of DB2 and database management, and so discount outsourcing. 

However, the cost and time of recruiting and retaining an experienced DBA can be prohibitive and so sometimes the status quo is maintained and an already stretched DBA team is stretched further.  The thought of “outsourcing”, particularly in small to medium sized organisations can seem hugely daunting and can have people in fear for their jobs.  It doesn’t have to be that way though. 

There are many advantages for in-house DBAs if their organisation chooses to utilise the services of a remote support partner rather than employ an extra member of staff, not least because they don’t have to be added to the coffee round!  The DBA team can have the flexibility to pass off the areas of maintenance and administration which are most time consuming and labour intensive which will free them up to work on other projects.  Or perhaps they simply want to get rid of the out of hours calls.

A remote support solution can and should take the strain off the DBA team by looking after the day to day support issues and it is usually far cheaper to take out a database support package than to hire and retain an extra member of staff.  The DBA team receive the extra pair of hands they need and IT Management get a cost effective solution for managing their critical databases.

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