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Easing the Pain of Database Change
by Laura Hood, Marketing Manager, Triton Consulting Ltd
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Most DBAs (Database Administrators) specialise in one type of database whether it is Oracle, SQL Server or DB2.  They will build their careers working with their chosen database.  It can be difficult when, for reasons beyond their control, the organisation they work for need to bring in another database. 

Whilst internal DBAs are probably highly skilled in their specific discipline things can quickly become difficult, even after training, when issues come up on an unfamiliar system.  It can be difficult too for the organisation to find the best solution; training existing staff, bringing in new staff or taking out an external support contract. 

There are several reasons why organisations may require extra support to bring in additional skills to the DBA team.  Here we take a look at some of those reasons and how they can be managed:

Mergers and Acquisitions

Over the last few years there have been many high profile company mergers and acquisitions.  The merging of IT systems can mean that, for example, what was previously an exclusively Oracle or SQL Server “shop” is now having to manage DB2 as well.

New applications

It is sometimes necessary for organisations to purchase new application software which will only run on one type of database.  If this application is mission critical then it is vital to have support for the underlying database and if there are no skills within the organisation this can be a problem.

Redundancy

Unfortunately the last few years have seen many job losses within the IT industry.  Organisations are having to cut back on IT staff and there are times when this can lead to DBAs having to take on the responsibility of managing additional database systems which do not fall into their area of expertise.

Strategic Move

Probably less common but still an issue is when an organisation takes a decision to move their systems onto a different database product.  This is a huge strategic decision which would have an impact through many levels of the organisation.  It is highly likely in this instance that an external organisation would be brought in to support the new database, at least in the short term.

It is becoming increasingly common for organisations to be forced to run multiple database systems.  To cut down the cost and complexity of employing a large DBA team to cover each different discipline, one possible solution is to employ the services of a support organisation to cover part of the work.  Internal DBAs can continue to manage the incumbent database system and a specialist support organisation can take on support of the new database.  This approach takes the pain out of having to provide in-depth training and education, or asking DBAs to take on a greater workload and work outside their traditional comfort zone and skill set. 

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