How to Make Your Database Administrators More Efficient

Author: Robert Agar

The role of a corporate database administrator has evolved tremendously since the introduction of relational databases in the late 1970s. A DBA from the early 1980s would be totally unprepared for the complexities that face database professionals in 2019. It’s a completely different world and the skillset required has radically changed.

The heightened focus on the value of a company’s accumulated data has made DBAs more important to the business goals of an organization than ever before. Keeping this valuable resource safe and accessible is one of the modern DBA’s primary responsibilities. Many diverse methods are required to fulfill these duties, and a DBA must be comfortable using them all to address problems encountered in day-to-day activities.

Common Issues Faced by DBAs

The laundry list of issues that DBAs must deal with regularly is a long one. Here are some of the more pressing problems and concerns which keep database professionals up at night.

Multi-platform complexity – Most DBAs need to be conversant with multiple database platforms to perform their job. While the underlying concepts of these different implementations may be similar, there are idiosyncrasies in each flavor of database that need to be mastered. A typical DBA may be responsible for instances of SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle simultaneously. Moving between the platforms may result in lost time or simple errors due to the subtle differences in their functionality.

Cloud migration – The cloud has been widely embraced by the corporate world and has impacted many facets of the IT environment. This includes the way databases are implemented and administered. DBAs must handle the differences introduced by the cloud even if they are in a single-platform environment that focuses on a database such as MySQL.

Data security – Keeping the information stored in their databases secure is of paramount importance to a DBA. Failure to protect the data can result in lost customers, lost revenue to the business, and a lost job as well. Ensuring that data is properly encrypted and secured may be the most critical task that a DBA performs.

Compliance – Related to the issue of data security is the ability to prove compliance with regulatory requirements. A DBA needs to be able to provide evidence that they are handling the enterprise’s data in a manner that conforms to the standards to which the organization is held accountable.

Availability demands – The availability of an organization’s IT systems and databases is crucial to its success. System outages can result in lost revenue and unhappy customers. Part of a DBA’s job is to develop plans to minimize downtime through redundancy or backups to enact a restore. The ability of the database team to quickly recover from an unexpected outage is vitally important to the business they support.

Performance optimization – Database users want to interact with a well-performing application. One of the key responsibilities of a DBA is to continuously search for ways to optimize their systems. To accomplish this feat, they need to have many metrics regarding current system performance available from which to develop an optimization strategy.

Roadblocks to Efficiency

Achieving more efficiency from your DBAs should be the goal of everyone involved in managing the IT environment. But there are unavoidable circumstances that may negatively impact this initiative. In some cases, the effects of these impacts can be minimized, but in many instances, they result from unexpected business or personal decisions.

An illustrative example can be seen when organizations engage in mergers and acquisitions to bolster their place in the market. This can introduce new database platforms which need to be assimilated by the database team. Getting up to speed can lead to a drop in the team’s efficiency when performing their work.

Applications are the primary focus of many IT departments, as they are the vehicles by which the business operates. The databases behind the applications are critical to their performance and require DBAs to adopt an application-centric approach to their role. They may have to contend with application owners and management pressure to rapidly address issues that arise with a prized app. This can harm efficiency by pulling the team away from regularly scheduled and important tasks.

Inadequate access to performance metrics will result in lost efficiency as your team struggles to optimize databases without a complete picture with which to make their decisions. Lack of a proper monitoring platform leaves your team working with their hands tied behind their backs. This type of performance optimization will result in incorrect modifications that must be rolled-back and a lot of wasted time. Neither of those characteristics contributes to an efficient workplace.

The Right Tool Makes All the Difference

Choosing a monitoring tool that helps you address the challenges of your environment is crucial to providing your DBAs with the means to be more productive. SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL offers a comprehensive monitoring solution for DBAs working in a MySQL environment. Over half of the tool’s users reported improved DBA efficiency as one of the impacts of using the application for their MySQL databases.

A glance at the features available in this monitoring package reveals some of the reasons for the efficiency gains enjoyed by its users. SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL can monitor MySQL databases on-premises or in the cloud from a single interface, eliminating the need for multiple tools. It provides alerting capabilities using over 600 predefined monitors that can be customized for your specific needs. You can set metric thresholds and have the appropriate personnel notified if things go wrong. Security monitoring is also included in this versatile tool and can help you keep your data safe from the prying eyes of hackers.

If MySQL is part of your database environment, this tool can make a real difference in the ability of your DBAs to work efficiently and keep their databases in optimum health. Give them an application that helps them become more productive and helps your business reach its goals.

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