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Tough Questions for Your DBA Provider - IT Leader Toolkit


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It’s necessary to ask tough questions related to three key areas as part of database management and monitoring.

The remote DBA provider’s answers will be a strong indicator of the quality of service you can expect to receive.

You can use this information as a high-level checklist to create a strong short list of providers.

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Tough Questions for Your DBA Provider - IT Leader Toolkit

  1. 1. IT LEADER TOOLKIT IT LEADER TOOLKIT: TOUGH QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR REMOTE DBA PROVIDER It’s necessary to ask tough questions related to three key areas as part of database management and monitoring. The remote DBA provider’s answers will be a strong indicator of the quality of service you can expect to receive. You can use this information as a high-level checklist to create a strong short list of providers.
  2. 2. IT LEADER TOOLKIT Introduction When most people think about strategic information, they don’t normally associate the underlying database technology with anytime-availability of the data that they need (e.g., SLAs, configuration, best practices, administration, scalability). End-users and C-levels alike expect their business intelligence to be quickly accessible without having to worry—now more than ever. So, how do you help to ensure 24x7 access to your company’s data, as part of your plan for high availability of an ever-growing volume of data?   A trusted resource who knows your operations inside and out when database changes are required A senior-level, dedicated DBA team to call, no matter what time it is, when something goes wrong In order to source the above resources, it’s necessary to ask some pretty tough questions related to three key areas, as outlined below. The remote DBA provider’s answers will be a strong indicator of the quality of service you can expect to receive. You can use this information as a high-level checklist, of sorts. 1. Dedicated, Senior Experts You need on-demand access to proven remote DBA experts to balance strategic initiatives and ongoing database challenges. Will the provider:    Provide a dedicated team of remote DBA experts who are assigned to your organization? Disclose the average number of years’ of DBA experience of all team members? Offer the assigned team and back-up resources on a fixed-fee basis? 2. Custom SLAs, Extended Availability, and Elasticity of Services Similar to managed services, you need direct, anytime-access to skilled DBA resources to manage your database environments—whether it’s to troubleshoot an issue or to accommodate off-hours testing. And those needs vary by industry, region, and many other factors, which makes customizable SLAs crucial. Database services should scale up or down as you need them—from off-hours monitoring to strategic senior-level DBA services. For example, a retail company might require on-demand, 24x7 support during holiday peak months. A public accounting firm might need intensive support January through April, through tax season. Alternatively, a manufacturer might need extra support during the implementation of an inventory tracking database during production hours to help ensure accuracy. In other words, your provider should be available when your lights are on or your needs spike. Ask your remote DBA provider to define:       Standard service levels Options for custom service levels Severity levels by incident type Lights-on and lights-off support hours, along with response times Escalation procedures Back-up and recovery service levels
  3. 3. IT LEADER TOOLKIT 3. Well-Defined Roles, Practices, and Procedures Designing a detailed scope of work (SOW), process flows, best practices, daily maintenance, and agreed-upon procedures based on your database challenges is imperative. Your remote DBA provider should thoroughly describe the following areas as part of planning your assessment and support. Lifecycle Management Technical Assessment Will the remote DBA provider perform a comprehensive audit of your environment? This audit will include the assessment and documentation of:     System architecture Database software configurations and release levels Maintenance operations Proposed remediation plan (for best practices tuning and/or enhancements) Space Management Will your remote DBA provider manage any space issues specific to your requirements? This will include the following:     Tables Indexes Logs Freespace System Updates and New Installations Will your provider address the following:    Installations Security patches Software updates o Patch o Version upgrades Data Management (Backup and Recovery) Will your provider assist in backing up and recovering your database in accordance with defined SLAs, as discussed above. This includes:   Database backups o Simple o Bulk logging o Full Complete recovery
  4. 4. IT LEADER TOOLKIT  Incomplete recovery o Point-in-time o Transaction-based Monitoring and Performance Management Your provider should create a comprehensive monitoring and performance management plan, as well as identify and manage performance tuning opportunities, including, but not limited to:         Long-running application requests Tuning memory usage Tuning database data storage Lock contention Sorting Validating table structures, as necessary Identity top database resource consumers Database options, including business intelligence and other technologies Configuration Management Your provider should maintain and administer all database administration aspects of your environment including:           Security maintenance User ID and role maintenance Data file maintenance Log file maintenance Integrity checks Statistics maintenance Index maintenance Table maintenance Stored procedure maintenance Scheduled job maintenance Database Administration Services Support Management – Troubleshooting Your provider should assist in advanced troubleshooting, working closely with you to identify and resolve any system issues. The provider should also help to coordinate communication of problems and incidents to your database software vendor. This could include the following activities:     Problem and incident management Root cause analysis (RCA) documentation Proactive bug alerts Problem analysis support
  5. 5. IT LEADER TOOLKIT Project Services Your provider should operate with an elastic support model in order to assist with project work for specialized needs, large or small, which are typically impossible to predict. From server consolidation to distributed databases, and everything in between, behind-the-scenes support as your Big Data approach evolves will help position you as the business intelligence hero for your organization. After all, your organization’s specific definition of Big Data depends on:     The current capacity of your environment The size of the data sets that need to be managed The real business applications of the data and how they relate to the goals of your organization, e.g., strategic decision making, revenue-driving initiatives Expectations of heavy consumers of information There is a lot to consider when it comes to your new data management strategies and maintenance. Right-sourcing ensures you are prepared to help manage growing database demands, have access to the right Big Data technology (when needed), and equipped to head-off unexpected challenges. ManageForce On-Demand DBA Services We're here to help. With deep business and technical expertise, sound financials, and strong business ethics, our database services leverage deep experience in supporting the world’s most demanding database needs to develop leading Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and MySQL support services. Our database services can scale up or down as you need them. ManageForce helps organizations worldwide, including Fortune 500, public sector, and SMBs, to plan, implement, monitor, and manage their databases via a cost-effective, proven global delivery model. Our experience and expertise as a leading database administration organization can help you achieve measurable results—and maximum performance—from your database.    Databases: Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, MySQL, and Hadoop Platforms: AS400/iSeries, Windows, UNIX, and Linux Services: Monitoring, production support, reporting and BI, cloud computing, and Big Data Have questions? We’re ready to help! Contact us: Phone: 1-877-351-4491 E-mail: Connect with us: Twitter: LinkedIn: Google+: SlideShare: © 2013 ManageForce www.manageforce.comCorporation. All rights reserved. All marks are the property of their respective owners. 121713