DBAs and Big Data Readiness - Tech Brief


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While the concept, possibilities, and underlying technology of “Big Data” are somewhat new, the raw data behind it is still entirely dependent on an established technology with well-defined best practices: the database.

The routine requirements of database management will remain indefinitely, which raises some questions for your database management strategy and how you choose to structure the changing workload.

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DBAs and Big Data Readiness - Tech Brief

  1. 1. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s big data landscape?Technical Brief
  2. 2. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?The (Data) World Isn’t Flat, After AllBy now many of us have heard the term “Big Data” and have probably seen a tweet, article, or blogpost about it. However, as business needs grow, it’s becoming more apparent that data is no longerjust about managing volume and availability of information, or how it should be stored.Data isn’t just growing. It’s taking on new life, becoming more than static financials, inventorysnapshots, HR records, or purchasing activity. Data is becoming multidimensional andinterconnected—a strategic business asset in its own right—capable of driving revenue and gleaningefficiencies that might not have been previously apparent. And the appetite for strategic informationwill continue to increase across virtually all business functions, causing Big Data to become a worldall its own.According to a February 2012 Gartner report:In addition to volume, the most difficult information management issues arise from thesimultaneous and persistent interaction of extreme volume with a variety of data formats,velocity of record creation and variable latencies, and the complexity of individual datatypes within formats. To elaborate further:€ $ ¥ ₱3.141591
  3. 3. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape? Velocity involves streams of data, structured record creation, and availability foraccess and delivery. Velocity means both how fast data is being produced, andhow fast the data must be processed to meet demand. Variety includes structured data, hierarchical data, documents, email, meteringdata, video, images, audio, stock ticker data, financial transactions … the list goeson. Complexity means that different standards, domain rules and storage formats canexist with each asset type.Can your current database technology ramp up for tomorrow’s strategic, Big Data demands driven byexecutive initiatives focused on revenue and savings? For example, could the CMO down the hallsoon be interested in knowing (with even more granularity): What are your customers up to and why? After all, according to Forbes, 50 billion devices—and their end-users—will be connected to the Internet by the end of the decade. Point-of-Sale (POS) hardware and now even some vending machines are collecting data. What is influencing your customers’ purchasing decisions? What are their hot buttons? Whatprompts them to make a purchase? How long is the decision-making cycle to make thatpurchase—precisely, and not just anecdotally? How can the company be more effective in continuing the customer relationship andencouraging future purchases based on past buying behavior? What are your customers and prospects seeking and how are they researching it? How can we use our customer activity to look for new markets and new (unexpected)opportunities? Will entering a new market cannibalize another business unit and negatively impact relatedfinancials, i.e., how can we avoid raising any red flags for the CFO?2
  4. 4. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape? How have operational changes (e.g., data from other silos, such as helpdesk metrics,shipping vendors, quality controls, etc.) impacted our ability to deliver our products orservices? And has that affected customer satisfaction?As you can imagine, similar “cross-silo” strategic information will likely be requested by COOs andCFOs regarding efficiencies, compensation, processes, supply chain management, organizationalinfrastructure, and financial reporting demands.And while the concept, possibilities, and underlying technology of “Big Data” are somewhat new, theraw data behind it is still entirely dependent on an established technology with well-defined bestpractices: the database.The routine requirements of database management will remain indefinitely, which raises somequestions for your database management strategy and how you choose to structure the changingworkload: Is our current database management function elastic enough to handle routine taskswhile preparing a future-ready framework? How much will it cost to employ the full-time employees necessary to meet both todayand tomorrow’s needs? What are forecasts saying about the level of difficulty and amount of time that I will haveto invest to find the right talent for the changing workload? Could our data management strategy use some fresh, external perspectives? Or shouldwe consider freeing up our internal IT thinkers from routine tasks to prepare for Big Datademands?3
  5. 5. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?Data Management in the World of BIG DataFreeing up your IT thinkersIn preparation for Big Data demands, your internal experts could likely be, among other things: Exploring storage architecture requirements Optimizing back-up and recovery capabilities, application by application Quantifying the amount of data you currently have Determining the data’s owner(s), location, and history Examining connections between different types of data Evaluating and implementing Big Data products, such as analytical tools and data handlingsoftware Studying impacts to virtualized applications—or determining if your environment should bemore aggressively virtualized for better computing efficiencies Learning how to process unstructured data, such as social media activity Updating your WAN to handle greater volumes of data4
  6. 6. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?Amping Up Internal SLA MetricsAvailability of data will be a key indicator of an IT organization’s performance. As data grows andbecomes necessary for decision making, planning, and day-to-day operations, your internal SLAs willlikely need to become more aggressive to keep pace. For example: Granular file-level recovery and frequency of backups Extended hours for monitoring of systems Faster time-to-respond (TTR) Lower mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR)All the while, maintaining business-as-usual (BAU) operations (behind the scenes to end-users)continues, including fine-tuning of applications, testing, production, and implementation of newsoftware features.Managing Change with Elasticity and ScalabilityStaying ahead of new and BAU data demands doesn’t have to be a juggling act. IT leadership can gobeyond a traditional staffing mindset in order to right-source the management of a precious businessasset—your company’s data.Whether you’re looking for fresh perspectives and an updated outlook, or to free up your staff to focusmore on strategy and planning, the right blend of external resources can help make your Big Dataapproach go smoothly.5
  7. 7. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?Selecting On-Demand DBA Resources as Part of YourBig Data StrategyAsking the Tough QuestionsWhen most people think about strategic information, they don’t normally associate the underlyingdatabase 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 businessintelligence to be quickly accessible without having to worry—now more than ever. So, how do youhelp to ensure 24x7 access to your company’s data, as part of your plan for high availability of anever-growing volume of data?Well-defined roles,practices, andproceduresCustomSLAs,ExtendedAvailabilitySeniorExperts6
  8. 8. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape? A trusted resource who knows your operations inside and out when database changes arerequired A senior-level, dedicated DBA team to call, no matter what time it is, when something goeswrongIn order to source the above resources, it’s necessary to ask some pretty tough questions related tothree key areas, as outlined below. The provider’s answers will be a strong indicator of the quality ofservice you can expect to receive.Dedicated, Senior ExpertsYou need on-demand access to proven database experts to balance strategic initiatives and ongoingdatabase challenges. Will the provider: Provide a dedicated team of DBA experts who are assigned to your organization? Disclose the average number of years’ experience of all team members? Offer the assigned team and back-up resources on a fixed-fee basis?Custom SLAs and Extended AvailabilityYou 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 byindustry, region, and many other factors, which makes customizable SLAs crucial.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 inventorytracking database during production hours to help ensure accuracy. In other words, your providershould be available when your lights are on or your needs spike. Ask your provider to define:7
  9. 9. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape? 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 The level of monitoring offeredWell-Defined Roles, Practices, and ProceduresDesigning a detailed scope of work (SOW), process flows, best practices, daily maintenance, andagreed-upon procedures based on your database challenges is imperative. Your provider shouldthoroughly describe the following areas as part of planning your assessment and support.Lifecycle ManagementTechnical AssessmentWill the provider perform a comprehensive audit of your environment? This audit will include theassessment and documentation of: System architecture Software configurations and release levels Maintenance operations Proposed remediation plan (for best practices tuning and/or enhancements)Space ManagementWill your provider manage any space issues specific to your requirements? This will include thefollowing:8
  10. 10. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape? Tables Indexes Logs FreespaceSystem Updates and New InstallationsWill your provider address the following: Installations Security patches Software updateso Patcho Version upgradesData Management (Backup and Recovery)Will your provider assist in backing up and recovering your database in accordance with definedSLAs, as discussed above. This includes: Database backupso Simpleo Bulk loggingo Full Complete recovery Incomplete recoveryo Point-in-timeo Transaction-based9
  11. 11. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?Monitoring and Performance ManagementYour provider should create a comprehensive monitoring and performance management plan, as wellas 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 Big Data technologiesConfiguration ManagementYour provider should maintain and administer all database administration aspects of your environmentincluding: 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 maintenance10
  12. 12. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?Database Administration ServicesSupport Management – TroubleshootingYour provider should assist in advanced troubleshooting, working closely with you to identify andresolve any system issues. The provider should also help to coordinate communication of problemsand 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 supportProject ServicesYour provider should operate with an elastic support model in order to assist with project work forspecialized needs, large or small, which are typically impossible to predict. From server consolidationto distributed databases, and everything in between, behind-the-scenes support as your Big Dataapproach evolves will help position you as the business intelligence hero for your organization. Afterall, 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 yourorganization, e.g., strategic decision making, revenue-driving initiatives Expectations of heavy consumers of informationThere 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 accessto the right Big Data technology, and equipped to head-off unexpected challenges.11
  13. 13. Can on-demand DBAs position you for tomorrow’s Big Data landscape?About ManageForce Corporation:Were here to help. With deep business and technical expertise, sound financials, and strongbusiness ethics, ManageForce has leveraged our deep experience in supporting the world’s mostdemanding database needs to develop leading Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and MySQL supportservices.ManageForce helps organizations worldwide, including Fortune 500, public sector, and SMB, to plan,implement, and manage their databases via a cost-effective, proven global delivery model. Ourexperience and expertise as a leading database administration organization can help you achievemeasurable results—and maximum performance—from your database.Areas of ExpertiseDatabases Platforms Services• Oracle• Microsoft SQL Server• IBM DB2• MySQL• Hadoop• AS400/iSeries• Windows• UNIX• Linux• Production Support• Reporting & BI• Cloud Computing• Big Data• Disaster Recovery12Copyright © 2012 ManageForce Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 111912