Skip to main content

The three M’s to database success: Move, Manage, Monitor

(Image credit: Image Credit: Christina Morillo / Pexels)

By now we have all heard the saying that data is the new oil, it is the lifeblood of an organisation and allows us to make strategic business decisions. But if not managed correctly or stored and processed in a compliant and easy to navigate system, it is quickly rendered useless. And bad data is often worse than no data at all, leading to drawn-out challenges and corrupt data sets. So how can organisations protect the integrity of one of their most valuable assets? This is where effective database management comes to the fore, helping organisations to safeguard and leverage insights throughout the entire data lifecycle.

The challenge today is that database technology is becoming increasingly complex, as it needs to support previously unthinkable data volumes – all driven by the demands of today’s always-on economy. This often leads to IT teams spending endless hours in database management, at a time when there is already growing pressure to support digital transformation initiatives such as cloud migration, DevOps and open source deployments. Organisations don’t want to be left behind or slow down innovation, but the struggle of data management is real, and it is something which is only going to grow with the business.

IT teams need to move away from simply spending time keeping the lights on, so they can embrace new initiatives. The key is to adapt and learn to balance key business metrics, understand new technology challenges and find the right tools to monitor and manage the database environment.

Move

The first step to streamlining any database management system is to consider which information is stored where. Many businesses will find they are in some phase of a hybrid model, with some data in the cloud and other residing on-premises. While a split in data location is only natural, it is the process of migration that can be risky. However, there are several considerations that business need to think about in order to mitigate unnecessary risk.

Except for brand-new companies that need computing resources for the first time, the move to the cloud is an ongoing journey and not a destination. The cloud does offer a range of benefits such as lower maintenance costs especially for databases, along with improved reliability and flexibility. However, as the amount of data stored increases, so too do the costs. But, businesses can limit data risks by taking a planned approach to cloud migration. Consider the data you have, how this will be spun up and weigh the advantages of cloud resources against the cost. This will eliminate the need to repatriate data back on-premises at a later time. Moving data can be risky so where possible avoid unnecessary journeys.

In addition, with data often stored in various locations, accurately replicating and synchronising across databases has also taken on increased importance, especially for organisations seeking to reduce database load. Whether IT teams are trying to distribute databases across on-premises and cloud environments, or offload reporting to improve performance, it’s imperative to keep databases in sync.

Most businesses will embrace data migration in some form, so by following these careful steps, IT teams will be in a better place to ensure minimal downtime and zero data loss. If organisations can effectively eliminate the impact on the user and maintain data integrity, they will be in a far better position to embrace the benefits and unleash the full value of data.

Manage

Database management, for many, still means an endless slog to keep the lights on. While most enterprises have implemented a databases tool of some kind, IT teams are still facing an uphill battle and spending endless hours on mundane tasks, just to maintain the status quo.

While managing databases can be a complex process, automating routine tasks, such as health checks and script executions, allows operations teams to spend less time managing the data environment, and more time building a data-driven business. For operations teams, there is increasing pressure to ensure the regulatory compliance of all their data, especially when it comes to personal and sensitive data, so automating the discovery process is paramount. For software delivery teams, with automated capabilities, such as continuous integration and continuous deployment, organisations can blaze through development cycles and minimise risks by scheduling routine and repetitive tasks – such as functional code tests, regression testing and code reviews to name but a few. This not only saves time, but organisations will be able to design better applications faster, deploy code changes quickly and improve collaboration. 

If businesses can get to grips with database management, IT teams will be able to keep pace with business demands without sacrificing quality, performance or production scalability. In today’s digital world, there is constant pressure to innovate quickly, but in order to succeed IT teams need to remain agile and adaptable.

Monitor

Once IT teams have got to grips with how to move and manage databases, it’s important to check how performance is holding up, and implement a comprehensive database monitoring system for their hybrid environment.

Performance monitoring is critical to maximise database and virtual infrastructure. And, as IT environments continue to grow in size, complexity and diversity, performance monitoring becomes even more important. One of the most accurate ways to keep on top of databases is to ensure teams have access to performance metrics in real time, simplified analysis and complete end to end visibility. This will allow IT departments to quickly and proactively ensure peak performance whether on-premises or in the cloud.

By monitoring databases IT teams will also have the opportunity to investigate any performance issues, ensuring high availability.

Businesses rely on databases and can tolerate little risk to them. With all this complexity and risk, some might argue the case for keeping things as they are, but there are many consequences of not changing the status quo. If organisations can implement a seamless approach to moving, managing and monitoring databases they will be able to release application changes faster, improve code development and react faster to market changes. This all ultimately helps to cement a more agile and adaptable business approach, which is the key to success and survival in today’s competitive and digital landscape.

John Pocknell, Senior Market Strategist, Quest