As your organization grows, it will need to monitor a greater number of customers and suppliers. Very soon simple databases and MIS reports will no longer suffice and you will need to migrate to more sophisticated database management systems. There will soon be a time when small and medium size enterprises will need to answer the question whether they require a database administrator to properly manage the database. The need may present itself in a number of ways. Usually you may find that you have outgrown the databases you were using or even find your staff competency lacking since they were not adequately qualified to handle database management.
Even the software vendor that you may have contacted may suggest that you need to hire a database administrator capable of supporting the application being planned for purchase. Some may even face an emergency where the database has crashed and the current IT manpower is incapable of restoring it. You could even be facing a situation where even though you have someone competent in managing databases, he could be overloaded with other responsibilities such as handling network infrastructure, customer support, system administration and more.
What Are the Available Options?
Now that it is matter of just time when your organization outgrows its current capability of handling databases, you need to quickly estimate the options that you could use to bail out of the situation. At the end of the day, there are fundamentally only five options. You could employ a qualified DBA, train one in-house, enter into a contract for onsite services, pay the vendor of the application or engage a remote DBA services provider. Since each of the options has its own benefits and disadvantages, you need to evaluate your own requirements and find out what will suit you at this point of time and whether it will still be right for you as you grow.
Employing a DBA
A really experienced and skilled DBA will no doubt be an asset to your organization, however such talent is not only hard to come by, they also tend to be extremely expensive with compensation rivaling that of the top management, which may be difficult to find support for. You also run the risk of finding yourself all at sea every few years as the job market for seasoned DBAs is extremely dynamic and there is a very high rate of attrition. As you will discover the best team of remote DBA expertswill comprise many members who were previously customer hires.However, the advantages of having a DBA on your rolls are unbeatable as he can bring value to the process by applying his knowledge to the specific business environment, and become an integral part of your information technology support team.
Nurturing a DBA from Within the Ranks
While training an existing employee to be responsible for database management can be quite rewarding, it requires a long term vision and is not quite suitable for a company looking for quick fixes and responses to problems at hand. This approach is cost-effective but can at best be considered an investment for the future. Since this is to be regarded as work-in-progress, the company must be agreeable to live with the shortcomings of the employee as he learns the ropes. There is also the risk of compensation mismatch after some point of time, and the employee may switch to another employer offering a better package.
On-Site Database Administration Services
Another popular way of ensuring database uptime is to engage a contractor who will be responsible for maintaining the database onsite. The arrangement usually permits you to have experienced personnel of the vendor on call and also for a contracted number of hours for normal maintenance and up gradation. Relatively lower cost is incurred in the short term over hiring an employee but over a protracted period, the cost can be substantially more.
DBAs Provided By Vendors
It is normal for purchase of application packages that are complex to be accompanied by a certain amount of handholding by the vendor. The vendor may choose to provide the support services either on-site or through a remote operation, or even a combination of both, depending upon customer requirements and circumstances. While specific expertise is available that makes it possible for organizations to become familiar with completely new application packages, the support is restricted only to the package operation itself and tends to far more expensive on a per hour basis.
Remote DBA Services
Remote DBA services are increasingly becoming popular with customers maintaining and operating large and critical databases but do not want to invest large amounts in creating their own database administration team. The support is extended by the DBA services provider by linking to the company database over the Internet. The typical remote DBA service provider may be expected to deliver round the clock database support, provide database tuning services to minimize response time, deliver emergency alerts, plan data backup services and perform critical disaster planning and data recovery services. Remote DBA providers will also closely monitor the database performance and provide to the customer updates and status reports at specified intervals.