The Changing Face of Enterprise DBAs in Cloud-Driven Environments

DBA in cloud environmentsOver the past ten years, those in charge of running enterprise databases saw their focus shift from simply ensuring access and availability to overseeing architecture, design, and scalability.

Site reliability engineers (SREs) and/or DBAs suddenly found themselves responsible for not only ensuring the company’s primary revenue engine stayed up but also for ensuring it could scale effectively as the business grew.

This was a huge shift for traditional enterprise DBAs, who used to just be responsible for keeping the database up, keeping it backed up, and reacting to issues as they arose.

Today, enterprises look to capitalize on new revenue opportunities afforded by the shift towards cloud-based technologies. Specific database environment challenges and requirements arise as a result of this shift.

In this new world, application outages lead directly to lost revenue.

Even worse, outages can lead to customer loss, giving your competitors the chance to benefit from your misfortune. To keep your revenue flowing, every part of your company’s critical infrastructure needs to be planned out, redundancy should be built-in, and a future-proof architecture should be created, which can flex to scale when needed.

The more issues you can plan for before launch, the less chance of a catastrophic outage later on.

The Need for Database Expertise

When a company moves to the cloud, the cloud provider often takes care of much of the operational automation and mundane day-to-day tasks (for example, using database as a service (DBaaS) options such as Amazon RDS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud).

However, contrary to popular belief, this service does not eliminate the need for dedicated database expertise. In fact, this skill set becomes even more important as someone needs to design and tune the database to support the application. They also need to understand how to build the modular pieces available in the cloud into a cohesive, scalable unit that meets the needs of the application and the company.

Having efficient database expertise in place has a high impact on the potential performance of your database and, as a result, clear ROI implications.

The Changing Role of the DBA

Cloud DBA vs Classic DBA

As the image above indicates, the role of the DBA has evolved. At Percona, we have been monitoring this shift in focus. Over 50% of our customer support tickets are now related to application design issues, query performance, or database infrastructure design.

However, when you consider the maturity of database products and the technological advances that impact databases, this makes sense.

More stable versions of open source databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB, coupled with advances in homegrown automation and cloud-based infrastructure, reduce the frequency of bugs that lead to crashes. Instead, outages and database issues are increasingly a result of unwise design decisions, bad code, or unforeseen edge cases. DBAs must adapt to keep up with technological advances and to have a proactive impact on the performance of their databases.

Utilizing Specialist Database Support

At Percona, we recognize and embrace the changing requirements of modern database deployments. We have been providing database expertise on SaaS and the cloud since inception. We also recognize that the needs of our clients who choose to run on a DBaaS platform are different to those managing their own full-stack database deployments.

To help our clients make the most of their DBaaS platforms, we created Percona DBaaS Support to ensure your business is getting the most out of your DBaaS service and cloud migration.

We have helped thousands of customers successfully deploy open source databases on-premises and in the cloud, achieving enhanced performance, cost savings, and improved ROI. That same deep database expertise is available when you deploy MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, or PostgreSQL on a managed DBaaS platform. We are an AWS Advanced Partner, and have partnerships with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

You can still rely on your cloud provider for operational break/fix support, but you can choose to augment it with Percona’s proven world-class database expertise. Percona focuses specifically on database design, development, and tuning. These are areas typically not addressed by cloud providers.

Additionally, we also offer Percona Managed Database Services. This is a flexible, managed database service delivering exceptional enterprise-grade expertise across a variety of high-performance enterprise database environments.

You can use Percona’s expert DBAs to keep your cloud-based database running at peak performance, allowing your technical team to focus on core business activities. Percona Managed Database Services means you can be confident that your database performance is being proactively monitored around the clock. This helps reduce critical incidents and ensures your database is meeting business goals.

Our latest white paper “Does Migration to the Cloud Eliminate the Need for a DBA?” provides additional in-depth analysis of the role of DBAs in the age of DBaaS.

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Finally, we are all currently encountering a challenging global situation. Many companies are starting to look at ways of reducing costs, trimming budgets, and minimizing the impact on their business. Our recent blog, How IT Can Scale and Manage Costs in an Economic Downturn, gives companies guidance on steps they might want to consider to mitigate the impact on their business.

Please contact us for details on how we can help you optimize your cloud database environments, ensuring they run as efficiently as possible to support the applications that drive your business success.

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