hiring a dba

Are You Leveraging Your DBA’s Expertise? Why Managed Service Providers Are Key to Unlocking DBA Business Value

The future for database administrators (DBAs) is bright, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. At a median pay of $101,000 annually, the job growth outlook for DBAs is outpacing the average growth rate of all occupations by 80 percent and the projected number of new DBA jobs over the next 10 years is 12,800. At a time when AI is threatening to displace millions of workers in the next decade, DBAs and data professionals are in high demand.

But as the employer of a team of DBAs earning six-figure salaries, are you using these essential resources wisely? The reality is, many businesses use their highly skilled and costly DBA resources for low-value activities such as monitoring, maintaining, patching, and supporting their database environments. While these tasks are important, they do not yield the same business value as other tasks DBAs could be performing, such as analyzing the data or helping the business design their next reports. In addition, finding highly skilled DBAs has never been harder and retaining your in-house database resources as your database grows double digits can just pile on the costs in terms of headcount.

Why do we have our high-value, highly-paid data resources focused on these lower-value tasks? Their talents would go a lot farther for the company if they were focused on helping the business and application teams analyze, build, and optimize data for the enterprise.

Here, we discuss why companies should consider using a managed service provider (MSP) for database maintenance, monitoring, and management. This would allow their DBAs to focus on higher-value activities such as data analytics, data modeling, and code optimization, thereby enabling the business to unlock the power of their data.

The Case for Managed Service Providers

Managed service providers are specialized companies that offer a wide range of services to monitor, maintain, and support database servers. They possess the following advantages over in-house DBAs when it comes to handling low-value tasks:

Efficiency: Managed service providers have mature processes and tools in place to ensure that your database environment is running smoothly and efficiently. This allows them to provide a higher level of service than an in-house DBA who may be juggling multiple responsibilities and is mostly focused on putting out daily fires in production. MSPs, on the other hand, are focused on building great teams, tools, and processes to provide turn-key solutions to organizations around certain technologies or areas of expertise, like data.

Broad Skill Set: Managed service providers typically have a team of experts with diverse skills and expertise, which most companies cannot compete with in-house. This means they are better equipped to handle any issues or challenges that arise in your database environment. If you are a small or mid-sized organization, it’s nearly impossible to match the same level of expertise, coverage, and tooling. Why should you have to go it alone to support your systems when clearly there are other priorities you have to build the business?

Cost-Effectiveness: Employing a managed service provider can be more cost-effective than hiring additional in-house DBAs to handle low-value tasks. For example, an environment with 100 SQL servers and one DBA costs around $500 -700 per instance to be managed internally when you factor in all the salary, tools, etc. An MSP, on the other hand, can perform the same work for $100-$300 per server, freeing up DBA resources that can be invested in other areas of your business.

Then you have to factor in the cost of data and business growth. To form an internal team with the diverse skill sets necessary to optimally maintain your database environment as it grows will cost your business not only in terms of salaries and benefits, but also in recruitment and onboarding costs, time to train, etc. With an MSP, your costs are predictable and sustainable over time as you are buying a service with an SLA that allow you to control your destiny.

Empowering Your DBAs to Enable the Business

By leveraging the expertise of a managed service provider, your in-house DBAs can focus on activities that directly contribute to your organization’s growth and success. These include:

Data Analytics: Your DBA can work closely with business analysts and other stakeholders to analyze and interpret your organization’s data, helping to drive better decision-making and uncover new opportunities. DBAs are typically data experts, but, in most cases, they don’t have enough time to help the business design and analyze data because they are too focused on keeping the systems up and running. It’s time they started doing what they were trained for – and what they’re good at.

Data Modeling: A skilled DBA can assist application developers with data modeling, ensuring that your databases are designed and structured in a way that optimizes performance and supports your business requirements. DBAs should be designing the next data model, or schema to support the next data warehouse or application, as it’s important to have a solid foundation. Without a solid data model and optimized code, it is more difficult and costly to scale in support of thousands of users for enterprise applications.

Code Optimization: Your DBA can work with developers to optimize database-related code, resulting in improved application performance and reduced resource consumption. When leveraged to do what they do best, DBAs are invaluable for making sure applications run correctly, the infrastructure is upgraded as needed, and the systems have the right amount of capacity and resources to meet the business objectives.

The right MSP can provide comprehensive monitoring and management, incident response, system optimization, patching, and more, to keep your data predictable, reliable, and available 365 days a year. This means your DBAs are elevated to contribute more to the company so that it can truly unlock the potential of its most valuable asset – its data.

Want to know what to look for in a Managed Services Provider? Read our blog post.

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