Let’s take a look at a real-life example. Amazon, the e-commerce giant, uses big data to predict shopping trends. After going through millions of transactions, Amazon can predict which goods are going to be in demand at any given period. Armed with the information, Amazon instructs its army of warehouse robots to shelve the anticipated items nearer to the checkout door and thus gaining some of the best shipping times in the market.
That’s how Amazon uses its extensive database of information. You, like Amazon, can take advantage of big data. You can use the information in your database to predict when certain services or items are in demand and plan accordingly. You can use data from your relational database to determine the best time to implement a business decision.
However, your database is only as good as the guy who maintains it. So, let’s take a look at what database administrators do. With a solid understanding of what a DBA does, you’ll be better placed to make a decision of hiring one permanently, or using a remote database administrator to help out.
How a Database Administrator Spends His Day
A database administrator is responsible for the health of a database. A remote database administrator is essentially a DBA who works off-site. That is, geographical boundaries do not restrict a remote database administrator.
He or she may manage databases located in different parts of the world without necessarily being in proximity with the databases. That’s one of the advantages of hiring a remote DBA. You can get expert DBAs working on your databases without geographical constraints to worry about.
The database administrator, whether remote or not, is in charge of the following core functions:
- Monitoring and maintaining the performance of a database
- Ensuring the security of the database
- Preserving the integrity of data stored in a database
However, a DBA may be called on to troubleshoot issues end users might be facing while interacting with the database. There are a few overarching roles a database administrator might be ableto handle on a typical day’s work:
- Making sure data remains consistent across databases Believe it or not, hiring remote database administrators can save you thousands of dollars every year. It’s quite likely your business relies on a database in one way or another. Every business process you engage in gives out useful information you’ll need down the line to gain a competitive edge.
For you to make maximum use of the information, you need a database administrator. It is the work of the administrator to ensure you get the right information, have access to that information from anywhere, and secure the information so that you maintain your competitive edge. You’ll see later on how vital a database engineer is, regardless of your business model.
The biggest call you’ll make is deciding whether to go with a full-time database administrator (DBA), or whether you should go with remote DBA experts.
The decision will have huge impacts on your business because each option has its pros and cons. At a high level, hiring a remote DBA saves you a lot of resources, as you’ll see later. However, if you run a big company, it makes sense to have in-house DBA experts.
To help you make the right decision, let’s look at what a DBA does. While reading this section, you should ask yourself “Do I really need someone doing that full time or should I hire a remote DBA expert to handle it when it arises.”
That way, you will gain insight as to what you need, and perhaps realize that you stand to save a lot of resources by hiring remote DBA experts as opposed to having one working for you full time. Before we get to that, let’s reacquaint ourselves with what databases do.
What Is A Database?
Databases are a way of storing structured sets of data on a computer system. The structured information in a database should not be accessible in arbitrary ways. Various database designs use a relational database model where data is stored in tables thatusers can read into or write new data into related tables.
To carry out actions on a database, users and database administrators alike mainly use Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL is the standard language for interacting with new databases. Even proprietary database systems such as SQL Server and IBM’s DB2 have SQL as their primary language.
The Future Is Brighter
The future is promising if you are already using a database. You may have heard of big data or data mining. Big data, a relatively new term, is analogous to finding patterns in a set of data. How can this help you?
- Ensuring data stored in the databases is clearly defined
- Ensuring multiple users can access data concurrently
- Setting up recovery mechanisms to ensure data is accessible in case of an emergency
That’s a lot to ask from a person, and it is reflected in the salary database administrators demand. As of 2015, the average DBA commanded a salary of approximately $80, 000. That translates to about $40 per hour, and the demand for DBAs is expected to increase by as much as 11% over the next ten years.
Can Small Businesses Afford DBAs?
For small businesses, paying a full-time DBA is out of the question. There’s no way Joe, an online entrepreneur, is going to pay someone $80, 000 per year when his online business nets him $60, 000 annually.
To Joe, asking him to hire a permanent DBA is out of the question, regardless of being able to predict trends that might increase his revenue.
Joe, therefore, continues to trudge along, making what he can while his deep-pocketed competitors hire permanent DBAs and data analysts. Joe feels like he cannot compete in the industry because he lacks the financial backing the big boys enjoy and flaunt around.
What Joe doesn’t know is, he can get a DBA for a fraction of their annual salary. In fact, Joe can get several DBAs to work for him and pay close to nothing. All Joe needs to do is hire a remote DBA expert.
Benefits Remote Database Administrators
Remote database administrators are the new best friends for small businesses and firms alike. By and far, a database administrator spends his time doing low-level things that are not directly tied to a company’s revenue generation.
That makes him or her expendable speaking from a financial perspective. Your business only needs a DBA for a dozen or so hours every month. Why hire an in-house DBA while you can get remote DBA experts at a fraction of the cost?
During economic downturns, an in-house database administrator is nothing short of a money sponge, which is the main reason small firms outsource their database needs. Companies are turning to remote DBA experts to not only shore up their finances but also streamline their IT processes.
Financial Advantages of Hiring Remote DBA Experts Compared to Full Time DBAs
Expert remote database administrators help businesses realize an increase in productivity and at the same time; helps the company save on the cost of hiring a full-time DBA. Here are several ways a remote DBA can help a company improve its return on investment (ROI):
Fixed Operations Cost: Since remote DBAs are engaged on a contractual basis, you have the benefit of knowing how much you will pay for the service.
When working with a full-time DBA, you know you’ll have to increase the DBA’s salary or else the competition will snatch him.
Working with remote DBAs allows you to work with an increasingly granular financial plan where you pay for what you need.
Increased Productivity: Working with a remote DBA team means you can free up your IT personnel and deploy them to business critical infrastructures. Hence, a remote DBA allows you to concentrate your IT efforts on income generating activities.
Higher Rates of Availability: If you outsource your database management to a third-party, you can have a team ready to respond to emergencies every minute of the day. Most remote DBAs are part of a team that works round the clock to ensure the databases they are in charge of are operating at peak efficiency. An in-house DBA might not be the best person to respond to an emergency at 1 A.M in the morning, but remote DBAs can.
High Rates of Problem Resolution: Since remote DBAs only focus on administering databases every day, they are better placed to resolve problems compared to in-house DBAs. As a matter of fact, in-house DBAs wear many hats. Your in-house database administrator might also be the networking guy as well as the hardware maintenance guy. He doesn’t have a lot of time to concentrate on matters related to the database. That makes him a tad slower in responding to database issues.
State of the Art Database Management Tools: If you have an in-house DBA, the chances are that you are providing the tools he needs to maintain and monitor the system. These tools cost a nice chunk of change, which means you don’t always have the latest DBA tools. A remote DBA, on the other hand, most likely has all the latest tools and techniques to deal with modern database administration responsibilities.
Cost Savings: Almost every business today feels the crunch of scarce capital. Companies are operating well below their capital thresholds and need a way to cut down on expenses so as to redirect funds towards their business processes. Hiring remote DBA experts can cut down your operational costs by as much as 40%.
Although cost reduction is not a critical point when hiring a remote DBA, it is a critical business point. When a firm engages a remote DBA, the company doesn’t have to deal with costs related to recruiting, training, and maintaining in-house staff. Also, the organization doesn’t have to contribute to employee medical care, insurance, and other related expenses.
With a remote DBA, all that a company pays for is the number of hours a DBA worked on the company’s databases. There are no other overhead costs that come with a remote DBA. What’s more, engaging with remote DBAs means the company doesn’t endure without support when an employee takes a vacation or falls ill. The service from a professional remote DBA is accessible around the clock, all year round.
Continuity and Quality Support: Only a remote DBA can assure you of continued and quality support. With an in-house DBA, you have to worry about retaining him constantly. In fact, most DBAs never spend more than five years in a single company. They are migratory workers, and as an employee, you have to constantly think of who will replace an in-house DBA when he leaves.
On the same point, with a remote DBA, you can rest assured of reduced strain on your current workforce. An in-house DBA may have to work long hours and be on call every day. The stress from such a routine will negatively affect the DBA’s performance, as well as the performance of the entire organization.
Remote DBAs, however, don’t suffer from burn out because they are part of a larger team. The team of remote DBAs constantly switches over to avoid straining one of the members and can, therefore, assure you greater efficiency and productivity compared to in-house DBAs.
Scalable Services: If you plan on expanding your business, then you should think about hiring a few more in-house DBAs with your expansion. That means you will incur overheads associated with training and recruiting new staff.
With remote DBAs, on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about being undermanned while expanding. You can always add to the number of remote DBAs as need arises. While you contract new remote administrators, your only expense will be the billable working hours, which gives you a lot of flexibility.
A Second Opinion: Some businesses cannot run without an in-house DBA. However, having another set of eyes might reveal something the in-house staff missed. A remote DBA might reveal something your in-house staff missed, thereby process improve your productivity.
Also, the second set of eyes is important because it lets you know of industry changes you might have otherwise missed out on. Hiring a remote DBA even for a few days may open your eyes to new database technologies and tools that can greatly improve your business performance.
As with everything else, hiring a remote database administrator requires a bit of forethought on your side. Think about the proprietary nature of the business data and whether you are willing to have a third party looking into it.