Make or break decision
You have spent a lot of time, money and resources in web design and development and then in the selection and installation of a database and a database management system. You have laid the foundation down to make sure that you succeed in your business.
While that’s necessary, you cannot underestimate the importance of choosing the best database administrator you can afford. You see, data is the real currency of modern day business and it is the greatest asset as well. As with any valuable asset, you would like to ensure that it is well managed, maintained and secure. Therefore, with your search for a DBA, you must ensure that you are choosing the best that you can possibly afford to manage your most valuable asset.
Remote or In-House DBA
You basically have these two options in the kind of database administrator you can have. Your choice will be determined by your specific needs and how much money you have to spend on database administration.
In-house DBAs come in as part of your staff which means they get a fixed salary, allowances, insurance cover and all the benefits of being a full-time employee. On the other hand, remote DBAs are often companies that you can hire when you need their service. They are simply an outsourced service that you hire when needed.
There are pros and cons of taking either option but there are certainly more pros to outsourcing DBA. You see, since DBAs are on high demand, they come at a high price so to have an in-house DBA, you will have to pay them quite handsomely yet they are not constantly working. Moreover, they could still get headhunted by another company and leave you..
“Data is the real currency of modern day business”
In addition to that, in-house DBAs are limited in their knowledge and experience when compared to an entire team working for a remote DBA company. Changes to new database management systems may be costly in terms of time and money, if they are not familiar with the new one. Downtime is also guaranteed with in-house DBAs since they could get sick or be otherwise unavailable, affecting your overall business output.
Remote DBAs only get paid for work done which overall is cheaper than all the money being paid to an in-house DBA. They are also more knowledgeable and experienced than a single in-house DBA. You can be sure of next to no downtime as they work consistently and even if they are changes within their own ranks, they will ensure that they meet their obligations to their contract with you. Plus, they have differently priced packages which is great for small businesses.
Finding the one for you
So remote DBAs sound like a dream right now but there is still need to take a good look at each one of them before deciding the right one for you. After all, you are entrusting them with your most treasured asset.
So here are a few things you should ask your remote DBA before signing on the dotted line:
- Experience level
You can’t hand over your precious database to be managed by a rookie if you want your website and business to be successful. Make sure to ask about the experience level and compare it among your different options. Remember, experience should be as vast as it is long. They should be able to handle different systems and software, not just one.
- Call center or specific administrator
Different remote DBAs operate differently when it comes to handling calls from clients. Some have a call centre where each client is taken and passed on to any available administrator. Others have a specific administrator assigned to you who you can ask for by name.
The latter is the better option since there is rapport and familiarity built so that you get specific service from someone who has full knowledge of your system rather than having to explain a lot of things to several different people.
It is important to know where your remote DBA is physically located. This helps to get information about differences in time zones which may raise the issue of availability.
Some companies have offshore teams so it is important to verify their location to help you determine if there could be possible language and cultural barrier differences. Legal jurisdiction is another thing that location will affect should you ever need to take legal recourse. The closer to you they are the better.
- Support processes
It is important to know exactly how you will be supported by this remote DBA. You should ask for a report on what the procedure is; from the time one raises an issue to when it is resolved. Have a look at their monitoring and reporting application and tools; they should be modern and customizable to your specific needs.
You can ask to have a full demonstration to make a proper evaluation. This way, you know exactly what to expect and whether they meet your needs or not.
You should also ask about their off-hours policy; how they would deal with an after-hours call for help from you especially if you are running a 24 hour business.
- Senior or Junior DBAs
There are some remote DBA companies that leave regular maintenance and updates to junior DBAs. Their inexperience could cause serious mistakes to be made so look for a company that has these tasks handled by senior DBAs. Both DBAs can be on your specific support team but senior DBAs should always take the lead to ensure quality of service.
- Service Track record and credentials
Ask for the credentials of the company and make sure to verify them so that you may know if you are dealing with a legitimate company. How long they have been in business is also a good indicator of their capabilities along with the number of loyal customers that they have. If they have long-term relationships with many clients, then they are probably doing a good job.
- Employee turnover
It is important that your remote DBA maintains a stable internal environment in the company so that your service is not affected. If there are constant changes in their staff, it may affect the quality of their work and consequently, the quality of service you receive. So ask about their employee turnover to see if it is normal.
And having taken care of business, you can focus on your core business and leave the database administration to the experts.