The cloud is everywhere. Steady pre-pandemic growth transitioned into massive uptake over the last two years, and according to research firm Gartner the market shows no signs of slowing—by the end of 2022, spending on public cloud services is set to reach almost $500 billion worldwide.
The challenge? Not all IT professionals are convinced about the utility, efficacy, and security of the cloud. Consider database administrators (DBAs). Tasked with managing multiple on-site databases, many of which contain privileged information or are subject to regulatory and compliance oversight. Coupled with the fairly radical shift in operational knowledge, it’s little wonder that DBAs are finding themselves in a love-hate relationship with the cloud.
Many DBAs are finding their roles shifting to more than “keeping the lights on.” Once tasked with maintaining service SLAs and access control, many DBAs are now moving to roles that have put them in more consultative functions, such as determining which databases are cloud-ready or assessing how cloud applications may work with on-premises databases.
State of the Database
According to the Managing Data in a Demanding Digital Economy 2022 report, 79% of database professionals expect to see budget increases this year. This is good news since 43% of those surveyed said that the current amount spent on database management technologies is inhibiting their company’s competitiveness in the market.
Their biggest concerns? Forty-nine percent pointed to applying upgrades and patches, 40% highlighted security, and 36% spoke to testing and quality assurance challenges. Efforts are underway to address these issues: Database consolidation and the adoption of cloud solutions are running neck-and-neck at 33% and 31%, respectively.
For many DBAs, this choice matters most: Does it make sense to make the cloud shift, or is it worth putting time and effort into database consolidation? In practice, the truth lies somewhere in the middle: While consolidation makes sense to help better manage in-house resources, the rapidly-expanding scope of data sources outside the direct control of DBAs speaks to the need for broader cloud adoption.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
Moving to cloud solutions such as database-as-a-service (DBaaS) offers four key benefits for DBAs:
Data doesn’t wait for businesses to be ready. Instead, companies must contend with an ever-increasing flow of information from disparate sources. What’s more, this data is no longer confined to the neat rows and columns of familiar structured frameworks. Now, structured and unstructured data alike are equally important to drive business objectives.
The cloud provides a way for DBAs to better manage data and scale effectively to account for changes in data flows. Equipped with scalable, on-demand resources, administrators can increase current database limits or spin up new databases with far less effort.
Cloud solutions allow companies to collect, store and analyze data anywhere, anytime. For DBAs, clouds lay the framework—paired with tools such as hybrid cloud data warehouses, it’s possible to extend management policies and processes across data sources at scale to create a unified management approach.
What happens when databases go down? While increased database resilience means that the average amount of downtime per year is decreasing, overall costs are up—almost half of all outages cost companies more than $100,000.
DBaaS and other cloud-based services provide increased database stability, improving overall spend management. Put simply, while it’s impossible to eliminate downtime completely, the shorter the outage, the lower the cost. Cloud-based backups allow DBAs to shorten the distance between outage and service recovery, helping businesses get back on track.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for cloud adoption has been security. It makes sense: Services beyond the direct control of administrators naturally introduce potential security risks. The reality, however, is that the disparate data sources now used by companies already carry this risk. Cloud-based solutions offer the ability to secure data from its point of origin through eventual use, long-term storage, and destruction.
Delivering on DBA Potential
As data sources become more disparate and data volumes ramp up, DBAs need a new way to manage and monitor data at scale.
This starts with tools and technologies capable of automating tasks that require substantial manual effort and are prone to human error and continues with the consolidation of databases to help streamline data management in-house. Meanwhile, adopting cloud-based services such as DBaaS helps extend the reach of DBAs beyond traditional database borders by making it possible for database administrators to unify security controls, streamline data management, and scale-up