IT directors and chief information officers should use new technology rather than skilled database administrators to boost the performance of their data warehouses.
While database administrators have been traditionally used to optimise database systems, Gartner research vice-president Kurt Schlegel said that today's server architectures, based on 64-bit technology, enable databases to run entirely in relatively cheap memory, rather than hard disc arrays.
He urged IT directors to assess the costs of deploying so-called in-memory databases from companies such as Cognos and SAP, compared with hiring more database experts. "Too much labour is spent optimising databases," he said.
Longer term, Schlegel said performance could also be boosted using an emerging architecture known as a columnar databases, which optimise the database to extract a few columns of data extremely quickly, rather than rows of data. Such a database could be used to offload data used by power users, who are experiencing performance issues on the existing database system. Sybase IQ is an example of a columnar database.