Database growth needs greater team collaboration

Organisations are storing more data, which will increase the workload of administrators managing database servers

With data storage predicted to increase by 240% by 2025, a new study has found that database administrators (DBAs) are growing their teams to enable them to manage larger database server estates.

IDC’s latest Global StorageSphere forecast, 2021-25, shows that worldwide data storage capacity will grow from 6.7 zettabytes in 2020 to 16.1 zettabytes in 2025. This increase of 240% in the infrastructure and servers required to store and manage data, whether it is on-premise or in the cloud, puts already-busy DBAs and data professionals under huge pressure.

A survey of 2,500 IT professionals for Redgate’s 2021 State of database monitoring study found that database administrators are now managing more servers than last year. Almost two-thirds (65%) of DBAs in the survey reported that, as data estates grew over the past 12 months, they personally became responsible for more database instances.

Redgate found that this is complicated further by the hybrid nature of estates, with some servers on-premise and others in the cloud, and with different cloud platforms in play depending on varying use cases.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also added to what has become a perfect storm for DBAs. Remote working has made monitoring on-premise servers harder, the seismic shift in the way organisations have moved many services online has increased the complexity and speed of the way data is collected and accessed, and hiring freezes and lay-offs have limited recruitment options.

Most database administrators who took part in the survey said they had managed between one and nine relational database instances personally in previous years.

But in 2021 they reported a rise in the number of database server instances from 20 to 49. According to Redgate, this means database professionals need to achieve more in less time, increasing pressure on an already-overloaded part of the business.

In previous studies conducted by Redgate, the majority of database administrators said they worked individually. But its latest 2021 data shows that organisations now use teams of three to four people.

“We saw a seven percentage point increase in teams of three, and an eight percentage point increase in teams of four,” said the company. “There was a corresponding decrease of 11 percentage points in the number of people who worked alone. With this change comes a heightened need for collaboration tools, which encourage and enable team cohesion, knowledge and understanding of the estates they manage.”

Given that database administration teams are growing in size, Redgate said there is greater need for collaboration and cooperation to standardise the way database server estates are monitored. 

Grant Fritchey, a product advocate at Redgate, said: “The more infrastructure you manage, the more systems there are to go wrong. Reacting to these incidents can easily swamp a DBA team, so understanding and improving the health of a growing estate is essential to ensuring performance and security.”

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