Growing server estates pose DBA challenges

Data professionals are under more pressure than ever, maintaining the performance of fast-growing server estates, managing cloud migrations, meeting increased security and compliance concerns, and coping with staffing and recruitment issues, a survey from Redgate reveals.

Data from the monitoring survey shows that the daily burden on DBAs is growing, with a cumulative and ongoing increase in the number of servers they’re required to manage and maintain. 65% of DBAs in the survey reported that, as data estates grew over the last 12 months, they personally became responsible for more database instances. This is complicated further by the hybrid nature of estates, with some servers on-premises and others in the cloud, and with different cloud platforms in play depending on varying use cases.

The surge in the size of server estates is in line with IDC’s latest Global StorageSphere Forecast, 2021-25, which shows 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’s on-premises or in the cloud, is putting already busy DBAs and data professionals under huge pressure.

As Grant Fritchey, Redgate Advocate and Microsoft Data Platform MVP, points out: “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.”

The pandemic has also added to what has become the perfect storm for DBAs. Remote working has made monitoring on-premises servers harder, the seismic shift in the way organizations 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.

These findings from the monitoring survey are similar to those from the same survey last year, proving that the growth of server estates is only one piece of a bigger challenge that DBAs see every day in their working lives. Instead, it is the consequences of the growth that need to be examined, along with how DBAs and data teams can maintain performance SLAs.

In a new insights report, ‘The real-world challenges of growing server estates’, Redgate takes a deep dive into the survey data, including advice on how best to deal with the issues stemming from growing estates, and offers inspiration from companies that are already overcoming those challenges and thriving.

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