Proactive Database Administration: Not Your Average “Fully Managed” DBaaS

Considering organizations’ mass movement to the cloud over the past decade, it’s no surprise that in our data-heavy world they’re also looking very closely at which database-as-a-service (DBaaS) vendors they select to manage, scale and secure their precious data.

Businesses know they must be in the cloud or be left behind, without the agility or flexibility to integrate new technologies or connect with the many different data sources and analytic outputs required for modern applications and superior customer experiences.

The myriad ways in which data is manipulated, queried, shared, stored and joined for matrixed analysis presents a serious challenge to businesses; it’s no longer about simply keeping data accurate, accessible, and secure but also about the ecosystem of automation tools, integration points, geo-specific regulations, machine learning and AI possibilities, and very targeted use cases.

There are also considerations such as staying flexible enough to utilize multiple clouds if your business cases warrant that, or perhaps balancing on-premise data with with other cloud-based data, and of course reducing cost and complexity. This last factor, of minimizing both cost and complexity, is a primary driver for businesses to move to a DBaaS.

DBaaS “in hyper-growth”

Market researchers are tracking this industry shift to DBaaS. Gartner reports that by 2022, three quarters of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform. The DBaaS market will have almost tripled in revenue, from $4.2 billion in 2017 to a projected $12.3 by 2025, with an astounding 32 percent compound annual growth rate.

Those statistics demonstrate that “for the cloud in general, the industry is in the mainstream adoption phase,” notes ObjectRocket’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Nihar Gupta. “But in regards to the adoption of DBaaS, the industry is in a hyper-growth, about-to-hit-mainstream period.”

As businesses move their data to the cloud, they increasingly want to partner with experienced DBaaS vendors who provide fully-managed services to help define a strategy, architect a data solution based on company-specific needs, oversee migrations, and assist in paving a long-term growth path forward. This search is really one for allies and partners, for highly skilled data experts to supplement and collaborate with the in-house IT staff, for the ease-of-mind and freeing of resources so that businesses can concentrate on their core work.

What are fully-managed DBaaS services?

When companies choose to use DBaaS providers, they generally think of managed services as the basic features of a data management platform, like scalability, performance, security, etc.

Almost all DBaaS vendors offer some variation of “fully-managed database services” or “fully-managed cloud databases.” Sorting out what this means is important in order to ensure that you are getting everything you need. For example, data technologies are constantly evolving, new tools emerge (many open source, very robust, and rapidly adding new functionality) and even new data types are emerging.

Businesses looking for a DBaaS vendor need to understand the many layers of data technology, from the basic hosting platform and servers and infrastructure, to the layer of automation and integration tools, to the data itself and how it is indexed, replicated, read and written, and of course all the way to the applications that are generating and consuming the data. DBaaS vendors typically offer infrastructure-layer managed services, such as monitoring, alerting, and patches. Many offer high-availability clusters, business-hours email or chat support, automatic backups, slow query analysis, and support for multiple clouds.

Basic services that customers should count on, predominantly infrastructure-level, with DBaaS hosting include the following (and many may come with an extra fee or in a tiered pricing plan):

Service Details
High Availability clusters Essential to minimize downtime, HA clusters ensure proper failover and load-balancing.
Patches and Upgrades Keeping software up-to-date means applying thoroughly tested upgrades, at the right time.
Monitoring and Alerting Basic monitoring and alerting of infrastructure events is standard.
Support email or chat Whether email or a chat tool, most DBaaS vendors offer this, though sometimes only  during business hours.
Multi-cloud support Multi-cloud, hybrid cloud solutions are increasingly common; your data management needs to support this.
Pay-as-you-Grow plans Start small, and as your data increases, add additional clusters.
Custom RAM, Storage instances Choose the exact configuration that you need for RAM and disk storage size.
Query Analysis/ Performance Tuning Auto-detection of slow queries can prevent bottlenecks and even node failures.
Data Backups Obviously essential, but the details matter (frequency, geo of backup storage of backed-up data, auto-or manual, etc),
API integration APIs allow integration between the data and the applications consuming and producing it.

These managed services might cover what many businesses need, but could result in a larger total-cost-of ownership than initially expected if they don’t include many of today’s essential features such as coding and architectural design, integration strategies for multi-cloud environments, and implementation of automation and other management tools.

In order to take a step above and beyond “fully-managed services” one has to include not only the infrastructure, but also the experience and knowledge of the DBaaS company, the integration and automation tools, and the proactive application of true database administration.

What about database administration?

Managed services do not include database administration, but rather focus on the infrastructure and platform that hosts your data stores. This can mean that while you have a line to Support to advise you on how to fix any system issues, the majority of the services focus on the infrastructure supporting the database instance and not the actual data.

A fully-managed DBaaS in the cloud can significantly minimize the DBA role for day-to-day management and many routine tasks, but there is still a need for strategic data management and database expertise that can be provided by DBAs.

Database administration is an added service that is rarely included in DBaaS managed services, forcing most companies to employ DBAs to perform those tasks on the managed infrastructure. Defining recovery scenarios, designing schemas for business-specific needs, ensuring strong yet user-friendly authentication processes, implementing security, and communicating and utilizing new features in upgrades are all important DBA tasks that need to be considered. Your strategy must be defined and implemented with your organization’s overall enterprise architecture and IT strategy in mind, including operational and technical processes, and business objectives.

Some of the typical work done by DBAs include:

  • Architectural design and implementation for both new and growing customers
  • Software installation, upgrades, and patches for all components in the ecosystem, not just the database
  • Specialized data handling such as encrypting data for upload, auto-updates of large numbers of documents, and creating a customized aggregation framework
  • Authentication and security with native authentication configurations, user roles (RBAC), avoidance of default port numbers, and TSL (Transport Layer Security)
  • Capacity planning for high-traffic events and predicted growth
  • Performance tuning and query optimization to increase speed and efficiency in the application
  • Sharding and scaling definition and execution to avoid downtime and low-latency during rapid growth
  • Build out dev and test environments for sandbox and quality assurance

Customers should expect the basics of high-availability, backups, security above and beyond third-party providers, and support when there are issues. But no matter how many individual services are offered, customers should also be able to enjoy the benefits of proactive database management that looks after the entire data ecosystem and environment, holistically, with a constant eye on future growth and strategy.

ObjectRocket’s proactive, holistic database administration

The technical teams at ObjectRocket include site reliability engineers, support engineers, database experts, product managers, and dedicated account managers. Since 2012 we have delivered database services with a purpose-built paradigm; to truly and genuinely engage with our customers and take care of their data as if it were our own.

In other words, to form a true partnership. It’s part of what we do, it is how we run our business and how we help you run your data stores.

Consider the full picture that ObjectRocket’s team of experts take to proactively manage your entire data landscape as part of your plan:

Proactive data management services can be delivered on several levels. Some examples are open and proactive communication and collaboration, proactive optimization recommendations, and using highly-responsive containerization technologies to proactively handle scaling and recovery. ObjectRocket’s data experts have years of collective experience, with certifications and hard-earned battle scars. A natural result of having a dedicated team with that level of knowledge and skills is that the entire data landscape is managed, with genuine concern for our customers’ success in the forefront.

Don’t just take our word for it. Jeff Hansen, technical director of Digital Engagement at SingleStone, found ObjectRocket experts’ proactive communication “really refreshing.” The product manager, he said, “was extremely upfront with me about everything — from when things were going to go live, to what some of the obstacles might be.”

[Read more: SingleStone helps drive bottom line business growth for its Sitecore clients with ObjectRocket for MongoDB on Azure]

ObjectRocket’s combination of fully-managed services ensures that the database is always on, with our responsive, round-the-clock team of database experts performing the essential DBA work to manage your data proactively, resulting in the most robust DBaaS delivery in the universe.


If you’re looking for a strategic trusted partner to proactively manage and administer your databases, consider ObjectRocket.

Stephen Nolan serves as General Manager of Rackspace's ObjectRocket, a full-service database administration and management offering that enables customers to scale fast while focusing on their technology rather than the backend data. With more than 20 years in the technology industry, including 12 years at Rackspace, Nolan drives growth and innovation for the organization by providing unparalleled expertise across the industry's most powerful open source datastores, delivering customers a truly Fanatical Experience®. During his tenure at ObjectRocket, the organization has experienced significant growth while expanding its managed service offerings from MongoDB to include Elasticsearch, Redis, CockroachDB and PostgreSQL, as well as adding a number of cloud hosting options to its platform. Prior to his leadership role at ObjectRocket, Nolan served as Director of Product and Operations at Rackspace in San Francisco where he was focused on the Rackspace Cloud Products.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here