For many companies, there is a belief that one can simply set up various databases (customer, product, inventory, financial, marketing, etc.) and let them run. Systems are supposed to make our life easier, right? Well, in reality this is kind of like the furnace in our house. If we are lucky, they will work virtually forever. But if we aren’t lucky, we will wake up some morning (usually on Christmas or New Years, when contractors aren’t working) and find out that the heat is broken, and we don’t know why.
Small issues with your database can slowly eat away at performance. This could exhibit itself as slow performance, a scaling problem as databases have expanded, a dysfunctional backup process, or many other issues that will sneak up on us.
How can we mitigate this risk? It’s really quite simple–it just requires paying attention. There are a handful of key metrics that usually can be monitored to identify problems before things break down.
Here’s what to watch for:
Query Performance: Are queries slowing down? Often one new query, that perhaps wasn’t optimized, can drag down many others as well.
Configuration issues: Is the cache configured correctly? Too large, or too small a cache can equally cause performance problems and bottlenecks.
Basic Capacity: This can be a problem whether you are hosting your data on prem or in the cloud. Solving this in the cloud, with flexible expansion, is often easier, but still needs to be adjusted as databases evolve.
Query Conflicts: Are multiple users looking at data frequently in different ways? Does data get locked up by these conflicting queries? This could use some adjustment.
Transaction Overload: how does the daily use of the database function? Does it have the capacity and bandwidth to handle multiple transactions in a timely manner? This is a good problem to have in some ways, but it can also be a major bottleneck for your business.
What to do:
There are a multitude of tools in the market that can help you monitor KPIs on your database. A professional database administrator should be able to manage these. However, it may become a daily task that they just don’t have the bandwidth to add to their agendas. For a relatively low cost, you can hire a firm, such as AnswerPoint LLC, that will not only monitor for you every day, but also has the skills and knowledge to make adjustments and recommendations on your behalf. Check out AnswerPoint.com today, or subscribe to our newsletter, to learn more and keep up on best practices in order to keep your database functioning optimally. Be sure to also keep up with the AnswerPoint Superhero, DATAMAN, to hear about his adventures in database land!
Ed Weisberg is VP of Sales and Marketing at AnswerPoint,LLC. He can be reached at Ed.Weisberg@answerpoint.com to answer any of your questions.