Research@DBTA: Keeping Databases Running Eats Into Time for Data Innovation

The costs of downtime—even for a minute—are simply too steep for today’s digitally evolving enterprises to tolerate. As part of their efforts to keep expensive downtime at bay—and ensure the continued viability of data—data managers and are turning to strategies such as automation and cloud services. Still, they continue to have difficulties and acknowledge that keeping their data environments up-to-date is holding them back from delivering more capabilities to their organizations.

These are the findings of a new survey of 220 data and IT managers, fielded among the membership of the Quest- IOUG Database and Technology Community. The survey was conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., in partnership with Dell EMC.

Most survey respondents were either database administrators or IT managers from industries including financial services, healthcare, life sciences, technology services, and government.

The survey revealed that many data managers remain saddled with rote database administration and maintenance tasks, and this diversion of their time and talents is cutting deeper into their organizations’ competitiveness than ever before.

While database automation and practices such as DataOps and AIOps have been surging, this has not provided relief for data teams tending to day-to-day tasks.

In this survey, 43% of data managers said the amount of resources spent on ongoing database management is severely limiting their competitiveness—an a substantial increase over a survey done in 2020. It is notable as well that a total of 86% agree that, to some degree, their administrative tasks have become an inhibitor to corporate growth.

A number of mundane administrative tasks continue to consume a significant part of data management budgets. Maintaining system stability—patching, fixing, and upgrading—is considered the costliest part of data managers’ jobs, according to close to half (49%) of respondents. In addition, 40% indicated that much of their time and budget goes to ensuring security, while 36% see significant portions of their time and budgets dedicated to testing and quality assurance.

Data managers aren’t taking the surge in administrative tasks sitting down, of course. Strategies to address this burden include database consolidation and adoption of cloud-based services.

The leading strategy being undertaken to mitigate the time devoted to administrative overhead is the consolidation of databases and data centers, which is occurring at 33% of respondents’ sites. Close to one-third, 31%, are also pursuing approaches that virtualize or abstract data environments, including virtualization and cloud. Specific cloud-based strategies are the adoption of platform-as-a-service (25%), infrastructure-as-a-service (24%), and database-as-aservice (22%) solutions.

Another 29% are looking to their major vendor—in this case, Oracle—to help better automate and provide greater ease of use. However, database automation ranks relatively low as a strategy at this point, with only 15% of respondents opting for tools to deliver such capabilities.

If corporate or management support is to be measured in hard dollars or euros, it appears there is an awareness of the critical role of data management in ensuring the continuity of both digital and traditional business operations. There has been a notable surge in corporate spending on data and IT management—79% expect increases over the coming year. This is 2 times the percentage of respondents expecting increases in a survey from 2 years ago.

This may reflect the rapid ramping up of digital capabilities (that took place during the COVID crisis), which depends upon data capabilities as well.

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