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  SQL Server Tips by Burleson

The Real Benefits of Self-Managing Databases

This is not to say that the new self-managing features being introduced are not beneficial. On the contrary, they are needed - and indeed must occur, for a variety of reasons.

First, self-managing features are necessary because today’s DBA is simply overworked. Embarcadero Technologies conducted many polls of their 70,000+ users and have found that over half of all DBAs manage a least 20 databases, with about a quarter handling 50 or more databases. Unless things change in terms of how corporations use data, these numbers are expected to grow.

One of their large customers has, over the past year, experienced a 60% database growth on their mainframe, but a near 170% growth on their distributed database platforms. Even with all this growth, they have thus far been prevented from hiring any new DBA talent. All of this makes for many long days for the existing DBA staff.

This is where self-managing enhancements can help. By assisting with performance and storage-related duties, some of the administration burden can be taken off the DBA’s back. Hopefully the end result will be the DBA having more time to competently manage an increasing database farm, with less time needed to accomplish some previously time-consuming tasks.

Another benefit is that self-managing features may help DBAs adopt other new DBMS enhancements more quickly. Often, a DBA will migrate to a newer version of a database engine but fail to take advantage of the many new features offered in the product. Such situations needlessly drain a busy DBA’s time. Hopefully, self-managing databases will ease the burden of database administration so DBAs can investigate and implement features that will save them even more time and trouble in the future.

All of this, of course, comes with the caveat that the self-managing enhancements actually work as advertised. If the database does not automatically direct memory to where it is needed the most or does not correctly balance storage, the DBA will quickly switch off these auto-pilot mechanisms and assume manual control again.

The above book excerpt is from:

High-Performance SQL Server DBA
Tuning & Optimization Secrets

ISBN: 0-9761573-6-5
Robin Schumacher  

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