DBAs to storage managers: We want more!

By Elisa Gabbert, Assistant Editor
11 Jan 2007 |

If DBAs' wish lists for the new year have one item in common, it's more storage.

A new Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) survey reveals that more than 90% of respondents expect their database storage requirements to increase in 2007.

The survey, which pooled responses from 366 database and systems administrators as well as IT managers, developers and analysts, also revealed that growing storage needs are negatively impacting performance. More than half of those surveyed reported that their database growth has taxed available storage resources. In addition, 43% claim problems with storage have delayed the rollout of an application in the past two years.

The sheer growth of data expected in the next year poses a challenge to DBAs and systems administrators, who need adequate storage to do their jobs properly.

"It's not just managing storage, it's managing how you back it up," IOUG president Ari Kaplan said. "The more data you have, the harder and more expensive it is to have a disaster recovery or business continuity plan in place."

The survey also finds that the roles of DBA and storage manager are converging and that DBAs often have more say in storage decisions than dedicated storage administrators. Of those surveyed, over 60% said systems administrators and DBAs handle everyday storage management. At companies where this is the case, respondents were less likely to report issues with application rollout caused by a lack of storage.

"The old rule was that DBAs would ask for space and patiently wait for it," said Brian Garrett, an analyst with Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group.

Now, the analyst continued, DBAs are working more closely with administrators and managers from the storage side to make sure they get what they need when they need it. It's especially important that they communicate where available storage should be allocated first in case of a database disaster.

"Planning and prioritizing which applications need to be protected the most -- these guys have to work together on this," Garrett said.

New storage tools make the job easier

Luckily, storage professionals now have more tools at their disposal to help protect data in the event of a disaster. In addition to traditional tape backup, enterprises are utilizing new kinds of storage such as snapshot and virtual tape library (VTL) technology. These methods can help bring "30 hours of backup time down to a few minutes," Kaplan said.

Another practice that can help reduce backup time and improve performance is digital archiving.

"DBAs are being asked to keep more data around longer," Garrett said. "By proactively 'pruning' the database and archiving data, we can improve performance, backups, management and access to intellectual property." Archiving also decreases the time it takes to search and locate content within the database, he added.

A January 2006 research report conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group revealed that three out of 10 companies have already implemented some kind of database archiving application. Over half of large enterprises (with 20,000 employees or more) have deployed archiving.

Early adopters report benefits including speedier and less expensive backups, reduced time and cost related to disaster recovery, better database performance and easier storage management. Ultimately, Garrett said, the more control you have over your data, the easier it is to "keep your boss's name out of the headlines."

In 2005, unstructured data -- office documents, Web pages and image files, for example -- made up 82% of archived content, followed by email and database at 10% and 8%, respectively. The report concluded that structured content associated with database applications and email will grow more rapidly in the next five years than unstructured content, but unstructured content will continue to constitute the bulk of archived capacity.

The report also indicated that in the coming years, digital assets will be migrated from traditional tape media to newer disk-based storage systems.

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is looking into the disappearance of his hero, Wallenberg. He has made 10 trips into Russia, using a database program he developed to follow the movement of prisoners through the gulag.

May 21, 2001

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