Running an enterprise database that’s fully optimized, with turn-on-a-dime functionality you can rely on no matter what is a complex undertaking. It requires an expert team that has to simultaneously support the daily tasks of processing incoming and historical business information, while also proactively ensuring your data remains fully optimized and secured within your database environment.
Here are the four key obstacles that may be keeping you from achieving both peak performance and absolute data security.
1. Poor data management
Too often organizations get caught up in an avalanche of data which, if it’s not administered correctly, can hamper processing, resulting in poor quality data that adversely impacts decision-making.
Every day your business accumulates more data, from internal business and logistics processes to interactions with customers, suppliers and partners, plus a cascade of new sources, including devices, the internet and social media. This wealth of information is one of your company’s most valuable assets, but to leverage it effectively, you need data quality solutions that can integrate seemingly disparate, fragmented facts and figures into coherent, up-to-date, actionable business intelligence.
These can include data management solutions that help you take in hyperscale data, clean and structure it, while scrubbing duplicated information to optimize storage. Building a comprehensive data management system that can ensure risk-free data sharing across the organization requires a strategic investment of resources, including people and technology.
A properly implemented data management process not only ensures end users get access to trustworthy, consistent, and usable data but also improves collaboration between cross-functional teams, which in turn builds your business.
2. Sluggish Performance
An error-prone database environment slows down business processes and makes your data vulnerable to external threats, an issue that becomes even more challenging when you’re running enterprise-level data that’s expanding exponentially every day. At the same time, constantly optimizing your database to achieve required performance levels, meet current and future demand and support ongoing data management efforts is extremely time- and labor-intensive.
Many of you have experienced this frustration first-hand, trying to run a fast-paced, responsive business while facing frequent, costly bottlenecks caused by a poorly optimized database environment—holdups that delay production, service delivery and customer support. The answer? You need to get optimized.
Performance optimization involves reconfiguring your database resources based on key metrics, including optimizing query performance and remediating formatting issues to help focus searches, thereby reducing information load on the database. Indexing tables helps streamline access to the most relevant information when a query is executed. Such seemingly minor tweaks in database configuration significantly reduce resource consumption and ramp up overall query processing times.
Another crucial strategy is to reset your system’s buffer and query caches to prevent disk memory from becoming flooded by an abrupt inflow. Buffer and query caches that are either inactive or set to the default level can severely stifle response times, leading to bottlenecks. Ensuring the cache has enough memory to return queries with the same character and protocol version can accelerate performance. Meanwhile, optimizing buffer memory to save copies of data pages will accelerate response time.
Other key performance enhancers include proportionally reconfiguring CPU power, disk capacity, and network bandwidth to accelerate workloads processing across the databases. Ultimately, performance optimization is essential to decrease delays and achieve desired thresholds.
3. Data Governance and Security
As we’ve discussed previously, data security is one of the most critical issue database administrators face, with technology research and consulting firm Gartner estimating that business spending on information security and risk management will top $172 billion in 2022, up from $155 billion last year and $137 billion in 2020.
It’s clear that without a comprehensive data governance policy and leading-edge security protocols, every shred of your business’s data, including customer and partner information, is vulnerable to theft, hackers and even debilitating ransomware. Furthermore, without a coordinated data security health check, your business’s underlying security issues will likely only surface when cybercriminals attack.
Unfortunately, this is likely to be a devastating wake-up call since, according to Forbes, the average cost to business of each data breach has now topped $4 million. What’s more, such widely-reported data breaches can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of any private or public sector organization.
The solution is tightening the security controls that govern access to your networks and applications by creating security frameworks that ensure only authorized users can gain access to your data. Comprehensive protocols such as the Identity and Access Management (IAM) process ensure user authentication by mandating that every staff member comply with uniform rules regarding password usage.
Another option to cost-effectively access leading-edge security is to leverage the cloud. Leading cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Oracle, and GCP spend billions on security annually, investments far beyond the reach of most individual businesses. Moreover, the cloud model allows for real-time patching of security vulnerabilities and provides virtually instantaneous access to top-of-the-line technology and expertise.
Data encryption also lets your business keep sensitive information under the layers of coded text. Such encryption of both your in-transit and stored data should be a standard practice to prevent it from being exposed to hacking and phishing attacks.
Lack of scalability is one of the biggest roadblocks to optimized database performance. An environment that’s unable to scale resources up and down according to fluctuating demand creates bottlenecks and high latency, leading to frustrated staff, disgruntled clients—and a preventable waste of resources that directly impacts your bottom line.
To support scalability in your database environment, you need to ensure database resources are configured according to actual workloads, precision-allocating CPU power, memory and storage to both meet the existing workload and adapt to future demands.
Another solution is to move to a cloud platform that enables dynamic scalability for database workloads. The cloud’s auto-scaling feature makes this process more convenient and less labor- and resource-intensive, freeing your IT team from time-consuming and repetitive capacity planning and resource allocation tasks.
The Final Analysis
Your database is critical to all your organization’s internal and external business activities. To ensure smooth functioning of all its applications, you need to prioritize investment in data management, performance, security and scalability, investments that can ensure your database environment operates with minimum pain and maximum throughput.