Databases Show Growing Pains as Digital Enterprises EXPAND

Are today's environments ready to scale with the business? Data-driven attributes that businesses are relying on for growth in the digital economy—AI, machine leading, and the Internet of Things—require databases that are robust and flexible. However, many enterprises are encumbered by the licensing and support issues that typically accompany database systems, resulting in potentially high and unexpected costs, as well as skills shortages. While enterprises are turning to the cloud and automation solutions to enhance their capabilities in backup and recovery, the challenge is that many data managers subscribing to cloud services are not making licensing costs enough of a priority.

These are some of the key takeaways from the latest in a series of surveys of data managers and professionals, conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., in partnership with VMware. This survey, which covered 260 members of the Independent Oracle Users Group, explored the infrastructure concerns and best practices shaping data management in today’s fast-evolving business environments (“2018 IOUG Data Environment Expansion Survey”).

The survey found that licensing and support is the number-one challenge for organizations seeking to expand the number of Oracle databases and applications. Additional issues also stand in the way of growth. When asked for the top factors holding back data environment expansion, licensing and support were far and away the most pressing challenges cited. As businesses increasingly rely on data to provide critical analytics as well as advance in AI and machine learning, demand for added database and testing capacity and related infrastructure requirements will only grow. In addition, the number of end users will continue to rapidly grow.

What is your top challenge when seeking to expand the number of Oracle databases or applications?

Licensing/support costs ... 49%
Staffing/available skills ... 25%
Administration costs/complexity ... 12%
Storage costs ... 4%
Security costs/complexity ... 3%
Oracle support concerns ... 2%
Disaster recovery ... 2%
Compliance requirements ... 2%
Server costs ... 1%
Network costs ... 1%
Meeting the requirements of the SLAs in place ... 1%

Public cloud services are increasingly seen as a way to address the need for greater capacity and scaling to new enterprise requirements. According to the survey, the use of public cloud services at Oracle sites is growing. There has been a noticeable rise in cloud computing adoption among database teams, the survey found. Forty-one percent reported having cloud in production at scale or in limited use, up from the 2016 survey. Notably, 28% have cloud in production at scale, well over double the level seen 2 years ago (11%). One-third indicated their use of cloud is growing, with 20% reporting their cloud growth as “significant”—again, a rise over just 2 years ago.

Does your organization use any public cloud services  for Oracle databases and applications? (2018 compared to 2016)

Yes, in production at scale: 28%  compared to 11%
Yes, in limited use/non-production: 13% compared to 12%
Under consideration: 20% compared to 26%
Considered and rejected: 1% compared to 9%
No: 38% compared to 43%

There has been a marked decrease in the percentage of data managers and professionals reporting they “considered and rejected” a cloud-based approach, from 9% 2 years ago to 1%. This points to the increased confidence in cloud across the enterprises, as well as among members of the data management community.

Public cloud growth is driven by backup and recovery supporting transaction environments. A total of 23% respondents delegate a significant share (one-quarter or more) of their backup and recovery processes for transactional environments to the public cloud. For additional processes affecting data environments, close to one in five relies on cloud for a considerable share of their business continuity, monitoring, and provisioning processes. For analytical data environments, there is less commitment to public cloud at this time—at most, 17% reported that they are dedicating a meaningful share of their backup and recovery process workloads to public cloud environments.

Cost reduction is the main benefit anticipated with cloud, but agility and capacity are more likely to be realized in existing deployments. Data managers and professionals seek the cost advantages of public cloud—which may form the basis of business cases, at least initially. Six in 10 foresee the cost reductions as the main benefit sought with cloud computing. As deployments mature, however, the additional agility and on-demand resources that cloud brings are also seen as leading benefits. In addition, the benefits of public cloud computing are far more apparent now than 2 years ago. When asked about benefits already seen, three in four respondents revealed they have experienced greater agility, and a majority of respondents cited the on-demand capacity clouds offer.