Your database environment is getting more complex. If that sounds like old hat, that’s because it is.
For years, articles like this have warned of the dangers of increasingly convoluted database environments. They’ve discussed how Database Administrators (DBAs) are now tasked with managing thousands of databases and supporting technologies. They’ve lamented over increasing fragmentation and workflow-stymying bottlenecks, which have, among a whole list of things, significantly hampered developer velocity. And they’ve explained that opting for specialized databases and tools for every need can quickly spiral into vendor lock-in, swelling support contracts, and surrendered control over your data.
But as repetitive as these articles may be, they’re still relevant, perhaps more than ever. For the DBA, managing larger and more diverse environments has become routine. More and more days are spent in “reactive mode,” balancing the demands of developers (who want self-service but are often forced to file tickets and wait) and stakeholders while assuring systems availability and performance. The game has changed, and the expectation is that data is available instantly, all the time, any place, at any scale, and can be easily leveraged to create new opportunities for the business.
The point is, complexity isn’t going away, and it’s certainly not going to solve itself. And the consequences are moving beyond overworked DBAs and toward impacting the business at large. Consider the weight of database complexity on:
Availability and Performance: Complexity can impede information and visibility into query performance, and issues that could be remediated faster take longer to diagnose and resolve. According to a recent Percona research report, 59% of respondents (including DBAs, developers, and architects, among others) lost sleep at night due to concerns around downtime and availability. Developers just want things to work, and they want self-service support so they can iterate faster and more independently.
Security: A lack of insight and monitoring capabilities is a recipe for security issues. Insecure, old versions of databases can often be rife with bad password policies, anonymous users, and CVEs. That’s troublesome, especially as attackers are increasingly setting their sights on misconfigured databases.
Developer Velocity: Alluded to earlier, complex databases can impede developer velocity, as many are forced to wait on internal services. Obviously, that can dramatically impact the meeting of business objectives. But it also creates a situation in which devs are forced to go around problems, which can lead to shadow IT, which, in turn, increases security risks.
Costs: Of course, there’s the potential of lost revenue from downtime and missed opportunities. But sprawling complexity can result in throwing money at the problem–buying beefier nodes, for example– which inflates infrastructure costs (especially in the cloud) and cuts into margins.
Tips to run your complex database environments easier
Arm yourself with expert support and services staff (in-house or outsourced)
Database environments can be complicated by poorly optimized queries, slow response times, unlocked security, incorrectly installed software, and configured settings. Issues and outages are a virtual inevitability. Ensure you have the necessary staffing and expertise in place to meet your performance and uptime requirements. If you cannot hire in-house, consider seeking out a respected vendor.
Understand the importance of a single source of accountability
When something goes wrong, the last thing you want is to chase multiple vendors and consultants for answers. The truth is, nobody will take ownership of your multi-database environment that spans both software and services. The buck needs to stop somewhere.
Commit to open source
There are reasons enterprises are moving from proprietary software to open source at an accelerated pace. Open source technologies benefit from the work of a community of vendors and individuals, working together to build enterprise-grade features and fix bugs, rather than at the whims of a single vendor. Plus, there’s never the risk of vendor lock-in.
Deploy database-specialized observability and monitoring tools
With observability and monitoring tools, you can enable your DBAs to quickly and painlessly view and monitor multiple databases and technologies, no matter where they are located - on-premises or in the cloud, all in one place. You can easily find, fix, and prevent scaling issues, bottlenecks, and potential outages, thereby reducing complexity, optimizing database performance, and improving data security.
Don’t, however, just opt for tools that monitor based on pre-defined sets of metrics or logs. Make sure you’re equipped with the observability you need to inspect your systems and explore properties and patterns not defined in advance— so you can discover unknown unknowns.
Empower developers with self-service
Take a platform-engineering approach to your data. Provide self-service to developers in every environment so they can create customer value immediately instead of waiting on internal services.
How Percona can help
Percona Platform makes it easier to run complex database environments. It brings together enterprise-ready distributions of MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB and a range of open source tools for database monitoring, data backup, and management into a subscription-based offering.
Percona Platform helps DBAs deliver consistent and reliable performance and availability, meet the ever-increasing demands of developers to move faster, and ensure strategic business goals are met. It’s why RedMonk wrote:
“There has been an explosion of data tools available to enterprises, which in turn has led to rampant fragmentation and highly complex, disjointed workflows. Organizations that prize velocity are looking for ways to integrate various data tools into their broader development workflows and monitor them. This is the opportunity that Percona Platform is built for. The combination of software and services in this space is intended to help customers better manage their database deployments.”
Best of all, there’s no upfront commitment or fees to use Percona Platform. And because everything we do is built upon our commitment to open source innovation, there’s never any risk of vendor lock-in.
Ready to try Percona Platform? Discover how to get started.