Case Study: How One Company Gained Strategic Advantages by Selecting the Right DBMSP

Description:

A global technology company had a complex database environment supporting more than 500TB of data and an on-site hardware configuration consisting of two Oracle SPARC SuperClusters with full-rack Exadata, backup devices, and gateways to access the data centers. The workflow application was mission critical and needed to adhere to strict Service Level Agreements.

Because the team consisted of only one senior DBA, he used a database managed services provider (DBMSP) to support his complex hardware and software needs. His role now was to manage that relationship with key deliverables, and processes for exceptions and change management. His primary role was as a strategic innovator for the company. He fulfilled the role of architect, approving and recommending designs, assisting developers with tuning and coding techniques, and leading architecture improvements, capacity planning, and hardware sizing.

The Problem:

The managed services provider, to save money, sent the database support offshore which added layers between the people doing the work and the people needing the work completed. This resulted in a mismatch between customer needs and value delivery. The DBA was prevented from performing his strategic role due to time spent micromanaging or performing tasks that were supposed to be done by the DBMSP.

As a result, service was impacted in the following ways:

● Communication problems led to work being implemented incorrectly, which led to outages

● The Service Level Agreements were not met, causing longer outages than tolerable by the business

● Issues caused by the DBMSP led to the need for more efforts in correcting those issues — which led to the vendor demanding payment from the company for resolution due to the time and materials clause in the contract and the budget overrunning

● Since the SLAs were not being met, the DBA performed the support work himself — which led to circumventing lengthy outages and his time to function strategically within the organization being replaced by database maintenance

● It’s extremely important to right-size and reduce the complexity of the overall architecture, but there was no time to focus on this because of the need to spend so much time with the DBMSP

● The DBAs work-life balance was destroyed due to high stress, loss of sleep and an inability to plan vacations and other personal time off

Resolution:

Once the transfer of support and database maintenance to Guardian Eagle was complete, the DBA reaped great benefits. The Eagle solution created several advantages:

● Communication was clear, concise, and correct — eliminating frustrations, delays and errors

● The Service Level Agreements were met — and due to proactive monitoring by Guardian Eagle, many outages were eliminated altogether

● There were no issues or outages caused by the DBMSP

● No cost overruns occurred, and the company realized the 30% promised cost reduction

● Guardian Eagle was right-sized, small enough for personal connections and large enough to cover all the technology needs — this led to great success and positive dynamism that fostered fruitful, effective, and valuable relationships

● The departments of networking, infrastructure, application development, project management and data center were all favorably impressed by the capability, knowledge, and work performed by Guardian Eagle

● The DBA was able to become the innovator that his role was intended to be, and he was now able to:

o Fulfill the role of architect and strategic thinker

o Approve and recommend designs

o Stay abreast of trends and publications in the field

o Help the development group with tuning and coding examples

o Perform architecture design

o Implement capacity planning and hardware sizing

▪ Work with Guardian Eagle to analyze the SPARC SuperCluster and design a streamlined, non-burdensome architecture that reduced software, hardware and service costs by 70%

With the freedom from daily maintenance tasks and nightly emergencies, the DBA was able to enjoy being more confident and responsive in his intended strategic role. He could engage in tactical planning and find deeper fulfillment in his career.

Summary:

In order to gain strategic advantage, outsourcing the database maintenance to a DBMSP requires the selection of a reliable, competent, right-sized DBMSP. A managed service provider must meet your SLAs in a responsive, professional manner. When communication is clear and tasks are handled promptly and correctly, your DBAs can be innovators adding significant value to the company.

Guardian Eagle turned out to be an amazing partner for the company. Their in-house, on-shore knowledge of the database, O/S, network, and storage layers enabled them to perform the required services in an extremely responsive, effective, and reasonable manner.

The following quote from the DBA working with Guardian Eagle summarizes it best: “The service delivery professionals at Guardian Eagle have met and often exceeded my high standards for infrastructure coverage across our hardware, operating systems, databases, storage and disaster recovery architecture. The service delivery staff’s responsiveness to urgent matters makes Guardian Eagle one of the best partners that you should consider having. They are detailed and eager to meet our expectations. We have benefited greatly from this partnership, including, but not limited to:

● Reducing risk position from Guardian Eagle’s continuous monitoring and proactive optimization of a mission-critical environment

● Sustaining system availability using our Oracle software assets, Guardian Eagle tools, recommendations, and best practices

● Predicting and significantly reducing operating costs commensurate with our production and non-production needs”

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