In many organizations the SQL Server DBAs are among the unsung heroes in the IT Department and overall organization. Often times their contributions are unknown and overlooked. It this tip I would like to outline some of the value I have seen SQL Server DBAs contribute to the organization in business terms.
Before we jump into the value delivered by SQL Server DBAs, I would like to clarify that at some organizations there is a single SQL Server DBA while at other organizations there is a team. While at other organizations, Network or Systems Administrators and/or Developers tend to SQL Server's administration. So in this tip, the value from the SQL Server DBA is from any professional administering SQL Server, not just professionals with a "SQL Server DBA" title. With that being said, let's dive right into some areas where I have seen SQL Server DBAs provide value to the organization:
- Hardware savings
- Licensing savings
- Code maintenance savings
- Legal cost savings
- Reputation protection
- Highly productive users
- Business continuity
- Decision making
Build high performing SQL Server systems
Don't take for granted following SQL Server development best practices because often those items can translate into a business benefit. By designing and building efficient code, this enables the business to purchase lower cost hardware and minimal licensing then scale the hardware and licensing costs as the application needs grow. This same code is also a significant cost savings for the business in terms of team members to maintain the code. A well planned and written application generally requires significantly less time and budget to maintain than an application built in haste.
Keep in mind high performance generally keeps users happy. For internal users that can translate into high productivity, a positive attitude with external customers and confidence in the organization. For externally facing applications, a smooth user experience generally speaks volumes for the organization. The reality of quantifying "happy" versus "frustrated" users as well as loyal customer base is a tough calculation, but I am sure everyone can agree which side of the fence they would like to be on.
Secure SQL Server data helps to prevent data breaches
As of the publishing of this tip, there have been recent data breaches involving personally identifiable data and credit card data that have reached the main stream media in the United States. In general, SQL Server DBAs are security conscious and have a natural affinity to protect the data online and offline. The SQL Server DBAs value to the organization is the cost savings associated with legal remedies, lost revenue from a customer selecting a competitor and intangible costs related to your brand's reputation associated with the data breach.
SQL Server Redundancy and Uptime
99% or greater uptime is no mistake. There is no "luck" associated with this amount of uptime year after year. To achieve these sorts of results with 24X7 demands requires a great deal of cooperation and coordination among numerous professionals in the IT department. Although any number of components could fail and cause downtime, the complexity of SQL Server redundancy plays a major role in the equation. Once again the quantifiable costs associated with idle users per hour can probably be calculated, but the intangible cost related to your brand's reputation with extended or repeated downtime can be difficult to quantify. I am sure everyone can agree that each 404 error costs more than four hundred pennies.
Extend the life of a SQL Server platform
Hardware and licensing costs are generally a significant portion of any IT department's budget. By SQL Server DBAs tuning code, re-writing processes, archiving data, etc. these sorts of projects can extend the life of the platform yielding significant cost savings in terms of hardware and licensing costs. In many circumstances, the SQL Server DBAs are able to single handedly resolve performance issues and deliver immediate benefits to the business not just in terms of the hardware and licensing costs, but also provide users with a better experience with the application.
Build and maintain SQL Server systems for decision making
Those dashboards, morning reports, reporting systems, analytics and more, needed to drive business decisions are sometimes built and are generally maintained by SQL Server DBAs. At many organizations this data is the operational lifeblood to the company and the basis for numerous decisions across the organization. Accurate and timely data is generally where the SQL Server DBAs deliver value.
Ability to recover from a SQL Server disaster
We have covered fault tolerance in a previous section. In this section I want to cover disaster recovery. The reality is that these two items are at times confused and the terms are used interchangeably. In my opinion fault tolerance is related to a single point of failure causing SQL Server to no longer support the business and disaster recovery is related to numerous points of failure across the infrastructure, data center, site, campus, etc. In these disaster recovery circumstances, the SQL Server DBAs provide value by being able to work with the remainder of the IT team to bring a separate set of systems online to support the business and minimize the data loss. In terms of costs savings, the downtime associated with a true disaster recovery scenario sometimes relates back to the organization being able to survive the disaster and continue business operations in hours or days rather than weeks or never.
- The reality is it takes a team to deliver value to the organization. The SQL Server DBAs are just one small piece of the overall equation. So hopefully the value outlined in this tip reflects the value of the IT department to the organization as much as it highlights the value of the SQL Server DBAs.
- Are there other areas where SQL Server DBAs deliver value to the business? Share your thoughts in the comments for this tip.
- Check out all the SQL Server Professional Development tips.
Last Update: 4/27/2012
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