The SolarWinds 2021 Query Report: Database Priorities and Pitfalls

The rise of hybrid computing and the accelerated adoption of cloud-native applications have changed traditional database design, management, and monitoring. Workloads are moving rapidly to the cloud, and application performance is highly dependent on the performance of the underlying database. Meanwhile, the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to make significant changes over the past year. While it has been and is a necessity, the transition to remote work and the rapid shifts in strategy for many organizations have posed significant challenges for technology professionals tasked with meeting new employee demands and shifting priorities. of the company.

As a result, organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of database performance management and strategy to secure their most valuable asset: data. SolarWinds recently revealed findings from The SolarWinds Query Report 2021: Database Priorities and Pitfalls, which examines the current state of database management, assesses the top challenges facing database professionals today, and describes how database professionals can best overcome these challenges.

North American results are based on responses to an online survey conducted in February 2021, which included the participation of 331 technology professionals responsible for database performance management in the United States and Canada, drawn from small, medium and large enterprises in the public and private sectors.

Among many other key findings, this year’s report revealed the following:

Increasing complexity

Database design and management are evolving alongside increased complexity, and IT pros are poised for a dramatic shift in strategy that encompasses database-as-a-service (DBaaS) cloud platforms. as critical success factors for database performance.

  • Although nearly 80% of respondents said that Microsoft SQL Server is the most critical platform in use today, there is a relatively even split between the second, third, and fourth most used platforms: cloud DBaaS (54%), Oracle (47%). and MySQL (43%).
  • While tech professionals are tracking the pace of database platform advancements and indicating an anticipated shift toward Cloud DBaaS adoption (33% of respondents ranked Cloud DBaaS as the foundation platform for data priority number one to adopt over the next three years), the new mix of DBaaS/cloud platforms will also require new skills.
  • Complexity has increased in response to COVID-19 and the shift to remote working over the past year, according to 31% of respondents, who cited increased data requests from users, l increased data volume and security/compliance issues (such as GDPR). three main factors of additional complexity.

Industry recognition of Cloud DBaaS platforms as critical success factors for database performance is ongoing. When it comes to migrating to the cloud (especially in the midst of a pandemic dramatically accelerating the planning and execution of cloud computing and digital transformation), database professionals should start with a basic cleanup of data and code and ensure that only what is really needed is migrated to reduce complexity and overall cost. (we know cloud computing costs can add up). A complete and successful migration strategy should also include a detailed assessment of the data estate: what dependencies or complex coding features exist? Remember that anything interconnected with a database has to go with it in the cloud, so following these preliminary steps will help organizations avoid surprises along the way.

Database Security/Compliance Influencing Priorities

Cloud and security/compliance are key drivers influencing priorities and resource allocation in 2021 and beyond.

  • Nearly 60% of technology professionals surveyed said that of the data/systems currently managed within their organization, less than 25% resides in the cloud. But that’s set to change, as 36% of respondents said integrating DBaaS into the cloud is a top priority for their organization in 2021.
  • Two-fifths of respondents expect larger budget allocations in 2021 (compared to 2020) for cloud services and security/compliance (42% and 39%, respectively).

Managing database platforms is a big undertaking, an exercise in balancing proactive and reactive responses. But tech pros need to make sure they’ve got all their bases covered, especially when it comes to security and compliance (and, on occasion, cost and licensing). Time and time again, we see these four costly items pushed to the bottom of the priority list, and falling for any of these hurdles can do a lot of damage. The next generation of legal compliance has real teeth if you don’t obey the law. A simple cost-benefit analysis may be the point of evidence you need to highlight the potential impact of lack of sophistication in one of these areas and may give you a reason to put it back at the top of the list. priority list.

Maintenance constraints

Database professionals spend more than a third of their day maintaining databases. This limits both time and opportunity for activities such as innovation and upskilling in response to increased complexity and data-driven initiatives.

  • Maintenance work accounts for a larger portion of database professionals’ time compared to other tasks. A third of technology professionals surveyed said that one of the top areas they spend the most time in as a database/data/technology professional is maintenance (33%) and database development (22%).

Daily database maintenance takes up time that technology professionals could otherwise spend on things like refining or innovating new ways of working. For example, nearly half of respondents said performance/query tuning was one of the top three tools/skills they thought they could develop/improve to better handle growing database complexity, followed by by security management and data engineering (45% and 41%, respectively). One of the best ways to work smarter, not harder: to limit maintenance downtime and enable efficiency is to implement the right automation and monitoring tools. When properly implemented, automation and monitoring solutions can improve overall performance and eventually lead to reduced costs. Plus, they can free up time for technology professionals, allowing them to focus on more proactive database performance management.

The report reveals how rapidly the database architecture and operations technology professionals managing today’s enterprises are changing, and the management complexity that comes with this change. With application availability and performance being business critical, the database has long been the backbone of today’s IT environments. However, in the face of headwinds from increasingly diverse platforms and dwindling resources, tech professionals must be equipped to do more than reactive maintenance in environments that keep adding more databases. each passing day.

Technology professionals must capitalize on the upcoming opportunity to maximize the performance potential of cloud-hosted databases and ensure the successful optimization of their organizations’ data.

Maria H. Underwood