Ross Group Inc

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Managed Database An Integral Service Component of Managed Services


By Steve Woody, Ross Group Inc

Ross Group has been providing Managed Database services for over 10 years and has recently expanded with a full suite of Managed Service offerings under RossAssured.

Why Managed Database?

While many of today’s Managed Service Providers (MSPs) concentrate on the traditional model of Desktop, Network and Security support, Managed Database provides an ever growing support opportunity bundled in with traditional MSP offerings. Providing a Managed Service offering for clients of any size today should almost certainly include a Managed Database component. Even large organizations with sizeable IT staffs include opportunities to provide proactive Managed Database services to offload worries about problem detection, down databases, high performance, data integrity, and other functions that their staffs simply do not have time to put into, at least in an effective manner. For smaller organizations, there is little expertise or time internally to perform adequate Managed Database services. For some MSPs, Managed Database is the forefront offering while adding other managed components as additional offerings.

The Importance of Data
The corporate database environment is the heart of an organization since all related corporate data is vaulted or stored in databases to be accessed and processed by tiered enterprise and desktop applications. Without applications processing data, an organization cannot function or run its business. If you want to witness panic in senior executives, look at cases where databases have been lost without adequate backup and recovery plans in place. Unavailable data means lost revenue, lost productivity and delivery problems. While network, application and other IT infrastructure outages can cause similar panic, once these issues are resolved the data is still available.
Data Intensive Environments

Corporate enterprise databases have largely evolved over the last few decades from hierarchal structured databases hosted on mainframes to relational (RDBMS) database environments using various architectures and types for the data characteristics required in the database. Typical database types include Transaction-based or OLTP, Data Warehouse, Data Mart, Content Management, OLAP, Document Management and others including newer models like RFID databases. Typical database structures include Consolidated or Centralized Database, Distributed Database, Very Large Database (VLDB) and others. Typical database categories include Mission Critical, High Availability, Enterprise/Non-Enterprise, E-Business, and others.

Leading enterprise database vendors include Oracle (10g), IBM (DB2, Informix), and Microsoft (SQL Server). However there are several open source databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MaxDB, and others that are being adapted quickly in the market, at least in the SMB space. Rapid data expansion is causing hardware storage to grow at unprecedented rates with database environments using up much of the storage growth. For SMBs today, Gigabytes (GB) of data storage allocation are now minimally required while in larger firms Terabytes (TB) of data storage is now common. Some larger storage intensive organizations are now up to the petabyte size.

Data Management for MSPs

While there is rapid expansion in the data market, providing a Database Managed solution is not easily done. An MSP requires some level of senior Database Administrators (DBAs) to build and run the Managed Database service. Having a database practice for project work and consulting as part of your business model is a distinct advantage to becoming successful in the Managed Database component of a Managed Services practice.

For fully Database Managed offerings such as a Gold or Platinum program, proactive embedded scripts should be available. The scripts are important to fully monitor within the database, the next level above device monitoring. These embedded scripts also integrate with a central dashboard for alerting support staff. In addition, database reports, historical and trending information along with maintenance support may be required. There are many database tools on the market today which can be used for some of these support activities, but these tools are usually too cost prohibitive to use on multiple managed customers. Also, thesetools do not integrate well with centralized dashboards. Creating and managing our own portfolio of database scripts under RossAssured provides a robust set of monitoring and report options to our customers.

Business Stabilization

The Level 1 support for the Managed Database component is no different than other monitoring components such as Network, Desktop, VOIP and others. Escalation to Level 2 support is only required in serious problem detection events such as data loss, down database, performance bottlenecks, and when other similar issues occur. Proactive scripts and supportive actions are intended to prevent problem escalation and in the database world, this has tremendous value! While there may be many business value reasons and ROI statements that MSPs market to potential customers, stability and performance are the key business values for promoting Database Managed services. Oh, and don’t forget a good recovery plan in case of database catastrophes that are out of your control. We have received many desperate calls from non-clients with down databases and flawed recovery options. Some were even close to business failure.

RossAssured

Finally, providing a successful Managed Database practice as part of an overall Managed Service offering is the key to fulfilling customer needs in today’s corporate database-centric environment. Ross Group recognizes this and has designed our RossAssured (www.RossAssured.com) Managed Service support to go beyond the traditional managed service support with in-depth Database integration.

The Company

Ross Group Inc was founded in 1994 by Mark Ross and is a software services solution provider for a wide range of industries. Ross Group Inc’s premier services include n-tier Enterprise Web Application Services, Database Administration Services, IT Consulting and RossAssured Managed Services. The Dayton based company is an annual sponsor of Technology First, formally the Greater Dayton IT Alliance. The company is expanding in a challenging market by engaging experienced technical consultants, a project management discipline and providing excellent services to their clients.