Before appointing a Remote DBA services firm, it is vital to understand their competence and capability of supporting the company database that is often crucial to its business operation. It must be appreciated that not all remote database service providers have the same capability or even the same commitment for delivering the required level of services and a wrong choice is a sure formula for operational disaster. It thus becomes vital to evaluate the credentials and expertise of the service provider thoroughly. The following questions and explanations may help:
What Is the Experience of the Team of the Service Provider?
Since the health of the database and its uptime is crucial for your business operations it should be ensured that the team providing the database support services has a minimum level of field experience. Experts suggest that you should only look at teams having a minimum of 5-7 years of experience in Oracle besides evidence of proven expertise in remote database administration and trouble-shooting. The provider should have a system of monitoring by senior database administrators so that problems are identified and addressed before they escalate.
Are There Specific Administrators Assigned to You or Is It A Call Center Operation?
It is important that your calls are not fielded by anonymous voices at a call center but instead addressed by appropriately-competent database administration professionals that you can ask for by name and who know the structure of your database as well as the nature of your business inside out. Without the best team of remote DBA experts specifically assigned to your account, you will end up continually wasting your time speaking to individuals who are clueless about your company and the database structure, and will need to undergo a learning curve time and again over the course of the contract.
Will Your Account Be Assigned to a Senior DBA Executive on a Dedicated Basis?
Look out for service providers who will allocate a senior database administrator to service your account on a fulltime basis. The availability of senior-level support will provide you additional peace of mind because now there will be no more delay of junior executive transmitting critical information to his senior for appropriate resolution.
Where Is the DBA Service Provider Firm Located?
If the service provider is located in a country with a completely different time zone, it may affect the service as it is quite likely their expert staff will not be available during your peak hours. There could also be complications of legal jurisdiction should there ever be any legal disputes. Apart from that the difference in language and style of communication can also create problems if you are engaging with support staff whose mother tongues could be other than English.
What Are the Credentials and Track Record of the Service Provider?
It is very important to verify the credentials and track record of the DBA services provider because this will be a major point of reassurance that they are established and have a certain level of expertise that has managed to keep them in business for long. Ask for their customer list and find out if there are customers who have been with them for a number of years. A long-standing relationship is an automatic signal that the services are appreciated by clients.
What Is the Procedure of Monitoring, Notifying, and Resolving Database Issues?
Ask for a detailed report on the processes followed by the service provider with respect to their support. Ideally only a company that employs modern applications and tools for supporting Oracle should be considered, as else they are unlikely to be in a position where they can offer sophisticated ongoing monitoring and resolution. Find out if they are using any proprietary tools that can be customized to your actual requirements. Ask for a complete demonstration of their monitoring capability and see if they are ready to provide you access to their tools through web portals equipped with the required reporting tools.
Author bio: Alex Mathieson is a senior IT manager at a prominent auto manufacturing company that makes extensive use of remote database administration services.