Bright Business Solutions and Ideas. Does your IT really Support your Business. An e-dba whitepaper - March 2011

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1 Bright Business Solutions and Ideas

2 Multi skilled people are more expensive to employ, and they are also increasingly difficult to find. Sourcing an experienced IT team with the comprehensive skills needed to provide technology support across an entire organisation is becoming a big headache for IT management even if the budget is available to employ them. With static or even reduced budgets, IT departments are finding that their resource flexibility is strained to breaking point both by the company s new technology support requirements, and by traditional IT duties that still need to be performed. Notably, new demands to keep core systems available up to 24 hours a day is a massive drain on IT resources. Databases, web servers, application servers and hardware all require constant monitoring to avoid damaging downtime. Some 63% of companies in the Managing IT for the future survey identified that managing system downtime is a major cause of backlogs in other areas. Today s responsive and dynamic customer systems require more careful and skilled management by the IT team. Constant and regular training and updating of IT staff skills is vital to ensure these systems deliver the service required yet another drag on department time and budget. As for more traditional IT department tasks, such as patching, performance tuning, backups, refreshing databases and server environments, they still demand time and resource. Indeed some areas of activity, such as applications management, continue to get more complex as the years go by. Applications management often has a snowball effect on IT staff resources. New versions have to be managed, but old ones are often still in use, sometimes with increasing user numbers, and require specialist knowledge for performance tuning, hardware maintenance due to failures, patching, and so on.

3 Dealing with Downtime - the big in-house cost Amongst the myriad demands for technology support in today s business, it is the systems availability imperative that worries IT directors and managers most because there is no escaping the need for committed resource to manage it. Failure to meet availability requirements can have a devastating impact on the business. If customers are unable to place orders when they wish, the result can be lost revenue, the loss of customers to competitors, and perhaps an irreparable effect on the company s reputation. Internally, business and market information is unavailable, and users are often far less productive without access to live systems. Traditionally, small to medium organisations in the UK (up to 1,000 employees) have devoted one full-time administrator to ensuring consistent availability during the standard eight-hour business day. Where the requirement is for greater than an eight-hour uptime and some 50% of the companies we surveyed now need to operate with at least extended business day availability the demand is for two or even three full-time administrators. The total cost of one senior database administrator is 96,000 a year. So each time an extra administrator is required, the IT department must find nearly 100,000 in budget capacity. Leaving aside all other new technology support activities demanded in today s business world, simply maintaining system availability poses a mammoth cost challenge for many IT departments.

4 Is there a better way to support the business? The simple answer is maybe. What is certain is that now is surely the time to reassess the way IT departments organise and fund their resources, and consider investing in an innovative and cost-effective solution to unlock IT capabilities. Many organisations in the UK large and small are turning to externally managed services: not full IT outsourcing, but smart sourcing of specific areas of IT support to the business where the department has real problems in delivering the service required. Managed services offer IT management a new layer of resource flexibility that can be used as requirements fluctuate. It also offers access to a wide range of in depth experience, and a range of skills that could be invaluable to the business, but are too expensive to employ internally. Most persuasive of all, with an equivalent managed service costing perhaps 60,000 a year, IT departments in companies extending their business day could be saving somewhere between 36,000 and 132,000 a year in extra administrator staff costs. Apart from that compelling cost case, the major benefit of the managed service is the assurance that the service provider carries the contractual responsibility for achieving systems availability standards set by the client. Meanwhile, with resources freed up, the in-house IT team can be used tactically in areas where it can add value to the business. Clients buy only the services required, and at the levels they stipulate. The provider will ensure the skills are always on tap to support those requirements again, an important benefit for departments faced with the problem of urgently replacing and supplementing in-house skills, and providing seamless support through employee training, holidays and sick days. Good quality managed service providers offer a wide range of experience and expertise, with certified knowledge of your hardware and software environments, and older and newer software versions. Oracle Corporation has identified that more than 75% of all Oracle database downtime is caused by human errors. The best insurance against human error in systems administration is to deploy skilled people who understand the systems and their design. Companies using managed services tell us they also benefit significantly by keeping up with latest technology advances, cost effectively. Managed service providers often provide guidance on best practices in areas such as change control processes, patching methodologies, and risk and issue management around IT environments. Clients save high initial capital expenditures or ongoing investments in technology upgrades as a result. Summary With global opportunities and global competition, businesses today need the flexible support of a qualified, skilled and available technology team. That requires an investment in resources, which is testing the resolve and the capacity of many IT departments facing static or reduced budgets at a time of financial pressures across the economy. For progressive companies that want to control their budgets yet deliver the best IT solutions for their businesses, managed services offer a powerful business case, and significant other benefits to the hard-pressed IT team.

5 e-dba Managed Service At e-dba we manage and assume responsibility for a defined set of services for our clients, either proactively or reactively as needed. We are specialists in providing remote support services for database environments, Linux and UNIX operating systems, virtualisation, application development and hosting. However, we also recognise that each client company and its environment is different. So all our support packages are bespoke and can be modified to suit changes in the client s environment. This means that the e-dba service will evolve as clients current environments and situations change. In fact we have developed a completely tailored, bespoke system, called the Edge, which we use to monitor client systems and provide the basis for a comprehensive sharing of knowledge and data between our specialist teams and our clients. Our aim is to offer a better quality of service as a result, and become a part of your team. e-dba provides its service for a flat or near-fixed monthly fee, which means clients have predictable and controlled IT support costs. We provide most of our services remotely over the Internet, thereby allowing more productive use of time and eliminating travel time and expenses. Key features of our managed service offerings are: Cover from monitoring only through to full 24x7 managed services Fully pro-active support Edge monitoring and support tools Backup and recovery services Software and application upgrades and critical patch updates Set up and support of standby failover and switchover systems From single database instance to high end clustered and grid systems Combined database and operating system support cover Status reports updated in minutes using the Edge support tools Weekly or monthly reporting

6 Support Packages We provide a fast response, dedicated primary and secondary database and system administrator(s), and the combined knowledge of a team that can handle the whole spectrum of your database applications but without the management and cost implications of employing a large in-house team. We use our expertise and experience to help build resilience within the systems we maintain. Many of e-dba s clients have stayed with us since the company was formed over ten years ago, endorsing our high standards of service. Proactive Support This involves constant monitoring of your systems so that we can overcome possible issues before they arise. It is particularly aimed at organisations that need to avoid unplanned downtime and outages. Reactive Support The e-dba team can also support your environment, reactively, when potential issues are raised by you. This ensures a low cost of entry to remote support services, and can be upgraded or modified at any time. Reactive support options can be modified to suit individual customer requirements. Typical reactive support options include monthly or quarterly health checks, tuning and diagnostics, and upgrade services. They can all be purchased as part of an overall package or on an ad hoc basis. Contact Details e-dba Ltd 48a Old Steine Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1NH Tel:

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