eWEEK talks to three U.S.-based providers of remote database services to discover the cost savings and profiles of customers. In the IT department, the CIO does not want to hear about how the company is losing revenue due to poorly managed technology. eWEEK finds out how remote database services keep these providers' technology running smoothly and cost-effectively.
In this economy, IT departments are being asked to do more technology
management with less manpower while still keeping things running smoothly 24/7/365.
When a database process gets caught up, flutters and freezes, many
businesses stand to lose customers' loyalty and their greenbacks. The last
thing your CIO wants is a call from the CEO
about lost revenue due to poorly managed technology environments. At the same
time, your chief financial officer is telling IT executives on a quarter-by-quarter
basis to slash cash from the budget.
How do you cut highly specialized, but required, database administration
costs from a budget while still keeping services and systems running optimally?
Sometimes it means getting help outside the company. eWEEK talked to three
independent, U.S-based providers of remote database services to get a feel for the
cost savings to be found in one segment of technology management.
For another look at outsourced remote database services, click here.
"In some cases, our customers have seen cost savings in the 75 percent
range," said David Wolff, CEO of
Database Specialists, a Bay Area provider that has been focused on DBA services
since 2000 and touts having only senior-level Oracle DBAs with over 10 years of
"When you look at full-time senior Oracle DBAs, you're talking about an
annual salary range of $100 to $120K-nearly $160K with benefits," Wolff
said. "That works out to be about $13K a month ... We can do it for about
$3K a month, an instance."
Similar pricing was validated by another remote database services provider,
Bluewolf, based in New York, though
Bluewolf put the savings rate at closer to 40 percent off full-time, in-house
"We tie our services to agreed-upon tasks per month, not the number of
hours, in a range of $3,000 to $6000 a month depending on the work and
instances," said Rick Boccard, a director at Bluewolf. "We don't do
code development at all, which keeps us focused on monitoring and
administration. We will help with migrations and reviews, but we draw the line
at code development."
With 44 customers, and 24 full-time DBAs on staff managing all the major
platforms-Oracle, Microsoft SQL and MySQL-Bluewolf sees its strength in being
more regionally focused than some of the larger players in the space, Boccard
Click here to see 12 tips from
Bluewolf for making remote database administration easier.
"Seventy-five percent of our business is within a 100-mile radius of
our operations centers in New York,
San Francisco and North
Carolina," said Boccard. Bluewolf's customers
include Heineken, Levolor Kirsch and PDI Pharmaceuticals. "We like it that
way because we put a serious value on visiting our customers on-site regularly.
We think it's good for business, and it allows our team to become more closely
integrated with the customer's internal team ... You can't underestimate the
value to our customers of knowing the names and faces you work with regularly,
even if they aren't a full-time staffer."
Being nearby might seem to have value for companies that want the
personalized touch, but additionally, it makes a whole lot of sense for those
companies that are forced to comply with government regulations requiring
stateside-only labor. But it raises the question, Are remote database service
providers restricted by the region in which they are based?
"The bulk of our client base is in the Eastern half of the U.S. in
financial services," said John Bostick, CEO
of dbaDirect, a larger remote database service provider with 135 employees
worldwide; more than 80 employees in the United States, 40 in Bangalore, India,
and 10 in Schenzhan, China. "We're not a regional provider, we're global,
but we have a large presence in that part of the U.S.
because 1,237 of the Fortune 1500 are east of the Mississippi."
dbaDirect, whose customers are dominated by financial services companies
such as regional and community banks, is based in Florence,
Ky., not far from Cincinnati. dbaDirect has a major payment processing business
as well as a data infrastructure management business, but organizes its
services across the data spectrum from data automation (Onguard 2.0),
continuous service assurance and legacy mainframe data management.
"We see three types of customers," Bostick said. "The first
is the continuous engagement customer who uses us for dedicated DBA services or
part-time, supplemental DBAs. The second are those who want only
production-tasked DBAs and the third are those who want us for specific
capacity projects, upgrades and migrations."
When asked whether going offshore reduced costs for his customers, Bostick
said without hesitation, yes. Having a global presence allows his company to
compete on price with the companies that are totally offshore, as well as take
on U.S.-based projects that need quick turnaround.
"How do you drive rapid-required workloads like upgrades and migrations
over a weekend?" he asked. "You use your global presence to make that
happen while you compete on price and productivity ... The good thing is that for
those companies who don't wish to or cannot, for regulatory reasons, do
business abroad, we can customize our network to only work in the States. But,
undoubtedly, having the flexibility for those clients who want and need price
only, we offer that too."