8 Database Consolidation Strategy Tips for DBAs

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8 Database Consolidation Strategy Tips for DBAs

by Brian Prince

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Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

Forrester reported that about 30 percent of database consolidation projects fail because of poor planning. There should be goals in mind on exactly what you are trying to accomplish and metrics to track those goals, such as reducing the number of databases, database management systems and servers.

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Thinking Outside the Box

Forrester analyst Noel Yuhanna said enterprises should look beyond a single large SMP server for consolidation. Virtualization through server clustering and cloud computing is a good platform for consolidation. "After all, consolidation projects are all about re-using the infrastructure to its maximum potential. Private or public cloud[s] offer an on-demand infrastructure which makes it not only cost-effective, but also availability of additional resources to support any unforeseen increase in workload or data growth," he said.

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Standardization Is Key

Standardization is an important element of any consolidation project, and reduces operational costs and business risk. Standardization should be defined in concert with a strategy of tiered service levels.

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Application Decommissioning </b><br />'An application decommissioning initiative should be conducted alongside the database consolidation initiativ...

they are far easier to create than to decommission; this drives up operational complexity, business risk and cost. The cheapest and most straightforward consolidation approach is decommissioning."

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Test Applications Before Consolidation

"Many companies reported they ran into application- and data-related issues when they consolidated databases to a fewer number of servers, only to later realize that some clients could not connect without manual changes on their desktop, batch processes failed [and] application response time became worse than before. All applications should be tested, especially the critical ones to ensure that there is no impact on its functionality, performance, availability, integration and security," Forrester's Yuhanna said. "Do a parallel run with the new platform to ensure there are no unknown issues."

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Database Consolidation Is an Ongoing Process

Because it is driven by hardware refreshes and the evolving nature of businesses—which enter new markets and buy other companies—database consolidation is a continuous process, said Burton Group's Collins. "The supporting processes [e.g., application portfolio management and technology refresh] should be an integral part of the IT processes."

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Understand the Database Landscape

Businesses should develop a comprehensive application portfolio that details the relationship between database, application and business processes and the service level required by businesses process; the relationship between database and the supporting hardware as well as internal database structures, version and feature usage. Businesses should also have current and historical workload and usage statistics and forward-looking, capacity-planning data, Collins said.

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Licensed to Drive

Organizations should pay attention to special licensing terms with virtualized database servers. "We've seen many customers make mistakes in their licensing calculation for running Oracle on a virtual platform," said Pythian CTO Alex Gorbachev. "It often comes as a surprise that licensing rules make clients pay for the whole physical hardware rather than the small subset allocated to a virtual machine that is running database software. Know your platform and licensing schemes."

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