June - 2012 - issue > Technology
Raman Govindarajan
Friday, June 1, 2012
California based perfSYSTEMS is a provider of products, solutions and services in Database Security and Performance, PISO, Vulnerability Monitor, and IT Auditor. By leveraging their expertise in developing customized performance, security related products, database and Internet solutions, and large parallel server architectures, storage systems, the company helps their clients to build optimal, perfect and fast performing systems and solutions.

1. Challenges of Database Technologies

a. With the proliferation of web technologies, applications, and multimedia data types, emergence of newer applications like social media and mobile applications, the database sizes and transaction volumes are rising in alarming proportions. Also most corporate applications are data centric, and with databases supporting APIs from most platforms, and having an effective database (logical and physical) design is of utmost importance. Some of the key metrics in measuring the database maturity or effectiveness are: overall system and application stability (no downtimes), reasonable and industry standard performance levels like response times, industry standard security compliance, harmony of the database with the applications, operating systems, networking and storage systems etc.

However, from a purist's standpoint, a lot of large enterprises' databases have flaws in approach, architecture, design, choice of platforms etc, reflecting in difficulties in achieving the above goals. With powerful and adaptable hardware/software/database platforms and technologies, these flaws may not surface as noticeable problems upto a threshold size/tps levels. When the database sizes and tps increase, corporate run into many issues and hence their ROI and user satisfaction levels would be inadequate.

b. Lots of Organizations are still using archaic database methods like flat files, unsupported legacy systems and their applications, etc. Some rush to open source database platforms for obvious, cost reduction and faster implementation purposes. These platforms may not be scalable, and not support ACID properties especially for mission critical 24*7 applications. While on the short term they may appear economical, the long term costs may or may not be. c. Database Security is a huge issue, as lot of corporate data can be sensitive, and there is a lot of loss of data, due to internal and external threats.

2. How can one overcome these issues, and increase ROI with databases:

a. One has to start with using appropriate staffing models, choice database and hw/sw platforms architectures (using some of the now common strategies like virtualization, clustering, appropriate cloud computing methods etc) it is possible to provide appropriate support for corporate data, and other metrics such as acceptable performance level, comply with db security requirements, achieve minimal downtimes with fault-tolerance, disaster recovery etc.

b. There are many strategies and products for corporates to have secure database – to do compliance checks, and reporting, based on the industries' requirements and legislation. These products and services that help customers to have industry compliant secure databases, following appropriate compliance such as HIPPA, SOX, DISA, BASEL etc.

c. Old methods/architecture, tend to be expensive to maintain. These companies have to migrate to appropriate modern technologies, which might be many orders of magnitude cheaper, handle large volumes of data, and are more efficient to manage and for the users and their applications.

d. Also, many corporates see expenditure in data management as a cost item, and do not realize the importance that effective data processing with appropriate database technologies. First it (efficient data processing with databases, especially with database centric ERP systems) can result in more revenue generation (in efficient and faster order booking, tracking, optimal cost of delivery etc). Second, by storing historical corporate and demographical data in databases, they can make business decisions more scientifically, based on past patterns of consumer behavior, trends etc. Business analytics using data warehouses is gaining importance as one of the top growth areas in IT in recent years.

After all, Data is one of the most important corporate assets, and can emerge and grow naturally (in most cases without incremental costs of acquisition), it just requires appropriate maintenance and utilization, for providing effective incremental value and higher ROI to its owner.

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