I appreciated the positive feedback from attendees on our webcast “The ROI for Database Lifecycle Management Best Practices” (43:34). The message was on the benefits of automation, so while I would characterize the audience as having technical know-how, I wondered how interested they would be in ROI.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. DBAs can choose work based on which projects have the most payoff, so hearing about using Enterprise Manager to automate processes is a relevant topic. It’s better for the company for a couple of reasons, and as important, it’s better for the DBA’s career to be delivering higher-value business results instead of mostly lower-level maintenance tasks.
The proof is, well, in the proof.
We referred to the February 2020 Pique Solutions Report, titled; “The Value of Oracle Enterprise Manager for Managing Oracle Databases” to back up many of our business claims.
This report goes into the business value of implementing processes with Enterprise Manager ranging from rapid troubleshooting to using automation to deploy fixes, patches, and updates. It also covers proactive solutions including validating changes prior to deploying in production and other progressive processes like database as a service to speed development.
A cornerstone of the study from Pique Solutions are the detailed backgrounders and interviews they used to create the quantitative ROI analysis. It’s not easy to get this kind of data for decision making, and having it analyzed intelligently makes it really valuable for IT managers.
I encourage you to read the Pique Solutions report. It’s well researched, and well written. The ROI is itemized in detail. Some of the highlights are what you might expect;
So, you ask; What are the dollar benefits?
In addition to the point-in-time results we expect from an ROI study, Pique identified some growth patterns across those they interviewed, and by growth, I mean growth in maturity. As an organization masters quicker problem resolution and rapid reaction to needs, there can be more time spent on strategic initiatives. One pattern they highlight is a dynamic shift from reactive to proactive IT processes as the maturity of the organization advanced.
For DBAs, use this chart to think about your organization’s priorities and take this as guidance for your roadmap on new technical skills and processes worth adopting to enhance effectiveness and value to your organization.
In the lower-left corner of the diagram, nearly all companies using the Oracle Database use Enterprise Manager Diagnostics and Tuning packs as a core tool for reacting to problems or fixing performance issues. Having diagnostics and tuning capabilities integrated together makes for managing performance and reacting to problems, finding the root cause, and fixing it much faster and easier. From there, a common foundational capability is to move toward automation to scale capabilities and become more proactive.
The pattern Pique identified was the use of the Database Lifecycle Management Pack to increase automation and governance as organizations matured as shown in the top left of the chart. The idea being, by implementing repeatable standard processes, you can avoid problems in the first place and scale the jobs set up by DBAs. Typically, this meant organizations would reduce configuration sprawl, then set a small number of standard database versions, standard initializations, and standard sizes.
Then, with predictable and fewer configurations, adopting automation is more effective. In my insurance company case study, the DBA team could not keep current on patches and updates. Their strategy, reduce configuration sprawl, standardize, then automate the process. As it turns out, the updates conducted manually weren’t always successful, and by automating, the patching success rate went to 99%. The end result, fewer DBA people and hours able to keep current on patches on a quarterly basis. The business results are more secure and better service levels for the database platform.
Going back to the Pique chart, on the right-hand side, the study identified the use case for validating changes before implementing in production as an advanced and proactive process. The case study for adopting verification is a company averse to change, and wanting to have validation about performance before changes are released to production.
For Risk-Averse Companies, Validate
Finally, as an on-going process, validating changes before they go into production reduces unexpected results. The study pointed out some organizations are risk-averse, or strongly risk-averse. These companies adopted more thorough validation steps or processes, leveraging Real Application Testing to compare existing performance against proposed updates or patches before implementing in production environments.
Self-service for development teams
Bringing all the packages together, some companies identified priorities around speeding development by providing self-service database provisioning on demand. As you might expect, this is built leveraging automation and standards. It saves significant development elapsed time, and DBA manual effort provisioning and managing database environments for development teams.
I hope you benefit from the experience of others, as highlighted in this study. If you find this interesting, you may be interested in our webcast series, “Deep Dive Enterprise Manager Webcast Series”