DBA Outsourcing All Over the Place

May, 2020

Database administration outsourcing often leads to satisfied customers who save money. But despite that track record, the use of DBA service providers is not widely practiced. The last five years have shown that companies are having trouble deciding whether or not to outsource this function. We’ve seen large swings in the number of companies outsourcing their database administration with numbers as high as 38% and as low as 24%. Even in the face of outsourcing success, many companies are choosing to keep their database administration in-house. Perhaps this is because, as companies becoming increasingly data-driven, databases become the crown jewels for the organization.

As shown in Figure 2 from our full report, Database Administration Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience, 32% of companies are currently outsourcing their at least some of the database administration function. This is compared to 26% in 2018 and 34% in 2017. The five-year high was in 2015 when 38% of companies were outsourcing their at least some of the DBA function. We expect outsourcing of this function to fluctuate for some time. Cost and service success is positive, which generally leads to more companies outsourcing a given function. However, the database is mission critical for many enterprises, and that may lead them to shy away from outsourcing.

CE DatabaseAdministration Fig2 1030x687 - DBA Outsourcing All Over the Place

Databases sit at the heart of an organization’s business systems. A large part of safeguarding the integrity, reliability, and availability of those systems depends on proper maintenance and administration. Database administrators handle a variety of duties, including building, maintaining, securing, backing up, recovering, and tuning the performance of databases. To ensure that these responsibilities are fulfilled, organizations can turn to service providers for remote database administration resources.

“In addition to the strategic value of databases, SaaS has really held back increased database administration outsourcing,” said David Wagner, senior research director at Computer Economics, a research and analyst firm based in El Segundo, Calif. “In the SaaS model, the IT organization does not manage the infrastructure on which the database and application run. The entire DBA function is essentially bundled with the application service.”

We define IT outsourcing as contracting with a service provider to perform an IT function that is commonly performed in-house. This report does not use the term “outsourcing” as a synonym for “offshoring.” In fact, most outsourcing is done with domestic service providers. From the point of view of the IT organization, any function that is not performed by its IT staff is outsourced, regardless of whether the outsourcing is onshore, near-shore, or offshore.

To help IT executives understand their options, the full report examines adoption trends in database administration outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing database administration (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present success rates for the cost and service experience and show how these trends differ by organization size and sector. We conclude with recommendations for improving the effectiveness of database administration outsourcing.

This Research Byte is based on our report on this subject, Database Administration Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience. The full report is available at no charge for Avasant Research subscribers, or it may be purchased by non-subscribers directly from our website (click for pricing).