DBA Outsourcing Moderately Successful But Slow Growing

November, 2015

Database administration outsourcing can help organizations handle growing database responsibilities, especially when IT budgets are tight or when needed expertise is in short supply. However, this form of outsourcing is not a widely embraced strategy today and it is growing slowly compared to other outsourcing services we track.

As shown in Figure 1 from our study, Database Administration Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience, this practice gets a low rating for both the percentage of organizations using DBA services (frequency), and the percentage of total work being outsourced (level). The profile chart compares the outsourcing activity against 11 other IT functions and rates them on a relative scale.

Out DBA fig 1 - DBA Outsourcing Moderately Successful But Slow Growing

The next two profile items, net growth trend and volatility, highlight the current trend among organizations that are outsourcing the function. The net growth trend is the number of customers that plan to increase the amount of database administration work given to outside service providers, minus the percentage that plan to decrease the amount of work outsourced. In relative terms, the outsourcing of this function is very low.

The volatility is a measure of the percentage of organizations changing the amount of work they outsource, regardless of whether the change is up or down. There is little change in the outsourcing of this function. Few customers are contemplating changing their current level of database administration outsourcing either up or down.

The final two profile items, cost success and service success, describe the experience customers have with outsourcing this function relative to other IT functions in our study. We find IT organizations experience a moderate level of success in lowering costs when outsourcing database administration services. At the same time, the percentage of organizations that find outsourcing improves service is also moderate.

Databases are central to IT functionality. All organizations depend on databases of competitive and proprietary information to interact effectively with customers, partners, and suppliers. To ensure their databases continue to operate at top efficiency, organizations can turn to outside service providers for remote database administration resources. These resources can involve the installation, configuration, upgrading, administration, maintenance, and monitoring of these critical organizational databases.

Generally, database administration outsourcing does not include code development or application maintenance. Most remote work is performed off-site, although supplemental on-site database personnel can be employed. In addition, most database administration outsourcing involves monitoring database instances running in either the client’s data center or a third-party data center, although some database service firms provide complete outsourcing services, including hosting their clients’ database systems.

Database administration outsourcing provides supplemental expertise for the maintenance and support of operational databases, often outside normal business hours. A remote database service provider on the most basic level monitors and maintains the operations of an organization’s database or databases (known as instances), and ensures that critical parameters are maintained and performance goals met. Remote database administrators react to negative situations, such as database alerts, and attempt to resolve database problems.

While often considered a solution for smaller organizations, large organizations use these services as frequently as small organizations today. Our study shows IT organizations are having moderate success in reducing cost and improving service levels through outsourcing, but the experience is not positive enough to spur much growth in the use of these services.

To help IT executives understand their options, the full study 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. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector.

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