One of the hallmarks of agility is the ability to quickly react to changing business conditions. As your business grows, your computing needs and employee base will change and expand. Being able to react adeptly and rapidly to modify your data center, applications and database systems to accommodate this changing environment requires an agile approach.
Assuring the agility of the data center encompasses many diverse and interconnected components, yet no one would argue that databases are at the core of today’s modern data center. As such, managing and administering database systems, resources and personnel in an agile way is imperative. Consider, for example, the DB2 for z/OS infrastructure.
Having an agile organization means being able to move forward fluidly without concern about the increasingly varied skillsets of your DBA team. Today’s DBAs are called upon frequently to manage multiple DBMS products, not just DB2. So the DBA is an expert at database administration tasks, but not necessarily at the exact mechanism for accomplishing those tasks on each DBMS under his control. An agile approach would focus on the role of the DBA and guide the DBA to the proper tools for conducting the desired administration task on each DBMS. Based on what needs to be done, the tool can enact the proper syntax and structure for successfully accomplishing the task. This way, the DBA can focus on the task of administering databases, instead of, for example, the nuances of coding the proper DDL, JCL and so on to implement the task.
An agile organization must be able to provide high-quality products and services to its customers amidst cost reduction efforts without interruption or performance degradation. Often, your use of the most current software can help ensure your performance is optimized and your resource utilization is maximized.
Consider the task of managing database change as applications are modified to react to evolving business requirements. Perhaps new data elements need to be added to existing DB2 tables, or maybe you need an entirely new table or database to enact the desired change. On the surface, the database change requirement sounds simple. But the DBA knows the “devil is in the details.”
You may be able to implement a database change with a simple ALTER statement. But it’s just as possible the change is only cached by the ALTER statement and completely implemented only later, when the database object is reorganized. Or perhaps the database change requires an even more invasive approach whereby objects are dropped and re-created. And each one of these approaches brings with it varying degrees of unavailability that need to be factored into the task at hand.
The agile approach to enacting database change involves automation. Change can be made much more quickly, with fewer errors and less downtime when intelligence is built into the DBA’s software toolkit. Why make the DBA research how to make each type of change and build the jobs to enact the change when an automated change and migration solution can be used to reduce the amount of time, effort and human error involved in the process? That’s agility in action!
Furthermore, in most shops, the DBA is a valuable, albeit rare, commodity. The experienced DBA resource isn’t in great supply, so the agile approach is to optimize the capabilities of the job through automation and tooling. Overworked and strained resources can be optimized by automated agility, thereby lowering the total cost of administration and delivering an intuitive, intelligent workspace to manage all elements of the database from one pane of glass that can be more easily mastered by less experienced employees.
To be agile, you must reduce risk to ensure longevity and optimal performance of your data center. This includes both adopting solutions that automate otherwise manual tasks and consolidating disparate solutions. It’s also important that you partner with a provider that has strength, stability and proven solutions. Agility can be quickly lost when software is no longer supported because a business has closed its doors.
The bottom line is that an agile approach to database administration can greatly improve an organization’s ability to react to changing business conditions and deliver high-quality service to your users. And that’s really what it’s all about.