Series: Architecting A Database Archiving Solution Final Part 5: Data Growth Assessments

As a final part of our series, Architecting A Database Archiving Solution, we will review a process I use to assess a client’s existing Total Cost of Ownership of their database application and how to justify a database archiving solution. The key metrics I begin with are listed below and explained:

  • Database size and growth rate – in order to measure the benefit of a database archiving solution, you need to understand the current database size and projected growth rate.  If the storage team has a cost per GB measure you can use that to calculate storage cost (which is an added bonus).
  • Number of production copies – the production database isn’t the only environment that consumes IT resources.  For every copy of production, you need to identify which instances grow with production, which ones may be snapshot copies or subsets.  Don’t forget any Disaster Recovery or disk-based backup copies.
  • Ongoing maintenance costs – time is money.  How long does it take to complete standard maintenance tasks? What is your maintenance window and how many hours are dedicated to conducting backups, trial restores, applying patches? Take a benchmark of what those maintenance activities are costing your organization.
  • Resource utilization – how many people are assigned to supporting your production and production database copies? Where are they spending a majority of their time? Are they constantly performance tuning reports and queries associated with the largest database tables? What percentage of your key resources is allocated to working on strategic projects versus keeping the lights on the existing functionality?

Each of these metrics can be collected, analyzed and used to calculate current Total Cost of Ownership. A cost-benefit-analysis that justifies a database archiving project needs to compare current and forecasted TCO with and without a database archiving solution.  In absence of a full-blown detailed data retention analysis, make a few gross assumptions that can get you close enough to make a first pass go/no-go decision such as % storage reduction, % reduction of maintenance costs, % improvement in resource utilization. Take advantage of vendor services if you need a more accurate assessment – for more detailed results, expect to pay a token for those services.
If your company is feeling the pain, engaging in a TCO analysis is well worth the effort.
Julie Lockner, Founder, www.CentricInfo.com

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