The best practice guide to database scalability excellence

We’ve spoken before on our blog about the importance of database scalability to modern businesses. Companies can quite easily be held back by rigid databases and server setups, leading to higher costs, difficulty with future business, and reduced scope for further growth.

In this article, we’ll be looking at best practice for businesses currently, or in the planning stage of upgrading their IT infrastructure and moving towards greater scalability. From adequate testing and planning to putting the right tools and procedures in place, these tips should help you to transition smoothly into a scalable way of working and give your business the edge going forwards.

Here are our top best practices for database scalability:

Capacity Planning

One of the key reasons for a business using scalable technology is the continued growth in both database size and the number of instances needed.

Best practice for transitioning to a more scalable infrastructure is to properly analyse and plan out your capacity, both in terms of storage, performance, capability, redundancy and other resources. This means both looking at the required capacity of your servers today and in the future, and planning your new systems around that. Think about how much expansion you expect your business to experience in the coming years too, and plan accordingly - choosing both infrastructure and software that suit your requirements.

A lack of proper planning at this point could cost you in the future. Low resource capacity could lead to you needing to undergo this process again in the coming years, bringing more cost and disruption to your company.

Security First

Security should be a priority for any team looking at improving or expanding their businesses server equipment and databases.

From encryption and certification concerns through to full user access controls, it’s important that your team is able to maintain complete control over your database’s security at all times.

Key to this is having the right tools in place that allow complete controls over your database instances and will integrate with Active Directory and/or Kerberos. A strong role-based and/or group based access control regime will facilitate secure access to your data. It is possible that the existing tools you have in place, those used for managing a smaller database farm, won’t scale with the higher number of instances and users that you are now planning for - so don’t overlook a potential upgrade of your tools.

Adequate Monitoring

Just as with the security tools mentioned above, it’s vital that you consider putting the right monitoring tools in place during your scalable transition.

Monitoring tools are about more than just resource tracking - though that is a big feature. Having tools capable of monitoring across thousands of instances will also give you access to health checks, report production, real-time alerts and statistics, and load and performance data that will give you valuable insights necessary for performance optimisation, server consolidation, Oracle/SQL Server license optimisation and other procedures that should be considered routine in larger environments.

Again, it’s important to check whether you’re using tools that will work with your new systems. Many database monitoring tools aren’t able to monitor the large number of instances required by modern businesses, and some are tied to particular platforms or versions, restricting your options for growth in the future.

Whatever stage of your scalability journey you’re at - whether you’re only now at the planning phase or the transition is already in progress - these tips should help your business to move to a secure, reliable and scalable database in the future.

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