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Understanding database scalability - a 101 guide

Posted by Andreas Hope on Nov 1, 2017 9:57:00 AM
Andreas Hope
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With businesses today handling more data than ever before, the need for large and scalable databases is continuing to increase. Across practically every industry in every country, organisations and businesses are using databases and scalable server solutions to record customer details, transactions and stock levels, as well as to provide services to their own staff and their clients.

And as companies grow, their need to store and process information increases, and so their database and its infrastructure need to scale with it. Here, we’ll explain the basics of database scalability to leave you with a clear idea of how it could affect your business.

Why Scalability Matters

Sooner or later, every expanding organisation will outgrow its current database and server setup. Whether they struggle with resourcing on local servers, the maintenance and reporting tools that they use can’t keep up with a rapidly increasing instance number, or they need to increase their cloud server resources to cope with higher loads, DBAs need server infrastructure that can be scaled with their business.

Scalability is the practice of having a system that can grow with an organisation, rather than one with rigid limits that can hinder growth. Making use of scalable tools and solutions gives companies the means to grow their IT systems in response to business expansion and allows them to adapt their systems to changing requirements.

With the ability to scale your database, your server instances, and the tools you use, you can gradually improve your infrastructure and allow yourself extra room to grow in the future, rather than setting hard limits on your expansion potential.

As the number of databases and servers operated by businesses continues to grow rapidly today, opting for scalability can also provide cost-saving benefits too. By choosing all-in-one scalable tools, a business can eliminate the need to continually reinvest in new software as their server infrastructure grows, cutting software licensing costs. Making use of one scalable tool over the lifetime of a business’s servers can also make staff training and induction easier and more affordable.

Scalability For Your Business

Making your business’s databases truly scalable is about more than just increasing available resources and adding new servers.

To be able to build a scalable system, and before you can begin increasing your resources, you need to put in place the tools to allow your team to monitor and manage your business’s servers no matter how large your database grows or how many instances it works across.

Many modern databases can be handled across very large numbers of server instances, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands. The right scalable tool should be able to monitor all of those instances without suffering from any performance degradations, providing your DBAs with fast access to even the largest databases.

The best tools, those designed to work on large scalable systems, will also have a user interface capable of handling those large amounts of information. With enormous databases being crucial for modern business, DBAs need quick access to vital information as well as the ability to produce reports easily, and tools with poorly designed UIs can hinder that.

Being able to see all of your database instances and all of the relevant information in one view can boost efficiency and productivity too, giving DBAs the total control that they need to do their jobs. Scalable management tools can also provide the control needed over database structure, including users and groups, and over security, supplying the necessary measures to maintain a secure controlled environment.

Beyond giving staff the control that they need over large databases, scalable monitoring and management tools can also provide a bridge between multiple server and database platforms and versions. Support for multiple platforms offers your business flexibility when it comes to choosing technology to work with and can help with continued expansion further in the future.

Many tools can also support your business both in an in-house server room setting and with cloud servers, providing resource monitoring and management across multiple platforms. Tools from dbWatch work both on and off premises and can support your business if you make use of the AWS or Azure clouds for your server needs.

Scalability is a hallmark of modern database management, giving DBAs the control they need in a fast-moving environment. With the resources and solutions in place that allow you to manage a rapidly growing system, your business can continue growing long into the future without fears about IT headroom.

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