Role of DBA while moving to Amazon RDS

By 25th September 2018Amazon RDS

Cloud DBAs are undergoing huge challenges every day to deliver value across a variety of facets. A business’s goals are to understand the data gathered to better the business, reduce costs, increase revenue, and deliver improvement and results. DBAs are spending most of the time each day installing software, preparing systems, or any number of redundant tasks, while losing focus leaves less time to work toward actual business goals.

As a DBA, activities include capacity planning, create databases, and install software as well as in understanding the growth patterns of the data to plan for future storage requirements. Your DBAs probably evaluate and apply patches, upgrade point release database software, and perform backups. Go to great lengths to set up and manage HA systems that can meet steep Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) SLAs. The work of database creation, configuration, backups, patching, upgrades, and DR can be time consuming and repetitive. And some of this work is performed during off hours to prevent interference with running production systems.

DBAs are also asked to control access to the database, help application teams draft and apply changes to database structures, and perform reactive and proactive performance tuning. The more time you spend performing proactive tuning and application improvement generally makes the business systems run faster and better. Too often, these improvements take a back seat to the day-to-day managing of the database itself. The business might have to wait for available DBA time to get new features and functionality

Amazon RDS value

Amazon RDS makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks, such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups. It frees to focus on your applications, so you can give them the fast performance, high availability, security, and compatibility that they need.

Amazon RDS DBA role

Amazon RDS flips the role around, so you spend only a fraction of your time on routine management tasks. This leaves the rest of your time for aligning your work more closely with the business and value derived from the data assets that you manage. You can then focus on application teams and end users—helping deliver new features, functionality, and proactive tuning value to the core business.

Role of DBA while moving to Amazon RDS

Platform

Creating a highly available system with minimal RPO is difficult to do correctly. When you provision a Multi-AZ DB instance, high availability is baked in. Amazon RDS automatically creates a primary DB instance and synchronously replicates the data to a standby instance in a different Availability Zone. Each Availability Zone runs on its own physically distinct, independent infrastructure and is engineered to be highly reliable. In case of an infrastructure failure, Amazon RDS performs an automatic failover to the standby or replica so that you can resume database operations as soon as the failover is complete. This important recovery functionality no longer requires an enormous investment in setup and management on the part of DBAs.

Note: If your client application caches the Domain Name Service (DNS) data, set a time-to-live (TTL) value of less than 30 seconds because the underlying IP address of a DB instance can change after a failover.

Although the amount of platform work in Amazon RDS is greatly reduced, there are still few tasks that a DBA performs. DBAs still might occasionally need to take explicit action to restore your database to another environment or restore it from a logical corruption. The Amazon RDS automated backup feature delivers point-in-time recovery (PITR), which makes this restore process easy for the DBA. Now the role is to take fast, targeted action to initiate the restore and perhaps manage table recovery. For more information about point-in-time recovery, see Restoring a DB Instance to a Specified Time in the Amazon RDS documentation.

Another example of a platform task is tracking license compliance, depending on whether you have a license-included model or a Bring Your Own License model. You can find details about Microsoft SQL Server license options and Oracle license options in the Amazon RDS documentation.

Access

One of the key roles of a DBA is to implement the corporate security policy in the database to protect against accidental or malicious destruction of data. When using Amazon RDS, DBAs role in managing database access through users, privileges, roles, and profiles remains the same. Continue to enable users to connect to the database to access objects and data securely.

Note: For additional data protection, can choose to encrypt the RDS DB instance and snapshots using industry standard AES-256 encryption algorithm. RDS SQL Server and Oracle DB instances also support Transparent Data Encryption (TDE).

Monitoring

In Amazon RDS, the database log files are still exposed. But instead of connecting to the host to get to the logs, DBAs access the console or the AWS CLI. To view the log data on the console, choose one of RDS instances and choose Logs to open the list of log files for that instance.

Amazon RDS exposes a significant number of events, which are grouped into categories that your cloud DBA can subscribe to using the console, AWS CLI, or API. Then notified when an event in that category occurs. Can subscribe to an event category for a DB instance, DB cluster, DB snapshot, DB cluster snapshot, DB security group, or DB parameter group. If subscribed to the Backup category for a given DB instance, you are notified whenever a backup-related event occurs that affects the DB instance. Will also receive notification when an event notification subscription changes.

Database

Each proprietary instance on premises has important mechanisms for configuring the database. In Oracle, we can change initialization files on the host database. In SQL Server, its possible to change settings through the SQL Server Management Studio. In Amazon RDS, we manage the configuration of each database engines through a parameter group with database parameters that is set or change using the Amazon RDS console, AWS CLI, or API. Once established a common set of parameters, re-use that parameter group across multiple database instances.

Some DB engines offer additional features that make it easier to manage data and databases or provide additional security. In on-premises environments, generally add features by installing or patching. Amazon RDS uses option groups to enable and configure these features. An option group can specify features, called options, that are available for a particular RDS DB instance. Options can have settings that specify how the option works. When associating a DB instance with an option group, the specified options and option settings are enabled for that DB instance. Set or make changes to options and option groups using the Amazon RDS console, AWS CLI, or API.

Application

Business and application teams look to the DBA or database developer to put together and manipulate data for efficiency using smart techniques. The better they are at this and the more time allotted to understanding the data that is being stored, the more value they can bring to the business. In on-premises environments, too often DBAs don’t have much time to devote to your application teams for advice. DBA involvement can become either a bottleneck or an afterthought.

If you use Amazon RDS, time is available to spend with application teams to focus on protecting an important asset—the data. Working with teams on automating database changes in line with the application changes. Database changes are tricky. By suggesting optimizations and getting ahead of issues before they get to production, DBAs can add value to the business and help prevent rework and rollbacks. For a DBA, instead of managing the infrastructure, it’s now possible to manage more of the business.

Conclusion

There is no question that management of data affects the bottom line of your business. However, it’s unlikely that spending lots of time in the Platform category is helping your business deliver more features, reduce project time, or lower your budget. The biggest value add to the business is in providing end users and applications access to your data quickly and efficiently.

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