In part 1, we talked about the cost reduction benefits that remote DBA service providers offer customers. In part 2 of the Remote DBA Benefits Comparison Series, we’ll discuss the continuity and quality of service and support flexibility benefits customers experience when utilizing a remote DBA service provider. We’ll also compare these benefits to in-house and consulting alternatives.

Continuity and Quality of Support - Guaranteed

nce you have the employee on your staff, you then need to worry about retention. DBAs are often considered to be “migratory workers” in many shops. Quality of life for administrators is important to their longevity – you usually can’t have just one as you need a backup to ensure continuity of service. Long hours, after hours, and on-call support responsibilities combine to make many managers wonder about the potential impact of a critical employee loss.

One of the more common requests we have from customers is to augment their internal staff to improve their quality of life.  Our supplemental support contracts are designed to free up our customers’ internal resources to work on higher ROI projects that increase revenue, improve customer experience, increase internal staff productivity as well as numerous strategic IT initiatives.

RDX is often asked to provide assistance that ranges the support spectrum - from day-to-day support and assuming total ownership of off-hour on-call to advanced database tuning and architecture design. RDX customers want custom-designed service delivery packages that free up their internal resources to work on higher ROI activities and improve their quality of life.

Remote services contracts come with continuity of service - guaranteed.  It is a standard part of the offering.  RDX Primary DBAs automatically come with assigned secondary support professionals who intimately know our customers’ environments. RDX customers never have to worry about employee turnover or finding coverage for sick, vacation and training days. Our personnel are there when you need them -  all the time.

In addition, you can’t guarantee quality of service for most consultants and employees. As a remote services provider, we are well aware that our customers will hold us to a very high standard.  We know that guaranteeing high-quality support is a critical factor in our customers’ evaluations.

Customers are able to craft a set of service level agreements that helps them to enforce service quality.  Let’s start with a very basic example: response times. All RDX contracts come with a 15-minute (in your system working) response time to all critical issues.  We then work with each customer to agree upon service quality, uptimes, performance and penalties for poor performance, all of which are customizable by the customer during negotiations.

What is important to note is that most remote services providers like RDX are always willing to contractually guarantee the quality of services they provide.  During my career as an employee or consultant, I’ve never received an offer letter from my future employer that contained service quality guarantees.

As a remote services provider, we do have to be careful about being held responsible for events that occur outside of our control.  For example, if one of our customer’s OS admins crashes a server that we provide database support for, we include language that protects us from financial penalties.  But, this isn’t usually something that causes the customer much concern as they understand that service providers can’t’ be held responsible for events outside of their responsibility matrix.

In addition, as a competitor in the remote services space, we understand that our customers require demonstrable proof about the quality of service we provide and the security of our environment.  RDX’s service delivery engine is SSAE16 SOC1 Type II certified for service quality, and the security of its service delivery architecture is supported by third-party PCI-DSS compliance audit attestations.

Flexible, Scalable Services

We touched upon the flexibility of the services that remote services providers offer.  But this critical comparison point warrants further evaluation. RDX’s flexible offering allows our customers to tailor a monitoring and administrative service package that meets their unique needs. RDX service packages range from assuming total ownership of the customer’s entire environment to supplemental service offerings designed to augment their internal staff. RDX can handle everything – from daily administration and change management activities to highly available architecture design.

We have customers routinely state, “We want your team to assume 100% ownership of these environments. My staff will continue to administer these, but I want your team to take over after hour, on call and I have these two environments that we just can’t seem to get to run as fast as we would like.  So, you’ll need to tune those environments pretty quickly.  And I’d like to have your staff help us build a 10-node cluster as we don’t have the deep-dive expertise on-staff that we need to do that.”  Requests like this don’t come as a surprise to us.  Our customers want to choose just the services they need, when they need them.

Certainly onsite consultants and employees can be hired to perform a very specific set of support activities, but needs change.  One of the only constants in the IT support profession is change itself.  During my tenure working for other firms, I have had numerous development and business unit managers pop into my office and state, “We found a great software package that really meets our needs, but it runs on “XXX” database.  We checked to see if it can run on our current tech stack, but it doesn’t. Can you help?”   Regardless if my unit was involved in the product comparison or not (I always reinforced the need for DBA units to participate in product evaluations during my career), I felt it was my unit’s responsibility to support the business.

Organizations can’t ask an employee or onsite consultant that supports SQL Server, for example, to double their hours over the next 3 months in order to work on a new MongoDB environment that needs building  You may get lucky to have that person know both products, but with remote service providers like RDX, customers are able to easily scale contracts to meet fluctuating workloads and add new environments and database products to be supported by simply creating a ticket in our work request portal. Thanks for reading.In part 3,we’ll discuss the collective knowledge and subject matter expertise remote DBA service providers offer.