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Approximate hours per month to monitor and maintain the health of MSSQL databases? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 9:48 AM
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Based on the description below on average how many hours a month would it take to monitor and maintain the MSSQL Server databases?

Desciption of IT infrastructure.
All Windows Servers and MSSQL Servers are up to date on patches and best practices.
Corporate site with 3 remote sites.
All remote sites have one DC and one MSSQL Server.
The corporate site has one MSSQL Server.
Replication is performed between the remote MSSQL databases and the corporate office MSSQL database.
There is no in-house DBA. All DBA services will have to be outsourced. I am trying to determine what is reasonable in budgeting for time involved for this service.

There is one project written in MS Access using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) with the backend residing on these databases. Any comments about the pros and cons of the programming languages used will be appreciated.

The question is on average approximately how many hours a month would it take to monitor and maintain the health of the MSSQL Servers database by a MSSQL DBA. The DBA will not have to create any user reporting, queries, etc. Just maintain the existing MSSQL Servers database.

Thank you in advance for any response.



Post #1590421
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 10:47 AM


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I'd say it depends on what else you expect from the individual or company providing you with the offsite monitoring services. Monitoring is just one aspect of what is needed. There is also the reporting requirements of the individual or company. What do you expect them to do if alerts fire. What type of response time will the individual or company have to respond to those alerts? What actions are the to take? Do they simply report them to you and you deal with the issue(s) or do they respond and deal with the issues?

Giving you a SWAG, if I were to make a very generic offer, maybe 2 hours per day, and that would actually be 7 days a week not 5 unless you don't care what happens over the weekend.

That doesn't cover responding to issues, nor include any response time to alerts.



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Post #1590433
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:05 AM
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Lynn:

Thank you for the fast response.

Here are the answers to your questions:

What do you expect them to do if alerts fire?
Resolve the issue.

What type of response time will the individual or company have to respond to those alerts?
There is no defined response time other than what is considered reasonable.

What actions are they to take?
Do they simply report them to you and you deal with the issue(s) or do they respond and deal with the issues?

They will be responsible to fix all issues that come up, apply patches, and keep best practices.

You said maybe 2 hours per day. Could you provide me with some idea as to what they would do during the two hours and why they would have to spend this time each day?

Thanks



Post #1590440
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:11 AM


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In addition to what Lynn has shared, the answer depends on:

how good the DBA is at automating things
are you willing to put into place and pay for a third-party monitoring package.
Do you expect the DBA to analyze and fix code if deadlocks are occurring?
Do you expect to the DBA to performance tune queries

Frankly, if all you expect is the DBA to keep things up and running, once monitoring is in place and tasks are automated I'd say less than 2 hours a day because for the most part they should be checking a dashboard in the morning that has no issues and then answering SSC questions the rest of the day.




Jack Corbett

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Post #1590442
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:35 AM
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Jack

Here are the answers to your questions.

How good is the DBA is at automating things?
Unknown at this point but supposedly very good.

Are you willing to put into place and pay for a third-party monitoring package.
A third party monitoring package is in place for the Windows Network but not specifically for SQL databases.

Do you expect the DBA to analyze and fix code if deadlocks are occurring?
No, the code if from a third party. Just notification that deadlocks are an issue.

Do you expect to the DBA to performance tune queries
No, this would be up to the third party that provides the application software.

What do you mean by "SSC questions"?

Could you provide me with some idea as to what the DBA would do during the day and why they would have to spend this time each day?

I noticed that you are an application developer. Do you have comments on the pros or cons of an application written in Access and Visual Basic for Applications using MSSQL as the backend database?

Thanks



Post #1590449
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:55 AM


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hmbtx (7/8/2014)

What do you mean by "SSC questions"?


Questions posted on SQLServerCentral


Could you provide me with some idea as to what the DBA would do during the day and why they would have to spend this time each day?


Based on what you have answered they wouldn't have to do a whole lot to keep 4 SQL Servers running. A DBA could be checking current performance against baselines, but that isn't something you'd do constantly. As I said in my first response. The DBA would come in the morning, check the dashboard they'd built to verify jobs ran successfully, backups are good (assuming automated restore processes are in place), and that there are no outstanding alerts. I'd be looking at longest running queries and tuning them, but you said those duties don't apply. They could research ways to speed up backups and reduce space.


I noticed that you are an application developer. Do you have comments on the pros or cons of an application written in Access and Visual Basic for Applications using MSSQL as the backend database?


It's been about 15 years since I worked with Access and VBA as a front end to SQL Server. It works, but I think you can get more flexibility and functionality by using a true development language like C# or VB.NET. Also you don't have to have a license for Access for every user if you use a .NET language. As with any application the way it is architected matters more than the actual platform used. You can write a really poorly performing application on any platform.




Jack Corbett

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Post #1590452
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:00 PM
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Jack:

Based on the updated information how many hours per day and how many days per week do you believe the DBA would have to spend in maintaining the databases?

Thanks



Post #1590456
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:42 PM


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It sounds as if you are considering outsourcing your DBA activities, and are trying to determine if their estimate / proposal is a fair one.

A few things to think about:
Almost any outsourcing has a minimum time proposal. It's simply not worth their time to enter into a contract for 2 hours a week. So, if they are proposing 20 hours per server per month, that is probably not out of line.

You should not be comparing the amount of work vs. the time estimate provided. The comparison is how much would a full time employee DBA cost vs. the outsourced DBA.

They should have also provided a "menu" of what they are going to do on an ongoing basis. For example, there may be a 24/7 monitoring department with a 15 minute response time when certain types of events occur. There is some real value to this, and if this what is offered, it is worth a bit more.

Also, you typically do not get a single DBA when you outsource. You get a team of DBA's, each with separate sets of expertise. Again, the comparison needs to be a full time DBA vs. the outsourced DBA. A single DBA cannot be an "expert" on every possible subject that may arise.

Good luck!



Michael L John
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Post #1590466
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:53 PM
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Michael:

Thank you for your response.

You are correct in that I am trying to determine if their estimate / proposal is a fair one. I should have been clearer in my initial posting.

You said that they should have also provided a "menu" of what they are going to do on an ongoing basis.

Do you have any suggestions as to what should be on their "menu"?

Thanks



Post #1590472
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 1:22 PM


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The questions are:
What EXACTLY are they going to do in this time?
Do you get an initial assessment?
Do they provide ongoing metrics about your servers?
Do they make recommendations based upon their findings without you asking for help?

If they simply say "we monitor", then you need to ask what they monitor, and what they do when something appears wrong.


You can probably just read it here.
http://www.rdx.com/
These folks are a DBA outsourcing firm.


Michael L John
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Post #1590484
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