DBAs are known for their masterful ability to untangle complex systems–but that’s not to say that the massive growth in database types and data and the ever-increasing need for business agility haven’t made their jobs more challenging. Given the range of applications DBAs must now support and the acceleration of database and data growth, today’s DBAs are tasked with managing terabytes, if not petabytes, of data across on-premises and cloud–and these numbers will continue to grow. In fact, IDC analysts estimate that data volume will more than double every two years. 

So how can DBAs maintain protection and control over their environments, even as they evolve and the sheer volume of databases and data increases? How can they ensure rapid recovery of multi-terabyte databases in the event of a cyberattack? How are DBAs tackling increasing data governance regulations? And perhaps most top-of-mind, how can they minimize pain points associated with manual backups and scripting to free up time to focus on other strategic projects for the business? 

To answer these questions, I’ll walk through the biggest threats today’s DBAs ought to keep their eye on and how Rubrik can help them handle these challenges with the speed, efficiency, control, and security that their job demands.

What Are the Key Challenges Facing DBAs?

Managing and protecting a large number of databases at scale can be a challenge for any DBA. Adding to the pressure of their role, DBAs are expected to be in the know of the latest technology solutions, best practices for navigating database sprawl and data growth, operationalizing data for maximum ROI, and evolving requirements/regulations for storing and protecting large volumes of data. Some of the key data protection challenges that DBAs must prepare to face include:

  • Maintaining and managing existing backups: DBAs may be comfortable with building impeccable scripts, but the problem lies in maintaining and managing those across multiple databases, adapting to changes in topology, and ensuring compliance needs of the business are met indefinitely.  Thus, DBAs would prefer to offload database backups to a central backup system so that they can focus on running the database to meet the business application needs.
  • Managing database sprawl: DBAs are now expected to manage a range of databases with different types of data and varying data sets. If current trends are any indication, the number of databases DBAs are tasked with managing will only continue to rise. Many DBAs now manage up to 50 SQL Server databases and report spending an average of four hours a day dealing with issues that may arise within these servers. With multiple databases to check on regularly, DBAs are at higher risk of making preventable errors.
  • Accounting for Cloud: Cloud-based initiatives are changing the roles of DBAs. Modern DBAs must be experts in managing cloud-based databases, as well as understand how to integrate the cloud with existing onsite operations and data management systems. For example, using a cloud-based system makes the process of backing up a database simpler than creating physical backups and storing them onsite. However, DBAs still have to plan for these backups and implement automation to ensure they happen regularly.   
  • Serving the needs of secondary users: A typical day for a DBA doesn’t go by without a steady stream of requests from secondary users (developers, quality assurance teams, and analytics departments) who are looking to gain access to copies of production data for use cases such as testing, development, and ETL (extract, transform, load) workflows. The DBA needs to juggle managing the needs of different departments with protecting mission-critical databases serving the business. 
  • Backup Admin and DBA Divide: Backup administrators often handle the complete protection lifecycle of an organization’s applications, from the backup and restore to the compliance and governance policies set forth by the business. While a DBA may be open to delegating backup tasks to the backup administrator, the responsibility still falls on the DBA to build and maintain scripts as the database environment changes. There is a high chance of human error due to multiple stakeholders being involved.

How Does Rubrik Help DBAs Prepare for the Future?

The unique circumstances presented by the current landscape intensify the need for a solution that quickly and efficiently addresses the above challenges. Fortunately, Rubrik delivers a modern approach to data protection for industry-leading databases, saving DBAs time, and empowering them with control they need.

Automated Discovery and Protection
For organizations looking for a hands-off approach to database protection across their IT environment, Rubrik automates the discovery and protection of databases through the use of the Rubrik Backup Service (RBS) and SLA Domain Policies. RBS is a lightweight connector that auto-discovers all of the hosts, databases, and tablespaces within the environment.  Once the entire environment is discovered, DBAs can leverage Rubrik’s intelligent and automated SLA policy engine to create declarative policies that define backup frequency, retention duration, and desired location. After an SLA policy has been mapped, databases will be automatically protected, replicated, and archived as they are discovered, freeing up management time to focus on other strategic initiatives.

Flexible Recovery Options
When it comes to backup and recovery, DBAs often take great interest in managing recoveries, which can be a delicate process. In addition to automatically backing up their database workloads, Rubrik offers flexible recovery options in the event of database failure. Rubrik’s data management solution is built around recovery scenarios that DBAs perform on a day-to-day basis and provides options in support of both the mounting and copying files that range from Clone, Live Mount, Recover Production, Instant Recovery and even a file only option that gives DBAs complete control of the recovery process.   Rubrik allows DBAs to devote their precious time to other demanding tasks without worrying about database backups or relinquishing restore control.

Access to Self-Service
In addition to supporting near-zero RTOs, Rubrik Live Mount allows for the self-service of instant virtual clones without impacting production environments or requiring the need for additional storage.  DBAs commonly use Rubrik Live Mount to complete a variety of tasks, such as instant recovery, testing a patch or an upgrade, verifying data recoverability, running point-in-time queries and historical reports, and even just to meet ad hoc requests. Live Mount provides DBAs with instant access to the data they manage while freeing up time and accelerating development cycles. 

To find out more about how Rubrik can help DBAs prepare for the future and all the changes it is likely to bring, watch our on-demand webinar: Why DBAs Love Rubrik for Database Protection. This 10-minute product demo allows you to see the capabilities that our solution offers, presented by a Rubrik solutions architect.