Choosing the Right Remote DBA Partner

It is important to understand the capabilities of the Remote DBA services firm that you select to support your company’s mission- critical systems.

Not all firms are equal when it comes to delivering on promises for service levels, hours dedicated, background, and technical expertise.

In the table below, you will find 10 key questions to ask of a prospective Remote DBA services firm. We strongly recommend that you thoroughly examine the answers to these questions as well as answers to questions that are important to your company’s goals.

Questions to Ask Why is This Important?
1) What is the level of experience of the team members providing support? Since this is your mission-critical system, ensure that the Remote DBA team has a minimum level of experience. We recommend at least 5-7 years of Oracle experience combined with thorough and proven remote hands-on trouble shooting experience. Also, senior DBAs should perform monitoring activities to ensure that larger issues requiring escalation will not arise in the first place.
2) Will you work with specific professionals assigned to your company or will you be working with a “call center”? Receive the highest level of service with specific DBAs assigned to you. They will maintain ongoing familiarity with your systems. Without dedicated DBAs, there may be significant and unproductive time used to get new and inconsistent team members up to speed each time they become involved.
3) Will you have a dedicated senior DBA on your account A firm that provides you with front-line access to senior-level support will help you rest easy. Requests handled by a junior DBA and escalated to a senior DBA for major events take considerably longer to resolve than necessary.
4) Is the firm located in the US or another country? Does the firm outsource any of their monitoring or Support? Off-shoring may affect business hours that you receive services as well as the applicable laws that relate to managing your confidential information. In addition, ensure that communication style and methodology will meet your needs. Making sure that the people you are paying to do the work are the ones actually doing it.
5) What is the track record of the prospective firm? How long has the company been providing these services? You want the reassurance that the firm you work with is established, has long-standing customers and employees, and a proven reputation. Longevity is a sign that the firm has been successful in this line of work and their support of customers.
6) Can the company provide references? Reading endorsements, reference letters, and talking to a firm’s existing clients offers invaluable insights into how a prospective firm approaches technical and business issues.
7) What is the process for database monitoring, notification, and resolution? Look for a company that uses state-of-the-art tools and applications for Oracle systems support. Otherwise, they may not be able to provide the needed ongoing monitoring. Some use packaged 3rd party tools and others use proprietary tools. Proprietary tools have the flexibility to be enhanced based on your feedback and flexibility to monitor your customized metrics. While 3rd party tools may be very good they are not written by DBA’s specifically for remote DBA support.
8) Are the company’s monitoring and maintenance tools available to you? A strong indication that the firm is highly qualified is its willingness to offer your team access to their monitoring and management tools. Often the better firms have client web portals with client histories and robust reporting tools. If this is of interest to you, you should ask for a demonstration of the tools during your decision-making process.
9) What is the term of commitment that the Most remote DBA Providers call for a minimum one year commitment. However no matter how much you check you never know if you have really chosen the right partner. Find a company whose contracts are monthly so you know they are earning your business each month.
10) What type of collateral and technical information do they make available on the web? Review resources such as white papers and installation guides available on the firm’s website. These offer a view into the technical expertise, attention to detail, and communication style of the team.