CommitDBA

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Frequently Asked Questions

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CommitDBA FAQs

Quick Jump

General FAQs
CommitDBA Services FAQs
DBAManage FAQs
Foglight Monitoring FAQs


General FAQs

1. How can DBA services outsourcing help my organization?

Every company and organization has different IT and database service requirements. Many need additional enterprise database expertise, supplemental DBA support, assistance with key database projects, 24x7 database monitoring and a number of other DBA service needs. CommitDBA provides professional Database Services to meet all DBA service requirements. See CommitDBA Services FAQs for additional information.

2. We already have a DBA or DBA team. Why do I need DBA services?

Every company and organization has different IT and database service requirements. Many need additional enterprise database expertise, supplemental DBA support, assistance with key database projects, 24x7 database monitoring and a number of other DBA service needs. CommitDBA provides professional Database Services to meet all DBA service requirements. See CommitDBA Services FAQs for additional information.

3. Are there any security concerns with Managed Database Services?

At CommitDBA, we received a favorable report from a SOC 1-SSAE 16 Type II audit. This validates that we have the processes, procedures and security policies necessary to handle sensitive client data.

4. What about performing DBA service remotely?

Much has changed over the years with improved technologies, evolving database tools, robust mobile devices and other solutions that make remote services viable and secure. For more information, please see blog Remote DBA – The Top 5 Benefits That Make Remote DBA Practical.

5. How does a DBA with a Managed Database Service provider know if there are database problems?

With a robust database monitoring tool, CommitDBA has partnered with Quest Software, a leading provider of enterprise database tools in the market today. CommitDBA utilizes their Foglight and TOAD tools to provide proactive monitoring and alerting along with other DBA functions for optimal customer support. Please see the Foglight FAQ section for more information.

6. Can a Managed Database Service perform a database health check or assessment if we need one?

Yes, absolutely. A good services provider will have a comprehensive database assessment template which will produce an informative report based on severity and priority order. At CommitDBA, we have created a Top 10 Database Essentials baseline which provides a holistic and complete database assessment.



CommitDBA Services FAQs

7. What type of Database Services does CommitDBA provide?

CommitDBA provides a variety of professional DBA services which include DBAManage, Data Solutions, DBAOnCall, DBAProject and DBA Assessment. Each service model is designed to meet customer specific enterprise database requirements.

8. Do you have a Managed Database Service?

Yes, this is our premier service called DBAManage. The DBAManage service provides optimal DBA support covering over 200 in-scope tasks while utilizing an industry leading proactive database monitoring tool – Quest Foglight. For more detailed info, see CommitDBA Services FAQs section. For additional info on specialized managed database services, please see blog Database Managed Service Providers (DMSP).

9. What is DBAOnCall?

DBAOnCall is a retainer service for those who just want on-call services for reactive issues that occur within their database environments. While we recommend DBAManage for complete proactive support and monitoring, DBAOnCall is an option for those small organizations that just want reactive support for break/fix type of work.

10. What is DBAProject?

DBAProject is an on-demand service that provides a senior DBA for your specific database related project. Company strategic projects such as large database upgrades, disaster/recovery implementation, high availability integration and others require a dedicated senior DBA in order to meet on-time schedules and perform within budget.

11. What is a DBA Block of Hours?

A Block of Hours (BoH) is a pre-purchased pool of DBA hours for DBA support to use on-demand or as needed. This solution works mainly for organizations that need a DBA to work on projects periodically, remediate issues as needed and provide consulting input for database infrastructure challenges. Please note that the DBA Block of Hours is not a proactive (DBAManage) or emergency fix (DBAOnCall) service.

12. What is a DBA Assessment?

A DBA Assessment is typically performed before DBAManage service starts but can also be done separately to see how healthy your database actually is. CommitDBA has developed a database assessment template that lists the Top 10 issues per Database Instance listed in priority order. At the end of the Assessment is a scorecard ranking each Instance based on your data assurance level is 0 (non-existent), 5 (Optimized) or somewhere in between. Presentation of the Assessment is provided and a remediation plan established. For an in-depth look at what is covered in our Database Assessment, please see white paper Top 10 Database Essentials.

13. What Monitoring Tool does CommitDBA use?

CommitDBA has partnered with Quest Software to utilize best-in-class database monitoring and management tools - Foglight® and TOAD. Foglight is a best-in-class database monitoring tool that provides fast detection, diagnosis and quick resolution of database problems. Our DBAManage staff receive Foglight alarms 24x7 to remediate database issues as necessary based on the severity level of the exact database problem or issue. Please see Foglight FAQ Section for more information.

14. How Can I Know What Type of Services and Options fit My Organization?

We will work with you to come up with a strategic fit and solution for your organization. Once we gather your database support requirements a discussion with your staff will determine what database service options are best. In addition, we are able to adapt to hybrid solutions if required to meet your unique support requirements.

15. What is the Targeted Database Inventory (TDI)?

The TDI provides an accurate listing of servers and the number of database Instances to be supported by DBAManage™ service and the Foglight® monitoring tool. The TDI table also lists whether you want 24x7 or 12x5 support for each line item. The TDI lists only the systems and databases that we are authorized to access and monitor.

16. Can we add or subtract database Instances to the TDI after the contract has started?

Yes, this can be done as needed. A SOW Addendum will be added to the SOW reflecting the modification to the TDI and pricing accordingly. Please note that any foreseeable changes should be communicated as soon as possible in order to facilitate activities related to such changes.



DBAManage FAQs

17. How does DBAManage Work?

DBAManage is a premier remote database administration managed service which establishes a Primary and Secondary senior DBA to your account. The assigned DBAs become familiar with your unique database environment in detail so that can manage over 200 in-scope tasks effectively. A strong SLA provides key baseline and performance requirements to maintain optimal support. Proactive database monitoring runs 24x7 notifying the DBAs when a Foglight alert is initiated. Service Call Procedures (SCP) establish appropriate response times based on severity levels.

18. What is required for DBAManage startup?

A database assessment or discovery process is initiated with critical issues to be remediated before the start of DBAManage. For a detailed process roadmap, please see DBAManage Road Map page.

19. What is the In-Scope and Out-of-Scope List?

The Scope List is a detailed list of DBA work services/tasks that is either included (In-Scope) or not included (Out-of-Scope) in your monthly DBAManage™ services. Out-of-Scope work items are usually based on services outside of the DBA domain - e.g. server/network/application and large DBA projects such as upgrading a major version level of the database or database integration with software. The in-scope tasks are based upon the Top 10 Database Essentials that include such areas as database performance, high availability, backup & recovery along with the other essential coverages. We also provide all new and potential clients with a detailed in-scope PDF.

20. Is there a cap on the amount of hours per month available for In-Scope service items?

No. The DBAManage service is designed to provide optimal In-Scope service support for your database environment for a fixed price. We stabilize your environment and a cap is not required.

21. What if we have Projects that are Out-of-Scope?

You can purchase a block of hours for project work at a discounted price. Or if you are not on the DBAManage service, you can initiate DBAProject. We work with your staff to plan DBA projects out in advance. The advantage of DBAManage is that 90% to 100% of your database support needs (in-scope) are at a fixed rate per month and with planning, project costs can be defined and estimated at a discounted price.

22. Do you use offshore DBAs for after business hours support?

No, your primary or secondary DBA will respond. Our customers expect the highest level of professionalism and quality and the best way we can guarantee that is with our on-shore DBA resources supporting your mission critical databases.

23. How do your DBAs have access to our databases for after business hours support?

Our CommitDBA team utilizes the latest mobile technology available including the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for access anywhere and anytime.

24. Can you prove ROI with DBAManage?

Yes. We use a ROI sheet which shows cost savings based on your environment. You just provide us the information we need and we calculate the ROI and benefits of DBAManage.

25. Does the DBAManage have service standards?

Yes. CommitDBA has a 25 page Standards document that the DBA team must train with and sign-off on. CommitDBA also uses the ITIL framework for its operations and services support.

Foglight Monitoring FAQs

26. What is Foglight?

Foglight® is a best-in-class database monitoring tool that provides fast detection, diagnosis and resolution of database problems and issues proactively. Our DBAManage staff receives Foglight alarms 24x7 to remediate database issues as necessary based on the severity level of the exact database problem or issue. Our DBAManage standard package includes Foglight for (SQL Server and Oracle) which is bundled in with our services.

27. Who is the Foglight Vendor?

Quest Software is a leading provider of enterprise database tools in the market today. Ross Group (CommitDBA) is established with the Quest Partner Circle program and has been since May of 2012.

28. What does Foglight Specifically Monitor?

Our DBAManage service runs the Foglight tool suite for enterprise databases which runs proactively and can monitor hundreds of database thresholds in real-time. Although we focus on the most critical database thresholds to monitor, we can add other less critical alarms as needed. These thresholds are set and configured optimally based on best practice settings and past experience.

29. Do I need to purchase a Foglight license?

No. Ross Group (CommitDBA) has an established Service Provider Agreement (SPA) with Quest Software which provisions and grants us the license to install and use Foglight to our client base. Foglight comes bundled in with DBAManage services and is also used during database assessments. This saves you thousands of dollars in license and maintenance fees that you would normally pay for a best-in-class database monitoring tool like Foglight!

30. Another database service company said they also use Foglight tools. Is there any difference?

Yes, there very well could be. Only database solutions providers licensed in the Quest Service Provider (SP) program are allowed to install Foglight properly with the agents configured to run in your environment. Other firms may be resellers of Foglight products but are not authorized to install such tools at your location unless a license purchase has been done by your firm.

31. If we already have a database tool, can you use that instead?

Yes, it is possible, providing the tool is fully licensed by your organization and meets our CommitDBA standards for creating real-time alarms and other critical functionality. However, you would not receive our detailed Foglight monthly reports that are well defined and intuitive. In addition, we have established a baseline for the top and most critical database alarms and metrics for your environment running Foglight. It may take some time to configure your tool to provide the adequate alarms and reports for successful monitoring to meet our Service Level Agreement (SLA) requirements. This would require a Time and Material (T&M) project to administer the non-Foglight tool in order to meet our monitoring certification requirements.

32. Can we engage other Foglight monitoring agents beside what comes standard in DBAManage?

Yes, Ross Group (CommitDBA) is authorized for other Quest tools. For instance, Foglight Performance Analysis (PA) for SQL Server and Oracle provides historical database metrics over a period of time to view trends, capacity and scalability. Others include Foglight OS Management for deep operating system monitoring and Foglight Application Management for application monitoring.

33. Is Foglight installed at the CommitDBA site? Do we need hardware for our site?

For the CommitDBA location we have a Foglight Management Server (FMS) which communicates with the Foglight software that needs to be installed in your environment. The FMS server is located in a secure Tier 4 hosted Data Center and collects and stores the monitoring metrics from your database environment.

34. Our databases reside in the Cloud. Can you still provide DBAManage services?

Yes. We can establish the FMA agent locally at your site or a Ross Group hosted site and monitor and manage your Cloud databases just as if they were on premise.

35. How secure is our environment with Foglight installed?

The metric data is passed through the Foglight Agent Manager over port 443 (SSL). However, depending on the database type, one other port may be necessary to be opened. We can work with your network team to secure this through the firewalls with access-lists or a point-to-point tunnel. Only metric data is sent, no informational data.

36. We have PCI requirements. Is it secure enough for PCI?

When you open up the secured ports for data transfers, the firewall access list is restricted to the FMS external IP. No one else can discover that the port is open except the FMS server.

37. Is the Foglight data transferred encrypted?

Yes. The FMS uses the SSL_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_MD5 cipher suite (RSA, RC4, and MD5) for its communication with the FMA server.

38. Is there performance degradation with Foglight running?

No. The Foglight agent is lightweight. The agent queries the database then passes the quantified metrics on to our Foglight Management (FMA) Server seamlessly and efficiently.

39. Does Foglight collect data real-time?

Yes, there is no latency. Foglight version 5, which is the latest version, is a powerful performance management solution that creates data metrics in real-time and sends them back to our Foglight Management (FMA) Server.

40. Does Foglight monitor the database server?

Yes, to an extent. Foglight monitors basic server issues related to the database (e.g. CPU, Memory, Disk Utilization, and Network bandwidth). For sophisticated server and OS monitoring, please discuss with your CommitDBA Business Relationship Manager (BRM) about adding the Foglight OS Management cartridge to your DBAManage services.

41. How is the CommitDBA team notified when there is a database issue or problem?

Foglight produces database Alarms which notify your Primary and Secondary DBA of an issue. We have narrowed down the highest priority Alarms for SQL Server and Oracle and focus on the most important metrics for each.

42. Do we get monthly Foglight reports?

Yes. These reports are bundled and sent out weekly or monthly to your team. Your assigned Primary or Secondary DBA is available to discuss the reports in detail.

43. Do we get summary reports?

Your organization normally receives quarterly or bi-yearly summary reports depending on your DBAManage contract terms. A scheduled call is arranged between your primary DBA along with the DBAManage service manager and your staff to go over the report details.

44. What is TOAD used for?

The Quest TOAD tool has been around for over 15 years and is an industry leader for Database Administration features. We primarily use TOAD to diagnose complex queries running on your databases that take too long to retrieve results, are inefficient or can be constructed more optimally.

45. Can we request a Foglight or TOAD demo?

Yes. Please check with a CommitDBA Business Relationship Manager (BRM) to discuss implementing these tools into your environment or to discuss setting up a Foglight demo.