Administering a third-party solution that you purchased is trickier compared to handling one you developed and managed internally. Internal database solutions are usually developed for a generic set of customers with their needs in mind. When it comes to enterprise database administration, it is necessary now that you have to adopt third-party database platforms mostly to ensure the needed capacity, scalability, and functionality. To implement and use such databases in full, you must get all information related to it upfront.
Here we will discuss some key questions you need to ask before administering a third-party SQL server solution.
What are the support services needed, and what is the uptime expected for the application?
To architect an appropriate hosting plan, it is important to know the end-users needs and expectations. Answer to the above question offers the administrators a better insight to make decisions in terms of the storage platform, options for SQL high availability, and virtualization decisions while implementing technologies.
What are the dependencies on the SQL Server enterprise edition?
There are various features available in enterprise editions, and such features fluctuate between different SQL Server versions. There are, however, some limitations in terms of resources in the lesser SQL Server editions, which will come into play based on the requirements as to how the product is implemented. You may not be taking the full 256 GB RAM on the server on installing the Standard Edition SQL as the cap is 128GB for that edition. You need to know whether you may implement any lesser SQL edition or the full Enterprise Edition should be installed.
Which are the supported versions of MS SQL Server?
While considering the SQL Server edition, you should also be aware of the version of SQL Server. For example, many healthcare concerns stick to SQL 2008 or the 2008R2 version due to the need for FDA regulatory compliance. It is also important to check which SQL Server version is supported and the features for that version regarding the availability or limitations for that particular version.
Does it support virtualization?
As of late, the answer is most probably yes,’ but there may still be some limitations on this. In many cases, it can be taken as an opportunity with a software development company for learning. In some other cases, virtualization may not be the best solution, but you should know the virtualization support level.
Whether there are any SQL-centric products to be included in the architecture?
While dealing with an MS SQL server, you need to check if any of the implementations in the given use case need SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, CDC, Replication, Auditing, Full-Text Search Filestream, etc. If this is the case, it is important to know it upfront. Perhaps all this info collected can tell you that the database can be hosted on a shared SQL instance. You need to fully understand the landscape for every component needed on the SQL Server as you need to employ such products elsewhere in the data center. For this, you may also consult with expert data admin service providers like RemoteDBA.
Are there any security precautions that will limit the solution from functioning in a shared SQL Server environment?
Considering shared vs. dedicated SQL Server instances, restrictions to ensure security plays a crucial role in determining the resource allocation and performance. To determine this, you may ask some additional questions as below.
– Distribution- whether it is possible to separate the application components from the database layer?
– Are there any dependencies on the database and application being co-hosted in a server?
– Exclusivity – is it possible to host this solution on a shared or consolidated SQL instance?
– Users and logins – What server role requirements are there for the end-users and vendor tech support?
You need to fully know the rights to be assigned to the users am ultimately ensure that you follow a model in which only the least privileges are extended to database users to ensure security.
Does the database store or process any privileged data?
Credit card information, Patient Health Information (PHI), social security numbers, etc., are examples of the most privileged data to which the intruders are always trying to gain access. Based on the type of data you deal with, your industry and state may have some compliance standards to maintain while hosting various privileged data types in virtualized environments. So, the above question becomes crucial and the answer to which impacts your decisions regarding how and where your data is stored, what level of encryption to be applied, etc. These requirements come into play even when these applications process data temporarily, irrespective of whether data is stored inside SQL Server DB or not.
Are there any interfaces to manage the allied systems?
If it is there, you should ask about what processes are there to run this as ETL, HL7, APIs, etc. Also, check out whether the users are expected to build SSIS packages to let these systems communicate in the environment. Check if the necessary codes are provided to build this bridge. Also, consider what level of security needed for these processes and all. What security is required for these processes? All these questions and many more come into play when we have to make systems talk to each other.
What are the CPU requirements o for implementation?
While looking for vendor resources, you may be confronting a lot of confusing and contradictory information. When asking about CPU, you also need to know the resource recommendations like the chipset and which version of the CPUs to be allocated. You should be able to translate the vendors’ specifications to translate it to the infrastructure resources you have. Over-allocation of the CPU and resources may also be critical.
Once it is accomplished, you may not want to confront problems in the middle of the night as your database is slow. So, make sure that you have a clear answer for all such questions and a fair understanding of their requirements and specifications to ensure that your database implementation and security is optimized by ensuring the best return on investment.