How to reduce database management costs

Our health IT databases, like in most other industries, are growing fast and sometime out of control. Every time we turn around there’s another database vendor, small access database, a big Excel file, or embedded database to contend with. Here are some quick but not easy ways to analyze and reduce your database costs:

  • Virtualization — instead of putting everything on physical servers, use tools like VMware and Microsoft Virtual Server to store multiple vendor database servers onto a single physical server. This will save management costs in the primary environment and will simplify disaster recovery.
  • Consolidate — consolidate servers and pay less money for each instance. By moving multiple databases onto the same logical database instance you can reduce licensing costs.
  • Standardize — instead of using different database vendors, try moving to fewer. This one is tough but will have the biggest payout.
  • Open Source — if you’re able to standardize, try standardizing on open source databases like MySQL, Postgres, and Enterprise DB. Enterprise DB is the most interesting for Oracle folks since that open source database touts its compatibility with Oracle. Don’t let the commercial vendors scare you away from Open Source databases — the open source vendors have been supporting some of the world’s largest databases in heavy production usage for years. They are ready for your workload, too.
  • Automate — decrease the cost of managing lots of databases by automating monitoring and maintenance tasks. I still can believe how many database shops I run into where the DBA’s still do things manually instead of scripting everything.

In a future posting I’ll talk about how to get those pesky Microsoft Access and Excel databases under control.

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