3 Reasons to Assess Your Company’s Data Infrastructure

A business’ data can impact an organization’s sales, productivity, efficiency, and much more. As companies look to get more out of their data from a business intelligence perspective, it is often advisable to first take a look at the infrastructure that is meant to support that data.

There are typically three reasons why a company would want to assess an existing SQL environment.

Assessments for Discovery

There are times where no discernible issues exist, but you are instead looking to assess your environment to ensure that everything is running well and is set up correctly. This could be done as a precautionary measure to make sure no problems are lurking undetected, waiting to make themselves known at some inopportune time later.

Another reason for an Assessment for Discovery engagement is because of a staffing change at your company. If you’ve joined a new organization or have taken over the management of a SQL database environment, having a Certified SQL Master review that environment before you become fully responsible for it is a good first move.

Assessments to Remedy

In these cases, there are specific issues that you have identified and have, as of yet, been unable to address. A comprehensive SQL Infrastructure assessment will help you determine if any additional issues may be present while also establishing a plan to remedy these problems before they can further impact your business.

In the case of Assessment to Remedy engagements, it is often advisable to work with an organization that cannot only assess the issues and develop a remediation plan, but one that can also execute on those recommendations and work with you to establish a long-term plan for your SQL environment.

Architecture Changes

When you are planning an upgrade to your architecture or are migrating, implementing, or building something new that your existing infrastructure must support, that is a good time for an assessment of that environment.

In these instances, you are not only checking to make sure that the infrastructure is running well and set up properly, you are also looking to determine whether the infrastructure will support the changes you are planning. These assessments can help you decide whether any middleware will need to be developed to accomplish your goals or if any other integration steps should be taken.

What You Should Be Looking For

Regardless of the reason for your SQL infrastructure assessment, there are 7 key focus areas that you should be looking to evaluate. These include:

  1. Performance and optimization – How is the environment working now and are there any optimizations that could be performed so that it runs more efficiently? Look at utilization and optimization for CPUs, memory, IO, network, and queries.
  2. Availability – Is the environment available as needed or are issues causing unplanned downtime? Look at hardware resiliency and physical protection as well as integrity, backup, patching, and recovery.
  3. Security – Are appropriate security measures in place and working properly? Depending on the type of data your business works with, security concerns could be a major area of focus for your environment. This would also include a look at auditing and anti-virus.
  4. Operational – How are you leveraging the SQL toolset, monitoring the environment, and what alerts have been set?
  5. Maintenance – What does your routine maintenance schedule look like and how are you currently addressing common environment issues?
  6. Design – The design of the database and the queries should be evaluated, as well as the SQL features that are being used and how they are being used.
  7. Business Intelligence – What integration, analysis, and reporting services are in place and which ones may be missing from your environment? You would also want to take a look at any additional tools or services that you are using in your infrastructure.

The Business Benefits of Infrastructure Assessments

Every organization has data and in most organizations, that data is a source of untapped potential. How your company analyzes and reports on your data is important, but oftentimes the business intelligence aspects of data are given all the attention while the underlying architecture is ignored.

Analyzing data to identify better ways to market and sell can increase your sales, but improving efficiency and productivity through discoveries made through an infrastructure assessment can have an equally positive impact on your bottom line. Taking it a step further, when infrastructure improvements resulting from a comprehensive assessment help your organization increase efficiency and productivity, and those same improvements allow you to analyze and report on your data even more effectively than before, you have a well-rounded approach to your business data and the infrastructure in place to support them.

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