Category Archives: Art of BI

7 Signs Your Company Needs Database Consulting Services

Today, most business leaders know that leveraging data drives business results. Maintaining, organizing, and securing data is becoming more difficult, but it is also more important than ever before. The number of data sources is multiplying and there’s a greater need to integrate that data to create a picture of reality that will help grow a business. As a result, many companies are using database consulting services to help them meet this challenge.

The question many business leaders are struggling with is, “Should we outsource our database administration?” If you’re asking yourself that question, consider the warning signs that indicate your company can benefit from database consulting services.

What is Database Consulting?

Database consulting can take many forms. You might hire a database consultant to supplement your existing staff in completing daily maintenance tasks. In some situations, the database consultant will perform high-level tasks that require a database administrator (DBA) with a long history of designing and planning database architecture.

The best firms provide a wide range of database consulting services, depending on your needs. They should be able to provide DBAs with different areas of expertise and provide coverage at different times of day to help you cover a 24x7 operation.

When to Consider Seeking Out Database Consulting Services

  1. Your database to do list is growing rapidly

    Customer service wants to add a new column to their database, the warehouse wants to update the inventory tracking system, and the senior executives want a new way to gather business intelligence. If you’re buried in new requests and don’t have the staff to satisfy everyone in a reasonable timeframe, you know you could use additional database support power.

    When you acquire database consulting services, you’ll get the resources you need to keep your systems running at peak efficiency and you’ll also have more band width to address a growing to do list.

  2. You’re having problems finding qualified staff

    A February 2020 survey found that 69 percent of employers were having problems finding qualified staff. That statistic has tripled over the last 10 years. At the end of 2019, other experts reported that the most difficult people to find are security analysts, data research scientists, and database administrators. There may be more DBA candidates in the job market after the COVID-19 pandemic, but many companies aren’t in a position to increase their staffing.

    And, what will you do when your Mainframe DBA retires? A technology with a long history typically has experienced DBAs managing it who are planning to retire in the near future. If you’re having trouble finding qualified staff, the problem is only going to get worse. Working with a database consulting firm offers you the expertise you need at a cost much lower than bringing on a new hire.

  3. You need to address innovative projects, but you don’t have the expertise in-house

    Many projects that take advantage of leading-edge technology also need highly experienced DBAs. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, you may consider hiring. But, if you don’t have the work to keep a DBA busy on a regular basis, hiring may not be your best alternative.

    This is another perfect time to hire a database consulting firm that can provide you with the specific expertise you need to complete special projects.

  4. Your best DBAs are busy with maintenance tasks

    Some companies run into the problem of having an experienced DBA on staff, but that person ends up spending much of their time putting out fires, deploying changes and doing maintenance tasks. It’s easy to fall into that situation because it’s usually the result of a loop that’s difficult to get out of.

    The loop starts when your DBA must increase the number of low-level tasks they need to address. Then, the database stops running as effectively because the DBA doesn’t have time to do things such as performance tuning, index optimization and capacity planning.. Therefore, the DBA has to do more reactive types of tasks and that delays getting to the proactive work, which causes more maintenance work.

    Database consulting firms offer DBAs at various levels of expertise. If you get additional manpower to handle maintenance, you won’t need to pay for a senior DBA, and it will free up your own staff members to do more value-added work. In addition, your entire organization will benefit from systems that run efficiently.

  5. You’re losing experienced DBAs who want more challenge at work

    Most experienced DBAs want to do the type of work that will challenge them and let them demonstrate their value to the organization. If your experienced DBA is stuck doing low-level work, such as reacting to backup failures and other mundane tasks, they will often decide to seek out other opportunities.

    In this situation, you have two problems. First, you need to hire a less-experienced administrator to do maintenance. Second, you need to hire a replacement for the experienced DBA who has left the organization. A database consulting partner can help you solve both of those problems.

  6. You’re afraid you’ll lose valued employees who are tired of putting out fires in the middle of the night

    If you don’t have experienced DBAs to work all shifts, your DBAs are going to be roused in the middle of the night when there’s a problem that your people at work can’t fix. With the shortage of talent in the industry, DBAs often know they can find another job where they won’t get the midnight emergency calls.

    Partnering with a database consulting firm can provide 24x7x365 support for your systems and let your DBAs avoid falling asleep at their desks and looking for other opportunities.

  7. You need to increase productivity

    You’ve made a significant investment in your company’s mission-critical systems. If they aren’t running well, you’re not getting a return on your investment. If your staff doesn’t have the knowledge and skills to manage the network, or if your IT staff is overworked, your systems are vulnerable to inefficiency and unreliability. That’s not only a burden for IT. The entire business suffers.

    Further, cloud technology and the digital workplace are going to provide a wide range of capabilities that will keep your business competitive. As the DBA role expands, they’ll be the people who know what data you have, and you’ll need them to help you make sense of it and develop the applications you’ll need to utilize it.

    Bringing in the right level of expertise from a database consulting service is the key to making sure that you meet your business growth goals without breaking the budget.

Get Customized Database Support and Consulting Services

Datavail can offer you database consulting services that we customize for your specific needs. We offer flexibility in terms of the level of expertise you need, and the service delivery alternative that solves your problems.

You may need a DBA, architect, database developer, or someone to take over your low-level database tasks. We can provide consultants with various levels of expertise for a short-term project, a project of undefined duration, or consultants who can integrate into your staff for a long-term project. In addition, our consultants can work onsite or offsite, and are located onshore and offshore. Offshore consultants are particularly beneficial when you need to staff second or third shifts.

For more information, visit our Database Consulting solutions page.

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Harnessing Oracle’s ADW with a Dedicated DBA

At only two years old, Oracle’s Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) continues to reward early adopters with faster deployments for far less money than they were paying before. This family of self-driving, -repairing, and -securing cloud services leverages automation and machine learning to speed processing, eliminate errors, and relieve human effort to focus on more critical tasks.

And far from reducing the need for a Database Administrator (DBA), the ADW provides tools and capacities that elevate the value of a dedicated DBA far beyond their traditional role.

Here are three reasons why Oracle’s ADW and your DBA are (or should be) your most valuable assets.

Comprehensive Connections

The work of an ADW DBA is similar to that of a CEO – they know every aspect of the database and its abilities just as a CEO knows every aspect of the corporation and its strategies. Drawing from this wealth of knowledge, DBAs can add color and depth to every organizational discussion, from security to performance to migrations and more.


Because so many traditional DBA functions are now automated, the DBA’s full skill base is released for higher, more valuable purposes.

  • They can collaborate with team members to get relevant data where it needs to be when it needs to be there. Traditional database management systems often required a unique team simply to build and maintain the complex information systems demanded by enterprise computing processes. With most of those functions automated, the DBA can help developers find and integrate the specific data materials needed for specific applications, and then structure their provisioning appropriately.
  • Using their over-arching comprehension of the range and depth of corporate data stores, today’s DBA can pull relevant information to facilitate data modeling options that solve problems based on actual enterprise information. Insights will not only help leadership make better decisions, but also see new configurations and opportunities that had previously been buried in company data coffers.
  • Their ability to analyze complex corporate concerns draws on a full understanding of the organization’s foundational information infrastructure. Compiling data from across the ADW and using cutting edge analytics tools, the DBA helps to reveal undiscovered patterns in the data that suggest possible trends and potential responses.


With its forward-thinking, all-inclusive automation, Oracle’s ADW offers its users confidence on several levels:

  • That their database will be optimized at – literally – all times. Patching gaffs and integrating new programming using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning ensures both legacy and new features will deploy and function correctly and on time, every time.
  • That their critical corporate information is safe and secure at all times. In many cases, human error accounts for data security failures; the ADW eliminates the human interventions that cause these breaches, so leaders can focus on how their organization is working, not on whether its assets are secured.
  • That their human assets are optimized as well. With a skilled DBA at the helm, DB users have the tools to understand more and deeper aspects of their information stores, facilitating a better understanding of corporate capacities and opportunities.

From a cost perspective, the ADW DBA also enhances corporate values. The role ensures that investment in data collection, management, and deployment strategies is maximized; why invest if you don’t gain all available benefits? The role also maximizes the value of the human DBA.

By eliminating their mundane data management and maintenance chores, your DBA is free to exploit and harness previously hidden assets and opportunities. Your investment in the DBA role enhances your investment in your ADW.

The Oracle ADW provides users with unparalleled data performance, facilitating elastic data management and enabling data deployment wherever and whenever it is needed. Harnessing the service with a dedicated ADW DBA ensures that your information infrastructure is optimized so your enterprise can utilize its maximum values. Contact us to learn more about how our Oracle experts can support your business goals.

Further Reading

DBAs Maximize Autonomous Database Investments
Download our paper to learn more about how DBAs go beyond just maintaining an operational database, how automation will improve digital performance and enhance the value of DBAs (not kill the DBA role) – to grow your organization’s market share.

Foundation Optimized: Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure
Download our white paper to uncover how Oracle’s tech engineers built OCI with best practices and how it integrates services to meet organizations’ needs.

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Database Scoped Configuration on SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016 has released several new features that have enhanced functionality and flexibility to increase database performance.

I’ve been working as a production SQL Server DBA for 12+ years and doing health check analyses on countless SQL servers; I noticed that there were several occasions when my analysis report came up with MAXDOP recommendation as one of the critical suggestions. However, almost half of the time we had to rule it out from our list just because an application connecting to that database only allowed MAXDOP=1 setting. Most of these applications were legacy applications – which don’t give us room to take advantage of parallelism or parallel query execution.

I’ve also seen that to reduce cost on resources, many organizations go for hosting/consolidating multiple databases on a single machine. And, if you have any application connecting to any one of those databases and has SQL Server MAXDOP=1 limitation, it prevents other databases on that same SQL instance from utilizing parallelism; and overall server performance suffers, since MAXDOP setting affects the entire instance.

Microsoft finally addressed that issue and introduced database level configuration options in SQL Server 2016. With these new configuration options on databases property, now you can configure MAXDOP value on database level rather than entire instance level. Now you can have multiple databases on single instance but with different MAXDOP value on each of them and utilize parallelism in an efficient way.

You can see these databases scoped configuration values on option tab under database property:


You can either configure it using GUI or using below T-sql command:

Use <DatabaseName>

You can also view these configuration values by using the below dynamic management view

SELECT * FROM  sys.database_scoped_configurations;

As shown in above image there are four configurations setting available on database level:

  1. Max DOP. Using this option you can enable parallelism on databases’ level. Depending on number of logical processors, you can specify numeric value on this option and that allows SQL Server to use that many processors to execute queries hitting to that specific database in parallel processing.
  2. LEGACY CARDINALITY ESTIMATION. SQL Server uses this option to generate the best possible execution plan by estimating the number of rows specific queries are going to return. Now you can turn this option on or off on database level.
  3. Parameter sniffing. SQL Server prepares the execution plan by evaluating parameter passed to the stored procedure and uses the same plan for that stored procedure’s consecutive runs, or other procedures which are the same in nature or form. This way it tries to improve performance by using same plan and avoiding compilation time.

    However, it does create a problem for some complex procedures or queries that would require a more optimal plan than the one created based on one parameter value. In SQL 2016, you may disable this option on database level and have SQL use query optimizer as a plan for using more current SQL statistics.

  4. Query Optimizer Fixes. If you turn on this option on database, SQL allows query optimizer for all the queries on that database to use all the features that came with latest SQL hotfix or patch applied on that SQL instance.

    This was not the case on earlier SQL version. On earlier versions of SQL 2016, query optimizer was not able to use all the latest fixes immediately that come with SQL hotfix to avoid situations where some queries may perform badly with new changes.

    However, you were still able to do so by turning on trace flag 4199 and that enables optimizer for all the queries on all the databases on SQL instance. But now you can enable this feature on database level without affecting queries on other databases on same instance.

    One thing to mention here, this feature is only useful if you are running on SQL 2016, but database compatibility level is set to below 130 (SQL 2016). If you have databases with compatibility with 130 then enabling or disabling this option is not much of use as with 130 compatibility level. SQL by default allows optimizer to use the latest changes that SQL hotfix offers.

  5. CLEAR PROCEDURE CACHE. This option is not available on GUI (SSMS), but you can configure it using ALTER DATABSE command on database level. As the name suggests with this option you can clear procedure cache on database level now. I can’t remember how many times I have had to execute DBCC FREEPROCCACHE while working store procedure or query tuning work. With this option, I can do it on database level without affecting other databases proc cache on same SQL instance.


Another fantastic thing about these options is, if you are having databases configured on SQL Always on, it allows you to set different values for these options on Primary and that onto Secondary server.

For example, you can set MAXDOP=1 for database on primary server and keep MAXDOP=3 for same database on secondary server on SQL Always On as shown below:


You can achieve the same thing by running below queries:


Nowadays, many people/organizations configure readable secondary replica on SQL Always on to offload all read only workload. This feature is very helpful where you can set MAXDOP=1 for database on primary replica, mostly because of application demand and at the same time you set MAXDOP=3 for same database on secondary replica and achieve better performance for all read only work or queries with parallelism enabled on it.

Here are some things to keep in mind or consider when you use these options:

  • ALTER ANY DATABASE SCOPED CONFIGURATION permission is required in order to enable these database options.
  • You can set up different scoped option on database on secondary replica from primary, but all secondary databases should have same configuration values, it does not allow different values on individual secondary databases.
  • If you are using Query hint in SQL statement, then it overrides database scoped configuration.
  • If you are running queries under context of different database, as shown below:
    Use Tempdb
    select * from DBA.dbo.testtable

    then these new database setting does not work. If you have set up MAXDOP=2 on DBA database, then the above query won’t be able to use parallelism. You must run it under context of DBA database only; as shown below:

    Use DBA
    select * from DBA.dbo.testtable


SQL Server continues to evolve as a database leader with new features to streamline processes for DBAs. If you’re looking for support with SQL, please reach out, our experts are standing by.

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Oracle EPM Is Available on Oracle eDelivery

The EPM Certification Matrix has been updated for on-premises Hyperion/Oracle EPM

The online Feature Comparison Tool hasn’t been updated as of this writing. The README, however, lists a boatload of bugfixes. HFM shops should inspect the README carefully and allow sufficient time for rigorous regression testing.

There’s about 2GB remaining in my download queue, and then it will be time to take it for a spin.

Initial observations:

  • Still no certified migration path from and older.
  • The certification matrix says HFM isn’t available for Linux 7 yet. Fortunately, I don’t have any customers screaming for this (yet). I do have customers who’ve expressed interest in running Essbase on Linux 7 instead of Linux 6. Linux 6 is a dead product and Linux 7 has faster disk I/O drivers, among other improvements.
  • Installation media is only available for 64-bit Microsoft Windows and Linux 7. Solaris and AIX (“AIX ain’t UNIX“) aren’t listed.
  • In-place “Apply Updates” upgrade is available if you’re on through
  • The LCM bug for Google Chrome has apparently been fixed.
  • The README provides the workaround for Planning RMI not binding to its port.
  • No mention if the FDMEE Linux bugs have been fixed or not.
  • The README explains why I can’t login to EAS; an Oracle WebLogic policy update is needed. The problem may have been introduced in, as my sandbox works just fine.
  • The README has a very important note about LDAP hosted through MSAD; every Microsoft shop will need to get in front of this before Microsoft forces our hand in 2021.


Read the original post at

Read This Next

From the Mad Scientist’s Lab: An Assessment of Oracle Hyperion/EPM 11.2

What exactly is new about EPM 11.2, and how can you best prepare for the upgrade? What benefits and challenges have been discovered, and what do the changes – new features and discontinued features – mean for your organization? Join Dave Shay, EPM Director and Mad Scientist, in his EPM 11.2 lab as he shares what he’s discovered.

The post Oracle EPM Is Available on Oracle eDelivery appeared first on Datavail.

Automation in Oracle EBS – It Can Be Done!

By now, the general benefits of automation are well-known—including lowering IT costs, reducing errors, and freeing up time and effort for tasks that are better suited to human employees. What’s less clear, however, is how to take advantage of automation when using powerful (and complicated) enterprise resource planning software like Oracle EBS.

According to a 2018 study by CA Technologies, for example, businesses using automation in Oracle EBS have been able to shorten their financial reporting cycles by up to 70 percent, while also reducing manual effort by as much as 90 percent. With that said, how can you get started reaping the benefits of Oracle EBS automation for your own organization?

Datavail’s Oracle EBS Automation Library

Datavail has built a plug-and-play automation library specifically for our Oracle EBS clients, with dozens of scripts for automating database administration work. The library includes scripts for tasks including:

  • Generic daily health checks (to prevent unexpected incidents)
  • Patch management
  • Log management
  • Common maintenance activities (including startups and shutdowns, reorganizing database tables and indexes, collecting schema statistics, and more)
  • Backups and restores
  • Database installation and provisioning
  • System monitoring
  • Cloning and database refreshes
  • High availability and disaster recovery

We’ve built our Oracle EBS automation library to help support the diverse needs of our clients, from operating systems and databases to Oracle WebLogic Server and GoldenGate. Even better, our automation scripts can easily integrate with your existing environment: they run both in the cloud and on-premises, and are compatible with CI/CD tools such as Jenkins and Ansible AWX.

One of our clients, a Fortune 500 fast food chain, has leveraged Datavail’s Oracle EBS automation library to save over 550 hours of manual IT work each month, including laborious tasks such as:

  • EBS single-node and multi-node clones
  • TRIRIGA environment restarts
  • Cisco Global Site Selector (GSS) scripts
  • Session kills for Oracle EBS and Business Intelligence inactive users
  • Oracle Hyperion artifact backups through LCM (Life Cycle Management)

Datavail’s Oracle EBS automation library has helped our clients unlock a tremendous amount of value in their enterprise IT environments—but it’s only one of the many EBS services we offer. To learn more about how we can help improve the efficiency and accuracy of your EBS workflows, check out our new white paper “Strategic Oracle EBS Managed Services – with Benefits.”

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