Category Archives: Art of BI

What to Expect When Undertaking a Database Migration Project

Database migrations require careful planning and skillful execution. In today’s business environment, companies drive their businesses with data, and you wouldn’t undertake a DB migration unless the benefit outweighed the risk. So, how do you know when you need to do a database migration? Let’s explore the reasons why you’d want to proceed.

What is Database Migration?

Database migration is the process of moving data from one database to another in order to save money such as moving to the cloud, moving to newer software or hardware to access advanced features, or combining databases to increase access to critical business data.

How Could a Database Migration Benefit My Company?

There are three key reasons to undertake a database migration, to save money, upgrade your capabilities, and reduce redundancy by combining databases.

Saving Money

Running mission-critical databases on old technology can actually cost you money. If your infrastructure doesn’t support your business needs as they evolve, you’re going to spend more money on maintenance than you need to. In some situations, many companies opt to migrate to the cloud to reduce their investment in infrastructure and reduce the staff needed to maintain the system.

Accessing New Capabilities

Security is a big issue where your company’s data is concerned. Cybercriminals are working hard to find ways to breach your systems. You need to fight just as hard to prevent them from doing that. Typically, the best way to protect your data is by using the latest cybersecurity technology that may only be available with new software and hardware.

If you’re running your databases on legacy systems, they probably don’t offer the capabilities you need as your data requirements become more sophisticated. You may need to migrate to newer and more efficient storage techniques that can support your need for complex data analysis.

Reducing or Eliminating Data Silos

Many companies are plagued with data silos that hold redundant data and that prevent the organization from seeing a comprehensive view of their data. For example, your Marketing department may have a customer database, Customer Service may maintain their own database, and other data silos could exist in Production and Accounting.

Many companies complete database migrations to reduce or eliminate those silos by combining data from incompatible systems into one database that provides the entire organization with access to the information they need. The other benefit of this type of migration is that everyone in your company will be working with the same information, or a single source of truth.

What is Involved in a Database Migration?

Every organization wants to avoid losing data, working with corrupt data, or experiencing extensive downtime. That’s why planning and executing a database migration requires the right expertise and careful attention to detail. You’ll need to complete these types of activities to ensure a successful migration.

  • Develop a migration strategy. You’ll need to control the migration process and ensure that the migration follows the strategy you create.
  • Map and transfer old data. Use the best practices for Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) to identify and remove bad data while cleaning good data.
  • Ensure data integrity. Conduct a comprehensive review of data and applications before the migration.
  • Implement a database modeling procedure. Follow this procedure to find, highlight, and eliminate errors or other issues that will stall the migration.
  • Implement version control. Version, or source control, in the database will ensure the data is synchronized and consistent with your application source code.
  • Provide testing and maintenance. You’ll need to perform ongoing testing and maintenance tasks during the migration to ensure success.

Common Challenges Associated with Database Migration

Every database migration is unique, but there are some challenges that anyone completing a migration must overcome.

  • Finding your data. The longer your business has been operating, the higher the likelihood that there are databases in different departments and locations. Make sure you do a thorough search to find all the data you want to migrate.
  • Complex source data. Migration is never a matter of simply moving data from one system to another. You’ll typically need to do some level of data transformations and normalization to be successful.
  • Lost or corrupt data. Losing even one record could spell disaster. Make sure you reconcile your accounts as the migration and testing goes forward.
  • Database migrations can open vulnerabilities to hackers. Make sure your strategy includes a cybersecurity component.

Start Your Database Migration Project with Datavail at Your Side

With expert Datavail DBAs at your side, you’ll save time and avoid downtime. You’ll have access to a level of expertise you may not have within your own staff, and you’ll have 24x7 coverage during the migration. Learn more about Datavail’s database migration services, and how we can help you avoid the pitfalls and meet the challenges during your next migration.

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Data Masking Certified in EBS: What You Need to Know

In September, Oracle announced that E-Business Suite 12.1.3 and Oracle Database 19c are now certified for use with its data masking template. We’ve written before about dynamic data masking in SQL Server 2016—so what do you need to know about Oracle’s own data masking functionality?

What is Data Masking?

Organizations may possess a great deal of confidential data about their customers and users, including their full names, contact information, Social Security numbers, or payment cards. But with the average cost of a data breach now almost $3.9 million, storing all this information can get very expensive if you don’t have a way to protect it.

Data masking is an IT security practice that helps improve user privacy by obfuscating this sensitive data. In certain contexts, e.g. during application development and testing, you may need to have a functional version of your database, but without wanting to expose the information it contains to people who aren’t authorized to view it. Data masking essentially “scrambles” your existing data and scrubs it of personally identifiable information, creating a realistic but inauthentic version of the database that you can share with a larger audience without creating privacy concerns.

Data Masking in EBS 12.1.3 and Database 19c

Oracle has previously certified its data masking template for other applications and software versions (e.g. EBS 12.2). However, the announcement in September has now also brought data masking to cloned EBS 12.1.3 environments using Oracle Database 19c, via the Oracle Data Masking and Subsetting Pack. This pack is an Oracle plugin that helps protect sensitive data in non-production environments, including features such as:

  • Shuffle masking: Displaying column entries in a random order (e.g. to obfuscate employee salaries).
  • Encryption: Obfuscating data using a secret cryptographic key that can also decrypt the data.
  • Randomization: Randomly generating data while preserving features such as input length and the position of special characters.

 
Oracle’s Data Masking and Subsetting Pack is available in Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c. To learn how you can get started, check out the blog post for the full details.

Thinking about getting off 12.1.3 and making the move to Oracle EBS 12.2? Check out our “Oracle EBS 12.2 Upgrade Decision-Making Guide.”

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Oracle Database Extended Support Deadlines: What You Need to Know

If you’re confused about Oracle’s extended support deadlines, you are not alone.

Due to some complications with naming conventions, understanding what’s in-support and out-of-support for Oracle Database installations is a bit confusing right now. Keep reading to get a comprehensive overview of what’s in store for 11g through 19c.

The Importance of Oracle Extended Support Deadlines

If you’re running an Oracle database installation, you need to pay attention to when support for your release expires. Without support from your database vendor, system performance can suffer, security can degrade, you may experience extended downtimes, and you can fall behind your competition because you won’t take advantage of new features that could give your business new opportunities.

Deadline Dates for Current Oracle Database Versions

Oracle publishes a Lifetime Support Policy to describe each aspect of the support that it provides. In summary, each new release of Oracle Database receives five years of Premier Support from its release date. If purchased, Extended Support provides an additional three years for a total of eight. In limited situations, the fee-based Market-Driven Support is also offered. At the end of those types of support, each release enters an indefinite Sustaining Support status.

Here are the support end dates that should be on your radar:

Version 11.2 (11g)

  • Premier Support ended in January 2015
  • Extended Support ended December 31, 2020
  • Market-Driven Support is a paid service that ends December 31, 2022

Version 12.1.0.1

  • Support for this release has ended, and it isn’t eligible for Extended Support

Version 12.1.0.2

  • Premier Support ended July 31, 2019
  • Without Extended Support or an Unlimited License Agreement, Error Correction/Patching ended July 31, 2019
  • With Extended Support or an Unlimited License Agreement, Error Correction/Patching ends July 31, 2022

Version 12.2.0.1

  • Error Correction/Patching ended November 30, 2020
  • Limited Error Correction is available from December 1, 2020, through March 31, 2022
  • Extended Support is not available

Version 12.2.0.2 (18c)

  • Error Correction/Patching ends June 30, 2021
  • Extended Support isn’t available

Version 12.2.0.3 (19c)

  • Premier Support ends April 30, 2024
  • Extended Support runs from May 1, 2024, through April 30, 2027
  • With paid Extended Support, Error Correction/Patching is available through April 30, 2027
  • Without paid Extended Support, Error Correction/Patching is available through April 30, 2024

Version 21c

  • Error Correction/Patching ends June 30, 2023
  • Extended Support is not available

 

Datavail: Oracle Services for Before, During, & After Extended Support Ends

The end of Extended Support is a critical time. Once your installation enters the Sustaining Support status, you will no longer receive any new updates, critical patch updates or security alerts. You also won’t be able to keep up with legal, or regulatory changes. It makes your system vulnerable to countless problems that can waste time and money.

Datavail can help you in every stage of your Oracle journey to make sure you get the most out of your investment. During years of experience, our Oracle experts have helped clients manage every type of challenge related to financial management, business analytics, reporting, migrations, and overall data management.

  • We have worked with clients in small businesses, all the way up to large Fortune 100 enterprises.
  • Our patented Tech-enabled IP tools are built to handle the most challenging client issues.
  • Our global delivery model allows us to provide 24x7 support.

 
Our experts are experienced with Oracle performance tuning, SR management, custom scripts, and much more. Learn more about how Datavail can help you manage your Oracle installation to ensure peak performance and to let your IT resources concentrate on helping your business grow.

Further Reading

Oracle Database 19c: Harnessing Tomorrow’s Data Today

Retirement Coming Soon: Oracle Database 11.2 Extended Support Ends December 2020

Foundation Optimized: Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure

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What is Percona MongoDB?

Percona MongoDB is a free and open-source replacement for MongoDB Community edition. This version of MongoDB is offered by a third-party developer, not MongoDB directly. The primary focus of Percona is bringing enterprise-grade features to a free database. Organizations and developers unable to afford the high costs associated with MongoDB Enterprise licensing can leverage Percona for important benefits and features.

 

Benefits of Percona MongoDB

  • Easily replace MongoDB Community edition: You set up Percona MongoDB as a drop-in replacement, so you don’t have to go through a complicated deployment process. Quickly get started with this interesting alternative to first-party MongoDB versions.
  • Optimize your database performance: Percona has a strong focus on performance optimization, so you’re able to tune your databases so they can better support your applications.
  • Improve database reliability: MongoDB is already designed for high availability, and Percona adds hot backups and refinable shard keys into the mix. You can also leverage Percona-specific tools to achieve very low latency, query performance analytics, real-time monitoring, and robust management.
  • Encrypt your sensitive data and data at rest: As an enterprise-grade edition, Percona gives you many ways to protect your data. An encrypted storage engine, key vault, authentication plugin, and other security measures improve your application security.
  • Gain visibility into user activities and database operations: An auditing tool allows you to keep a close eye on what users are doing when they’re accessing data, in case you run into a data breach, loss, or another issue.
  • Remove sensitive data from your logs: Avoid accidentally breaching sensitive data by proactively redacting it from your database logs.
  • Enjoy familiar MongoDB architecture and capabilities: Since Percona uses MongoDB Community edition as its base, you get to leverage all of the capabilities that you’re already familiar with. Adopting a well-known solution takes much less time than trying to switch your development team to a new-to-them database.

Major Features of Percona MongoDB

  • Supports OpenLDAP and Active Directory
  • HashiCorp Vault integration
  • Hot backups
  • Flexible data schemas
  • Percona Kubernetes Operator
  • Percona Toolkit
  • Percona Monitoring and Management
  • WiredTiger storage engine
  • Commercial support available
  • Distributed transactions

Should You Use Percona MongoDB?

Percona MongoDB offers a third-party MongoDB alternative that sits between Community and Enterprise edition. If you find yourself constrained by the Community edition or have data security and compliance requirements that exceed its capabilities, then Percona offers a step-up without incurring the licensing costs associated with Enterprise edition or the subscription and storage fees of MongoDB Atlas.

Many workloads may not need all of the features offered by Enterprise, but do need one or two critical options. Percona can help you explore these functionalities and choose the ones that work best for your application requirements. If you don’t think that any of these features are compelling, then the Community edition may be the better choice.

Looking for information on other versions of MongoDB: check out my blogs on Enterprise Edition, Community Edition and MongoDB Atlas.

Read This Next

MongoDB: Which Version is Right for You?

This paper will give a brief history on MongoDB and why organizations are gravitating toward this open source database system. We’ll then go into the four different versions: MongoDB Enterprise, MongoDB Community, MongoDB Atlas and Percona MongoDB to uncover the pros, cons and different features to give you the big picture of which edition provides the support and functionality you need.

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Database Monitoring: Why Bother?

There are still some data professionals out there who don’t yet recognize the significance of how database performance monitoring ensures optimal corporate performance. That’s why other database professionals elect to engage a remote database monitoring service: to assure them that their databases are protected and optimized while they, themselves, are working elsewhere to reach the full potential of their organization.

There’s A Lot to Lose Without a Database Monitoring System

Many DBA’s rightly focus their effort on more valuable activities than database monitoring. While the intention is laudable, it doesn’t mean that database performance monitoring isn’t also a critical element of overall corporate computing health. In fact, not maintaining a regular database monitoring practice can open the company up to a variety of unnecessary risks that will almost certainly escalate over time:

  • In 2013, hackers made off with  $45 million from unmonitored ATM’s, and two-thirds of those breaches were of ‘data at rest’ in an unprotected database.
  • In 2017, Equifax suffered a database breach that exposed the private information of over 140 million people.
  • In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven up both the risk level and the number of breach incidentspast all previous tiers, with network infiltrations, identity thefts, and ransomware outbreaks exploiting the new ‘work-from-home’ normal.

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An expert database monitoring service is the first line of defense against all these threats. Accessing one allows the DBA to spend their time pursuing the new opportunities that are emerging alongside the latest threats.

Database Performance Monitoring Keeps Your Organization Safe

The reality is that your database doesn’t just drive your computing capacities; it also records your organization’s activities. Database monitoring services scan the elements of your foundational IT environment, its logs, agents, APIs, and other communication protocols to reveal data-based trends across the organization. Additionally, it can generate alarms for system failures, intrusions, etc., and collect aggregated data into easy-to-read dashboards. A simple list of systems monitored by the services can include:

  • Identity and access activities,
  • Network flows and traffic,
  • Network performance,
  • Compliance activities, and
  • User behaviors, to name just a few.

 
Keeping an eye on these functions also keeps your organization safe – from errors, intrusions, and other unexpected risks.

Match Database Monitoring Solutions to Meet Your Needs

There are two methods for monitoring a database, using on-site software, or accessing remote services. Each offers benefits and limitations so that one may work better than the other, depending on the user’s requirements.

On-Site Software:

  • On-site software installs on local servers, so control over everything remains in the user’s hands.
  • A single purchase price facilitates simple budgeting.
  • Several versions are available, so users can choose the one that best fits their needs.
  • However, the pre-packaged options are fixed, so the programming may not address all issues or may require purchasing wasted monitoring assets that aren’t relevant to the company’s systems.

 
Remote Database Monitoring Services:

  • Cloud-based, these services draw resources from the provider’s extensive cloud-based assets that flex to meet the user’s needs.
  • Accompanying support services facilitate changing monitoring capacities as systems evolve, so customers always get precisely the supports and services their databases require.
  • Accessed through a service model shifts the budget item from the capital account to the expense account, facilitating accurate and reliable budgeting.

 
The size of the organization may play a part in the ‘on-site versus remote’ decision. Smaller enterprises may be comfortable with the fixed monitoring program, while larger companies may be better served by the remote database monitoring services’ flexibility.

Outsource or Augment Your Monitoring Needs with Datavail

Datavail built its business ensuring that its customers enjoy flawless and secure computing capacities, regardless of their specific industry or the size of their organization. We work with our customers to provide the exact support they need, whether that’s to work alongside their on-staff IT professionals or to assume full responsibility for enterprise-wide database monitoring services. Our 24/7/365 monitoring team maintains expert vigilance on all customer assets, and our customized reports, notifications, and tracking systems keep customers informed of every action within their network.

Datavail has also developed a cloud-based automation platform tool for databases, Datavail TechBoostTM that currently monitors 500+ customizable server and database metrics, sends out real-time notifications, supports major database technologies, has root cause engine (RCE) automation, has a lightweight footprint, 24x7x365 monitoring and more. We have 400 customers who rely on Datavail TechBoostTM to process two million incidents and monitor 400,000 databases.

If your company might benefit from database monitoring services, contact Datavail to learn how our dedicated experts can help meet your needs.

Read This Next

Data Availability & Reliability Optimized with Datavail TechBoost Cloud-based Automation Platform

Learn how TechBoost software fits into our clients’ existing database service provider experience while at the same time offering a world-class cloud-based automation platform solution.

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