Six Reasons to Review your Database Availability – Part 1 Lost Sales Revenue

From working with many customers to help keep their critical databases up and running we have come up with the top 6 reasons for putting Database Availability at the top of your priority list. In this blog we look at our top reason – Lost sales revenue:

Lost Sales Revenue has the number one spot because it is the biggest fear related to database downtime. It is a major concern for online retailers in particular. If customers cannot access goods and services online then purchases are hindered resulting in lost revenue. Similarly in the banking sector where revenue is generated through credit card transaction fees and trading fees, if transactions cannot take place, revenue cannot be earned.

The VISA card payment system went down across Europe in June this year, meaning that thousands of customers faced difficulty when trying to use their VISA cards and hundreds of small businesses were left without credit card services. According to a report from FT.com one café owner in London feared a loss of £3,000 because customer’s cards were declined.

Amazon was the unfortunate headline star of one of the most famous online retailer outages a few years ago.  When Amazon.com went down for approximately 30 minutes in 2013 they lost a reported $66,240 per minute.

In another example from 2012 the UK mobile operator O2 experienced two separate faults due to issues with its Central User Database. In July 2012 millions of customers were unable to call, text or use mobile internet services for more than 24 hours. As a result the company was forced to offer subscribers a 10% discount on their bill and subsequently decided to spend £10m to replace the central User Database.

There is a huge amount of research available about how much an IT outage can cost an organisation. Estimates range from £70,000 an hour to over £40 million in a year.

With this kind of threat to the bottom-line it is vital for CIOs and IT Management to put Database Availability front and centre of their plans for maintaining IT systems.

Find out more in our white paper or take a look at our Database Availability consultancy services.

Share
Posted in Database Availability | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Six Reasons to Review your Database Availability – Part 1 Lost Sales Revenue

How to get the most out of your RemoteDBA service

Got a RemoteDBA for DB2 support service or thinking about taking one out? Make sure you get the most out of it with these tips:

Give the RemoteDBA team as much information as possible
Knowledge is power! The more information you can give our team the better prepared they will be to support your DB2 environment. During the free database healthcheck which is run before a RemoteDBA contract commences we will discover a lot about your DB2 environment. However, it helps to know:

• About the team personnel and who we will be working with
• Company background and culture
• How the DB2 database we are supporting fits into the wider IT infrastructure
• Any previous issues you have experienced with your DB2 environment

Get to know your RemoteDBA support team
When your contract starts, plan some time in to speak to the team and get to know your key contacts. Help them to understand how your team works and what your expectations of the service are.

Advance warning
Tell the team well in advance of any upcoming events which might impact database performance such as seasonal spikes or planned upgrades. We can help you to effectively plan for these types of events so that services are not adversely affected.

Choose the right support package for your business
There are several support packages on offer so it is important to look carefully at the options and choose the one which best fits your organisations’ requirements. Do you need 24/7 support or just office hours cover? If there is a problem with your DB2 database outside of normal working hours, how would this affect your business?

Whichever package you opt for, there are unlimited support calls and support hours included so you never have to worry about running out of support.

Utilise the consultancy on demand hours which are included in your contract
RemoteDBA comes with 20 hours of our Consultancy on Demand (excluding RemoteDBA Office). We highly recommend that you make the most of these hours. It’s a great way to get some expert DB2 skills onsite! You can use your hours for training, consultancy or development work or any planned DB2 activity – for example, version upgrades or new feature implementation.

Find out more about DB2 support services from Triton Consulting.

Download the Top 5 Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support white paper.

Share
Posted in DB2 Support, Remote DBA | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How to get the most out of your RemoteDBA service

Less than 5 months to go until Black Friday 2018 – have you started to plan?

According to research by PWC the vast majority of Black Friday spending will be done online. This means that retailers are under immense pressure to ensure that their IT systems are up to the job. We’ve come up with a checklist of tasks which should be performed over the next five months to make sure you’re ready for the big day:

• Review performance trends from 2017
• Evaluate potential areas of weakness
• Scale beyond expected traffic spikes
• Evaluate your failover strategy
• Perform disaster recovery check
• Perform a configuration check
• Test your availability
• Update statistics
• Resolve pending issues
• Set up a change freeze date
• Ensure you have enough technical expertise on hand

The last point is sometimes overlooked but is arguably one of the most important. Will you have enough hands on deck during those crucial shopping hours should your IT systems experience any problems? When a workload spike hits, you need extra skills on hand as any outages can cause significant issues for the business if an outage occurs and sales are lost. There is a huge amount of research available about how much an IT outage can cost an organisation. Estimates range from £70,000 an hour to over £40 million in a year.

Consultancy on Demand from Triton Consulting allows you to purchase a block of consultancy hours to be used as and when needed. For example, one of our experts could join your team for a day to run through the Black Friday readiness checklist. That same consultant could come back to work with your team over the Black Friday weekend to ensure that things run smoothly.

Find out more about our Black Friday services.

Share
Posted in Black Friday, CoD | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Less than 5 months to go until Black Friday 2018 – have you started to plan?

Five go to IDUG

It’s a full house! We’re delighted to announce that all five of Triton’s IDUG team have had their presentations accepted, four as primary speakers and one as a co-speaker.

Here’s what you have got to look forward to:

Award winning speaker, Julian Stuhler, will be taking a look at DevOps for Mainframe in his engaging presentation – Cloudy with a Chance of DevOps – A Survival Guide

Overview
As large enterprises continue their headlong rush into Cloud Computing and the DevOps movement continues to gather momentum, traditional DB2 job roles are being forced to adapt. This presentation will provide a brief overview of these two increasingly important IT trends, and examine how they are directly impacting DB2 developers, DBAs and systems programmers. From cloud-oriented application design to fully automating DB2 schema changes, some practical guidelines are offered to help current practitioners thrive in this brave new world.

 

Highly experienced DB2 for z/OS Consultant, James Gill will be walking us through a technical introduction to Configuring AT-TLS encryption of DDF traffic.

Overview
This presentation will cover concepts including; how to configure encryption on z/OS and how DB2 uses this and how to configure the clients that will use it.

 

Damir Wilder, one of our talented DB2 LUW and RemotedBA Consultants will be taking us through – SQL Tuning Basics: Simple Steps to SQL Sufficiency

Overview
The purpose of this presentation is to give an overview of methods used in everyday SQL tuning of transactional databases, when an SQL query or a Batch job is underperforming and a quick solution is required. Describe generally available tools in DB2 that can assist in the daily SQL tuning and/or SQL performance problem detection. Describe how to find out what is happening right now in a database. Describe how to gather historical performance data for a database. Describe how to analyse locking issues. Describe how to identify the hottest tables and SQL queries in a database. Show several real-life scenarios of poorly performing SQL and what was done to improve it.

 

Sticking with the DB2 LUW theme, experienced IDUG speaker, Mark Gillis will be giving a fascinating presentation entitled – HTAP : are we there yet?

Overview
From DB2 LUW V10.5 onwards, the focus has been very much on OLAP functionality: BLU acceleration and all that that entails. However, the days of segregating OLAP and OLTP have probably largely passed and customers want a single database to service all their requirements. Light speed response for OLTP transactions, equally performant OLAP functions to crunch massive volumes of data into digestible Business Intelligence with 24×7 availability for both are a demand, not a request. Can DB2 currently deliver this? If not, will it be able to in the near future? How close are we to the genuine Hybrid database?

 

In a twist to our regular presentations, Paul Stoker will be presenting alongside Lloyds Banking Group in their user presentation – Modernizing the Mainframe – Making DB2 z/OS Agile

Overview
Demands on DBAs for change is higher & faster than ever before. DBAs are coming under pressure to adopt to Agile Development, DevOps & RESTful APIs to name a few. Our presentation discusses our real-world experiences of leveraging DB2 z/OS tools to meet the needs of an increasingly agile engineering environment from a DBA perspective. We discuss decisions made & lessons learnt whilst designing & building applications using RESTful APIs, JSON, XML, Stored Procs & how we manage the associated artefacts.

This year’s IDUG conference will be held in beautiful Malta on 4th-8th November. There will be three expert panels on DB2 for z/OS, DB2 for LUW and application development. In over 100 hours of one-hour technical sessions, attendees will experience the latest in DB2 technologies, networking opportunities and top-notch technical content.

To find out more and book your place visit – https://www.idug.org/emea2018

Share
Posted in IDUG, IDUG EMEA 2018 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Five go to IDUG

Dr, Dr, my data is corrupt!

Five signs that you need a Remote DB2 support solution!

We speak to our very own in-house Dr about the signs to look out for which can tell you that it’s time to start thinking about a remote DB2 support solution.

“In my time as Head of Managed Services at Triton I’ve seen many different types of customers with different issues and priorities for their DB2 database management but there are five key triggers to look out for. If any of these apply to your organisation then it really is time to book an appointment with the DB2 experts!” Dr Iqbal Goralwalla, Head of Managed Services, Triton Consulting and IBM Gold Consultant.

 

1. Continually struggling with competing priorities for your IT budget
2. Feeling the strain of 24/7 support
3. Overworked DBAs
4. Struggling to find DB2 skills
5. Feeling insecure about the future

Each organisation is different and their specific reasons for choosing a remote database support solution will vary but there are many common themes. The need for quality support and technical excellence is of course paramount.

1. Continually struggling with competing priorities for your IT budget

“No prizes for guessing that cost is a major factor for many organisations that choose remote database support. However, it’s not as clear-cut as you may think.” Says Iqbal

When we looked at this issue more closely we discovered that under the umbrella of “Cost” there were many other factors at play. It is often the perception that organisations need to cut cost and so will simply choose to reduce headcount by outsourcing large chunks of business processes in a bid to save money. This may be the case for some IT and business processes but when you look at more niche IT services such as database support this is rarely the case, especially in the midmarket sector.

It is especially difficult for small teams to cope at busy times of the year or holiday season.
We have also seen some organisations using DB2 only for a niche part of their overall IT infrastructure. It is often difficult to make a business case for employing a full time DB2 DBA in this instance and so the organisation is forced to rely upon existing Oracle or SQL Server DBAs. This can become a problem if any serious DB2 support issues arise.

In both of these scenarios, by utilising an external support provider, organisations can benefit from additional DBA support far more cheaply than if they had to employ another permanent member of staff. This combination of in-house and external support works well for many organisations.

2. Feeling the strain of 24/7 Support
“The demand for 24×7 services can put a huge strain on overstretched DBA teams. Have you felt the strain? Our customers have found that working alongside a partner who can provide 24×7 DBA cover with contracted response times down to one hour provides the insurance they need.” Says Iqbal

High or continuous availability (24×7) is a common requirement for today’s “on demand” IT systems and this can put pressure on small or overstretched DBA teams. Teams can have difficulty providing cover for holiday, sickness or maternity and paternity leave. Adding to this, the increasing requirement for systems to be available 24×7 with DBA cover required at all times, the pressure on small DBA teams is clear.


3. Overworked DBAs

“I think anyone who has worked in a DBA team can identify with this one. Overworked DBA teams may not have time to proactively monitor the database. Instead, only reacting once a problem has occurred and business users are already feeling the effects.” Says Iqbal

Expert DBA skills are often needed on different projects and so DBAs can find themselves spending more time on non-core functions. This means that the vital monitoring and management of the database can be sidelined.

Don’t forget! It is important when taking out a remote support contract, to check whether the service provider can offer the option of proactive monitoring. This takes away the concern of problems cropping up unexpectedly and more often than not potential issues are noticed and dealt with before users are even aware of an issue.

4. Struggling to find DB2 skills
“Is searching for DB2 skills becoming a problem in your organisation?” Asks Iqbal.

We work with organisations who do not have any DB2 skills in-house and organisations who have skills in-house but access to those skills is limited.

Some organisations may have inherited DB2 systems through expansion or acquisition and do not have the skills in-house to support it. Whilst their own IT team may be able to cope for a while, if any real issues come up, a support organisation with DB2 expertise will be needed.

We have also seen customers facing the need to replace a DBA quickly but who have struggled to find a new individual with the required level of skills. Bringing in a support organisation is a useful way to plug this gap fast with the assurance that you will be getting the highest level of DB2 skills.

5. Feeling insecure about the future
“This one is slightly less obvious but important nonetheless. If your organisation is in the process of changing it’s strategic IT direction then this is one to look out for.” Says Iqbal

An “insecure future” may not be the most obvious reason but sometimes organisations are unsure of their strategic IT direction, particularly the choice of database platform. Investing in permanent staff to support and maintain a database that may not be in the long term plans for the business does not make financial sense. Finding a provider who can take control of ongoing database maintenance until a final decision has been made is a good way around this problem.

Organisations face many challenges in delivering a stable, efficient database infrastructure. Budget pressures, demands for higher availability and increasing workloads can all mean that pressure is building on IT Management to find a cost effective and reliable way of managing the organisations’ DB2 infrastructure.

RemoteDBA from Triton Consulting provides the highest level of stability for business critical operations. Our clients receive a superior level of personalised care – day or night – from our team of highly experienced DB2 professionals.

 

Remote DB2 Support Infographic

Click the image to view the Top 5 Reasons to Choose RemoteDBA infographic

Download the Top 5 Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support white paper.

Share
Posted in Remote DBA | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dr, Dr, my data is corrupt!

Cloudy with a Chance of DevOps – A Survival Guide Webcast

We are delighted to announce that Julian Stuhler, Solutions Delivery Director at Triton Consulting has been invited to present the first in a series of IBM webcasts by IBM Gold Consultants.

Julian will be taking a look at DevOps for Mainframe in his engaging webcast  – Cloudy with a Chance of DevOps – A Survival Guide on Thursday 12th July, 16:00 BST (11:00 AM EDT).

DevOps, as a concept, emerged around 2007. The early adopters and evangelists have been beating the DevOps drum with increasing pace in the intervening years. Although to some, Mainframe is seen as an older, more traditional platform which may not seem to sit naturally with DevOps principles, in fact there are many reasons why CIOs that are running Mainframe applications as part of their overall IT infrastructure simply can’t afford to ignore the benefits that DevOps can bring.

In addition, as Mainframe practitioners, we all need to be aware of the impending changes that will naturally come to DB2 for z/OS job roles when these new practices are adopted. As large enterprises continue their headlong rush into Cloud Computing and the DevOps movement continues to gather momentum, traditional DB2 for z/OS job roles will be forced to adapt.

In his presentation, Julian will provide a brief overview of arguably the two most important IT trends of the moment, Cloud and DevOps. He will examine how they are directly impacting DB2 Developers, DBAs and Systems Programmers. From cloud oriented application design to fully automating DB2 schema changes, some practical guidelines are offered to help current practitioners thrive in this brave new world.

Register for the live webcast here.

Share
Posted in DB2, Julian Stuhler, mainframe | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Cloudy with a Chance of DevOps – A Survival Guide Webcast

What kind of summer break will your DBA be having? Sun, sea and sangria or a hotel lobby, dodgy WIFI and support calls?

We’re finally thawing out after a particularly long winter. The #beastfromtheeast is a distant memory and thoughts are turning to blue skies and beaches. Now is the time to start planning for that tricky holiday silly-season.

If your organisation has just one or two DBAs it can be pretty stressful to maintain cover over the summer holidays. Maybe you’re planning to “get by” with less DB2 resource that you usually need. Although winging it and hoping that nothing goes awry whilst your DBA sips their Pina Colada is an option, it’s not one that we would recommend!

Have you considered the cost to your organisation if one of your business critical DB2 applications were to be unavailable for an hour, a day or longer?!

Do you have a robust contingency plan for when your in-house DBAs are unavailable?

At Triton Consulting we offer a range of flexible DB2 services that can be tailored to your company’s requirements and allow you to manage resourcing cost effectively. Our Consultancy on Demand service for both DB2 z/OS and DB2 LUW is ideal for short-term resourcing over the holiday period. Also, it’s a “no-brainer”

Take a look at our flexible resourcing options for more information

 

Share
Posted in CoD, DB2 Support | Tagged , , | Comments Off on What kind of summer break will your DBA be having? Sun, sea and sangria or a hotel lobby, dodgy WIFI and support calls?

Stay in the loop!

Unless you’ve been hibernating for the last six months you’ll be well aware of GDPR which comes into force on 25th May.  As data management specialists we’re working hard to make sure that we’re fully compliant with the new rules.

We send out bi-monthly email newsletters to our subscriber list. These emails are tailored to our subscribers’ interest areas; so whether you’re all about the Mainframe, you’re working on DB2 LUW or you’re a CIO interested in the bigger picture, we’ve got top quality industry content, news and updates for you.

You can subscribe to our newsletter here.

To find out more about how we use subscriber data visit –

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Stay in the loop!

Database Availability – A CIO View

Data sits at the heart of all organisations and without it everyday functions simply cannot be performed. Reliance on data availability is growing. It is vital to ensure that your organisations’ Database Availability and Recovery procedures are robust and able to meet business SLAs.

For a CIO, keeping business critical IT systems available 24/7 is a key concern.  In a recent blog, we took a look at the cost to businesses of database downtime.

There is a huge amount of research available about how much an IT outage can cost an organisation. Estimates range from £70,000 an hour to over £40 million in a year.

Of course, this cost is not only measured in monetary value. The cost of database outages includes:

  • Lost sales revenue
  • Lost customers
  • Reputational damage
  • Regulatory compliance implications
  • HR Implications

 

The three phases of the Database Availability project:

The Analysis Phase
The first step in ensuring that your availability plans are robust and ready to meet business SLAs is to take an honest look at where your organisation is now and what potential vulnerabilities you may face. It is vital that CIOs carry out a thorough analysis of current availability processes and procedures. From there a detailed impact analysis should be carried out. This can be a painful process as it can highlight areas which require swift action to bring processes inline with agreed SLAs.

The Design Phase
There are many solutions and services on the market to help maintain database availability. The next challenge is to review the costings and business benefit cases of the proposed services. Designing a solution to fit your organisation can be a complex process and a detailed implementation plan needs to be created.

The Implementation Phase
Now it’s time to test and implement the agreed solution. This in itself can present a challenge to organisation who are already struggling with resourcing. Depending on the size of your organisation and the level of work required, implementing a project of this nature can be a significant challenge.

The Triton team can guide you through this three-phase process, ensuring that the most appropriate solution is selected and implemented successfully. Find out more about the Triton Consulting Database Availability for DB2 service and download the Executive Briefing 

An Independent View

Sometimes it is necessary to get an independent, unbiased view of current processes and procedures to ensure that your systems are as stable, secure and efficient as possible. Triton Consulting is well positioned to provide this independent advice as we have many years of hard-won experience working with a range of customers. All of our consultants are true DB2 experts with deep technical knowledge and skills. This is combined with the ability to work with C-level teams to provide real, quantifiable business results from better managing IT.

The Triton Consulting Database Availability for DB2 service is designed to enable CIOs and IT Directors to ensure that their organisations’ IT infrastructure can meet growing availability demands and take away the worry of failure.  Find out more

 

 

 

Share
Posted in Database Availability, DB2 | Tagged , | Comments Off on Database Availability – A CIO View

Managing the Mainframe in 2018

For many large organisations the Mainframe is the workhorse powering business critical IT systems and services. Managing that beast is an immense task and one that can seemingly take ever more time and budget.

In this blog we take a look at some of the key concerns for CIOs who are grappling with the challenge of managing the Mainframe and how these challenges can be overcome.

Mainframe Costs
Costs always have been and probably always will be one of the key concerns for CIOs. In some recent research from BMC, IBM software costs came out as the number one challenge identified by its respondents. http://blog.triton.co.uk/2018/02/the-mainframe-is-growing-and-heres-the-proof/

Respondents in the survey also said that they could foresee some significant MIPS growth on the mainframe in their organisation. This means that many organisations are facing ever growing Monthly Licence Charges (MLC) from IBM. MLC fees can take up a major chunk of the overall IT budget.

Most mainframe software charges are based on peak CPU usage, so whatever your peak workload is in a given month is what you pay for. This means that one workload spike could push your
costs up significantly for that month.

“One of the most effective ways of reducing or containing mainframe costs is through
better management of CPU consumption. By identifying and taking control of your peak workload, ongoing software costs can be reduced and you may even be able to defer mainframe upgrades.Julian Stuhler, Solutions Delivery Director and IBM Gold Consultant – Triton Consulting

Managing performance and cost has become a significantly more difficult job with capacity planners and performance analysts being asked to defer hardware and software upgrades due to restricted budgets.

The Solution – Regain control of software charges
Triton can help you to regain control of your enterprise software charges by analysing your current environment and identifying opportunities to optimise and tune your critical mainframe workloads. How it works:
Initial Analyisis – Typically customers can reduce their peak CPU charges by a minimum of 3% with no performance impacts whatsoever and many customers can reduce their peak by 5% from this initial analysis.
Workload Optimisation – The majority of Mainframe users have significant potential for further reducing resource consumption (and therefore costs) through optimisation and performance tuning of key workloads.

Find out more about Triton’s Mainframe Cost Reduction Services  or download the Executive Briefing on IT cost reduction

Staffing and skills shortage
Staffing and skills shortages are a key concern for many Mainframe sites. It is widely accepted in the industry that many of the most skilled Mainframe workers are nearing retirement age.

There are more concerns coming to the fore when it comes to the IT skills shortage for the UK. Brexit is looming and with it comes a recruitment landscape which could see organisations finding it more difficult to bring workers in from EU countries. This may further limit an already diminishing resource pool. According to research by recruitment firm HIRED 70% of the UK’s technology workers are considering a move to other EU cities.

The Solution – Flexible resourcing
We know that organisations need access to skilled Mainframe resources. With this in mind, Triton offer a range of flexible resourcing solutions; from traditional consultancy to a more flexible “consultancy on demand” service which lets you purchase blocks of hours to be used as and when needed.

DB2 Consultancy on Demand

Click image to enlarge

Training and skills transfer is a great way to manage the skills gap for the long-term. Triton’s team of DB2 for z/OS consultants have been working on the Mainframe platform for many years and have built up a vast level of experience. We can work with existing staff to bring those Mainframe skills to your organisation.

Find out more about Triton’s Flexible IT resourcing

 

DevOps for the Mainframe
The DevOps movement continues to grow at pace within the IT industry. DevOps promises shorter development cycles, increased deployment frequency, and more dependable releases, in close alignment with business objectives. There have been suggestions from some quarters that DevOps and Mainframe simply don’t sit together.  In many people’s minds Mainframe is still associated with older, more traditional IT practices. However, CIOs that are running Mainframe applications as part of their overall IT infrastructure simply can’t afford to ignore the benefits that DevOps can bring.

Although many larger organisations have been slower to embrace DevOps practices, it is steadily building momentum. IBM has fully embraced Agile/DevOps principles internally which is has given us continuous delivery of new function for DB2 for z/OS (from V12 onwards). A cautious approach has meant that only a limited amount of new function has been released so far, but that will ramp up throughout 2018 as these working practices become better established within the DB2 development teams.

Back at IBM’s customer sites, many mainframe developers are enthusiastically embracing DevOps practices, and the impact on traditional DBA and Sysprog/Sysadmin roles shouldn’t be underestimated. With the right approach and suitable processes and tooling there is huge potential to reduce the amount of routine donkey-work and free up time for higher value work such as database design and performance tuning. Once again Triton is leading the charge, and we’re working with several large customers to help automate the provisioning and administration of DB2 environments in order to improve agility and reduce time to market.

Mainframe for the future
With Mainframe workloads continuing to increase, the challenges of cost management and resourcing is only going to grow.

Triton can help you to ensure that your Mainframe is ready for the future! We have worked with many of the biggest Z series customers in the UK and Europe, and can provide skilled consultants for both long and short-term engagements. In addition to traditional DB2 and Mainframe consultancy, Triton also offer a wider spectrum of high level specialist skills including; senior project management, technical planning, technical architecture, performance tuning and systems programming.

Share
Posted in CIO, DB2, DevOps, Julian Stuhler, mainframe | Tagged , | Comments Off on Managing the Mainframe in 2018