One of the areas where I have found success as contract DBA is the mundane task of backups, tuning and installation. Most of my customers have automated backup performance monitoring solutions that allow you to manage the “herd” of SQL instances rather than individual servers. The organizations that have not automated have moved to the cloud (Azure). Automation and cloud have reduced most of the responsibilities of the traditional DBA, who focused on backups, making the server run and installing new software / patching systems.
I have seen many organizations rush to the cloud and lay off people the people who perform these tasks and that is good for me! Most organizations move to the cloud or automate and then are forced to justly the expense of this change by cutting too many people. The story that I usually hear, when I make a sales call, is we moved to the cloud or automated, laid off people and now have an issue. We have no one in-house DBA’s or anymore who understands the data architecture of the system, thus we need Bennyhoff Products And Services.
Roughly 30% of my business is acquiring a growing share of a shrinking market; old 90’s style DBA skills. This is great for me at the present time but I consider what the IT landscape will look like in the future. I will have a solid market for basic DBA services for the next 5 or so years but I am anticipating a time when there is simply no market for this type of service.
My plan is already underway to evolve with the market. The other 66% of the business falls into two other categories
• Custom database driven applications
• Reporting, Business Intelligence, Big Data
Custom database driven applications hosted on my hardware
Azure is great but it’s also expensive for small applications that have less than 10 users I can beat Azure hosting prices with my custom hardware. I can give customers a shit-ton of ram and CPU so their application outperforms Azure and performs the specified function quite nicely. Considering that 90% of the server and infrastructure as sunk costs (costs I have to pay for anyway) This, works very well for me.
Target Market: Smaller organizations that need custom reporting, database design or automation. Where the user load is small. I charge for the application development and then later for the hosting. I have vertically integrated so I can offer the best service for a competitive price.
Reporting, business intelligence, big data
I have never met an executive who did not need to see a report changed, modified or updated in some way. I sell the ultimate group of services for reporting.
I have an MBA, so I understand how the business works and why a CEO/CFO might want to see a report constructed in a specific way.
I have the technical skills to create a solution, either on the customers hardware or mine.