Blog: 5 essentials to learn about your data platform with DBMSys

DBMSys Infographic 2

DBMSys is a lightweight tool designed by DB Best specifically around collecting data from multiple environments to help develop a business case for a modernization to upgrade path. The Microsoft MAP Toolkit is good for scanning systems and providing a snapshot of some system metrics, but doesn’t provide data over time to understand peak workload requirements and storage capacity needs.

DBMSys turns monitoring on its head. Not only does DBMSys help with monitoring your environment for capacity needs, it provides data over time needed to make informed business choices on current and future plans for scalability, flexibility, and increased ROI.

Here are the top five reasons we strongly urge our clients to consider using DBMSys for their environment planning:

1 Capture capacity

DBMSys was designed to capture, process, report, and guide or drive automation decisions based on metadata from multiple platform environments. Using a dedicated database on SQL Server 2012 (or newer version) to provide a data repository area for all of the metadata to be stored, DBMSys leverages a custom CLR .NET module that allows it to contact many different types of platforms and servers and collect different kinds of data, both structured and unstructured, on nearly any infrastructure. Since DB Best manages the code itself, we can make additions or changes to the CLR as required to continually add features and connectors directly in to the SQL Server engine to provide the fastest and most secure methods of metadata gathering in the industry.

Examples of what DBMSys captures include:

  • Windows OS information (via WMI)
  • Windows–related performance counters (via .NET’s System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounter library)
  • SQL Server–related performance counters (via Dynamic Management Views) like database memory, CPU, and IO usage; instance and database specific configurations and settings; and wait, lock, block, etc. stats
  • Environmental metadata (platform agnostic and customized) and logs related to events of all selected services running per DBMSys configuration including: System Catalogs and Tables, Databases, Jobs, Services, and Error and Activity.

DBMSYS does not access the content of any user table. All of the information collected by the applications is going to be available on the application’s database for review and auditing by the client.


2 Running the options

With the hardware profile, operating system information, and metadata about the database servers and databases in hand, our DB Best Solution Architects can use this data to determine the risk to the business based on product supportability and new-feature adoption. The first consideration is to look for databases on servers running on versions of the operating system or database server that are out of support or on extended support. These servers represent a business risk that you will need to address sooner rather than later. We also look for software running on aging servers. Technology has advanced over the years with faster CPUs, greater memory capacity, and new storage technologies like flash-based solid-state drives. These servers are great candidates for consolidation and virtualization (Hyper-V and VMWare ESX) on a modern host server or even for moving to the cloud. The analysis also looks at database usage to determine if a server is a candidate for decommissioning or scaling down in a consolidated platform due to its lack of use.

DBMSys can also collect data from Oracle database servers to determine if there is a possibility of migrating from Oracle to another database platform like SQL Server.

3 Optimizing for the cloud (Azure and AWS)

DMBSys includes additional algorithms to compute the optimum configuration for moving the application databases to either Azure or AWS environments. By analyzing the workload usage data, DBMSys can recommend specific Azure and AWS VM sizes that match up with the usage data to determine if a database instance should be on a single VM or have multiple instances on a single VM. Using the latest billing information from Azure and AWS, DBMSys can compute the estimated monthly costs. Here is an example of the analysis that we did for one of our customers:

ScenarioProjected Azure CostCore Counts by SKUProjected Cloud ServersCurrent On-Premises ServersProjected On Premises Servers
Consolidated on Azure$55k/monthDeveloper: 2 Enteprise: 226 Express: 2 Standard: 2244724134
1:1 on Azure$72k/monthDeveloper: 64 Enteprise: 262 Express: 2 Standard: 56620724134
Storage costs$0.6k/monthxxxx
Storage transaction costs$0.5k/monthxxxx
Network costs$3k/monthxxxx

In this example, the Azure costs are reduced by using fewer larger VMs with multiple database instances on the server.

4 Building the financial model

Building a financial model without current environmental metadata can be a daunting task. DBMSys helps develop your model by showing a breakdown of what your current state is and compare the possible solutions that you have predetermined from the client’s guidance. Some of the possible scenarios that can be compared include:

  • Current state—do nothing
  • Move existing servers to Azure/AWS VM’s on a one-to-one basis
  • Move existing servers to consolidated Azure/AWS VMs
  • Consolidate existing on-premises servers
  • Virtualize existing on-premises servers to Hyper-V/VMWare

This is by no means all of the possible scenarios. Many mixtures of the above can be selected.

Our goal is to facilitate a process by which options key to our client’s decision making are modeled. We seek to empower our clients with their own data to help make the best business decisions regarding their future state architecture. It’s important that our clients own the overall cost model with our input from the DBMSys. Here is an all-up analysis from one of our customers that provides the key options based on a jointly developed cost model for a three-year period:

ScenarioSQL Server License CostsAzure CostsHardware / Operational CostsTotal Costs
Do nothing$6.8M$3.4M$10.2M
Move existing servers to Azure VM’s on a one-to-one basis$3.1M$2.9M$1.3M$7.3M
Move existing servers to Azure VM’s on a consolidated basis$1.7M$1.5M$0.7M$3.9M
Consolidate on-premises$6.5M$3.3M$9.8M
Virtualize on-premises$1.9M$2.1M$4.0M
In this example, our client was able to save a substantial about if costs by upgrading and migrating workloads to Azure or use on-premises virtualization.

5 Health monitoring and keeping systems running, patched, and updated

DBMSys is heavily used in many of our service and support offerings. DB Best is able to provide health monitoring, upgrading, and patching all through one platform. DBMSys can also be used for many other reporting and environmental tasks that require a real-time monitoring system to help guide the decision-making process.

DBMSys is deployed on long-term engagements to assist with health monitoring, system status, and other business-rule requirements. The metadata can then be displayed on a single health dashboard. DBMSys takes real-time alerts, events, and metadata Windows and SQL Server and allows a single business rule to use the information to create targeted alerts or actions. This gives your infrastructure and database teams much greater control over the entire infrastructure and environments.

Summary of how DB Best can help you with DBMSys

I hope I have shown you just a few of the benefits that DB Best Technologies, has to offer with our customized DBMSys solution. DBMSys leverages your own environmental data to allow for informed business rules as well as data-guided estimates and upgrade or migration paths. As with any tool, if one does not know how to use it, it is of little-to-no value. We understand that. That is why we leverage DBMSys only as part of our existing services and solutions. DBMSys provides all of the metadata, but we also add our own “Special Sauce”: our vast experience from our architects and consultants. If you would like to know more about DBMSys and how DB Best can better leverage your own environments metadata to help better inform your decision makers, contact us. No company is too small or too large to not benefit from what DB Best can offer with DBMSys and our experienced team of subject matter experts (SMEs).