What Is Database Monitoring, and Why Is It Still Important?

What Is Database Monitoring, and Why Is It Still Important?

The digital database has come a long way since its infancy in the 1960s. Modern databases do much more heavy lifting than their simpler predecessors and have become sophisticated storehouses for both unstructured and structured data. Businesses still rely heavily on databases, and with advances in database monitoring technology, teams can protect their data like never before.

When a team member or a customer has a question that can’t be answered off the cuff, the database is often the first place to look. If someone needs something, the database has it. For this reason, a database’s functioning is integral to a team’s day-to-day productivity. If a system is frequently down or runs too slow, it can drain the whole team’s effectiveness – not to mention morale. This is why a subpar database is one of the worst handicaps a business can have. In today’s fast-paced, digitally-driven world, it can be a fatal blow to a brand’s reputation.

What Is Database Monitoring?

Database monitoring allows companies to keep tabs on network and database performance. It refers to a set of specific tasks performed regularly to ensure a database is functioning as it should. This includes both hardware and software maintenance. Essentially, database monitoring is like an ongoing health check-up for your data management system (DMS). 

A DMS will collect vital data so the user can perform important tasks like:

  • Tracking index and table usage
  • Figuring out why the system is performing poorly
  • Testing the impact of various changes like modified queries
  • Identifying weak spots and bottlenecks so they can be optimized
  • Tracking the performance of specific SQL queries or applications 
  • Forecasting what hardware will be needed based on how a database is used

Database monitoring is multi-faceted and provides an overview of many different processes. These include:

Resource Availability and Consumption – Databases are regularly scanned to ensure they are online. This occurs both during and after the standard working hours. Once the system confirms that the database is online, resources like CPU and other network components are monitored. Alerts for different problems can be sent to different team members so they can act quickly. 

Tracking Throughput – This type of monitoring includes things like replication latency. The system sets benchmarks and compares them to present numbers. This makes it easy to observe and investigate deviations from the norm.

Log Tracking – Database logs can be the difference between proactive and reactive monitoring. Logs display vital information about which queries are running and how long they take. With various types of database logs, information is collected that wouldn’t be trackable with standard performance metrics.

With the rise of IoT, the amount of data that the average business now collects is staggering. Data management techniques need to keep pace. Built-in data management systems are known to significantly increase server loads. This can make the upkeep of software and hardware costs. They also tend to include unnecessary data, which raises accessibility issues for administrators. Thus the market for Databases Activity Monitoring (DAM) tools has grown year after year and is expected to reach $2.86 billion by 2028. These tools add an extra layer of security. Business-critical applications always function optimally, and end-users are never inconvenienced. 

How It Works

Teams can achieve strong database functioning by monitoring selected metrics. These include things like memory usage, configuration, and connection information. The system automatically refers to past data to ensure things are on track in real-time. But database monitoring goes deeper than just checking for problems. The system can distinguish true anomalies from temporary trends by consistently aggregating data. Such nuanced insights add more value to an already dynamic data monitoring tool. 

SQL query monitoring is another way to keep things running smoothly. If a query design is too complex, it can slow down the system or create other internal issues. Data monitoring platforms offer quick and easy query monitoring of code. This allows developers to ensure their code doesn’t negatively affect database performance. The system will also detect new queries that were not previously monitored and add them to the list.

With database monitoring teams can:

  • Incorporate business KPIs – Teams can develop custom modules to interact with different systems
  • Monitor Cloud database instances – Schedule database maintenance, data replication, and more
  • Track the performance of individual databases
  • Eliminate manual configuration – There’s no need to spend loads of time on setup. DAM is an out-of-the-box solution
  • Have built-in alerts and graphing – Graphs are visible in real-time right from the data monitoring dashboard
  • Detect SQL injections, outlier user activity, and privilege abuses – Administrators can scan for security threats and identify malicious code
  • Extract key insights without risk – Teams can gain greater access to metrics without even having direct access to the database
  • View information for many different servers from one dashboard

An improved DMS is just around the corner for companies that harness the wealth of historical data gathered through database monitoring. Reports provide direct evidence to help teams identify and get to the root of longstanding performance issues. Once key pivots are made, a company’s entire IT infrastructure becomes higher-functioning and more resilient in the face of a setback.

Why Is Database Monitoring (Still) Important?

Databases have been around longer than most of today’s business applications. For this reason, there can be a sense that they are old news – that there’s nothing more to say about them. Many businesses neglect their database or simply don’t prioritize it at all. But this has proven to be a mistake as the potential revenue losses are astronomical. A 2014 Gartner study estimated downtime costs to average $5,600 per minute, which has likely only increased since then.

Instead of overlooking database health, teams can learn to future-proof their databases. As businesses evolve, so must their DMS. Scalability is a must-have feature, and modern database monitoring tools are equipped for the challenge. Companies have relied on databases since the early days of online business, and there’s no reason to believe database health won’t be vital in the future.

There are a few core components that make a data monitoring system scalable. Customization is obviously a huge factor, as different organizations have different needs as they grow. A tool that can be tailored to fit the current workflow is best. Teams can customize reports and audits right alongside the tools they already use. Another element is server availability – the higher, the better. But in addition, the platform itself should be highly accessible and capable of monitoring hundreds or even thousands of servers at once. Compliance is also an element of scalability. Database administrators must adapt and find ways to stay compliant in various situations. As the company grows, the need for database complexity and reorganization grows.

Keeping an eye on a database is three-pronged: optimize performance, protect data, and eliminate downtime. This is the overarching purpose of any database monitoring system. By nailing all three of these functions, businesses can expect to:

  • avoid revenue losses
  • keep vulnerable data in good hands
  • provide a better user experience
  • analyze and glean insights from data more easily 
  • save on IT infrastructure costs
  • stop wasting time on tasks that should be done automatically
  • create an iterative process where improvements are made easily

See how teams can monitor their infrastructure from an affordable SaaS platform. 

DevOps is a quickly evolving field that brings new challenges to IT professionals every day. Some of these challenges have been brought on by the rise of cloud-based infrastructures. With one foot in the old world and one foot in the new, teams increasingly adopt hybrid databases, which can be trickier to monitor. A system that can oversee connections between multiple applications is key, and this is just what monitoring systems do. Higher complexity doesn’t have to mean more complications and problems, but all too often, this is what happens. A good data monitoring system will increase operational efficiency even if an organization’s needs become more complex.

Database administrators no longer need to manually keep track or use monitoring tools that aren’t comprehensive enough. After reviewing the data, there is still a lot of work to do to boost security and system performance. A monitoring tool is like having a highly efficient assistant that feeds you all the information you need in advance. This frees administrators to focus on the most important, avoid time-wasters, and let the system do the tedious work. Whether it’s a weekend or a holiday break, teams can relax knowing there’s ‘someone’ on staff to catch a problem.

The value of database monitoring is that it not only alerts IT professionals when something is wrong (usually via email or SMS), but it also shows them where it’s wrong. By comparing current data to historical benchmarks, database monitoring systems can immediately detect anomalies and potential problems like the overutilization of resources. Once the IT team receives the alert, they can quickly snap into action to avert system downtime or poor performance. This saves workers time that they’d otherwise spend troubleshooting a problem that shouldn’t even be happening. It also allows businesses to catch problems early before they become catastrophic and headline-worthy.

It’s no secret that the modern business landscape runs predominantly on data – It’s the new lifeblood of operations. For this reason, data compliance issues have taken center stage, and consumers are raising more concerns about privacy and data breaches. With the constant threat of a cyberattack looming, online businesses need to adopt better data governance policies that protect and inform their users. The key to mastering data compliance is visibility and transparency. With a database monitoring system, an organization’s data assets are protected, and IT professionals know how to keep track of them. With the right authentication protocol, teams can ensure that only the right people can access sensitive data.

Getting Started with Database Monitoring

Today, it is becoming an all-too-common scenario: Giant, seemingly infallible retailers, e-commerce, and telecommunications companies experience sudden database outages that wipe them out for hours and cost millions in revenue. If it can happen to even the most resourced global enterprises, it can happen to anyone. 

Business technology is changing fast, but database integrity remains as crucial as ever. As has always been the case, the future of database monitoring will be tied to developments in computing. AI and machine learning will continue to play a central role as businesses rely more heavily on them. As enterprises use more applications and rely on integrations than ever before, things can get quite complicated behind the scenes. This makes errors harder to predict, which means data-driven technology is better equipped for the job than a human being.

Fortunately, security audits, reporting, and data protection are more accessible than ever. Getting started requires IT teams to choose a platform and learn the ropes. Data monitoring is available regardless of what DMS is being used. Teams can monitor AWS, SQL Server, MongoDB, Oracle, Cassandra, MariaDB, etc. With the support of such a system, teams can raise their productivity and ease their workload simultaneously. 

LogicMonitor is the leading SaaS-based unified observability and IT operations data collaboration platform for enterprise IT and managed service providers. Get a bird’s-eye view of your networks, cloud, applications, servers, log data, and more from one accessible platform. Ready to try it for free?