When and How to Upgrade your Database

database optimization
Photo by Florian Olivo

Database optimization is essential for any organization or business that wants to perform effectively. Without upgrading a database, an organization can face cyber threats, loss of data, slowed down processes, and other issues. Additionally, optimizing a database is necessary as businesses grow.

As growth happens, a database will incur additional workload and will be responsible for storing more data. The more complex a database, the more opportunities exist for things to go wrong. The loss of data or a cyber attack can be catastrophic for any growing business.

Here are some points to consider regarding when and how to upgrade your database.

Security Fixes

Technology advances at an exponential rate, and so too do the cyberthreats that can affect databases. As new software is developed and more information is stored in databases, hackers find new loopholes and more sophisticated approaches to steal an organization’s information.

For example, you may often see an “Update” on your cell phone or computer once every month or so. This is the developer sending out patches and fixes in order to improve security and optimize your product. The same concept applies to a database.

As developers discover and react to hackers, the developers create protections in order to stop the hackers’ new techniques. It is a back-and-forth process that likely has no end in sight. Regardless, upgrading your database on a regular basis for security purposes is essential. A successful hack can lead to a complete shutdown of your organization’s processes, leading to an uncertain amount of downtime.

In order to deter the threat of hackers so your information is not stolen, it is wise to hire a team of professional IT support staff. This staff can become familiar with your database product in order to increase security and improve database optimization.

Scaling for Growth

As businesses grow, they must also invest in their internal systems. This includes their database. A business that begins to take on new customers and thus has to store more data will need to optimize their database for the new workload. An outdated database may begin to show signs of slowing down, bugs, technical glitches, and general inefficiency if it is overloaded.

When employees who use the database begin to see that there are extended times to access data, or an overabundance of bugs, it may be time for an upgrade. For example, adding additional memory and processing speed can greatly improve performance. As a result, employees will become more productive.

Additionally, upgrading for scalability allows an IT team to incorporate new and advanced features. For example, when a developer sells a database to an organization, they generally do not simply walk away from that product. Instead, they regularly work on it to increase efficiency and resolve bugs. Similar to regularly sending out security fixes, developers will also send out new features that increase the efficiency of their database.

If you notice your database appears to be lacking new tools that your competitors are using, it may be time to improve database optimization. New and advanced features are meant to help your organization perform better.

Resolving Bugs and Technical Issues

Similar to resolving security issues, upgrading a database can also help resolve bugs and technical issues. These bugs can be anything from a nuisance to a catastrophic glitch that corrupts your data. Technical issues can disrupt productivity if employees are spending their time submitting help tickets instead of performing their jobs. It will ultimately decrease work productivity if your database is not upgraded and also dealing with technical issues.

Additionally, IT teams are expected to work with the most up-to-date programs in the course of their jobs. As a result, they are more aware of the bugs found in the upgraded systems instead of outdated systems. This means if they find bugs that are in an old database, they may take longer to resolve. They will also likely advise you to upgrade your database in order to avoid a recurrence of the same glitch.

Reducing Storage and Maintenance Costs

An upgraded database will likely be able to store more data while occupying less space. For example, think about the size of the memory cards on a camera. Many years ago, the cards were large but only held a small amount of information. Now people can find 1TB data cards that are smaller but hold immense amounts of information. This same concept applies to the data that is in databases.

A big technological jump happened as computers shifted from HDD to SSD hard drives. HDDs are mechanical and take up more space. HDDs are also less reliable because they use mechanical parts. However, an SSD can store more data in a smaller space because it uses integrated circuitry to persistently store data.

Databases that use optimized storage systems can occupy less space, thus saving you more money. The reduced physical footprint of the database can result in less electricity usage for cooling systems, for example.

Overall, an optimized database can reduce costs because the system will ultimately be more efficient and productive.

It is important to note that if you are going to upgrade your database, it should be done in installments. Rushing any project can create errors or leave issues overlooked, upgrading a database is no different. There should also be a backup of the data you intend to transfer. Although you are upgrading your system, it is still possible for unforeseen issues to arise; your data should be protected in that event.

Upgrades should also be tested before fully implemented. New bugs and glitches can arise if the upgraded version is not properly and professionally tested before being integrated into your existing database.

Contact Ayoka Systems

At Ayoka Systems, our teams of IT professionals stand ready to help you integrate database optimization. We are happy to sit down with you to discuss your goals and objectives so that the upgrade is seamless and effective. Contact us today for a consultation. 

database optimization
Photo by Massimo Botturi