Database Hosting Service

Increasingly, companies rely on a database hosting service to store, manage, safeguard, and provide limited access to shared files. It's difficult to believe, but only a few decades ago, the only solution businesses had for storing important documents was either in a filing cabinet or on microfilm. But filing cabinets could easily be destroyed by water, fire, or burglary. Irretrievable data was often lost, even when there was an effort to store duplicates in a safe offsite location. Invented in 1839 as a result of microphotography, microfilms were used to reduce documents and drawings down to 3% of their original size for portability and secrecy. Microfiche documents were used primarily to archive engineering drawings, send military communications via pigeon post, and at most public libraries. The drawback to using microfiche or microforms, which were relatively efficient data transmission and storage mediums during the late nineteenth to twentieth centuries, was that they could easily be destroyed. In addition to their fragility, nitrate-coated films were also highly toxic, brittle and flammable.

With the advent and increased usage of personal computers in the late 70s, more companies began to take advantage of the disk storage capabilities of electronic media. Local area networks, or LAN, were established at the corporate level to more effectively manage data and enable file transfer protocol, or FTP. Company networks encompassing each piece of hardware, operating systems, software, and databases were developed to ensure that businesses operated at optimum efficiency without compromising information security. Corporate network and systems administrators reserve a dedicated computer, or database server, to store, manage, and provide client computers with easy access to the server. Prior to database server hosting, onsite dedicated servers provided each department or unit secure storage options and enable workstations to operate more efficiently. The result was an increased ability to manage and protect important assets. Corporate documents which once took up an entire storage building or wing could be compressed into electronic packets and accessed through the network at will.

New web-based data storage technology was a boon to businesses. However as internet traffic increased, the threat of hackers, viruses, worms and Trojan horses also increased. Although network administrators were diligent in installing security programs, such as antivirus software and firewalls, the threat of infiltration by malicious agents and hackers continues to exist. If administrators can trust software programs, surely men can place their confidence in God to provide safety from seen and unseen dangers. "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:2-4).

A database hosting service addresses the issue of a company's ability to store higher volumes of corporate data. Most businesses of any considerable size can also easily outgrow the capacity to store data onsite. Even designated on-site servers with larger disk space cannot keep up the pace as corporations expand and acquire more assets, employees, facilities, and equipment. Offsite database server hosting provides a viable option. High security enterprises, such as financial institutions, government agencies, hospitals, and credit card issuers cannot afford to have sensitive data compromised. To prevent the infiltration or loss of valuable documents and sensitive information, today's corporations rely on a reputable online database hosting service. Web-based hosting provides small and large enterprises with a secure location to store crucial documents. Host servers are monitored 24/7 and are located in a fire and waterproof environment. Hackers would be hard pressed to penetrate heavy duty firewalls and bypass security programs with built-in assessment tools to detect infiltration at login, file transfer, or downloads from the Internet. Back-up power sources, monitored climate controls, and remote server surveillance are provided by hosting providers. Account holders can rest assured that important data is kept safe and free from intrusion. Businesses don't have to worry about hackers accessing social security numbers, credit card accounts, or corporate trade secrets.

Highly efficient database server hosting should be as impenetrable as Fort Knox. Hosting services providers utilize monitoring software to scrutinize an entire network to ensure optimum data transmission for multiple users. Reports are generated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis; and system failures and errors can easily be detected and repaired without compromising sensitive data. A database hosting service will issue alerts to system administrators in the event of failures or when the database server is down or offline. Hosting services check to ensure that adequate disk space is available on database servers; and that files are backed up and archived on a daily basis. Backup and archiving enables systems to operate optimally while freeing up valuable hard drive space. Offsite hosting also includes the application of software specially designed to monitor file system and hard drive server/client activity. More importantly, surveillance programs continually screen file transfers to ensure that malicious viruses, worms, or hackers cannot infiltrate off- and on-site servers and clients.

While database servers are located offsite, providers maintain close online contact with onsite network administrators to keep them aware of potential problems, install software updates, and optimize server performance. Server hosting providers can configure offsite machines and software to accommodate small and large corporations and modify maintenance plans businesses expand and grow. Domestic and foreign acquisitions, an expanded workforce, added workstations and hardware, and updated operating systems all necessitate altering an existing database server hosting program. Reputable providers will make accurate needs assessments and propose new alternatives to continue offering efficient storage and management of valuable electronic documents. After all, a company's database includes vital components to keep the business viable. If a corporate database is the heartbeat of a business, an efficient database hosting service is certainly its lifeline.

Database Monitoring Tools

An SQL server monitoring tool was desperately needed at a newspaper in a middle sized city in a northeastern state. SQL stands for structured query language, and it offers its users the opportunity to give commands to the database such as select, update, delete, insert and where. Data pools that reporters used to cross check names, stories and leads were becoming more and more difficult to obtain because of bottlenecks in the information stream. Too much information and too much demand were placing the data pools in a precarious state. Grumbling and complaining among the staff was becoming more and more of a daily occurrence, and the editor needed to make some changes fast. Reporters trying to dig for new information on old stories, confidential sources, witnesses and other facts from dated material are paramount to doing journalistic excellence and the result was that the creative process was being bogged down by slow and sometimes even unresponsive database servers.

Database monitoring tools to help in alleviating large database bottlenecks and slow responses are available from a vast array of vendors. But trying to pinpoint exact causes of slowdowns in data pool performance can be very difficult to do, because of the vast amount of information that is stored. It would not be rare to find millions of events stored on an SQL database and so an SQL server monitoring tool must be able to work at very high speeds and find the data hang up. Typically a DBA or database developer would not be allowed to look at the actual data pool information simply because looking at thousands or tens of thousands of almost identical lines of information would be of no value. In many cases, the software can perform a quick analysis of data pool use over a specific span of time, identify what kinds of searches were performed, and the user of the SQL, and then begin to identify where specific problems are occurring.

Database monitoring tools offers users to do a vast array of functionality in keeping databases running smoothly. Some tools offer the ability to observe the connectivity of networks, including database and email performance along with printer function, the performance of network devices and detecting upcoming problems before they occur. Some have the ability to restore a damaged database program, but of course, the software is often limited by how much damage has occurred and may only be effective with certain software databases. Other software is helpful in debugging relational databases such as vendors, customers, witnesses and similar information while other software is more adept in the numerical database arena, and of course even others can handle both genres quite efficiently. These observing tools will let network administrators know of upcoming problems by email or pager. Other tools enable users to interface with multiple databases, making users even more productive and powerful.

A useful SQL server monitoring tool will enable the DBA to make the standard ANSI code for the SQL format into a more synthesized and streamlined code for the particular business application. In addition, a helpful SQL tool will also allow different clients access to certain SQL databases without possessing the software on their own networks. In addition, helpful SQL monitoring software will detect areas of locks and deadlocks, indentify SQL code that is offending the data stream process, have a non impact on the integrity of the system, accelerate response time, inspect values of all objects in the program including simple variables, temporary tables, and permanent tables. In addition, database monitoring tools will observe and record the length of time spent waiting on data returns, observe simple input and output actions and check cache hits ratios.

The SGL server at the newspaper had not been serviced in several years. Just like an aging physical body, changes in database performance were slow and barely perceptible until all bottlenecks seemed to converge almost all at once. An emergency meeting of the executive committee of the newspaper approved the hiring of a full time DBA/IT to come on staff and begin monitoring the almost seventy work stations and keep the SQL database as well as other essential network functions running smoothly. One of the first things the DBA did was to install an SQL server monitoring tool that enabled her to look back at past episodes of deadlock or lockdown. Many of SQL monitoring tools only allowed real time observance of problems occurring. "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver." (Psalm 119:72)

Database monitoring tools is not one of the more glamorous subjects unless a person is an IT administrator or a Database Developer. In those cases, it's a pretty sure thing that there would be a whole lot more data the reader would like to add to this blog. Monitoring is a buzzword for Snoozeville for a lot of people. Talking to teachers about going out and monitoring recess will get a person a whole lot of comments about how slow the time goes, and if a person doesn't like fishing, one can go almost stir crazy monitoring the line in the water. Parents are big on watching school progress and financial advisors watch the stock market like a hawk, and avid sports fans can tell an outsider every injury of every player on his/her favorite team. But how many of us monitor the slow, insidious creep of amoral values that have entered our society in recent years? Perhaps there has been so little monitoring of its affect on all of us that now it's almost impossible to tell the difference between right and wrong in many cases.





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