by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
GCN : September 2014
"LIFE IS REALLY SIMPLE," Confucius wrote, "but we insist on making it complicat- ed," a sentiment that could be applied to the way agencies manage data. For while it may seem settled that database managers should collect large amounts of data and store it for many years, this is actually terribly inefficient, unneces- sary and results in escalating costs and headaches. If you re a government data- base administrator, embrac- ing these four principles will help alleviate your pain and simplify your processes. NOT EVERYTHING IS WORTH COLLECTING There s an infinite amount of data that can be collected, but that doesn t mean it should be. The key is to gain a deep understanding of what s important for your agency at this particular time so you re only collecting what s neces- sary. Ask yourself, "What are our current priorities, and what type of data do we need to collect to support those priorities?" Other types of information may not be as critical to current needs and can be set aside. There is no decision making technology for this; rather, it requires insight into the over- all goals of the agency. You must become just as proficient at interacting with other teams, including those who set the overall direction for the agency, as you are with managing data. Finally, it s also helpful to remember not to get too bogged down in intricate calculations when it comes to data analysis. Often simple algebra will help you sort and filter data correctly. There s no need to panic; you ve got this. ALERTS AND NOTIFICATIONS: CHOOSE WISELY The rule of simplicity also applies when setting up auto- mated alert software. While it might be tempting to cover all bases by setting up alerts for every event, that practice can lead to alert overload. It s better to set up a simpler system consisting of both alerts and notifications. Understand that there are distinct di erences between the two. Alerts let you know of something that needs to be taken care of immediately --- a potential security breach, for example. Notifications are less timely. They might inform you of performance issues impacting response time, which is not something to be ignored, but not an emergency either. This pro- cess gets you the information you need, when you need it, without overwhelming you. SHOW APPROPRIATE RESPECT FOR OLDER DATA There s no hard and fast rule about how much data to keep orhowlongtokeepit---and that poses problems. Because while many have likely heard the unwritten "7 year rule," which dictates that all data should be kept for that period of time, it s also likely that most agencies keep data for much longer than that, even if they re not required to. Instead of archiving, database administrators should consider using a tiered storage approach. Tiered solutions help enhance ef- ficiencies by prioritizing data, separating new or more im- portant data from that which is older or less useful. For example, tier 1 storage could be used to house newer data that might need to be more accessible or retrieved more quickly. Simultaneously, less valuable or older data should be placed in tier 2 or tier 3 storage sets, which are gener- ally slower, so the data will take more time to retrieve. Again, it s all about simpli- fication --- separating what you need from what you do not, and in the process mak- ing your database e orts run more e ciently. KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW External audits are never fun, but they can be eye open- ing and critically important, especially for managers who are drowning in data. Every database manager should consider hiring out- side data analysts to provide an unbiased report of the agency s data management practices. Many of these analysts are architects and modelers; they re the kings of data simplification, and their expertise can be invaluable. Along with the other aforementioned principles, they can help focus your data management e orts --- and simplify your life in a way that would make Confucius proud. • --- Thomas LaRock is senior database administrator and technical evangelist at SolarWinds, a provider of IT management software. INDUSTRY INSIGHT BY THOMAS LaROCK 4 principles of simplified data management While it may seem settled that database managers should collect large amounts of data and store it for many years, this is actually terribly inefficient, unnecessary and results in escalating costs and headaches. GCN SEPTEMBER 2014 • GCN.COM 13