When a company decides to outsource its database management (DBA), it will find that domestic and foreign options are widely available. The question of which is most feasible for the organization’s needs will almost always arise and will have to be answered. For most, it often comes down to dollars and cents. In the short term, the answer is simple. In the long run, it is not that easy.
=== Advantages of offshore DBA administration
The positive side of managing DBA offshore is usually its cost. The same services are likely to be much cheaper if outsourced to countries like India, Russia, Pakistan, and the like. These costs can be as low as 50% of the national cost for the same service (by name).
Legally, this can also have some advantages, as the administration abroad may not be under the same restrictions (assuming your data is also stored abroad). While this advantage is rare, some benefit from it.
=== Disadvantages of offshore DBA management
The biggest immediate downside to offshore DBA is communication. Someone on the other side of the planet may not have the same understanding of the language or the same length of time as you. Many of those serving abroad are in the “12 hour gap.” This is the difference in time it may take for the question and the answer to happen.
Another problem with communication is who you are (or are not) talking to. Very often these foreign suppliers are run by non-technical people who act as sales and customer relations. Real DBAs are in the background, getting their information second-hand and often after translation as well.
A second problem is professionalism. While most offshore providers are improving, some are not. The legality of going after a foreign provider who mismanages, loses, or even steals your data is complicated and expensive. It is not worth taking that risk with certain information and data.
This brings up the issue of corporate security as a whole. Can you outsource your data to someone who, legally, will be difficult to pursue if your data is sold or compromised? Will your customer base be happy to know that their data is being sent abroad for storage?
All of these are legitimate concerns that many in the industry overlook and sugarcoat to justify the huge cost savings that can be realized up front with offshoring. While these savings can be great, do they come at a price you’re willing to pay?
=== The final analysis for offshore decisions
In the end, the decision to go abroad (or not) depends on the individual companies that have to decide. Industry experts who criticize offshore DBA services are not doing so out of nationalist pride, but primarily out of experience. Those who have used offshore services know that they often come at a time of sacrifice that can easily offset the savings that can be made.
If your IT manager has to spend hours guiding the offshore provider through the process, shouldn’t he do it himself? It is a question that is often asked after the fact, when the money has already been spent and the contracts have been signed.