A Conversation with Progress OpenEdge’s Top Managed Database Administration Expert: Insights into the MDBA Service

A Conversation with Progress OpenEdge’s Top Managed Database Administration Expert: Insights into the MDBA Service

Posted on March 14, 2023 0 Comments

We get the candid take on the Progress OpenEdge Managed Database Administration (MDBA) Service from Roy Ellis, Director of the MDBA team. Discover what he thinks about our customers and what type of company he believes is the best candidate for the managed DBA service.

Progress OpenEdge databases power the applications that form your business, making them nothing short of mission critical. In many companies, it’s a full-time job for a database administrator (DBA) to manage, maintain and leverage this advanced system. With our Managed Database Administration (MDBA) Service, Progress Professional Services experts do the crucial work to ensure the high availability and optimal performance of your OpenEdge investment.

Who Is Roy Ellis?

To learn more about the MDBA service, we sat down for a chat with Progress’ top MDBA expert. Roy Ellis, a near 30-year veteran at Progress and the Director of the MDBA team, manages a team of 23 accomplished database administrators. These DBAs work with our customers to document their environment, provide stability and tuning recommendations, perform mini database health checks and set customized threshold criteria. If a database’s performance threatens to fall below the established criteria, they act immediately to identify and fix the problem.

Ellis began his career at Progress in our technical support department. “I really loved working with the customers in tech support,” Ellis said. He then moved to the Development team and was there for over 20 years before moving into Professional Services.

Ellis explained how he loves “to work closely with customers and (find out) how they are doing and the things they are doing. We have the most ingenious customers in the world. Their applications on OpenEdge are just fantastic.” Ellis would know, considering he and his team assist nearly 180 customers in the ERP, medical and financial sectors, helping deploy and manage OpenEdge databases. 

8 Questions for the MDBA Expert

How many customers did the MDBA team help last year? 

We have about 180 customers that are on a Service plan, which means they have immediate access to us. They have an SLA. We'll respond usually within an hour and help them fix their problem.

One of our favorite things is a Database Health Check, where a customer is wondering if there's something they can do to make their database perform better. We do hundreds of those a year.

The MDBA is like insurance. It's 24/7. MDBA is a bet-your-business service, but we also do ad hoc services which are project oriented.

What type of companies use MDBA?

Anyone concerned about 24/7 high availability. Let's say you are running a business based on OpenEdge and have demanding customers that need a 24/7 high-availability guarantee. If so, then MDBA is a great option. 

What about security? 

Security is a process. It's like washing your hair. Rinse, lather, repeat and repeat and repeat. Security is something we deal with every single day and continue to improve on. 

Being part of MDBA can help if you're having a security issue. We see issues as they start. We might see strange things happening on your system. We can be the first one to notice if there's a spike or large usage of disk space, or a spike in CPU. We’ll let you know right away.

What is the message for upper-level management, the CIO, CTO, president of the company—the finance people?

Does your database need to be up? Does your system need to be up 24/7? Do you want to catch problems that are brewing before they happen? If something does go wrong, do you want somebody who's awake and alert somewhere in the world who has over 20 years of experience to help you get your system back up and running, and do so at a fraction of the cost of a full-time DBA? This is your business. This is not a technical thing. This is, “How do you keep your business up and running?”

An experienced DBA costs six figures. And that person is going to take a month of vacation and is going to have holidays and sick time. With our MDBA, you're getting 24/7 guaranteed, 365 days a year.

What is in it for the tech folks?

Tech people want to sleep through the night. If you have a small company and only one or two technical people, somebody's on a beeper. They're not sleeping very well because they're waiting for the beeper to go off, or they can't go on vacation because something bad may happen when they're gone. 

It sounds like you’re saying this is not a service that takes someone's job but instead helps them do their job. 

That's the idea. We're DBA on staff to help them at a fraction of the cost. We get in there. We understand their system. We complement the customers' IT staff and become part of their team. When onboarding, we assign a primary DBA to every account. This proves to be very positive in that relationships are developed, which facilitates ongoing and optimal collaboration.

We sometimes use the tagline "more than monitoring." But how much hands-on work do we do for the client?

We work with every customer to decide how much or how little they want us involved in their system. We have customers that we log in, and as soon as there's an alert, we fix it before it becomes a problem. We log in regularly on weekends to do performance tuning that won't affect the system. 

And if there is something that requires downtime, we plan it with you and take care of it for you.

Can end users or partners use MDBA? 

When a partner offers MDBA, we can work directly with their customers. If the partner would rather everything go through them, we have a different agreement with the partners where we will help them set up monitoring, be there for consulting and be the second line of support. That is a special type of engagement we have with our partners who want to still be involved with customers on the first level. 

We give partners monthly monitoring reports to tell them how those customers are doing and forecast issues that might be coming up.

How MDBA Helps OpenEdge Customers

Looking at stories from our MDBA customers, they can vouch for the impact Ellis and his team have on their business. “Since engaging the MDBA team in 2015, they have been an invaluable asset in tuning and keeping our OpenEdge environment performing at its maximum capacity. The team also provides significant peace of mind with respect to having resources available in business-critical situations,” remarked Gyles Garber, Senior Systems Architect, Hustler Turf & BigDog Mower Co.

Having OpenEdge experts on call is a real problem solver. “With MDBA, we were able to resolve a number of outstanding issues that we were dealing with for several years. We also got a level of support that was reactionary when we were encountering problems, which is what we needed,” said Bob Lansing, Director of IT Support, Ultratec.

Partners also use MDBA for their customers. “We’ve used MDBA for a few customers...and it’s meant that customers who have the managed service don’t have to wait for us to come online to sort their issues out,” said Carol Clark, Technical Services Manager, COINS.

Consider MDBA for Your Business

Contact us if you think MDBA may be a good fit for your business. You may even get to talk to Roy Ellis himself!

Contact Us

Joelle Andrews Progress

Joelle Andrews

Joelle Andrews is a Product Marketing Manager focused on Progress Customer Care. Joelle’s past experience includes two years with the DataDirect team and a decade of experience in other product marketing, marketing automation, and sales roles. Outside of work, Joelle loves hiking, getting lost in a book, rescuing cats, and traveling the world.


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