Green/ECO DBA Techniques to Save Mother Earth

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Over the last 150 years, the world has relentlessly exploited natural resources to feed the growing appetite for energy. Two and a half centuries since the industrial revolution, the effects of this unchecked environmental degradation are catching up with devastating results.

Intensive energy consumption translates to more exploitation of natural resources and burning of fossil oils leading to carbon emissions. Global warming is already causing freak weather like tsunamis, storms, among other devastating effects.

This calls for concerted efforts from all intense energy consumers, including database management systems (DMSs). With time, you might have no data to preserve as a DBA hence the need for eco-friendly DBA techniques.

Here are some creative techniques that you can leverage as a DBA to play your small but significant role:

  1. Processor Voltage/Frequency Control (PVC)

Technology comes in handy in conserving energy consumption by servers. PVC is a technique that enables DMSs to explicitly change both parameters for voltage of the processor and frequency. The fact that your processor is primed for peak performance makes it easy to alter voltage and frequency thus lowering performance in states such as idle or underutilized.

  1. Multi-query Optimization

Consider a queue outside an enquiries office; everyone has a problem but some cases are similar. What if you are able to let in those with similar queries in batches to reduce crowding? This is the same with multiple queries to the DMS. Queries to the database with similar components can be explicitly delayed and then evaluated in a batch. This enhances efficiency and saves energy that would be wasted in myriad query resolution.

  1. Good Choice of Hardware

Your energy efficiency campaign is only as good as the hardware you use. The yardstick is to choose hardware components with the best performance-per-watt characteristics. This translates to choosing high-performance server-grade CPUs, high RPM discs, among others.

  1. Consolidation of Resources

One of the major causes of energy wastage in database administration is poor utilization of resources. For instance, partially utilized system resources can be used by allowing other concurrent tasks to run. What’s more you can save energy by allowing such task to enter a reduced or suspended power mode.

Software comes handy in automating these operations including switching power modes and moving data across resources for better utilization. As a database administrator, you can use software capabilities to identify periods of low and high activity.

Tools such as Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) are critical to save energy by carrying out multiple functions on the same platform. HFM is a versatile tool that reduces the time you take on your database consolidating financial reports from multiple platforms.

  1. Overall Redesigning of Systems

Change is always challenging to achieve, and energy efficiency DMSs have to undergo overhauls both in hardware and software. For instance, faster algorithms and mechanisms for enhanced performance and energy efficiency are mandatory. Other areas that need rethinking in your DMS include new caching and replacement policies, software code structure abstractions, which lead to code bloating, among others.

With ongoing technology innovation, it is imperative to optimize your database performance while at the same time enhancing energy efficiency.


Steve Ghemawat is a world renowned Oracle database guru who has been at the forefront in implementation of most DBA innovations. Since 2008 he has become an authority on Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) which he calls the holy grail of ecommerce success and energy efficiency.

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