Managed Database Service

Database & Server Support


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MySQL features a relational database management system (RDBMS) that runs as a server providing multi-user access to a number of databases. MySQL is a popular choice of database for use in web applications, and is a central component of the widely used LAMP web application software stack—LAMP is an acronym for "Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python". MySQL is an open source database management system and is used in some of the most frequently visited websites on the Internet.

ITSS offers a common good virtual server service that provides

  1. Virtual server provision, support, maintenance, security, patching, monitoring, backup, and restoration maintained and managed by ITSS systems administrators, and
  2. Customer owned MySql applications for campus departments and business units.

ITSS offers complete packages of hardware, database software, database administration and system administration in support of your data needs. Projects and services are initiated by customer request and are scheduled based upon ITSS staff availability, project priority and project development time.

Models of low cost managed database services include:

  • MySQL database service - fast, reliable, easy to use, and suitable for simple database needs
  • PostgreSQL database service - capable of handling transaction processing

These service offerings are available for campus departments and groups with simple database needs, transaction-processing applications, or to house the database of dynamic web sites. These databases and web sites are generally self-supported by the customer; however, the customer may contract for assistance from ITSS staff on a chargeback basis for time. Application support may be requested by calling the ITSS Help Desk (8847), who will establish a work ticket for any requests.

Customers in campus departments and business units retain the responsibility for the application administration and customer support for their users. These services are appropriate for projects that have no restricted, private, or HIPPA data, modest storage requirements, and no complex database design issues. These services provide customers with their own:

  • dedicated database instance running on a shared database host,
  • tools for them to manage that own instance,
    i.e. MySQL Workbench 
    PostgreSQL 
  • in addition, a supported automation system to handle many of the routine database maintenance tasks.

The managed service will reduce the burden of server administration work for users and provide control within a supported technical environment. ITSS costs are kept low by using automated processes and sharing the infrastructure with other WordPress and MySQL instances. Generally, there is no charge to the customer using this service. ITSS will only charge for our support if you request our help with modifying the WordPress or MySQL application, or if your managed server instance impacts other customers' instances and we need to correct a problem. Your managed server instance support will continue until it is mutually agreed that an application is no longer needed or until funding is eliminated.

A department faculty member or administrator is required to sponsor the computer account for managed services

Service Summary

The managed database service provided by ITSS includes:

  • Dedicated virtual instance running on a shared server host
  • 128 GB of disk space for all instance space needs - data, backups, logs
  • Instance-up monitoring
  • ITSS staff will maintain current level security patches for the server and operating system software, and resolve any hardware or operating server software faults
  • Server host machine housed in the ITSS datacenter
  • ITSS staff will provide support for a number of management tasks, such as backups, restoring a backup, performance and maintenance history data, and other DBA functions
  • Host-based firewall to limit network traffic to your instance to datacenter subnets only

Service Guidelines

Service guidelines for all managed MySQL instances include:

  • All University employees and community members must comply with the University Administrative Policy "Securing Private Data, Computers, and Other Electronic Devices" and they must take appropriate steps to secure any private data they create, possess, or have access to in connection with their University employment, education, or research. This obligation includes maintaining electronic private data only on University computer systems and electronic devices and securing those computers and devices as required by policy. 
  • There is no direct “ssh” or root access/login to the host server or backup machines.
  • Periodic upgrades of the SQL server software will be necessary, and in particular, security patches will be a very high priority applied within two days of the recommended patch release.
  • The host machine quotas on memory, disk, and CPU are monitored and tracked. Please remember this is a shared resource.
  • To help guarantee resources to each basic instance, certain important resource settings are pre-set and need to remain unchanged.
  • No hosting of PCI regulated applications or PCI regulated data.
  • ITSS monitors all managed WordPress instances to check for applications rapidly using very large amounts of disk storage generated through an application plug-in, a program loop, or a security intrusion, or if an application negatively influences one or more other vm managed application instances. ITSS systems staff will disable the rogue application instance to protect the remaining virtual WordPress instances, and ITSS staff will take control of the offending instance in order to resolve all problems. ITSS staff will correct all problems prior to re-enabling the instance for customer use and before returning control of the instance back to the application owner. All ITSS staff time worked to remedy the problem is billed to the sponsoring department.
  • Customer will report problems through the ITSS HelpDesk, phone 726-8847.
  • Customer will provide application administration and customer support for their users; the unit, a vendor, or another third party can provide this.
  • Customer will provide audit compliance for application(s) and data, which includes making ITSS systems administrators aware of any private data or HIPAA regulated data.

Expectations for Developers

Development of new application instances must be negotiated with ITSS in order to determine whether they can be done at no charge by ITSS staff. If not, ITSS will provide an estimate for the development work to be done by ITSS staff.

There will be developers from multiple disciplines using these services, and all must use appropriate development and testing strategies.

Units with access to these servers may employ student developers. All development by students will be reviewed and tested by the application owner, who oversees their work.

Application owners should anticipate upgrading the application version approximately every two years.

Help Desk Response by ITSS

Calls for assistance regarding the servers or applications in this service offering will go to the ITSS Help Desk. During regular work hours, a major problem, such as a network or server outage, reported through the Help Desk will have a response time of 30 minutes or less. Minor problems reported through the Help Desk will be addressed in the normal ITSS workflow process.

Emergency response items will be escalated. ITSS recognizes that some of these applications provide important services for the respective application owner, so that any problems affecting service must be addressed promptly.

Regular business hours: ITSS coverage is available from 8 AM until 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday by calling the ITSS Help Desk at 726-8847. The ITSS Help Desk is open for extended hours (until 9 pm Monday through Thursday) even though most regular staff may not be available. After-hours assistance can be requested at the HelpDesk, although there may be some time delay in tracking down regular staff to come. 

Escalation Process

The generic workday escalation process is to report the problem to the Help Desk as instructed above. ITSS has an escalation process that monitors the Help Desk task list, and sends emails to teams, the manager of the area, and eventually all managers and the director.

Application owners are encouraged to call an ITSS manager or director in the event that a major problem is not addressed in a timely way, including during evenings or weekends.

For more information

For more information on the managed WordPress and MySQL services or other development support services offered by the ITSS, please contact either the ITSS TechCenter Helpdesk at itsshelp@d.umn.edu, or the ITSS Enterprise Team at esteam@d.umn.edu.