Databases are bedrooms.
When tidy, you can find your socks, shoes, cellphone, and everything else you need within minutes. But when cluttered, it takes 10 minutes to remember your left your shoes on the stairs, and 10 more minutes to remember you left your cell in your shoes because your hands were full at the time.
Even if you don’t habitually store your cellphone in your shoes, your database needs regular cleaning if you expect efficiency. Over time, use diminishes performance. Log files and other undesirables will pile up in heaps like neglected laundry, and what was once timely becomes a foggy slog.
If the metaphor doesn’t motivate you, then here’s five more concrete reasons to perform regular database maintenance.
#1: Faster queries
Your database doesn’t need all of your data, and bigger is not better. Think of it as a library, and a query as a librarian. The fewer books in the library, the quicker the search, and maintenance will discard outdated files and clutter. Defragmenting your database is the equivalent of consolidating the same number of books onto few shelves. Ignore cleanup, and eventually, your librarian will lock up and crash.
#2: Reliable disaster recovery
Is there such a thing as unreliable disaster recovery? Maintenance allows you to check the timeliness and integrity of backups so your recovery operations won’t dead-end into corrupt or incomplete data.
#3: Lower costs
Prevent problems before they derail your website’s silky operation. Any cost of doing so is minimal compared to the cost of visitors giving up on your broken or sluggish site. And because prevention is easier than repair, it allows you to stay focused on other aspects of your business.
Neglect is the ally of online thieves and hackers. If you’re regularly auditing your software versions, user-access, and PCI compliance, then you’re a hard target. Mind you, not invulnerable, but far less attractive to predators that prefer the other sites relying instead on the good graces of the Internet.