Is the life of the DBA getting harder?

Is the life of the DBA getting harder?

Jul 28, 2015


The role of the database administrator (DBA) has evolved over time. As technology has advanced, so has the need for people with the correct, applicable know-how. Moreover, their level of expertise has grown more comprehensive.

While even the most sage-like DBA will struggle to predict the future in its entirety, having an eye on emerging back-end solutions is a beneficial skill. 

However, as a raft of changes consistently affect DBAs, is their role getting harder?

The vast majority of DBAs today are responsible for multiple database instances.

The quandary of multiple vendors

Well, harder may not be the right word, but there are certainly more, rapidly changing challenges to get to grips with. Research collated by Dell explained that no area of corporate IT infrastructure is static. The majority of enterprises run more than one database at a time for a plethora of purposes.

Some will have standby databases in place to ensure scheduled maintenance and primary system changes are easier to carry out, while others will constantly add to their server stock to handle growth, and make their operations scalable.

Consequently, the DBAs of today are responsible for multiple database transactions, which are supported by offerings from a variety of vendors.

The compliance issue

A further issue that is making the life of DBAs more difficult is compliance. As big data is still a relatively abstract concept, particularly for public authorities, the legislation surrounding it is constantly changing.

Naturally, laws are not necessarily limited by geography, which creates its own headaches, particularly if one DBA has to align procedures with another in a data center that's in a different part of the world.

In the past, DBAs had a harder time optimizing systems and streamlining workflow.In the past, DBAs had a harder time optimizing systems and streamlining workflow.

In the second edition of the Complete Guide to DBA Practices and Procedures, author Craig S. Mullins surmised that, over the course of the past decade, compliance has left DBAs thinking of alternative ways to manage, handle and process data.

Moreover, there's no way of knowing where data governance may move in the future, with the role of the DBA likely to get that little more nuanced and complicated if sweeping legislation changes do indeed happen.

In the past, optimizing end-to-end performance was particularly time consuming.

The Oracle DBA

Many of the issues that afflict DBAs show no bias with regards to vendors. Consequently, tech companies that can do as much as possible to streamline their products will be sought-after. Oracle has gone to great lengths to ensure that its latest offerings - namely Database 12c - are as user-friendly as possible.

However, that hasn't always been the case. In the past, optimizing end-to-end performance was a case of time-consuming trial and error. As research from EMC pointed out, this problem was compounded when more companies began using separate databases for unique workloads including data warehousing, reporting, analytics or - as touched on - maintenance.

Naturally, this leads to a lack of agility. Fortunately, as the issues have become more complex, so has Oracle's need and want to meet them. The company now has a strong emphasis on tools that not only help DBAs create and configure multiple databases featuring a swathe of information, but also monitor and tune them over time.

Consequently, issues are now easier to pinpoint and can be ironed out accordingly. Ultimately, the overall role of the DBA has consistently shifted, but Oracle is one vendor that is striving to keep things as simple as possible.

While issues such as compliance and business scalability look set to be on the minds of DBAs going forward, tackling them will be much easier providing they have access to the right tools for the job.

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