The future of the DBA profession

21 January,2017 by Jack Vamvas

Question: Is there a future for the DBA profession? In my place of work , the workload is increasing , but the company is refusing to budget for more DBAs. I automate a large amount of tasks, and of course SQL Server has lots of built in automation, which we exploit. For a new DBA entering the industry , can they expect to have a long career?

Answer: I get this question regularly, so I thought it might be worth outlining my typical response. The response amounts to asking yourself some questions. Depending on the answers, it should be self evident about the future

Have you recently taken an inventory of the applications connection to the database servers , including ad-hoc Excel spreadsheets, Access database and other desktop applications? Is the number going up or down? I've found the number to be increasing, with endless new uses for the data.

Do you find you’re making regular requests for increased disk from the storage guys? If the requests are increasing – it is a sign the data sets are growing. This requires capacity planning , performance management.

Do requests for adding more users increasing ? Are there more users accessing and relying on the data you are managing?This offers great opportunities for auditing and security management - which is a hot topic.

Has anyone recently said to you it’s ok for the database server to be down and performance can be substandard? I can’t remember the last time anyone said to me , it’s OK for the database to be available, unless it was pre agreed. In fact , with monitoring there is a greater focus on availability

The traditional DBA job was a lot less interesting than it is now. The level of automating tedious tasks has allowed the proactive DBA to really grow.

DBAs are always complaining Automation will eat up the jobs – but there are plenty of tasks requiring a DBA – for example , breaking a complicated ETL to diagnose bottleneck or cutting down the runtime of to 1 hr from  3 hrs.

Ultimately an organisation is paying you to manage the database server environment. In the face of increased automation and the availability of cheaper DBA resource or in-house operations who can complete traditional DBA work at a significantly cheaper rate, you need to get into a different mindset. This is not an exhaustive list , but hopefully you get the idea of how to move up the value chain

-New technologies

-Code writing

-SQL Tuning

-Understanding business requirements

-Advanced troubleshooting

 

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Author: Jack Vamvas (http://www.sqlserver-dba.com)


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