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What is Functional DBA? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, May 27, 2013 8:10 AM
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Hi All,

I hear “Functional DBA”, I search in Google to know exact meaning for it and found that “A functional DBA is a technical professional who understands his role in the enterprise, but also appreciates that ultimately he works for the business" refer from https://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=2136858

I found lot of functional DBA in Oracle but not found/hear in MS SQL. why?

I am having good work experience in Domain i.e. - Finance & Accounts, Material Management and Internals of Automobiles manufacturing industry. So what is the path in SQL to become functional SQL DBA? My domain knowledge is encouraging me to become functional DBA, so what is the scoop in SQL Server?

Please suggest, I will be thankful to u.

Thanks,
Ramdas Singh
MCDBA, MCITP - Database Administration


Ram
MSSQL DBA
Post #1457110
Posted Monday, May 27, 2013 8:22 AM
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Is it mean Functional DBA = Production DBA + Database Developer + Business/Domain Knowledge

?


Ram
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Post #1457113
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 12:16 PM


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That's a new term to me. I've never heard it before.

Doing a few searches, I don't think it's any kind of industry standard term, but one that is used either regionally or within a particular skill set. Most of the results suggested that it was something more likely associated with Oracle.

It's not a term I would use. In general I talk about database administrators and database developers, which mean about what you'd expect. These are the generally used terms. You can be senior, mid-level, or junior in either of these positions. You may also be an architect level person. That's usually someone who has gone a little above & beyond either of these two general roles. There are other roles, specialties usually, that you may see, report writer, data miner, ETL or SSIS expert.

But that term, nope.


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Post #1457480
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 1:56 PM
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There are two types of DBAs....those who know what 'should' be done and those who know what 'has' to be done. They aren't the same thing. For example....a DBA knows that developers 'should' not be given SA permissions on a database. However, a DBR knows that sometimes business rules require developers be given SA permissions. The first DBA, who won't give developers SA permission no matter what, is not a Functional DBA.....they can't function within the business. The second DBA is a Functional DBA, they realize that while they are being requested/required to do something that is not a best-practice, for the business to function the 'rule' has to be broken/ignored to make the business function. This DBA will also put in auditing/ruiles/etc so they can monitor and keep track of any mis-use when the 'rules' are relaxed/broken.

So...are you a DBA that knows when rules are meant to be 'bent' to allow a business to function? Or are you a DBA that sticks to the best-practice rules even if it will hamper the business?

-SQLBill



Post #1457503
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:13 PM


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SQLBill (5/28/2013)
There are two types of DBAs....those who know what 'should' be done and those who know what 'has' to be done. They aren't the same thing. For example....a DBA knows that developers 'should' not be given SA permissions on a database. However, a DBR knows that sometimes business rules require developers be given SA permissions. The first DBA, who won't give developers SA permission no matter what, is not a Functional DBA.....they can't function within the business. The second DBA is a Functional DBA, they realize that while they are being requested/required to do something that is not a best-practice, for the business to function the 'rule' has to be broken/ignored to make the business function. This DBA will also put in auditing/ruiles/etc so they can monitor and keep track of any mis-use when the 'rules' are relaxed/broken.

So...are you a DBA that knows when rules are meant to be 'bent' to allow a business to function? Or are you a DBA that sticks to the best-practice rules even if it will hamper the business?

-SQLBill


I guess I'm a DBA, not a DBR, because every time I've given or been forced to give, 'sa' privs to developers, I've regretted it later. Simple policy now is, why? Why do you need to be able to manipulate the system at that level? If it's a valid reason, we'll find a better way to do it. If it's not a valid reason, the answer is no.

Here's my question back to you. Who has the responsibility to clean up any messes created? Meaning, if I give the developer 'sa', do they also get a phone that will alert them when the server is offline at 3AM so they can go and fix it? If not, then no way do they get that permission. If I have the responsibility, then I'm also taking the power.


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"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
and
SQL Server Execution Plans

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Post #1457566
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:57 PM
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I think Functional DBA came in picture when the Oracle released Enterprises Line of Business Applications like Oracle Financial Suite. Proper functioning the this big application an Oracle DBA is required along with Financial Process knowledge so that he can manage Database of this application as well maintain database & Business rules in perspective of business.

That's why Functional DBA term is seen in Oracle not in Microsoft SQL. If future I hope we will see Functional DBA in Microsoft also because Microsoft is also having enterprise line of business applications in the category of Microsoft Dynamic like CRM, ERP, AX etc.


Ram
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Post #1457586
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:56 AM
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Ramdas likely has the correct interpretation given the Oracle forum, but even a casual search of the term shows a wide variety of "definitions".

Frankly, when I saw the topic header what immediately popped into my head was something akin to "accidental DBA" in the sense of someone who isn't (or wasn't) necessarily a DBA by trade but is now "functioning" in the role because they're good with data and their company can't afford/doesn't want to hire a career DBA.


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Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 11:15 AM
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I guess I'm a DBA, not a DBR, .


Oops that DBR was a typo...should have been DBA. I was using an example which happened to me at one point in my career. I got it well documented as to what my concerns were and made sure I had a document from the higher up that they were aware of my concerns but still wanted the permission granted. When the person 'screwed things up', they tried to say they didn't have the permissions to do what I claimed they did. I reminded them they were SA and had monitoring that showed they were the one at the time as SA and did the 'screw up'. I got a bonus from management for fixing the issue and they immediately had me revoke the permissions.

While that example was extreme, the point is that sometimes we have to go against the best practice so the business can function. There are some DBAs that stick to their rules regardless if there is a business need to make an exception - those DBAs I wouldn't consider 'functional'....then there are the DBAs that realize to make business function you have to make exceptions at times. But those exceptions need to be documented and monitored.

-SQLBill



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Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:07 PM


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A "Functional DBA" is one that simply hasn't had too much of his own beer to drink.

--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1457903
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:59 PM
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Are there Non-Functional DBAs?

Post #1457926
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