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Disappearing DBAs Expand / Collapse
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 6:24 AM


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I agree that the Production DBA will not be phased out. 

No matter how much automation of database maintenance is put into SQL Server, evaluation of processes and performance will need to be done by the DBA.  Management will always pose the question "Why does that take so long?"  And unless they are going to delegate that analysis to the developer, the DBA will have a position.

Post #187385
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 6:42 AM
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Somewhat agree, it depends on the needs and the size of the company to maintain a DBA, or just hire a "jack of all trades", like I was before I became a full-time DBA. I feel the pressure is on.


Post #187400
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 2:41 PM



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I absolutely agree with your comments; however the need for as many DBA at any given site can be and has drastically been reduced.

We have well over 130 database servers at my site and for 18 months I was the sole DBA. If this was SQL 6.5 or heaven forbid an Oracle site I'm sure you would need 10 DBAs. Today’s SQL Server is much easier to manage, you still need and want the professional DBA guarding the data and managing but you don't need that team like you once did.

I think the biggest impact that has allowed easier DBA maintenance has been the advances in hardware and the O/S. I've clustered Data Generals and Compaq under NT 4.0 and SQL 6.5, believe me the days and time spent preparing the SQL environment have come along way. Today I can crank out new cluster sites in a fraction of the time. Most of our environments have been built by Window administrators who follow a documented plan. 

IT Managers be forewarned - Just because it appears easy, has nice GUI, and you know how to use a mouse doesn't mean you want your first tier support specialist playing DBA. What are you going to tell that director of sales when they want their 2nd quarter results off that database that just went suspect.

I've walked into sites (E & something) where they've completely corrupted their database, but that was okay because they can use last nights backup, only to discover that they had hadn't purchase database backup option of that software and of course open files don’t get picked up, and heaven forbid had you looked at those reports you would have known that 2 years ago.

But go ahead and try to the job without us. It's only your career on the line.

By the way - the knuckleheads here finally wised up and allow me to hire a backup DBA, because had I walked out the door, the keys to the kingdom would have followed.    



John Zacharkan
Post #187584
Posted Monday, June 6, 2005 2:34 PM
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As with all things disappearing, the idea that someone else can decide better how a thing should work or run or function or look, that most everything can be defined to a pattern and will be just as good and wonderful based on this predefined form.  No human needs to intervene and get involved.  We think, or more likely are told to believe, that 'out of the can' is just as good.  It doesn't matter where the can comes from.  Information tech still needs the 'human' touch.  The real analytical side of the business still runs with a heart beat and a 'brain' beat.  The rocks have evolved into keyboards, nothing more than that.


Post #187993
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 9:25 AM
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As a long-time production DBA I fully agree with you. Consider this, in the health care world it is not just SOX (for public companies)  but HIPAA and the other many data privacy regs and laws that make a production DBA critical. The libilities to a health care organization are monumental if the data escapes. In my hospital DBA role, not only do I secure in-house data systems, but I have to force vendors to certify and upgrade their databases to the latest service packs to keep the security up to date.

In another life as a production DBA for a bank system, I didn't develop but assisted a programmer in reworking a critical database program thereby reducing the 80 minute runtime to 7 minutes under full load. My point is that I can do those important production DBA functions and still get the development done.

The production DBA will not disappear as long as data availability and data security remain critical to business' bottom line.  

Post #284585
Posted Monday, June 5, 2006 1:59 PM

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I am reminded of a comment a project manager once made (he was IT savvy as well) regarding Windows. I think Windows NT4 was just out or about to come out and the comment was along the lines of "Windows is becoming so easy to install & use that the days of sysadmins are numbered".

10 years later, and the sysadmin is still very much required. And not just to install Windows, but to monitor, troubleshoot, fix & hold users' hands.

I believe ditto for DBAs, as has already been commented.

I have had to do an audit of some servers that I inherited when I took over this role. I have some weak passwords to fix, patching, auditing, backups, apps using sa and other security bits & pieces to deal with. Largely because the servers were installed by Windows sysadmins who did not know a lot about SQL Server beyond installing it & nosying around with EM.

I think I am getting through to them that any new SQL Server (even if it is just a backend to something like MailMarshal or Insight Manager) needs to be run by me so it can be setup properly so it runs well & is secure. That is what I am here for, that is what I get paid for and it is me getting it in the neck if someone finds issue with an SQL Server, even if it was setup by someone else.

Scott Duncan

MARCUS. Why dost thou laugh? It fits not with this hour.
TITUS. Why, I have not another tear to shed;
--Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare
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