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The DBA Financial Analyst

By Steve Jones,

The DBA job is somewhat nebulous, with a variety of skills being needed, and the mix of those skills varying from company to company. As companies look to save money, and look to perhaps go with cloud computing or other types of hosted environments, are DBAs going to need to also perform financial calculations?

I was reading a post on SQL Azure recently that talked about the cost of indexes. Not performance, or space, but actual real dollars and cents cost since indexes take up space and you are charged by the space you use. Adding extra indexes, or adding columns to indexes, or adding covering columns, can cost you real money if you have any large scale of resources.

So does that mean that in addition to trying to determine what changes you can make to code to improve performance, or what new features might make sense to your applications, you need to also run some financial ROI calculation on the choices? Maybe PowerPivot was released just in time for all those virtual systems that might charge by the byte or cycle.

As a DBA, I've had to budget, and try to determine  how to spend funds for hardware, balancing out choices for RAM v disk v CPU, and even comparing secondary servers for read-only scale out against a larger single server. However I typically don't have to compare the cost of features in my analysis.

I've sometimes wished I could pay for just one feature, and it's starting to look like that might be something that could happen in the cloud. While the possibility if mix and match features intrigues me, the extra work to add cost to my calculations along with performance makes me think the cloud might be more trouble than it's worth.

Steve Jones


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