Printed 2017/07/24 10:55AM

Does your organization need a DBA?


Andy Leonard pens the following blog entry:

Database Professionals: An Enterprise Requirement

There are quite a few organizations that feel they can get by without a DBA on staff. They believe they are cutting cost, not realizing that they are incurring it. Andy covers the situation from a development perspective. I'll speak from an operational one.

I can think of an example from a couple of years back where a friend who had a consulting company gave me a call. A private college near where I lived had a data corruption issue that affected their student records (oops). They didn't have a DBA and the system administrator thought he had implemented the database backups properly. Now, it's not hard to institute database backups. However, it does require a bit more thinking that "schedule a backup tape to run once a day." He didn't do that level of thinking and as a result, the organization lost data. Luckily, they had all the records on paper and they were able to re-key. So they were able to get everything re-entered, but at a significant time loss.

There's an expected gap in knowledge operationally between a solid system administrator and a DBA who knows his or her stuff operationally. Case in point (and this isn't related to the case I helped my friend with): if the organization has a point-in-time recovery requirement (if possible), how many server administrators know enough about SQL Server to attack something like that? A lot of system administrators will see the disk space warnings, realize the transaction logs have grown enormously, and then ask how to prevent the transaction logs from growing so big. They'll do a bit of research and find out simple recovery will help with this and they'll institute it. But what have they just done? Yup, they've just removed point-in-time recovery as an option. And this is just one case where a DBA is needed.

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