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Disappearing DBAs


Disappearing DBAs

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KenpoDBA
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Leo Leong
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I strongly agree with you.

DBA role is very specific. This role is not going to be handled by a normal apps developer well.

Even though database will look more easy to maintain in the future, it doesn't mean anyone can do the DBA job.

Thanks.

Leo Leong


Jonr
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Agreed. Production DBAs are a very valuable asset who bring much needed experience to the job, and are needed in a professional organisation of any size. Development DBAs rarely cut it when it comes to sorting out the problems you addressed.
Most of the purely development DBAs I've met are more developer than DBA, ie : they are developers who know more than your average developer about databases, ie: not a lot. (apologies to those who do!)
But from personal experience, I think it's actually advantageous to follow a developer -> development DBA -> production DBA route, not least because you can talk to developers in a language they understand, and because you know the sort of shoddy tricks they get up to


I have always felt that it's a role you mature into, being a production DBA, and I don't think you can do it well unless you've got the whole picture.
Purely production DBAs tend to be oblivious to development problems, the few I've met with no development background were pretty arrogant and the developers had no time for them, which isn't a good situation.
I think part of your role as a production DBA is to educate development DBAs as to the problems seen in production, and if possibly, relay that to the development teams too.
Only by communicating the problems that you see developers causing can you educate them as to how, and why, they should do things better.


As to the future of production DBAs, I think they're always going to be around, especially with auditing requirements, but maybe with more knowledge of more recent development tools.
This is where things are changing quickly, I think you can no longer leave your development skills behind as a production DBA, but have to update them too so that you can continue to converse with the development team.


You may also see more production DBAs hiring out their services on an as-needed basis for performance tuning, or moving into information risk and security roles, working alongside the auditors, an overlap which until recently has been pretty non-existant.




Jon
David.Poole
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I agree with you on the importance of DBAs.

The big problem is that the title DBA has been down-graded in the minds of those hiring them. I am not sure what has caused this but I think that at least some blame has to be laid at the door of recruitment agents.

I saw an advert the other day for a SQL Server DBA that said "must be familiar with stored procedures". That is like asking if Lance Armstrong is familiar with his saddle! The agencies are telling clients that they need a DBA when what they mean is a junior developer. Of course if the client receives a junior developer and doesn't know any better that downgrades the salary that the client is prepared to offer for the role of DBA.

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Grant Fritchey
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I have to say, I think both articles are right. I see the role of Production DBA seeming to shrink in terms of importance even as it becomes a more clearly defined role due to the compliance requirements you outline.

My own experience at our company finds us placing more and more emphasis on the development DBA as the more senior position. Instead of simply writing stored procs, we're the DB designers and the guys that come in to address performance problems, deadlocks & blocking. The production DBA's are managing security, backups and deployments. We've found that instead of releasing garbage and then cleaning it up, we need to take the time to clean it up in design and development, which places the onus of knowledge and skill at that level instead of downstream. We have developers writing procedures that we then review for standards compliance and performance. We're much more DBA than developer, but we really do have to straddle the fence (which can be quite painful at times).

As far as skill set goes, constant improvement and expansion both in terms of breadth & depth has to be the rule, or you will be relegated to being the backup monitor guy.



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ChrisMoix-87856
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Here's another arguement for the Production DBA (at least in an enterprise environment) - To act as a bridge between the Development group(s) and the System(s) groups. My past has always been both Systems Engineering and DB Administration. I've found that there is always a big divide between the two groups, and someone who knows a bit of both can really help. Stuff like designing storage (Raidsets, cloning, etc.) with the eventual file/filegroup design of the database in mind, etc.



David Benoit
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I agree with you completely. I have stated this too many times already but SQL Server causes some to believe that the production DBA is not necessary. However, being a production DBA is not just code tuning. That should be done by any good SQL developer. There are far too many other considerations as you mention in your article that a DBA needs to consider and be planning for.

The most interesting aspect of this article is that some believe 2005 is going to make things easier on the DBA. I disagree and believe it will be just the contrary. I guess time will tell. My guess is that you will see a higher end SQL Server production DBA produced with this release and their value will increase to that of the standard Oracle DBA.

Thanks for the article.



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Absolutely 100% wholeheartedly agree with you and your excellent and very overlooked point about Sarbanes-Oxley makes the whole discussion about the demise of production DBA's a moot point. Great article!!!!!

Travis





Farhan Soomro
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I agree that Production is always needed to keep the business running well. In SQLServer 2005 make things more complex and introuce lots new stuff which needs good expertise.

--

Farhan




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Brett Anthony
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Are production DBA,s important, you bet, but I believe that with the advent of better "automated" management of these systems, full time production DBAs within company IT systems may be whats disappearing, I think this may cause companies to contract out work on their databases as the work is needed?
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