In which organizational team should a DBA work?

  • Hi,

    First 5 years of my career I was a Cobol developer.

    In my second job I started developing vb6,, and SQLServer 7.0 for another 7 years.

    In 2007 I made my next move to another employer and I was selected for my developer and SQL skills to work in an application directed division. I worked in a team with focus on sql server management, business intelligence and data interfacing between on prem and an increasing number of cloud applications.

    Last year our management started a team reorganisation with focus on our most important (enterprise scope) applications. That seems logical besides the decision to move the dba function to a team of system administrators. My colleague, an excellent DBA, preferred to stay in the team being renamed to "Integrated solutions" to keep working on data exchange. So, I agreed (with some doubts) to move to our infrastructure team where I have to replace a senior system administrator who moved to project management.

    So, besides my job as SQL dba, I have to teach my new collegues about SQL management. No time for that so far, since my new colleagues have to learn me the details about vm platform, our backup solutions, our hardware, etc.

    By evidence it is important all teams have there human backup to cover during holidays.

    Isn't that strange?

    My excellent dba colleague should not longer do dba stuff or be my backup, since that's not the responsibility of his team and I should no longer have to work around data interfacing since that is not the task of my new team.

    So my question is ...

    What is the best organisational unit for dba tasks?

    What could be the reason to move the dba function from an application directed team to a team of system administrators?

    In an upcoming meeting I will ask the same question to our management, since they designed the new organisational structure without consulting non management employees.  In the meantime I hope you might give some ideas about the most logical organisational team for a dba independent of his or her historical background and other skills.


    Kind Regards


    Sorry, my native language is not english 😉

  • It really depends on what the DBA's are doing.


    Are they primarily focused on database development for applications or etl or reports etc....?  If so it would make sense for them to be in an application team.


    Or are they primarily focused on supporting the databases like permissions management, monitoring and tuning performance, server configuration like storage and server specs, backups and restores, basically keeping things running?  In that case being in the administration group might make more sense.

  • Thank you, I agree with the idea.

    By evidence our main responsabilities are backup and restore, performance, security, releasemanagement, etc, but we also support our application directed teams and our application users with query analysis, index tuning, etc.  The demand for database design has decreased in our organisation over the last decade.  Most applications (and databases) are third party and our BI experts know how to design our datawarehouses.  From that point of view the administration group might look logic.

    At the other hand, specificly in our organisation we have 2 50+ dba's (including me) who started their career as developer, have been hired for those skills and thus have less knowledge of network setup, hardware configuration etc.  At the same time I doubt our system administrators have ever used sql profiler, migrated databases and logins or investigated execution plans.   So, until now, they had no need to install SSMS to do their job well ... and they did very well since they apply the best practices we demand regarding storage an server configuration (64K formatting, seperate disks for tempdb, data and log files, limited rights for sql service accounts via policies, etc.).

    So, I might need to rephrase my question.  If communication between developers, dba's and system administrators is very good, what might be a good motivation to move the function, especially since the dba is actually a developer and the system administrators are no real SQL people, not been waiting to get that task as an additional responsability in their team 🙂






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