The DBA Dilemma: How Many DBAs Does It Take to Manage an Infrastructure?

  • I am also in agreement that you cannot put numbers to it. I would say that you need enough to get the job done without burning out the DBAs that work on it. A point that some managers fail to comprehend is that DBAs are human too. A well rested and happy DBA is worth -IMHO- at least 2 or 3 burnt out versions.

    Just so readers do not get the wrong opinion - I am extremely happy with my current situation, but, I have been on the other side of the fence in my career.

    Joe

  • crookj (10/28/2009)


    I am also in agreement that you cannot put numbers to it. I would say that you need enough to get the job done without burning out the DBAs that work on it. A point that some managers fail to comprehend is that DBAs are human too. A well rested and happy DBA is worth -IMHO- at least 2 or 3 burnt out versions.

    Just so readers do not get the wrong opinion - I am extremely happy with my current situation, but, I have been on the other side of the fence in my career.

    Joe

    I definitely agree, but I would also add that when database emergencies happen in most shops, realistically most department managers don't even think about this. All they care about is getting the site back online as soon as possible, and if that means the DBA has to work all night to make that happen then they are not concerned about the human factor or burning out a DBA at that point. They are primarily concerned with not getting their tails chewed out from the CIO or CEO above them...Been there done that many times....Managers don't tend to think DBA's are that important until they don't have access to their data anymore...You don't tend to see them until an emergency happens. Then the DBA is the most important person in the company at that point..... 🙂

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • Heh... if the infrastructure is setup correctly, the correct answer is.... none.... the servers will take care of themselves and on the rare occasion that they can't, they'll call someone who can. 😉

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • jjarupan (10/27/2009)


    IMHO, reply to the question, How many DBAs Does it take to manage infrastructure? It should be 0 (zero) in nearly future.

    No need DBA for infrastructure in the future.

    (Some Company still needs Database Developer for the future).

    It is possible, let Network guy install server and SQL server. Monitoring Server can detect the new server, install all jobs automatically by itself.

    Sure, in a perfect world, database systems would administer themselves, install themselves, optimize themselves, and secure themselves. It is true that these tasks have been made easier, to the point that one database engineer can administer more instances than he/she could a decade ago, but I don't believe they will ever completely replace the need for database folks.

    Tim Mitchell, Microsoft Data Platform MVP
    Data Warehouse and ETL Consultant
    TimMitchell.net | @Tim_Mitchell | Tyleris.com
    ETL Best Practices

  • Heh... sorry, Tim... my post was meant to be a wee bit ironic (ok... I really mean sarcastic to the max :-D). 😉 There are so many companies with a lot of servers in desperate need of attention yet these companies think a bunch of well meaning Java or C programmers can handle it because the companies know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Hey Jeff, I was on to your sarcasm 🙂 I was aiming a little further north of your reply. There was a previous post that appeared to seriously suggest that, in the future, the network guy would install SQL Server, after which the databases would apparently manifest and monitor themselves.

    Tim Mitchell, Microsoft Data Platform MVP
    Data Warehouse and ETL Consultant
    TimMitchell.net | @Tim_Mitchell | Tyleris.com
    ETL Best Practices

  • BWAA-HAAA... I didn't read the quote in your response, Tim... I just read your response and thought you misunderstood me. It's funny how all that worked out. Me? I've got to start reading the entire post before I respond. Please pass the coffee... 😀

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Tim Mitchell (10/28/2009)


    jjarupan (10/27/2009)


    IMHO, reply to the question, How many DBAs Does it take to manage infrastructure? It should be 0 (zero) in nearly future.

    No need DBA for infrastructure in the future.

    (Some Company still needs Database Developer for the future).

    It is possible, let Network guy install server and SQL server. Monitoring Server can detect the new server, install all jobs automatically by itself.

    Sure, in a perfect world, database systems would administer themselves, install themselves, optimize themselves, and secure themselves. It is true that these tasks have been made easier, to the point that one database engineer can administer more instances than he/she could a decade ago, but I don't believe they will ever completely replace the need for database folks.

    I agree absolutely Tim, Database Administration in the REAL world is never just as simple as your first sentence states, and anyone that thinks so is just being a little naive...There will always be a need for production DBA's...years of knowledge and experience is never an automated thing...

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • skelly-806234 (10/27/2009)


    There's no way you can come up with even a ballpark number of DBA's per server. With the right tools, a well set up infrastructure, reliable networks and well written applications, a single DBA could support a very large number. But if the network is flaky and the apps are dodgy, and there's no investment in monitoring and response tools, even a single server can become a handful.

    I think a better question would be to ask what a DBA needs to be able to manage a large number of servers well?

    Gotta agree with this one.

    Also, the number of servers per DBA will vary depending on what they are used for. A server that is purely overnight ETL and reporting is much easier to manage and maintain (in my experience) than one that's getting hit by thousands of transactions per second of OLTP activity from a dozen applications.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • jjarupan (10/27/2009)


    Backup, Update stats,DBCC, shrink the file, restart service etc, all done by jobs by the server itself or from monitoring server.

    All can be done by set one computer as monitoring server.

    All update can be done automatically by the network process.

    IMHO, reply to the question, How many DBAs Does it take to manage infrastructure? It should be 0 (zero) in nearly future.

    No need DBA for infrastructure in the future.

    (Some Company still needs Database Developer for the future).

    It is possible, let Network guy install server and SQL server. Monitoring Server can detect the new server, install all jobs automatically by itself.

    Yes, and COBOL is the wave of the programming future, because it will eliminate the need for businesses to hire programmers, since the managers will be able to do it all themselves!

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • GSquared (10/29/2009)


    Also, the number of servers per DBA will vary depending on what they are used for. A server that is purely overnight ETL and reporting is much easier to manage and maintain (in my experience) than one that's getting hit by thousands of transactions per second of OLTP activity from a dozen applications.

    Heh... I used to believe in that very same thing. However, the reporting and ETL methods used in the last 2 companies have been absolute server crushing PITA POS's. Users asking for the "last year" or even the "last 3 years" worth of report using code that can barely handle a month... ETL that was constructed by presentation layer experts... Ton's of embedded SQL made by those same folks. On the other hand, it has been fun to fix those things and it has cause me a fair amount of good employment. 😀

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • This works well with Tony's DBW editorial on tuning.

    The less you write good code, the more DBAs needed.

    We will never get away from admins. We might have less / GB of data, but we will always need DBAs to manage things.

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