The DBA of the Future

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The DBA of the Future

  • Not specific to SQL Server or DBAs but I see the 'in house' IT staff having to become much more business-oriented, more generalised and more project oriented. The trend towards outsourcing will mean that specialised roles like DBAs will be a thing of the past. Unless you work in India.

  • Backups, perfomance tuning , indexation et all are all going to be done without a human being having to have a single technical skill that current DBA's utilise. Automation of most of the skills used by a DBA today are going to come into the remit of software / hardware.

    Backups are going to become redundant as for example memristors are now being comercialised.

    All databases are going to be running in Memory as it were using memristor technology.

    Solid state , current state storeage will negate the need for a backup.

    if you want a copy of the database it will be instant and uptodate. Replication , restoration etc wouldnt be needed.

    Load Balancing will become fully automated. If it is needed at all. Technology without the interference of a DBA will become the status quo and as for index and perfomance issues these too will be internalised and withheld from the human being DBA.

    No I think its all going to be internalised and driven by the database itself. Software rather than DBA's will handle all of the day to day requirements.

    Data is going to be held in a always on no loss state due to new memristor technology. ITs the biggest game changer for data storage in the history of computing.

    The day of the DBA mass extinction is approaching.

    On the plus side well I will have no need to worry about data loss anymore

  • Let's not forget the cloud. Being able to interface between the private and public cloud will certainly be a desired skill.


    James Stover, McDBA

  • "Backups, indexing, jobs, monitoring, and performance tuning are still core skills"

    You better believe it. it was true ten years ago, it was true 20 years ago, it was true 30 years ago. How do I know? Been there, still there.

    It may change, as to how you do these things, but it is still as important today as it was then, and will remain so, no matter how technology changes.

    "The amount of data we manage increases, and the number of DBA’s managing it decreases"

    Ain't that the truth.

    Are we having fun yet?

    Leonard

  • Great editorial Andy!

    Like you, I see the job changing. I think everything you mentioned is quite possible given current trends, and I agree with another comment about having to know way more about the business.

    I see the term / title Data Professional or Database Professional growing in popularity now.

    :{>

    Andy Leonard, Chief Data Engineer, Enterprise Data & Analytics

  • For over 20 years one of my pet peeves and complaints has been that the term (or acronym) "DBA" has never had a solid definition. I still go into medium and large companies and get introduced to their DBA's and find that skill sets vary wildly - as does managements perspective of what "DBA" means. Ask about "Corporate Controllers", "Human Resource Professionals", and even "Developers" and everyone understands what these people do. Ask about a "DBA" and the most common answer I hear is that people are not really sure what [person's name] does, but its vital to the operation.

    Its interesting then that in Andy's piece this morning he too falls into the same trap. Listing responsibilities, and skill sets to define "DBA". Well, my view of the future is quite different.

    I believe DBA will become a graduate or undergraduate degree program. I believe all the things Andy lists will be taught in college classes, not on the job, through books, or video learning series. I believe there will no longer be any separation at all between those who do SQL Server versus Oracle versus [whatever].

    And lastly I believe that when the term (or acronym) "DBA" gets mentioned people will know just what that person does - just like now where you can walk into any company and be introduced to the Human Resource Director and know pretty much what that person does.

    And I believe that something I heard 15 years ago will go away for good... I once heard a CEO asked what his DBA does. His answer? "He's a DBA, ya know, 'Dont Bother Asking'".

    There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
  • Well personally I aim to be retired by then... 32 now 😉 (will let you know how I get on with this), but in the spirit of the article

    Go back 10 years, what has changed, in all honesty, not that much - SQL Server 2000 oooohhhhh...... :hehe: SQL Server 2008 looks nicer, can have more resources, etc, but nothing spectacular!! We will probably have quality load balancing solutions, solid state disks and who knows maybe a 128bit version of SQL Server :w00t: I see the biggest changes coming on the BI side of things, been able to expand and drill with more easy, better ways of seeing the data, etc.

    The only real difference I see happen, is that DBAs, database developers and infrastructure (especially since this is where the backup and recovery market is going) will be a bit more of a single role, but I doubt that much will change.

    SQL Server (or Oracle or whatever) will never become self maintaining... The reason.... Microsoft makes a lot of money off of people that want to train up to be DBAs, companies bringing in Microsoft consultants, Gold partners, etc, etc. I just dont see this "perfect" self-sustaining SQL Server ever existing. The entire market behind the "new/next version" is that it improves on the previous one. If they made it perfect, they would have no effectively written themselves out of the market.......

    We will still have the same problems, DBAs wanting to do it properly VS managers/business/companies wanting to do it on the cheap.

  • aphillippe (4/13/2011)


    Not specific to SQL Server or DBAs but I see the 'in house' IT staff having to become much more business-oriented, more generalised and more project oriented. The trend towards outsourcing will mean that specialised roles like DBAs will be a thing of the past. Unless you work in India.

    I agree with Andy's points, and aphillippe brings up another good one - I think DBAs will do more than just database work. We're already seeing it in my company - we're laying off several subcontractors, but the workload is not going down proportionately. Management is now telling DBAs that they're going to have to help make up for the lack of developers, while still maintaining our current DBA tasks and increasing our skills in that area.

  • Wow... we always joke around here that we live and work in the future.

    Must be true becuase this is exactly how we work now.

  • Well well, that list is exactly my job right now, minus the cloud thing. I also support the legacy systems which my company is in the works of replacing over a 5-6 years plan.

    So I agree that it might look like that in 10 years, but seeing that the changes in technology over a span of 10 years is significantly bigger now than it was 10 or 20 years ago, I also think that it could be something else altogether.

    ___________________________________
    I love you but you're standing on my foot.

  • Curious why you would think IOPs and RAID will be forgotten. Based on recent hiring here, I would say most DBA's don't know anything about RAID or IOPs now =). What's to forget? That said, I still think those technologies will still be relevant down the road. Everything electronic and/or mechanical will fail and businesses will always want fault tolerance built in (RAID). IOPs may increase dramatically with SSD's, but bandwidth is still lagging the software. Even today, SQL 2008 has no problem saturating a 4Gb SAN backplane while table scanning a large table at MaxDOP=1. I doubt 10Gb backplanes will overcome this deficiency. You know what they say, what Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away....

  • I see the need rapidly rushing toward DBA's having to understand business (profitablilty, BI, staffing, effective communications, project management) on top of administrating databases. The DBA's who can effectively function in a bigger universe will continue to exist. The ones that can't will go the way of computer technicians who can solder capacitors and change jumpers and shadow video memory.

  • While I don't think that all of those things SHOULD become true over the next 10 years, sad to say, most probably will become true... 10 years after that (or less, maybe even less than 10 from now) even more of those "Core Skills" and "Job Opportunities" will be lost to Automation and Outsourcing.

    Remember when you took your first entry level job, and you learned the ropes from the veterans at the time, and they laid the arcane-magic smack down on you for being a total n00b? It was painful, but you learned stuff, eventually becoming at least proficient if not a master much like the wise sages of old... It was all about Knowledge Transfer, keeping it from the unworthy who would undoubtedly corrupt and misuse it, and passing it on to those who have proven themselves worthy through trial by fire.

    Now you look back and see the people doing those jobs now are not required to actually know anything because all of the knowledge has been distilled down to a few buttons to be clicked (Automation), or a phone call/email to make it someone elses problem (Outsourcing).

    Between "The Cloud", India and China... the days of Knowledge and Knowledge Transfer are numbered. The days of Idiocracy are nigh! And we are all in part to blame 😉

    "This one goes in your mouth, this one goes in your ear, and this one goes in your butt... wait this one goes in your mouth, that one goes in your butt."

    Good times... Obviously I exaggerate, but I do believe we are slowly making "IT Heroes", as they've been dubbed, obsolete...

    "Once everyone is super, no one will be... MUAHAHA!!!" - Syndrome, The Incredibles

    ...OK, I watch too many movies, but I have kids so I'll blame them... I'm just saying 😛

  • pjjaad (4/14/2011)


    Backups, perfomance tuning , indexation et all are all going to be done without a human being having to have a single technical skill that current DBA's utilise. Automation of most of the skills used by a DBA today are going to come into the remit of software / hardware.

    Backups are going to become redundant as for example memristors are now being comercialised.

    Backups will always exist as long as there are users entering data into systems. Using them for disaster recovery may be reduced by memristors or psychofalbbles or doodalidinks, but there will always been a need for them, and for those who understand how they work and get the system back online using them.

    Troubleshooting what happened with said systems will always be a requirement. SQL 2005+ maintenance plans were supposed to make SQL Server not require a DBA to deal with them. Yet I spend several hours a week troubleshooting where backup jobs have gone wrong for my company's customers.

    Do I spend as much time now as I did say 5 years ago? Nope, but I see that reduction in time spent slowly flattening out, not continuing on some deep dive.



    --Mark Tassin
    MCITP - SQL Server DBA
    Proud member of the Anti-RBAR alliance.
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