The Value of A DBA

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  • This article is excellent. I agree with wht Steve said.

    Infact the life of a DBA is more hectic as he is dealing with data and data is the core of a organisation. Without data, no organisation can function.

    Its like blood in human body.


  • Great lead-in article, Steve.  I sat across from our two DBA's and it's amazing with what they have to put up with and what they have to do on a daily basis.  Your statement about the data becoming more important than the software is already true.  The software can fail and it's inconvenient... loose critical data (heck, all data is critical to somebody) and you're dead meat.

    --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)

  • I liked the article but wanted to read more.  In the role of database administrator at my work this involves not only making sure that the data is recoverable but also on getting data out of the database efficiently and accurately.  Writing stored procedures or queries to get information quickly out of the database is what occupies most of my time. These stored procedures may be in association with a Crystal Report so users can access the data regularly. Performance tuning is always an issue and monitoring the database environment is a full-time activity (especially with an ERP system).  If you like data, the role of a database administrator is for you...

  • I too wanted to read more.  My experience over the last 10 years has been primarily as a developer and in some projects I have had to design the database and all the work that follows that to develop an application.  More recently my role has expanded and is even leaning more towards the DBA role which is an area that I don't know a whole lot about, so articles like this just "wet my whistle".  I welcome any suggestions and recommendations relating to literature or anything that would help me develop my skills.

  • Frank,

      My role over the past few years has kind ov 'evolved' into a DBA role.  I am certified as an MCP in SQL 7 administration but haven't gone as far as working toward an MCDBA.  I do think that would be helpful.  We are just transitioning over to SQL2000 within the next 2 months so we are a bit behind.  I realize that 2005 is coming out shortly but our ERP vendor will probably not support it right off the bat. SQL7 and 2000 are similar and I have really gotten into performance tuning over the past year or 2 since we were running into a lot of performance issues with our ERP system.

      My recommendation to you is to study an pass the Administration test in the SQLServer software that you have. I'm not even sure they offer the SQL7 test anymore.  I will probably try to pass teh SQL2000 administration test in the near future.  You will be surprised how much you will learn when forced to pass a test. You will learn more when you fail it once or twice... Good luck.

  • Bessebo,

    Thanks for the encouragement.  We are on SQL2000 so that would probably be a good place to start as I don't really see us going to 2005 anytime real soon.

    I am planning to take the SQL Server Admin class this spring or summer which I take it would be a good jump start to preparing and taking the test.

    Again, thanks for the input and if you think of anything else be sure to let me know.

    Thanks - Frank

  • Frank,

      I already took that class about 3 months ago in anticipation of moving to SQL2000.  If you can start looking into DTS (Data Transformation Services) it is a very powerful tool for ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) and you can end up automating a lot of activities that you may manually do now.  You will also start learning VBScript (or JScript) which will allow you a lot of flexibility in what you can do in DTS. 

      Just running and starting to delve into Performance Monitor will help make you aware of all of the various Objects that you can monitor.  As I said, I have learned a lot over the past two years or so just trying to figure out why we were/are having performance issues.  The web has a lot of information also so never fail to use your Google searches on topics you want to learn more about...

  • I can only reiterate that this article was too short.  I actually felt disappointed when I reached the end.  A smooth running SQL Server is akin to a basic utility; one doesn't really think about water, electricity or gas until one must do without one of them.  Given the processes and productivity that depend on a reliable store of data the SQL DBA should be something that no company is without either on staff or on retainer with a responsibility for maintaining current SQL server patches.  It may be an expensive position but the data unavailability alternative is much more expensive in the long run.

    Shuffle Up and Deal!

  • DBA rule the world. Well that and bartenders. Everyone knows that (or should).

  • Great article!


    I liked the part about restores.  So true.  You can back up religiously, but if you can't restore, what's the point.


    In my experience a DBAs hidden value is that they know the business.  They know the relationships of the different departments, what's important, what's not.  When I start a gig, I spend a lot of time learning the business and applications.  Personally, that is one of the fulfilling aspects of my job.  I get to learn about all the different industries: manufacturing, retail, health-care...  The only industry I can think of that I haven't worked in is finance/banking. 



  • I think you constantly have to prove that your backups work and the way we do that here is to constantly restore our production backups to our test environment.  It is very comforting to know that our backups can be restored effectively instead of HOPING that they can be restored should the need arise...

  • "Tim O'Reilly wrote last year "We're entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.""

    Welcome to the real world Tim!  That statement betrays a deep ignorance on his part.  Data has ALWAYS been more important than software it's just that the ignorant are...well...ignorant, and there are so many of them!  That a technology "luminary" such as Mr. O'Reilly shows himself to be so ignorant of the basics is telling.

    Anyway, I agree that it was a good article generally, but I would have liked to see more emphasis placed on the data integrity aspects, as always...


    If most people are not willing to see the difficulty, this is mainly because, consciously or unconsciously, they assume that it will be they who will settle these questions for the others, and because they are convinced of their own capacity to do this. -Friedrich August von Hayek


  • FANTASIC Article! My boss will be getting a link to this. Maybe his boss too.

  • I wish my boss and his boss would realize the value of a DBA. I think that they take a DBA for granted.

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