Database Administrators (DBAs) are the gatekeepers and caretakers of our modern economy’s most valuable asset: data. They implement and maintain database systems and ensure data is secure, up-to-date and reliable. But, like many other roles, new technology and automation is driving rapid change.
More organizations are moving from traditional in-house or data center systems to cloud solutions. Database monitoring, testing, patching and tuning is increasingly being automated.
Is this the end of the DBA?
We don’t think so. Every organization, big and small, depends on the data in their systems to service customers, personalize marketing and make intelligent business decisions. They still need someone to manage the increasing amount of stored data, spot trends, validate decisions and give management information and advice.
Meet the modern DBA
In the past, your DBA may have seemed somewhat mysterious. They tended to work alone and quietly. It’s likely that most managers didn’t really understand, or appreciate, what they actually did.
But, senior managers are becoming more aware of the benefits of fast, real time, reliable data. And data security is now a hot topic everywhere from the boardroom to the European Parliament. As such, DBAs are now taking center stage.
As organizations put more data in applications outside the firewall, DBAs have to find ways to maintain security and data integrity. At the same time, companies may still have their most critical data stored in traditional in-house or data center systems. The DBA of today is responsible for multiple types of database systems, data storage and maintenance. They need to be adaptive security experts rather than account administrators.
DBAs are now focused more on improving performance and finding better solutions than on routine maintenance tasks. They are your data experts, strategists and masters of cloud technology. If you want to understand the impact the Cloud has on the database environment, ask a DBA.
What does it take to be a successful DBA in this new world?
Successful DBAs will be those who continuously update their knowledge and, in some cases, acquire a whole set of new skills. In the Cloud, companies don’t need to stick with one software provider, so DBAs will need to be familiar with different database platforms. But, there’s more to this new DBA role than technical skills.
DBAs have always been good at identifying what is going on with the database. Now, they also need critical thinking, creative problem solving and communication skills to answer questions such as, “What is going to happen?”, “What are the implications and how can I solve the problem?”. They’ll also need a broader business understanding to appreciate where the business is heading and how they can supply the information needed to help achieve those goals.
Far from being out-dated, the DBA role is more critical than ever. Companies will need DBAs or Virtual DBAs (remote DBAs) with deep expertise and attention to detail to work on disaster recovery, performance, security and back-up issues. But, they also need team players with excellent communication skills to act as pivotal collaborators between developers, customer support teams and business managers.
Technology changes at an astonishing pace. But, we’ll always have data and organizations will always want information from that data. The DBA role is evolving. In many ways it’s becoming more important and highly skilled, but it’s definitely not going away.
In fact, demand is high for expert DBAs and Virtual DBAs who embrace, rather than fear, automation. If you want to keep your business moving forward, check out SQLTreeo’s Virtual DBA service here.