With an ever changing technological environment, there is always the difficulty of positions being redefined, expanding, diminishing, and evolving. One position going through these growing pains is the Database Administrator (DBA). Many organizations may find themselves asking “Do we really need a DBA?” With the advent of the adoption of Cloud, ever-expanding opportunities for automation, and changes increasing the ability of developers to work with databases, some might think DBAs are slowly sliding down the slope towards extinction. However, this is not the case. Rather than the difficulties of changing database environments looming over DBAs, these changes herald in a new and expanded definition of what it means to be a DBA. A definition IT manager will have to make sense of this in order to adapt to managing this role.
Before considering how the DBA role has changed, it’s useful to consider why DBAs are still essential. The short way to answer this question is to think about how important your databases are. Most organizations require available, secure, and reliable databases to simply conduct business. Beyond that, organizations need their databases to function smoothly and efficiently with the applications that rely on DBs. With databases being such a critical element of business activity, it makes sense that DBAs play a vital role in the organization. The changes influencing DBAs do not make their job any less important, but merely means that DBAs and their managers can expect some shifting of roles.
Database environments are getting more and more complex, meaning organizations need to have someone on board who knows how to deal with these complicated database environments. Even with the adoption of Cloud for databases, which initially seems to remove the DBA from the picture, only changes the role. While some DBA tasks may decrease by running databases in the Cloud, higher security risks will occur which will increase the security responsibilities of the DBA’s job. Also, the trend of developers working with databases more frequently does not mean that they will suddenly take over the DBA’s job. Developers are not experts on databases and their tinkering can often have unfavorable, unforeseen effects on performance. DBAs need to work closely with developers to ensure high performance and effective integration of databases and applications.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that DBAs are simply going to go away. Despite their changing environment, DBAs are still essential– their role is just changing. For more information on the evolving role of the DBA, see Info-Tech’s solution set Structure the Role of the DBA.