Cloud computing…will the DBA become an endangered species?

Here is an un-official but interesting article about the future of hosted database services:

 I have witnessed corporate migrations to hosted email and messaging services. Their rationale was that their company did not want to be in the messaging administration business. They would rather find someone who could host their messaging applications and let them focus on their core business competencies. It makes sense that hosted database services is another way for businesses to reduce their IT administrative costs. Although I don't think that high volume OLTP systems will find a home in the cloud, the technologies for delivering the data to the client are there to support relational and especially BI data.

This trend will impact traditional database administrators in two possible ways. As companies migrate databases to hosted solutions, the operational DBA will be the most impacted for obvious reasons. The other way will be the rise of the development DBA. As database technologies become ever more sophisticated, the need for a DBA who can manage the database development process will increase. Already, many companies are realizing that their biggest gap in the development process is someone with the skillset to translate their development requirements into a solid database application.

In summary, I believe that we will see a shift from operational database administration to database application administration. Perhaps DBA will someday become an acronym for DataBase Application or something similar.

Comments (3)
  1. Brent Ozar says:

    Even if you assume that BI data moves to the cloud, that cloud hosting won’t be free, and someone needs to manage any paid service.  As with Google Apps and Amazon AWS, there will be a per-page processing fee or a per-gig storage fee, or both.  I get a big chuckle out of "all you would need to do would be to add more hardware components."  Who decides the load is too big, or what hardware components need to be added?

    We haven’t even taken the web farm admins out of the web site equation, and web hosting in the cloud has been out there for years.  DBAs won’t be hitting the cheese line anytime soon.  😉

  2. Moving databases to the "cloud" is a form of server consolidation. The more databases are hosted in the cloud the lower the number of DBAs that will be necessary to manage these database "farms".

    Looking at web farms for an example, the tools are out there to allow one administrator to manage hundreds if not thousands of servers. Web farms are many "cloned" servers. Database servers are almost always unique entities if you consider that the DBA manages the database not the server (usually).

  3. srini m says:

    DBA role will change over period as new database features are added. For instance, Netezza (data appliance) suggests that it needs "less than one dba" to manage their appliance. In this case, DBA is expected to support other activities, may be BI tools / design or dev / test activity. Oracle has improved so many features and if database is relatively stable (meaning no new changes to production database), dba could take up more tasks. Then again, it depends on organization and individuals, how many folks are that proactive to look for more tasks.

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