No DBA Required?


Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman put out a nice post a few days ago which you can read here. It talks about the future of the DBA, especially in the light of Oracle’s new “fully managed” Database Cloud Service that will be announced soon. I pushed out some links to the post on social media with a “Just Read” message, as I sometimes do, then was hit by a wave of questions and comments about it. I think I’m on the same page as Kellyn where this is concerned and I’ve been saying similar things for quite some time.

I’ve also talked about how the world has changed for PL/SQL and SQL developers.

The reactions I’ve received following all these posts, as well as the comments about Kellyn’s post, can be broken down into the following categories.

  • Denial : The [Apps] DBA role will never die!
  • Panic : Quick, tell me what I should learn today before my family is out on the street.
  • Pragmatic: My role as a DBA has evolved so much over the years, and will continue to do so. I have to continue to adapt or die.

I think from my previous posts you will know I’m in the Pragmatic category. The type of work I did 20 years ago, whilst calling myself a DBA, is drastically different to what I do today. In 10 years time my role will be totally different, but I will probably still call myself a DBA (Do Bloody Anything).

At this point someone will chip in with, “We will never move our databases to the cloud so this doesn’t affect me!” This is naive for a couple of reasons. First, you will move *some* things to the cloud. It will happen! Second, the changes to the DBA role will happen regardless of the cloud. Automation is the thing that is altering the lives of DBAs and SysAdmins. Cloud is just another form of automation. If they haven’t already, your company will have to get on board with automation or die. In addition, the products you use will evolve over time, as they have been for years.

You can look at all this from a couple of angles.

  • OMG! I’m going to have to learn something new. What a bloody nightmare! I was hoping to do the exact same thing every day until I die!
  • OMG! This is brilliant! There’s loads of new stuff to learn! When I know this new stuff I’m going to be even more valuable!

Take your pick… ๐Ÿ™‚



PS. It will be interesting to see what Oracle actually come up with at the end of all this… ๐Ÿ™‚

Update: Loรฏc Lefรจvre just sent me a link to this article, which is pretty cool!

Update 2: You might want to read this from Thomas LaRock from the SQL Server camp. ๐Ÿ™‚

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

11 thoughts on “No DBA Required?”

  1. Could not agree more on both your and Kelly’s article. And indeed the pragmatic approach wi th the part of yippie new stuff 2 learn is the best way 4ward. One of Oracle’s courses ( believe it was 11g new features ) already put this in visionary words….. the only constant is change.



  2. One point worth making, I think, is that Oracle Corp. is not in the DBA’s corner on this, and nor is the DBA’s employer.

    The latter do not want the expense, and the former do not want the latter to have the expense. The former would also like to tie employers in to a cloud-based service using their own (chargeable) DBAs, and are aware that a great many DBAs will agitate against that.

    Maybe that’s obvious, but there it is — a solution to this definite problem of future employability is one that only DBAs have an interest in finding.

  3. I find it amazing how much folks are worrying about this.
    The cloud is NOT a new type of computing! It’s just the same old computers (and software) in a different place!
    Larry might heavy breath all he wants about “killing” the DA (sorry, I refuse to say the other acronym: it’s not real), but the simple fact is he doesn’t currently have the software to do it. And going by his many past interventions on this subject, he never will!
    Meanwhile, the REAL problem that everyone is ignoring is this:
    Such a great score for Oracle…

  4. Tim, you were absolutely right! Remember my comment several month ago regarding transition to Big Data from Oracle DBA area? Shock, pain, obstruction…this feeling is moving away with the time and I could say that slowly I’m gaining a new vision of the things around and ahead of us. So my choice is to pick up option #2, fears away! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wonderful post, thanks for writing this. I’m in the pragmatic camp as well. The operational DBA tasks, such as backups/restores and even performance tuning are being automated away. I know we’ve heard that tune before, but this time things are a bit different, IMO.

  6. Thank you for the support, Tim and like you, the amount of questions and, (at times) panic, is unnecessary. Being part of both the Oracle and SQL Server community, I’ve noticed some cultural differences in the reactions, but the solution is the same. Buckle up and ride this out. We have to much to offer the outcome to be left out…:)

  7. Regarding the stackoverflow survey that Noons posted – note that (according to the survey demographics) the respondents were mostly javascript mysql web developers. I’m not too surprised they don’t like Oracle.

    It would be interesting to look through job postings and see what the ratio of web development jobs to other development jobs is. (Java, dotNet, etc.) I wonder how representative this stackoverflow survey is of the industry?

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