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5 Ways the Role of the Database Administrator Has Changed

31 Mar 2020 10:17am, by

NetApp sponsored this post.

Joseph Christianson
Joseph is a product marketing manager in DevOps for NetApp where he creates lively content and success stories for customers looking to become, DevOps Ready. Prior to joining NetApp, Joseph worked in product management and as a creative marketing consultant. Outside of work, Joseph spends his time in the Colorado sunshine as an active scooterist.

The rules around IT service delivery are changing. This is because we’re in a world where IT stability is a set expectation rather than an ask. Instead of bells and whistles, the hallmarks of IT infrastructure today are more associated with robustness, scalability and reliability, while becoming a utility that serves as an electrical outlet for applications and databases to plug into as needed. Concurrently, the database team needs to be able to respond quickly to the business. These demands and expectations become complicated and stressful for a database administrator (DBA).

To stay top of your game here are five trends affecting how the database team operates:

  1. Databases are a utility just like infrastructure
    Business customers are typically chomping at the bit to secure their technology quickly and easily. Gone are the days where decisions about which database to use took weeks or months. Multitenant database environments are replacing shared environments because they share resources on a scalable database platform that works with the cloud. Multitenant or plug-and-play mini-databases can be set up (and taken down) quickly and automatically work with the cloud. They help consolidate and manage multiple databases as one, resulting in improved efficiency, simplified management and maximum uptime. Applications can easily share compute power based on differing peak load times. Not only are the licensing costs lower, but server utilization database management is streamlined and database performance can be isolated. That isn’t to say that on-premises, standalone databases for critical applications will go away. Databases related to NetApp’s core competencies will always have a place in our operations.
  2. Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS)
    Gone are the days when users asked for a specific or customized database technology. Administrators have to be prepared to provide Database-as-a-Service as part of the application development lifecycle. That means offering a menu of standard database solutions tailored to different business requirements. Users will be able to self-provision database technology from a catalog of solutions that offers tradeoffs in flexibility, cost and performance. Self-provisioning brings with it a wide array of benefits: automatic creation of databases in the cloud or on premises, scheduling of start and end dates, automatic integration with CMDB for asset tracking and even database creation in advance of actual use.
  3. The proliferation of new technologies and data types
    Progressive DBAs should become generalists rather than specialists in technology from a singular vendor. As more and more organizations develop hybrid technology solutions, a DBA who understands multiple technologies and can make dissimilar technologies work are valuable. For example, expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) technologies, new data sources such as the Internet of Things (IoT), unstructured data and languages such as Python are creating more complex pipelines. By expanding these emerging technologies, DBAs can help deliver data that’s relevant and fresh.
  4. Skill sets are changing to reflect the new landscape
    Along with the proliferation of data and database types, the database administrator skillset is rapidly changing. Database administrators have historically specialized by database platform-Oracle, SQL Server, etc. Now administrators have to be generalists who are familiar with different database platforms and the ability to recommend the right fit for an application. But they also have to be specialists that can support a database to meet business application requirements. In addition, customers are requiring more data services that are not necessarily tied to a traditional database platform. Decisions get even more complicated when you add in cloud-aware applications and databases. Database administrators have to understand the database as part of a full-stack view.
  5. The cloud demands better IT collaboration
    As IT increasingly leverages the cloud, the push is for database administrators to be data-center agnostic. They have to be ready to support databases for applications that are hosted both on-premises (private cloud) and in the public cloud. But delivery and support in the cloud demand a new approach. Database administrators can no longer operate in a silo; the cloud requires collaboration with all the teams supporting the application stack. That makes the support and delivery model much more complex than with on-premises applications. Having a team that provides a set of database services across data centers and database platforms is critical to realizing the efficiencies of the hybrid cloud.

Change Is Constant

The role of the database administrator is ever-evolving. Skill sets are changing, and IT collaboration is a necessity. The most obvious factors driving this change are the rise of the cloud and non-relational databases. Underlying these factors is an even bigger impetus-finding new ways to deliver and support data and database services faster to the business community.

The NetApp-on-NetApp blog series features advice from subject matter experts from NetApp IT who share their real-world experiences using NetApp’s industry-leading storage solutions to support business goals. Want to learn more about the program? Visit www.NetAppIT.com. Join like-minded DevOps enthusiasts on the NetApp’s DevOps community space, thePub, at NetApp.io.

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