This post was inspired by a recent conversation with a DBA followed by reading The Curse of Relational Databases (especially the comments) posted at Grant Fritchey’s SQL Server Central blog.
I have two points to make:
- As of mid-2014 a physical person is required to properly administer a production relational database instance.
- The title of this post (and the second phrase of item 1) is a lie. You need two DBA’s (at least).
You need two DBA’s in case your first DBA becomes unavailable. Having a single DBA perform the work of two DBA’s is a good way to ensure your first DBA will become unavailable due to burnout.
If your disaster recovery / business continuity plan doesn’t have a use case or scenario to cover the
possibility inevitability that your DBA will be unavailable then you need to update your DR / BC plan.
For 75% of my career as a technology professional, I have seen advertisements that either state outright or allude to the belief of a software company’s marketing department that their relational database platform either reduces or eliminates the need for management by a qualified database professional. This is an inaccurate portrayal at this time.
An accurate portrayal is that automation and tools have increased the number of instances a DBA can manage if everything is running smoothly. The number of people required to manage a crisis is higher (which is another reason you need more than one DBA). The number of people required to manage a database is not zero. Will it ever? I think it will. At that time, I think we will need people to manage the automation that is managing the database. I could be wrong; it has happened before. For now, I am confident stating…
You need a DBA.