Future of Database Administrators in the Autonomous Database World

Biju Thomas, Principal Solutions Architect, OneNeck IT Solutions
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Biju Thomas, Principal Solutions Architect, OneNeck IT Solutions

Biju Thomas, Principal Solutions Architect, OneNeck IT Solutions

A database transformation is underway that some say threatens the long-term future of database administrators (DBAs). More enterprises are shifting from on-premise databases to multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions using database as a service (DBaaS), autonomous database cloud services or managed service provider models. In each case, cloud providers are automating their products with self-driving, self-patching and self-healing features—all designed to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Oracle fully manages the autonomous data warehouse (ADW) and the autonomous transaction processing (ATP) cloud services. This has some in management thinking they do not need a DBA anymore.

The thought is in the right direction—to some extent. Historically, DBAs focused on repetitive tasks such as monitoring, patching, provisioning and database tuning. In the autonomous database world, all of these tasks are automated. But this transformation does not mean the role of the DBA will disappear—only that it will change. Data is—and will remain—the lifeblood of business. DBAs will continue to play a central role, providing valuable insights into how organizations will best harness their data to produce business value.

Ways in which DBAs add value to the business in the cloud era

DBA roles are changing—and that can be disruptive for some. Many organizations have already moved their databases to the cloud. Those who have not will almost certainly do so soon. Management must take steps now to train DBAs to adapt to the cloud. In fact, in many cases, you can mold DBAs to become an even more critical part of the organizations’ IT future.

  DBAs who remain relevant, will be experts on automation, data management, data security, cloud communications and cloud provisioning  

Here are the traits you should expect from the future DBA:

1. Knows the Cloud

The future of databases is in the cloud. To be successful long-term, DBAs must embrace this reality and become cloud experts. It will be essential they understand the general benefits and drawbacks of many different cloud offerings as well as the security and data integration options available with each. DBAs must be given more time to attend proper trainings and to practice in the cloud.

2. Embraces Automation

Automation is critical for an IT department’s success. It’s the foundation for eliminating repetitive tasks and preventing human errors. Instead of fearing automation, the DBA should look for new ways to take advantage of it.

3. Prioritizes Data, Not Technology

Data is the most critical asset for any organization. As more data floods into organizations, from more sources—a trend expected to accelerate in the years ahead—DBAs must be seen as data experts who thoroughly understand the data. Understanding what data the organization has, how to integrate and protect it along with being able to distinguish who should have access to what data at which levels and how to optimize data storage will be critical to the business. In addition, it’s essential DBAs are capable of communicating data-oriented knowledge to the C-suite.

4. Possesses Soft Skills

As organizations move to the cloud, DBAs will need to develop soft skills and be able to communicate effectively with a broader audience of technical and business teams. DBAs who can communicate complex technical information, in lay terms, will serve a vital role as a bridge between the business and IT.

5. Understands Changing Data Security Needs

DBAs who understand data security, integration and data access across multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments are increasinly more valuable. They are counted on to determine who should have access to which data, and when and how data should be available in the cloud. With rising data storage demands, DBAs can help organizations lower costs by understanding which data should be archived or purged—when and by what means.

6. Focuses on cost-effective provisioning

Whether opting for multi-cloud, hybrid cloud or single-cloud models, cost control remains a significant concern. It’s also another area DBAs can help by understanding the different cost structures of public cloud, hosted private cloud and on-premise databases.

DBA Roles Are Not Disappearing—They’re Becoming More Important

More organizations are moving their databases to the cloud and DBAs must evolve from simply managing on-premises databases. Management must help DBAs embrace the cloud journey and enable them to view it as an opportunity to do their job better and faster while adding more value to the organization.

DBAs who remain relevant, will be experts on automation, data management, data security, cloud communications and cloud provisioning. This will position them as data experts focused on mission-critical tasks: database design, data analytics, application tuning and data security.

They will also be effective communicators, serving as a bridge between the technical and business teams. Perhaps most importantly, DBAs will possess expertise in multiple cloud models and attend user group conferences to stay at the forefront of their field.

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