Is the role of the DBA really changing?

Which type of DBAs you need ?

Administrative DBA, Development DBA, Data Warehouse DBA, OLAP DBA, Application DBA or Multiple skills in a single DBA.

Traditionally, The DBA role divides into three major activities:

  • Ongoing maintenance of production databases [Operations DBA] – Operations DBA spends most of the day follow a checklist of daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance tasks & not just responding to user complaints.
  • Planning, design, and development of new database applications [Development DBA] – Development DBA who knows the demands of the operations side is more likely to design a database that’s easy to maintain. That’s why, cross-training between the Development DBA and the operations DBA is a good idea.
  • Management of an organization’s data and metadata [Data administrator] – Metadata is the next battleground between database firms. Data administrator reduces data warehouse project time lines and improves the quality of data flowing through the organization.


One person may perform all three roles, but each is very different. Once company starts to understand the differences in these often disarranged DBA tasks, they can do a better job of matching DBAs with appropriate skills and managing people.

Current Trend:

DBAs role is changing and in a few years’ time , DBAs who used to work on improving performance & fixing backup problems, recover and restoring data, design physical databases from logical models, make operational changes to database structures are expected to take on additional technical responsibilities that include application development, managing the application server, enterprise application integration, managing Web services, network administration, and more.

Smaller organizations cannot afford the luxury of having multiple, specialty DBAs. If we compare the roles of DBAs across several organizations, no two of them would match exactly. It repeatedly challenges the technically-minded employees who tend to become DBAs however their job differs from company to company &, it becomes difficult to replace a DBA who leaves or retires.

Future prediction:

According to me in a few years’ time we could possibly see automation related challenges to DBAs, who provide instance/database level management and support. They will have to adapt and change with the changing times and technology landscape.

Cloud has and will continue to have an impact on what the DBA is required to do, Chances are a lot of basic DBAs work will get automated by the cloud platform.

Management Role:

Management should understand the balance between demand & supply. They need to keep communicating with DBAs about the demands on their time and the tasks they enjoy most so work can be delegated accordingly. The variety of roles highly skilled DBAs take on shouldn’t result in frustration & manager should be able to understand the threshold.

What is your thought on this?

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