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On the Demise of DBAs

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting


Much is being said recently about how much the DBA job is changing. How soon there won't be a real need for hard-core DBAs. In a recent keynote (I was unfortunately called to a client site and it was given in my stead by David Scott, the President of the GOUSER (Georgia Oracle User) group) I addressed this issue. In an analysis of the changing DBA role I was able to identify that we have gone from the basic 13 items listed in the Version 6 Oracle Administrators guide for a description of the DBA job, to at least 2 dozen responsibilities as of 10g. The original list looked like so:

1. Installing and upgrading Oracle server and application tools.
2. Allocating system storage and planning future storage requirements for the database.
3. Creating primary database storage structures once developers have designed an application.
4. Creating primary database objects (tables, views, indexes) once the application designers have designed an application.
5. Modifying the database structure as necessary, from information given by application developers.
6. Enrolling users and maintaining system security.
7. Ensuring compliance with Oracle licensing agreements.
8. Controlling and monitoring user access to the database.
9. Monitoring and optimizing the performance of the database.
10. Planning for backup and recovery of database information.
11. Maintaining archived data on appropriate storage devices.
12. Backing up and restoring the database.
13. Contacting Oracle Corporation for technical support

The revised list:

1. Installing and upgrading Oracle server and application tools.
2. Allocating system storage and planning future storage requirements for the database.
3. Creating primary database storage structures once developers have designed an application.
4. Creating primary database objects (tables, views, indexes) once the application designers have designed an application.
5. Modifying the database structure as necessary, from information given by application developers.
6. Enrolling users and maintaining system security.
7. Ensuring compliance with Oracle licensing agreements.
8. Controlling and monitoring user access to the database.
9. Planning for backup and recovery of database information.
10. Maintaining archived data on appropriate storage devices.
11. Contacting Oracle Corporation for technical support.
12. Management of object related features.
13. Determination of LOB storage options.
14. Assistance with RAID configuration.
15. Determination of proper index strategy (normal, reverse, IOT, bitmapped)
16. Education of Developers in Oracle features and their use.
17. Management of distributed environments.
19. Management of parallel server and parallel query.
20. Determine and manage partitions and sub-partitions.
21. Determine proper use of outlines and SQL profiles
22. Create, manage and maintain resource groups,
23. Create manage and maintain global temporary tables.
24. Create and manage materialized views, summaries and snapshots.
25. Monitoring and managing the automatic and dynamic sizing parameters.
26. Monitoring and managing the automated UNDO (it isn?t set and forget)
27. Monitoring and tuning RAC environments, especially the cluster interconnect.
28. Manage and maintain fine grained auditing (HIPPA/SOX requirements)
29. Manage and maintain row level security28. Manage and maintain fine grained access controls.

Add to the above: Monitor and maintain application servers, web servers, connection managers, LDAP and other servers as well as the entire client to database environment in many shops the DBA does it all.

Now there may be arguments on both sides about some of the above rolling into some of the original listed general categories, but when some commands require multiple pages to just describe (CREATE TABLE for example), let alone show meaningful examples for, well, they need to be broken out as a responsibility.

However, as the features are improved I have no doubt they will automate the complete management of SQL, tables and indexes and tablespaces as well as some memory and tuning parameters. So the DBA will give up on items 12, 13, 24 and 25. Gee, how will the other 25 (26 if you include the final one added above) items fill our time? The death of the DBA has been greatly overstated.

A case in point. I am involved in producing some roll ups for use in feeding the Oracle Warehouse builder for a 10g DWH project. The roll ups are used to pe-flatten and tune the feeds, tuning is difficult if you use 100% OWB to do the flattening. Anyway during verification that the flattening was being effective I decided to test the Enterprise Manager SQL Tuning Advisor. Before tuning, the particular view being examined required 10 minutes to produce a count of its records, I put the SQL Tuning Advisor onto it and 8 minutes later it came up with its recommendations. I implemented them and then tried the count again. 39 minutes later it came back with the count. It didn't exactly produce the desired performance improvement. To be fair, on the one I ran through before this, it cut a 4 minute run to a 2 minute run on a different view. Could I have done a better job tunng it manually? We shall see (as soon as I figure out how to get the "SQL Profile" it created removed!)

So, needless to say, I feel safe in saying the imminent demise of the DBA though much sought after by Oracle Corporate (I kid you not, I was at a ECO conference and sat through a keynote by a VP of Oracle who obviously didn't realize he was talking to a room full of DBAS, which with great relish described how Oracle was attempting to do away with the job of DBA) is still a long way off. It seems for each job they "take away" they give us three more.



 

 

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