Impact of Automation on the Growth of the Database Administrator (DBA)
Published by : Industrial Automation
Disruption has come to the role of the database administrator (DBA). Automation is eating up tasks typically completed by a DBA – and the technology is evolving to become ever-smarter, ever more capable.
This has sparked concern that humans will inevitably become redundant in running databases. Already, cloud services have threatened to render the DBA role obsolete. Now, with automation infiltrating more and more areas of database administration, many have predicted that DBAs will not survive the storm of change.
Growth of DBAs
There’s a rising strain on DBAs. First, there’s increased management of big data to handle. Then, there’s data protection and privacy rules to worry about. There’s patching, upgrading, backing up, recovering, and data entry. There are accounts to manage and a near-constant stream of new information to feed into databases. And all that is before you can get into the troubleshooting, decision making, and designing side of the job. Not to mention the management of third-party software, ensuring system integration, and optimizing database performance. Now, to top it off, there’s a concern that automation software will take it all away.
Faults in Automation
The automation of these tasks is not necessarily a bad thing for DBAs. In fact, it’s freeing them up to work more efficiently and spend time on the things that automation can’t do. For instance, automation can help maintain and monitor a database, but it can’t replace a DBA’s ability to think. It can’t determine the value of data, make decisions about how best to store, use, and secure it, or troubleshoot with out-of-the-box thinking.
Automation is a tool – it needs someone to use it, maintain it, and monitor its results. So, it also adds to the DBA’s workload. Namely, automation demands the creation, maintenance, and improvement of the rules and triggers it follows. Automation can help do many things, but it can’t make its own rules or optimize itself. Automation simply cannot do every task that a DBA needs to complete. And if it can’t do that, then how will it ever wipe away the need for database administrators?
The Development of the DBA Role
Automation might not be going to wipe out the role of the DBA. But what it is going to do — and is already doing — is changing the tasks and responsibilities that a DBA takes on. In other words, it’s prompting the evolution of the DBA role.
For instance, DBAs are moving from mundane data admin to a data strategist. DBAs will be spending more time making decisions about what data is valuable, how to best store it, and how to best use it and make it usable for the rest of the team.
So, there can be more time spent optimizing, designing, and troubleshooting new and better databases. DBAs will also spend less time on user account administration, and more time focused on improving and maintaining security.
In short, automation will free the DBA from drudgery. It removes thoughtless tasks and the weight of repetitive to-do lists.