5

When I feed a search engine with "DBA tasks responsibilities" lots of hits like "What does a DBA do all day?" and even official Oracle manual entries.

With modern automation a lot of those tasks don't exist anymore and as a DBaaS provider we sometimes even don't know our customers and his projects.

So what's the tasks of a Cloud DB operator?

6

I always saw a DBA as someone who fits in between developers and operations when it comes to database management.

On the one hand, they often take care of backups, clustering, replication, actual binary installation, file system management, etc.

On the other, they also take care of relational DB schema, do performance or query optimization, and advise developers on the best way to lay out their application storage and configuration schemas.

In theory, the first job can be done by a system administrator. The second job can be done by a senior developer or architect.

In practice, it often makes sense to have someone who's well versed in all parts of running a database.

Provisioning the instance is only a small part of what they do. Having your instance hosted in the cloud doesn't remove the need to have someone manage your schema or optimize performance. A cloud RDS with default settings likely won't be aware that key_buffer_size value needs to be set to 16M or some of your application's features won't run.

  • Good answer; I think that part of the evolution of the DBA should a striving toward the theoretical division. We may never get there, but we should try to get more database knowledge implemented earlier in the pipeline, so that schema changes and optimization can occur before deployment. Tough to do, but worthy challenge. – Stuart Ainsworth Sep 7 '17 at 16:43
2

The DBA is the person/role who is responsible for the availability, integrity and security of the organizations data. The responsibilities are the same regardless of the technology that happens to be in use. The way the tasks are carried out may have changed, but they still need to be done. A modern DBA might not be writing backup scripts and changing tapes over but the need for backups hasn't gone away, nor the need to regularly test restoring them, nor the need to assess all the costs involved and the trade-offs, nor the need to document everything in a runbook, etc etc. He or she will be responsible for choosing which cloud service to use, what instance type, what level of IOPS is required, forecasting storage requirements, planning for different kinds of workloads such as OLTP or batch. Performance issues haven't gone away, nor have security audits. If there is an issue and someone needs to take action or make a decision at 3am - who do you call?

Some people say that you don't need DBAs any more - but the truth is if you don't know who the DBA is, it's probably you.

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