Many organizations have taken the step towards cloud computing because it saves them a lot of time, money and resources. How does cloud computing affect the role of a database administrator (DBA) in a cloud environment now that his primary duties are taken away by the cloud?
The DBA’s initial reaction could be fear of losing his job because cloud providers are assuming a large proportion of his role in handling the database. However, a closer look at the situation reveals that this scenario allows the DBA to play a more significant role in focusing on the more crucial and strategic tasks. This shift in the role brings more value to the business rather than handling just the technical aspect of maintaining and running the database.
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The evolving role of the database administrator
While modern technology continues to evolve, database administrator’s role grows with it. When you run your database in the cloud, the DBA role changed from being highly technical and mainly infrastructure-related to being business-oriented, adding more business value to the organization. Cloud relieves your DBA of some of his basic duties and now spends less time fixing failed disk drives and other hardware problems. The DBA still has plenty of things to do, but now focusing more on application analysis and optimization as well as support tasks.
For example, when configuring the database, an organization will benefit from a DBA’s expertise and experience rather than leaving this task to the hands of the cloud provider. It is because a DBA has the full understanding of the company – how it works, what are its processes, etc. This way, the DBA will be able to assess the business requirements and the things that need to be set up. This initiative will ensure that the cloud provider will deliver the optimal database configuration.
The database administrator used to be the one monitoring the performance of the applications, a role that is now taken over by the cloud provider. Instead of being concerned that a critical role is being stripped off him, the DBA can make use of the circumstances to perform better. He can utilize the monitoring report from the cloud provider to look at the performance issues and ensure they are all resolved.
But then again, in a cloud environment, since the database resides in the cloud, who is accountable when the database is down? The danger of having a shared responsibility is that it becomes a blame game where accountability is being pushed to the other party. A situation like this is not helpful when you are dealing with mission-critical business data. The DBA then plays a critical role in taking the responsibility to save the day and keep to a minimum the database crash. This accountability issue is not a threat, but an opportunity for the DBA to shine.
Rising from technical to strategic role
In the end, the DBA plays a significant role in the cloud computing environment and will continue to do so in the future. Their role continues to move up the ladder as they get involve in bigger business concerns and perform the duties of an analyst, advisor, support provider, and other important functional roles. To ride on this wave of change, the database administrator must learn the various cloud platforms and services, and equip himself with the necessary skills to standout in this era of the cloud.
Photo by Blue Coat Photos.