Is the DBA Dead?

No, he’s busy migrating to the Cloud!

No, he’s busy modelling data!

No, he’s busy integrating!

No, he’s still alive and kicking!


Are DBA’s really dead, or have they shifted from one organization to another? We see posts and articles with regards this same topic as to whether the DBA is dead, whether he/she is still relevant in today’s world.

I was at a customer meeting and they were adopting a 100% cloud strategy, they all but had one DBA left in the organization as the burden from managing the legacy systems had shifted to the cloud vendors.

Let’s start with breaking down what a DBA would be doing today; a day in the life of a DBA.

A typical set of DBA tasks would include, lifting and shifting databases for off-line reporting, setting up high availability clusters, implement security, maintain integrity, perform upgrades, backups and not to forget performance tuning and troubleshooting.

The thing is data is and has been exploding, and what was once a simple task done with some PL/SQL, now requires to have some deep integral knowledge of how the applications and systems work, break something and you can take an entire system down that has real business impact.

Yes cloud has allowed consumers of IT services to get away from the shackles of IT/Security and Governance, maybe they don’t have a group wide IT function and hence would need to go to multiple business units to gain approval.

With the widespread adoption of cloud and now the announcement of the world’s first fully autonomous database you’d think the coffin had been nailed shut for good. All routine database maintenance tasks such as patching, upgrades, backups, and high availability architecture can be made without the need of a “pilot”. You simply “load and go”.

Fully Autonomous Database

But here’s the thing, you still have to get the data into the cloud, you still have to connect the dots, and get different applications talking to each other, there’s still a need for a pilot to make sure everything is working smoothly, from a functional perspective, from a scaling perspective to ensure both the application and database are performant.

So their time is freed up from their boring mundane tasks, set the policy and relax, you can now work on something else. We often hear that IT budgets are constrained and that the innovation budget is getting smaller and smaller as existing systems are not so easy to rip out and replace.

As I set out to write this article I thought of all the challenges DBA’s may face today, and could face tomorrow, and the reality is you still need that “go to” expert when things go wrong.

At Oracle Corporation here in the UK, we often find ourselves being roped into technical support issues, customer is facing a database problem or an integration problem, maybe they are suffering from bad performance and it’s causing major business impact, the sales guy is contacted who then contacts the pre-sales guy who then helps either find the right contact or is tech savvy enough to figure the issue out themselves, issues are escalated, line managers get involved, issues get escalated to development, the list goes on!

At TVP, Reading we are lucky enough to have some brilliant “go to” experts that can help unravel even the most complicated an issue. We have nick named them the “Master Mechanics”. Without these guys who knows how long it would have taken to resolve the issue. There thought process and meticulous troubleshooting skills puts them a cut above the rest.

And hence the burden or weight of fixing database related problems has been shifted from the customers on premise DBA’s to the vendors resident Master Mechanics. Who knows how long these individuals will continue to be needed in world that is constantly demanding more and more from them.



“The views expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.”









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