When we talk about a person walking around with their head in the clouds, we typically don’t mean it as a compliment. But for DBAs walking around with their head in the computing cloud, we should make an exception. Cloud computing is the latest trend in the IT services industry, and DBAs must understand the needs of cloud computing and their role in it.
Every step forward in technology brings the inevitable worry about that technology replacing the work of people. Cloud computing is no exception. With the rise of cloud computing, the question of whether or not we still need the services of DBAs has also risen. If you are a DBA, you may be somewhat alarmed by that question. If you are an IT executive, you may be interested in the answer.
Yes, Virginia, We Still Need DBAs
To answer that question, we must first understand the nature of cloud computing and the services offered by cloud service providers. The majority of cloud service providers simply provide hosting and infrastructure – hardware, networking, etc. The services traditionally performed by DBAs – server maintenance, database tuning, and other database administration – is not part of their standard service. Some may offer these additional services, but they come with an additional expense.
So here at the beginning of the cloud computing age, DBAs are still an in-demand commodity. Even cloud-based, virtual machines need people to monitor and service them. And the trusty DBA fits the bill, at least the DBA who adapts to changing times and masters the knowledge necessary to maintain cloud-based database environments.
Times Are Changing, However
This isn’t to say that DBAs have nothing to fear as more and more IT infrastructure moves to the cloud. Because of the streamlining of infrastructure and the lack of internal services to bill for, there will definitely be fewer DBA jobs to go around. How few? That is impossible to predict at this point, but it is inevitable. There is good news, however.
Since most cloud service providers charge only for resources used, DBAs may take on a more central role in cost cutting. Their ability to monitor and tune databases will result in fewer resources used and finally to smaller monthly invoices from cloud providers.
Cloud Providers Need DBAs Too
And let’s not forget about all those cloud service providers out there. They will need an increasing number of DBAs as both their customer base and service offerings continue to grow. DBAs will be central in planning capacity, usage costs, data partitioning, and other tasks for cloud infrastructure providers.
The cloud has not replaced database services and applications. It only transferred them to new providers. And as long as there are databases to be administered, there will always be a need for DBAs with their heads in the cloud.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Josh Stein on behalf of Confio Software. Confio™ Software is a company focused on helping DBAs with cloud computing and database performance monitoring solutions for SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 and Sybase databases and VMware servers.