New Trends and Challenges in Database Administration

In the previous blog posts, we discussed the evolution of the DBA along with the challenges, changes and their upcoming trends. Data is the most critical part of any application. The changing nature of the data always brings new challenges to DBAs. New age DBAs now have to do many different tasks than before. Along with running the system at the most optimal settings, DBAs now have to get their hands dirty with development, DevOps, NoSQL technology as well as help organizations to migrate to the cloud.

In this blog post, we will discuss three new trends and challenges in the Database Administration world.

New Trends and Challenges in Database Administration newtrends-800x371

Greater Responsibility

In the earlier times when we used to consult with the DBAs, they often used to manage 3 to 9 database servers.

“68% of DBAs manage between 11-500 database instances. DBAs are managing more data and database platforms than ever before.”

Well, changing times have made the DBA’s life more stressful as now they have to take care of multiple different platforms. It is common to see DBAs continually learning new technology and features to accomplished the tasks which they have been assigned.

The evolution of the NoSQL database has further made the life of the traditional DBA very complicated as now not only they have to learn a new language and features but also adopt a new radical concept.

Always Peak Performance

Earlier time was a simpler time when DBAs just had to watch selected essential counters for the database and few key metrics for the operating systems. Based on the limited information, DBAs were providing the necessary suggestions to keep the database up. However, the time has indeed changed and now DBAs not only have to keep the database up and running, but they are also responsible for its optimal performance.

“72% DBAs say managing database performance is their most important responsibility.”

Compared to earlier times the role and responsibility of the DBAs are also changed. As we discussed earlier, now that DBAs are responsible for multiple database platforms and each platform has its methods to collect data. Once the data is collected, DBAs have to process it in such meaningful way that it makes sense for that platform and workload.

This recent changes in the job responsibility have guided many DBAs to use third party tool for monitoring the database. Multiple third-party vendors have come up with many different tools for automated routine and mechanical tasks. Many DBAs found that new tools have made their life once again simpler and now they can spend more time learning new technology.

Cloud Migration

When the cloud was first introduced, I did not find it interesting. I interpreted cloud as hosting on the server of the branded organizations. Well, it was right to a certain extent, and hence, I was never too keen to move to the cloud. However, the entire ball game got changed when Amazon and Microsoft started to compete for the cloud business.

Research says – “34% of DBAs cite increased flexibility as a motivator for moving to the cloud. The majority of DBAs surveyed are already supporting cloud databases or plan to soon.”

A few years ago, DBAs were scared of the cloud as they thought it would take their job away, but now the ecosystem is very different. On cloud platform provisioning, data storage and security are very different from what DBAs used to do on-premises.

Many of the organizations have read the writing on the walls and are moving at rapid pace to adopt cloud. This quick adoption process by organizations has created some amusing problems for DBAs.

In the earlier times, DBAs were always asking for more resources regarding IO, Memory, and CPU. However, in the cloud, their role is not about building a bigger rig. DBAs are now forced to think like a business analysis. There are often moments when DBAs have to cut the resources to strike a balance between available resources, limited budget, and business needs.

New Trends and Challenges – Call to Action

Data is essential to any organizations, and it is continuously changing, just like that life of the DBA. New trends will initially bring out the fear of unknown and plethora of presumed challenges. Once the dust settles some of the problems will become real, and some of the obstacles will disappear.

The only way to foolproof of our career as a DBA is to stay informed about the upcoming changes and challenges. As an evolving DBA, we must adapt and overcome the challenges of new technology.

To gain insight into the evolving challenges for DBAs, Quest commissioned Unisphere Research to survey DBAs and those responsible for the management of the corporate data management infrastructure. I strongly recommend you download the whitepaper DBAs Face New Challenges: Trend in Database Administration.

Additionally, here is another interesting whitepaper – A Zombies Survival Guide in a Changing Database World. Do let me know what you think of it after you read it.

Reference: Pinal Dave (

Quest, SQL Server
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1 Comment. Leave new

  • The article is pretty spot on I’m currently managing about 100 servers that are 5TB to 30TB. You probably could have mentioned the size of databases are growing exponentially since 2010!


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