Top Trends And Challenges Facing DBAs In The Near Future

“We've already agreed that having information about the future can be extremely dangerous. Even if your intentions are good, it can backfire drastically!”


Those words of foreboding and caution from Dr. Emmett Brown in “Back to the Future” certainly held water within the context of an iconic 1980s comedy. Nevertheless, we’re rolling the dice with a few predictions about our own future. (Hopefully, this won’t negatively impact the time-space continuum).


We recently surveyed 300 organizations to get their insights about trends and challenges they expect to affect DBAs in the near future. The result is a new report, “The Real World of the Database Administrator,” from Quest and Unisphere Research, packed with insights from database administrators just like you. In this post, I’ll review some of the most important challenges and trends.

DBA Trends

  • More cloud, less Hadoop. The DBAs we surveyed do not believe that Hadoop and NoSQL are going to have the biggest impact on their organizations over the next several years. They are more focused on the continued growth of cloud computing, virtualization and Big Data, as shown in the bar chart below.

  • Old DBAs, new tricks. Obviously, changes in the data and data management infrastructure will put pressure on DBAs and their teams to learn new technologies. Using database tools that DBAs are already familiar with, and that support these new platforms can help.
  • Evolution over revolution. One of the most pressing items on the agenda of DBAs will be upgrading database systems or enterprise applications, followed by consolidating their information infrastructure.
  • Controlling the data explosion. Data in all its forms continues to expand at a rate that leaves many organizations playing catch-up. The ability to quickly capture and classify data as it’s created will only become more challenging.
  • Keeping the bad guys out. The internal and external threats to organizational data will increase as cybercriminals continue to get better at what they do. Combined with the rapid expansion of data, the target on that sensitive information will continue to widen.

DBA Challenges

Note that there was tremendous variety of opinions about where DBAs need to focus over the next several years. Granted, almost every DBA’s environment is unique, but still we think the variety means that we are heading into a period of change and that the demands those changes will place on DBAs are not yet clear.

Where do you and your organization come down on topics like Hadoop, security and learning new technologies? Let us know. Download Quest and Unisphere’s Research, “The Real World of the Database Administrator,” see what your colleagues in other companies are facing and tell us what you think the most prominent trends and challenges are.