Wearing too many hats? A look at the many roles of today’s DBAs

Once upon a time, database administrators (DBAs) were responsible for as few as one or two database platforms. They had time for things like lunch. Real lunches. Not stress snacks, devoured over keyboards, leaving crumbs wedged between the keys. Back in the day, DBAs had time for friends, for family. They even had energy left over for hobbies. But new tech advancements meant new responsibilities. And that overwhelming cycle is only increasing in complexity with the inclusion of cloud, automation, IoT, mobile, DevOps and more.

To gain a better understanding of the impact this is all having on DBAs, we sat down with DBA Dave B. Awesome. Here’s his take on the growing phenomenon of today’s overworked database administrators – and what he’s doing to regain work/life balance.
 

Dave, how have you been affected by the massive changes to the IT landscape over the past many years?

Well, I’ve been greatly affected. When I started out, I worked in an Oracle shop. One platform. Just one! Today, the very concept seems laughable. I’m managing Oracle, SQL Server and now we’re adding cloud and open-source database platforms to the mix.

Sounds like you have your hands full. Do you ever feel as if you’re wearing too many hats?

Absolutely. Sometimes I’m a court jester, juggling all these diverse database platforms. Other times I’m Sherlock Holmes, investigating clues to uncover the cause of performance problems. On the bad days, I’m a firefighter, in full-blown reactive mode, battling one database disaster after another. But then there are the good days, the days when I get to be a DBA hero. Honestly, I’ve had more of those lately. Which is good because I was starting to consider a career change.

That’s understandable. I’m sure you’re not alone in rethinking your career choice. But it’s promising to hear things are improving, even with all the added pressure. What’s helped you get to a better place?

Your solutions for SQL Server, actually. I love that with Spotlight, I don’t have to waste time troubleshooting performance issues. I get answers right away. And I can optimize SQL Server performance at the click of a button. Even the junior DBAs can use it, and that’s a big help. I’m not chasing ghosts anymore. I can retire my Ghostbusters hat, as cool as that one was. And then there’s Foglight’s Performance Investigator, which is basically my Watson. It does all the hard investigative work for me – and I come out looking like the star detective. I’ve also been saving a lot of time on performance monitoring with Foglight. That toolset gives me the power I need to control my entire database environment. I feel like a guardian of the galaxy with Foglight.

We love hearing that. And we hope your story will inspire other DBAs to seek out the tools they need to cope with their growing workloads.  

I hope so, too, since we’re expected to wear more hats than ever. Switching from role to role is a lot easier when you have the right toolsets.

To learn more about how we’re supporting the many functions of today’s DBAs, check out our solutions for SQL Server.

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