Monday, February 18, 2008

Trends for DBAs

I grew up in the old days when the primary tools used to manage databases was Unix shells scripts and my development tool was vi. This was back in the day when if you showed other DBAs a script for monitoring and tuning, they would respond to it the way cavemen would look at fire. Those days are long gone.

Whether it is open source, vendor or 3rd party tools DBAs need to use software to help them manage their environments. Whatever the tool: Nagios, Mon, Zenoss, Cacti, MySQL Enterprise Monitor, etc. it is important to use tools to manage a database environment. In the monitoring and management side this includes the entire infrastructure which includes the application server and applications environment. As a DBA it is very important to be in a proactive environment where the administration infrastructure is scalable as more database instances and database schemas are added to the environment. The negative ramifications of using scripts and not software to monitor and manage a database environment include:
  • The more manual scripts (Unix, Perl, etc.) the more you are building a high maintenance environment that has to be supported.
  • As your environment changes with different software, application servers, applications, etc the more the scripts need to be modified.
  • New DBAs usually will not want to bet their jobs on someone else's scripts. Working scripts often get thrown away by new DBAs which will replace existing scripts with their own scripts.
  • Manual scripts are not as scalable as using software.
  • Using manual scripts are not cost-effective compared to using software for monitoring and management.
  • Manual scripts are more error-prone than using software.
  • Manual script environments are usually more reactive versus proactive. Reactive environments are not conducive to high availability.
Companies are looking more for DBAs that can help make strategic decisions, understand the business, have strong communication and management skills and understand how to manage databases from an enterprise perspective. This is different that the traditional heads down, perform technical tasks and write scripts type of DBA.

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