Check out this DevOps Reactions animated GIF and caption.
It’s funny on multiple levels, but it also makes me both mad and disappointed.
I get mad because it’s 2015. Surely by now most of us, especially those who have worked in the enterprise with development teams, know that the old 1970s vision of a walled off data center with DBAs in white lab coats acting as gatekeepers to the data is long discredited. As DBAs, even if you’re not working with development teams at all, you’re just offering a service to the business. This whole, a DBAs favorite word is “NO”, meme needs to die a quick, hard, death. All those “Technology X” is going to eliminate the DBA articles that come out every six months like a comet with a small orbit are partially predicated around many teams attempting to get around, over or through the DBA because we still think our purpose in life is to say “No” to every single request. Come on people. You’re part of a team. That team has a very simple goal, keep the company afloat so it can make money. That’s it. If your goals are narrower than that, if you’re a road block to progress and motion, if you’re trying to stop every development proposition that comes down the road, well then, heck yes, your dev team is going to try out “Technology X” so maybe they can get rid of you. Deservedly so. You have it coming and you brought it on yourself.
I get disappointed because this whole attitude is just going to make things harder for data professionals down the line. Why do I say that? Because, inevitably, data management is going to fall back under specialized knowledge sets because it’s actually a pretty specialized skill. And I’m not talking about running backups. I’m talking about 1) Optimization, even if you’re on Hadoop and are luvin life with NoSQL, you can still do it wrong and hurt performance, 2) Emergencies, recovery from corruption or point in time recoveries or proper management of whatever failover system is set up (assuming one is) requires specialized knowledge that most developers just don’t have the time or inclination to learn (BIG NOTE: not talking ability). Those two areas are where everyone I know who makes big money consulting is working. Why? Because that’s where things break down. And this entire attitude of “NO” from DBAs mean we’re going to be excluded by development teams (and I don’t blame them, in fact, I encourage it if your DBA is still saying “NO”) so that they can get their jobs done. But… Later, stuff will go wonky because of load or the SAN getting switched off or a limited Zombiepocalypse and suddenly, businesses and dev teams, and probably the one or two data pros still in the company, are playing catch up in ways that could have been avoided.
This has to stop.
DBAs must be a part of DevOps because we’re part of Dev and we’re part of Ops. I’ll put up another post on this topic shortly.