The Constant and Constantly Changing Role of the DBA

I’ve been working in and around data for over 30 years now. My title has changed a number of times and is poised to change again. My responsibilities have also shifted fairly continuously over that time. Even though it has been more than 20 years since I first took on the title of DBA, some aspects of the job are the same. However, over that 20 years, a stack of new technologies and processes have fundamentally changed a whole swath of what I do.

The DBA Song Remains the Same

Are your servers online? Are all databases available? Did the data load process run successfully last night? When was the last time a backup was run on this database?

I honestly don’t care if you’re in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid situation. You are absolutely going to want to know the answers to these questions. In over 20 years on the job, these questions have been constant and the need to have an answer to them is the same as it ever was.

Yet, even within this constant set of questions, the needs and requirements, and frankly, how we go about getting the answers, has been changing. These constants, and these changes, are reflected in the brand new “State of SQL Server Monitoring” report that Redgate has put together.

Tomorrow, June 25th, I’m putting on a webinar with the help of some dear friends and acquaintances to show off the results of Redgate’s survey. Please follow this link now to get registered.

You can hear from industry leaders and experts in their areas on how SQL Server monitoring has stayed exactly the same, even as it is constantly changing. I’ll be working with:

Chris Yates, Director of Data and Architecture at Republic Bank
Annette Allen, Database Architect at University of Exeter
Tony Maddonna, Microsoft Platform Lead & SQL Server Architect at BMW Manufacturing

So, don’t miss out on your opportunity to understand how monitoring has changed, and how it’s stayed exactly the same.

Oh, the DBA Times, They Are A Changin’

If you think technology is going to let you stand still, you’re kidding yourself. While there are many constants (when was the last time you tested a restore?), everything is moving faster and faster. We have to support, more, bigger, and faster moving development teams. For these reasons, and many others, I’ve been a fairly loud and consistent advocate for adopting DevOps methodologies.

I’ve seen the adoption of DevOps change organizations for the better. DevOps is a way to deliver better software, faster, to your production environments while simultaneously increasing the depth of protection on those same production environments. Don’t believe me? Then, later this week, join me as I talk with James Grant, DevOps and Automation Lead at Standard Bank, South Africa. James has successfully implemented DevOps within his organization to do exactly what I say it can do.

Click here to get registered for this event.


I am a fierce believer in the fact that the role of the DBA is not going away. There will be DBAs for the forseeable future. They’re going to be tuning queries. They’re going to be setting up sophisticated HA/DR configurations (even using the ones built in to Azure, for example, work, maintenance, monitoring, is a fundamental aspect of what is necessary). They’re going to be working. However, the work they do is going to be shifting. As such, they need a way to deal with the speed and magnitude of that change. The method that works best is DevOps.

So, even as my role changes a little (more on that soon), my advocacy for the DBA, whether they’re doing traditional monitoring or implementing a fully automated Continuous Delivery deployment mechanism, is unwavering. Join me in the webinars this week and we can talk about it.

Please let me know what you think about this article or any questions:

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