As data becomes increasingly important—along with related technologies like IoT and machine learning—it’s no surprise that our roles as DBAs are changing. To me, it is why I love this industry. For most of us, learning innovative technology is fun, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
However, change can be as scary as it is exciting. In fact, with all the talk of automation and AI, you could even be forgiven for wondering whether there will be any DBAs in 10 years. My prediction? If you stay engaged with changing technology and think expansively about the value you can provide, your skills will be more in demand 10 years from now than ever.
A quick look at SQL Server 2019 immediately suggests at least 5 ways that DBAs are increasingly essential to modern business.
- Big data just keeps getting bigger. Companies are looking to get insights from ever-growing amounts of data—and relational data is going to remain a major part of that picture. Just look at the SQL Server Big Data Clusters function in SQL Server 2019, which enables you to deploy scalable, side-by-side clusters of SQL Server, Spark, and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) containers running on Kubernetes. DBAs will increasingly be expected to understand and maximize the value of such multi-platform environments. This will require us to expand the boundaries of our expertise and work closely with experts such as data engineers and data scientists.
- Databases are the beating heart of digital transformation. Businesses increasingly realize that having a unified view gives them a competitive advantage in a world where data is king. The task of breaking down those silos will fall to highly skilled DBAs using cool new technologies such as PolyBase. Although it was introduced in SQL Server 2016, PolyBase got a whole lot more interesting in SQL Server 2019 with the ability to query external SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, and MongoDB using T-SQL. Our world just got a whole lot bigger!
- Tuning has taken on a whole new meaning. As databases grow—and grow in importance—performance is increasingly critical. Efficiency matters, too, especially in cloud environments where you’re paying for what you use. Expertise in this area can make you the efficiency-boosting hero of your organization. You can rely on tools like graphical execution plans using SQL Server Management Studio and live query statistics with query profiling infrastructure.
- Relational data isn’t going anywhere. The death of the relational database has been exaggerated. That doesn’t mean you can ignore other technologies, but it does mean SQL DBA skills will continue to be in high demand for a long time to come. SQL Server still reigns supreme in TPC-E performance benchmarks for transaction processing, the TPC-H benchmarks in data warehousing, and for many business apps, too.
- Artificial Intelligence depends on you. Few technologies rely on good, fast data as much as AI. Data scientists will be looking to you as a partner for managing the data estate in ways that deliver next-generation capabilities. With services such as SQL Server Machine Learning Services, you can help them run experiments closer to the data for better performance and faster results.
In a world where data is at the center, the only way to become obsolete as a DBA is if you’re not learning and growing. That’s true in any technology field. I think there’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in the field. To learn more about what you can do with Microsoft SQL 19, check out the free Packt guide Introducing Microsoft SQL 19 . If you’re ready to jump to a fully managed cloud solution, check out the Essential Guide to Data in the Cloud .