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The New DBA

Dawn Barrs
Oracle Magazine
March/April 1999


In today's around-the-clock Internet economy, DBAs are moving from the back room to the boardroom, increasingly strategic players in their company's success.

[...] As the keepers of data, DBAs play a significant role in developing and deploying these database-backed, Web-based applications. For example, Steve Bourgeois, one of the principals of Blue Hills Technology Corporation (www.bhtech.com), in Milton, Massachusetts puts the Internet and Web technology at the top of his list of new core competencies. "DBAs need Webmaster skills; they need to know how to install, configure, and tune Web servers" he says. To be of most value in today's IT world, DBAs also must know about Web-server and database integration as well as java, Perl, and HTML coding, Bourgeois adds.

[...] Sometimes there is no window for downtime at all. This means that the new DBA may also need a firm grasp of availability and reliability features such as RAID technology, mirroring and hot backups, and clustering.

"High availability is no longer a buzzword exclusively for the big-iron guys," says Bourgeois. High availability is an implied commitment that every organization, large or small, makes when making its first appearance on the Web. Anything less will mean lost customers and prospects."

Adding to the demands of the always-online marketplace, "dirt-cheap storage has resulted in some huge databases," says Bourgeois. "DBAs need to be able to understand how to exploit parallelism, perform capacity planning, understand I/O subsystem design, and create new backup/recovery strategies that minimize database downtime."

[...] Bourgeois, for example, says knowing the core DBA tasks as well as the new technologies means he's brought in at the planning stages of application development more often. "Instead of just fighting fires and performance problems, I'm also working to answer 'How do we?' questions," he notes. Bourgeois' experience as a consultant and Oracle Parallel Server developer stands him in good stead for this role as up-front consultant to the development team.

Blue Hills Technology Corporation

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