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Re: FW: DBAs:Databases 1:10 (Oracle) 1:31 (SQL Server)

From: Jared Still <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 10:07:55 -0700
Message-ID: <>

On 6/15/06, Dennis Williams <> wrote:
> DBAs often must choose whether to add a new application in a schema of
> an existing database or to create a new database. If management brags about
> how many databases the DBA team supports, which will you choose?

One of the benefits I enjoy at my employer is that my manager is an IT person.

He used to write code. He's gone about as far as an IT guy can go, and still be in IT (CIO).

I can't tell you how nice it is to work for someone that knows what I do, and doesn't come
in to my cubicle on a regular basis asking "What is is you do anyway?".

The point is, he doesn't care how many databases we have, how big they are, or
how many servers they use. Or maybe I should say, he does care. The fewer the
better. The exact opposite of many mgr's with no IT background.

That said, mgr's are always finding a way to evaluate how much work is being done.

They have to. They need to see where to improve, what could be done better, etc.

They also have there corporate superiors to report to.

There are some fairly good methods for doing these evaluations. I don't know a lot
of details about them, because, well, I don't want to.

What I do know is that a more holistic viewpoint is needed than counting how many
databases per DBA your company manages.

Large shops with multiple DBA's can have a higher ratio as they are able to specialize
a bit more. The DBA in such a shop can focus more, while the on-call duties rotate
among the DBA's.

One DBA might have the primary responsibility for backups. (All need to know recovery)

Another might be the development specialist. If the shop is large enough, there may even
be 2 groups of DBA's - Development and Production.

The point is, the metric of number of databases per DBA is totally and unequivocally useless.

I am the only DBA in our IT shop.

We run SAP (7 instances), Agile (3) and various other apps, both COTS and custom, that require a database.

I also am the SQL Server DBA.

If I start counting the databases it looks impressive.

That is, until I remind myself that most of these databases usually require very little attention. Once they are setup, backup routines established, monitoring
in place, etc, they don't need a lot of help from me.

That said, being the only DBA, there's always something else that needs done.


Create an app to query all known source data for employees, users in several apps,
create an app used to reconciles users to apps, for SarbOx and licensing purposes.

Create a package for installing the 9i client.

Migrate a number of disparate databases to a single server.

Proving to a user that the data he couldn't find really is there.

On and on it goes.

The number of databases has very little to do with my workload.

Jared Still
Certifiable Oracle DBA and Part Time Perl Evangelist

Received on Thu Jun 15 2006 - 12:07:55 CDT

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