Re: Death of the DBA

From: Mladen Gogala <>
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 19:48:32 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <h6s6eg$ou6$>

On Sun, 23 Aug 2009 08:15:19 -0700, Helma wrote:

> Yes, that's indeed what worries me as well, hence the question I put
> forward in this forum. For most of the Oracle contract offers i see,
> there is often a MSsqlserver skill required as well. And in the contract
> i'm currently serving, the majority of the databases are MSsql, but all
> the DBA's are oracle DBA's: skills left over from a different time?
> That's ok for them, if you've got a permanent contract here in the
> Netherlands you won't be fired quickly, but for contractors the
> situation is more demanding. You just can't afford to ignore the trends,
> and you just can't offer yourself as someone with only Oracle skills,
> IMHO. Being just an oracle DBA may not be enough these days.

Well, I've just spent two years in Europe and I can confirm that MS SQL is rather ubiquitous in Europe. I do think that RDBMS market is not stable and that significant changes are to be expected. Oracle knows that, that's probably the reason for strangling the MySQL project. I am not sure, however, that Oracle will be able to strangle PostgreSQL the same way and that is the biggest threat to Oracle. A freeware database picking up speed will probably push Oracle out of the low end market. Oracle RDBMS is a great database, it has an excellent support and a multitude of features but is very expensive. If you buy a Mack truck capable of hauling 40 tons of weight, you will pay the premium price. It will cost you much more than Ford Taurus, Honda Accord or Toyota Camry but you will buy it only if you need it. Oracle RDBMS was frequently purchased "because everybody else has it" and it has become way too expensive for that kind of PHB approach. Diagnostic and tuning pack make things even worse.
In Europe, companies reacted to the new pricing reality by buying MS SQL Server, a logical move because that database has support, has excellent DW capabilities and there are lots of people at least moderately skilled with it. SQL Server has penetrated European universities to much higher degree than it is the case with their American counterparts, but the trouble is, MS SQL is expensive, too. So is windows, especially now that Windows 7 is coming into the market. Costs of running MS SQL is not insignificant, not even when compared with Oracle.

There is a very large class of office applications that do not have to be online for 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days in a year. There are local data warehouses which are loaded periodically and than used for searches and presentations. I've seen such databases used to manage office supplies, time sheets, vacations, phone numbers, shop locations, company vehicles, salaries and resumes sent to the HR department. These applications are usually not client facing and can be purchased relatively cheaply, even for the freeware databases. In other words, freeware databases like PostgreSQL or Firebird are getting mature enough to make a significant dent in Oracle Corp's bottom line. The problem is, all of those databases still need a very good technologist that would understand them and manage them. Databases are complex beasts which are modelled after a mathematical discipline called "set theory". One needs a high degree of technological skill to understand them and manage them. One needs a truck driver to drive a truck, not your everyday driver driving a Toyota Camry. Even if it is PostgreSQL, powering up applications developed Python and Django, one still needs a good DBA to manage it. That is why I am not afraid for my future. What companies pay for is technological prowess and understanding. I have that and I am maintaining that. Premium skills will always be paid the premium price. It's as simple as that. I am not only a DBA, I am a technology expert. There is a very wide variety of things that I can help companies with and they will surely pay for that. Every decent Oracle DBA can say the same.

I don't have anything against Toyota Camry, it is a great car and I love it. I see so many of them around me that took is as an ACME car.

Received on Sun Aug 23 2009 - 14:48:32 CDT

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