Consider the working life of a database administrator (DBA). It is their responsibility to maintain the systems that contain an organization’s digital assets which usually occupy space in some sort of database. The information that a DBA is responsible for administering is often the lifeblood of the company, and the role can involve a high degree of pressure when dealing with mission-critical systems. If the database crashes and burns, so do the applications that it supports and your business could come to a screeching halt.
These factors place the DBA in a critical position regarding the viability of a company to compete and service its customers. There are many different parameters and aspects of keeping a database running smoothly. A DBA must be cognizant of the storage requirements of their database and make provisions for adding space when necessary. They also must perform and validate database backups which are a critical component in the ability for the business to recover from a disaster scenario.
Other tasks a DBA must perform include monitoring for potential problems, maintaining vigilant security, and enforcing the proper level of access for the database users. Optimizing the performance of their databases, performing routine maintenance, and deploying new systems are also included in the job description of a typical DBA.
The Challenge of Administering Multiple Platforms
One of the main challenges faced by a modern DBA is the proliferation of different database platforms for which they are responsible. A DBA may need to quickly switch from working on a performance issue affecting an SQL server to handling errors incurred against an Oracle database they also maintain. With the introduction of cloud instances, this problem will only become more problematic over time.
Many of the concepts and procedures learned by a DBA are abstractly transferrable between platforms, but differences exist in how tasks are performed on the associated database interfaces. This can cause confusion and introduces room for error that cannot be tolerated when dealing with vital company resources. It also wastes a lot of time, as the DBA needs to constantly switch between applications or screens to carry out their daily activities.
We Digress With an Analogy or Two
Let’s step away from the IT world for a moment and consider how the need to use different tools to do the same thing on similar but distinct platforms can have detrimental effects on an individual. First, we will consider the world of sports.
Imagine if Tiger Woods had to use a different set of golf clubs when he played a par 3, par 4 or par 5 hole? First of all, it would be incredibly unwieldy and he would need a very strong caddie. But the real problem would be an inability to spend the required amount of time to master each set. This would probably lead to inconsistent performance as he constantly switched between his tools. Lucky for Tiger, golf doesn’t work that way.
Music is another realm where we can make a comparison with a DBA who is expected to master a number of interfaces to administer various platforms. There are very few musicians who are truly proficient on a variety of instruments. Of course, there are exceptions, and Prince comes to mind as someone who could make great music with a number of instruments. Generally, a performer focuses on a particular instrument and spends a lot of time honing their skills on the chosen creative tool. This process allows the individual to eventually develop into a virtuoso and gain insight into their instrument that would be impossible for a casual user or one who is distracted with other pursuits.
Would a DBA benefit from the ability to administer a collection of diverse databases from a consistent interface? I believe we all know the answer to that question.
Become a Virtuoso on a Centralized Tool
DB PowerStudio from IDERA offers DBAs a centralized console from which to administer all of their databases. DBArtisan will make any DBA better at their job by allowing them to focus their efforts on mastering a single tool rather than vendor-specific offerings for each of the platforms they support.
One of the features that this application provides the working DBA is the ability to manage major database platforms from a single interface. The tool includes wizards that can effectively assist with such tasks as migrations, monitoring, and capacity planning.
The time gained from eliminating the need to switch apps to work on different databases is, in itself, a tremendous benefit. Becoming totally familiar with a single tool enables the DBA to become a virtuoso with complete mastery of their tool. This can only help the individual DBA and the organization to which they belong maintain consistent and effective practices across all of their supported platforms.