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As COVID-19 Exacerbates IT Infrastructure Challenges, DBAs Emerge as the Unsung Heroes

May 12, 2020 / Swati Lunge
SHARESHARESHARE

  • The DBAs are the unsung heroes of IT infrastructure; they are the ones keeping systems running smoothly, all while business leaders and managers in other departments .

  • Database administrators (DBAs) often seem to play a big part in many organisations or even within IT departments. .

  • With the recent global Covid-19 crisis, the task for DBAs becomes more difficult. Because many employees across the world are having to work from home.


Database administrators (DBAs) often seem to play a big part in many organisations or even within IT departments. While security or cloud experts are celebrated as rock stars and certainly their roles are important, DBAs often don’t get the credit they deserve for shoring up business-critical data systems through savvy capacity planning, database design, and performance tuning. These days, data is the business. Whether a company relies on timely data to drive decisions; uses data to deliver goods to its customers; or provides services that are data-driven, such as IoT devices for healthcare workers – optimised data delivery is the number one priority.


DBAs play a crucial role in the data pipeline by preventing databases from slowing down or coming to a halt when demand spikes.With the recent global Covid-19 crisis, the task for DBAs becomes more difficult. Because many employees across the world are having to work from home, IT departments and data teams have had to quickly pivot to support remote work. Depending on the industry, some companies are able to carry on, if they are agile and have access to company data and tools. But even with the right infrastructure, DBAs’ jobs have become even harder. For organisations facing rising demand, such as those within the government, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, DBAs must be constantly on guard to ensure databases are running smoothly and can cope with the growing needs of the organisation.



Learn more: HOW DISTRIBUTED CLOUD WILL AFFECT DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURES IN 2020 AND BEYOND .
 

“One of the biggest struggles DBAs now face is the pressure from wider IT team and finance teams to reduce costs, along with the requirement to manage a higher quantity of production databases."

~ Experts say


It’s even more challenging for DBAs working in industries such as airlines, leisure and hospitality, whose businesses are at a standstill because of government lockdowns and international travel bans. The IT systems of these paused businesses will suffer first, with limited staff or many on furlough, customers are experiencing “error” or “try again later” messages on their websites because of system overloads. So, what are the challenges DBAs across the board face, and how has Covid-19 exacerbated these?

“Covid-19 has made a difficult job even harder for DBAs – as it has for nearly every professional. At a time when DBAs require more servers, more resources, and better tools at their disposal."


Two decades ago, database administrators were able to focus on supporting production. However, now, along with being operational DBAs, they are expected to also be DevOps DBAs. This means they must expand their knowledge and understand both SQL and programming languages such as C#. Software developers can make use of any type of database management system they choose, for example MySQL or MongoDB, based on their own personal preferences. The expectation is that the DBA can comprehend all these programming languages. This is similar to saying that because you live in the UK, you can understand and speak Welsh. But these database systems aren’t as easy to optimise or manage compared to systems like Oracle and SQL Server, and they require time and effort for DBAs to learn them.


One of the biggest struggles DBAs now face is the pressure from wider IT team and finance teams to reduce costs, along with the requirement to manage a higher quantity of production databases. The problem is that production databases are not insignificant to the business. In fact, they are quite the opposite, these business-critical databases are the foundation of organisations across industries. In those such as healthcare, the performance of the database system can be a life or death situation. Despite this, IT departments are constantly faced with crippling budgets, year-on-year, yet still expected to deliver more with less. Because of these constraints, many DBAs often carry out two people’s jobs, working after hours and on weekends.


Learn more: FLEXENTIAL TO BUILD ITS LARGEST DATA CENTER TO MEET THE GROWING IT INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS .