Data is everywhere. But data by itself is not very valuable. When Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) became popular, the amount of usable information exploded. Businesses in almost every industry took advantage of being able to organize their data in a structured format. Then, in the 1990s, during the “dot com” boom, commercial databases became extremely important. Oracle Corporation even used the slogan “Oracle Powers the Internet”. It was a great time to be a database administrator (DBA). DBAs had immense power as not many people understood the care and feeding and tuning of RDBMS systems.
Oracle databases were seen as complex entities that had to be protected. Early versions of the RDBMS were complex and had a lot of moving parts. DBAs had to ensure that the databases were kept up and running along with performance requirements for the business.
DBAs didn’t really think about the actual data that they kept for the business. DBAs were worried about uptime, space availability, backups, recovery strategies, and tuning the databases so that they could be faster. DBAs also had to worry about upgrading and patching the databases, security, hardware, and a variety of other tasks. In other words, DBAs were focused on being caretakers of the database.
Each release of Oracle (and other RDBMS) included more and more features that were meant to remove tedious everyday tasks of an Oracle DBA like:
– RMAN to help simplify backups
– Auto extending tablespaces
– Online rebuilding of Indexes
– Oracle Managed Files
– and many others
And then with the release of 18c came the ‘Autonomous database’. According to Oracle: “an autonomous database leverages AI and machine learning to provide full, end-to-end automation for provisioning, security, updates, availability, performance, change management, and error prevention.”
Microsoft SQL Server made similar powerful enhancements. MySQL, one of the first open-source databases, went through two acquisitions, first by Sun Microsystems, which was acquired by Oracle. MySQL has kept pace with innovations along with the likes of Oracle and SQL Server. PostgreSQL is another popular open-source database because its technology has been adapted to the times and includes many features that make the life of a DBA easier.
All of these new features are great, but there are still a lot of manual (or scripted) actions that DBAs need to take. It took the cloud revolution for these databases to evolve. The first wave of the cloud revolution allowed DBAs to put their databases in a hosted cloud environment. Unfortunately, even in the cloud environment, DBAs had to perform the same tedious chores just as when the databases were in their data centers. It was the next wave of the Relational Database Service (RDS) database that gave the DBAs more freedom.
RDS allowed DBAs to create ready-to-use databases on command from templates (how much memory, how much CPUs, how much storage, etc). The DBA could operate it just like an on-premise database, but wouldn’t have to worry about tasks like:
– Database backup
– High Availability
– Disaster recovery
– Tablespace management
– No concern about hardware
– Automatic database patches
Taking these mundane tasks from the DBA and putting them in the hands of the cloud provider frees up the DBA to focus on tuning the database so that it is more performant and tasks that enhance the business.
DBAs can also handle many more databases than they could before. This allows organizations to be more efficient and allows DBAs to let data flow from one database to another. This can open up the possibilities of making sure that the database type is customized to the particular needs of the organization. No more one size (or vendor) database fits all.
DBAs now have the capacity to take on more of the architect. Rather than be a mechanic dealing with the database, the DBA can help step up the chain and help with the data flow, ensuring that it’s being moved from one database to another allowing different business units to work with and massage the data as needed. In addition, DBAs have more time to decide when and where data should reside, and figure out how the business can best use the data stored in an RDS system.
Rather than being a DBA maybe they could be a DA, Data Administrator, and deliver value by helping users explore the data itself. The data scientist is a new type of role that has exploded in the last few years. A data administrator can have a more integral role alongside data scientists to help the organization derive new value from the actual data. This is where the real power of RDS lies, helping DBAs free up time so that they can unlock value from the data itself.
RDS was a logical next step in the evolution of databases being ‘self-managed’. As databases become easier to manage and more of a self-service application, this will free up DBAs to pursue other tasks to derive value from the actual data.
HVR received the Amazon RDS Ready Designation, part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Service Ready Program. This designation means HVR can fully support Amazon customers with seamless integration from a variety of cloud-based and on-premise sources into Amazon. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.