The traditional DBA has worked on writing scripts to manage enterprise environments, how to optimize storage for tables and indexes, and how to optimize databases for different types of environments. The traditional DBA usually started out developing code in C, C++, Forms, Reports and PL/SQL. As this type of person became a DBA it was easy for them to support development environments on Oracle. Today's middle-tier environments are running BPEL, XML, J2EE, Web Services, SOA, ADF, JSF, Single-Signon, Identiy Managment, JMS, .NET, etc. and the traditional DBA does not have the right skill set to support these development environments. Recently a manager of a large organization told me "Things go fine in our XML and Java development environments but when we go to deploy our applications the DBAs mess everything up because they do not know how to optimize the environment for the types of applications we are writing".
The application server is also becoming a central piece of the architecture. BI and Internet applications are retrieving millions of records across the network and then processing them on the application server. Middleware developers are very knowledgeable on developing applications for the middle tier, however their priority is usually not how to optimize these applications for database performance. The issues between the database server and the application server are creating a lot of issues in organizations.
Most databases look more like a version 7 database and are using only a small subset of new features from Oracle9i and Oracle10g. There are a lot of reasons for this but what would you think of any company that was pretty much running their company with the same tools they had fifteen years ago. You would definitely see a lot of typewriters.
Today's DBAs are going to need to improve their enterprise management skills for environments running:
1) Oracle RAC, Data Guard, Streams, Oracle Grid, 3rd Party Database Monitoring and Management software, Advanced Queuing as well as understanding how to leverage new features in Oracle9i and Oracle10g.
2) Application servers and middle-tier applications. Middle-tier environments for large organizations are just as complex as database servers and address the similar issues such as performance, availability, scalability and backup/recovery.
3)The Oracle Fusion technology platform using technologies such as XML, BPEL, SOA, Web Services, J2EE, ADF and Grid.
Another area for DBAs to master is in governance and compliance. DBAs need to expand their skill sets to be able to increase the integration of technology and business in a world of Sarbanes-Oxley, ITIL, COBIT, ISO 17799 and COSC.
New technologies, larger databases, increased customer demand for performance and quicker deployments and Oracle Fusion are putting increased demands on today's DBAs. How are you addressing these challenges?