The Evolution of the DBA in an “As-A-Service” World

DBA

The requirements for managing and running a database in a modern enterprise have evolved over the past ten years. Those in charge of running enterprise databases have seen their focus shift from ensuring access and availability, to architecture, design and scalability responsibilities. Web-first companies pioneered the change by charging site reliability engineers (SRE’s) or multi-faceted DBAs with the task of ensuring that the company’s main revenue engine not only stayed up, but could scale to wherever the business needed to go. This is a far cry from the classic enterprise DBA’s top responsibilities: keep it up, keep it backed up, and react to issues as they present themselves.

Today, enterprises look for new revenue models to keep up with a shifting technology paradigm driven by the cloud. The requirements and needs for managing their database environments are changing along with this shift. In the SaaS world, application outages mean lost revenue. Worse, it leads to customer churn and gives your competitors an opening. To keep revenue flowing, every part of a SaaS company’s critical infrastructure needs to be planned out: redundancy should be built-in, and a future-proof architecture should be built to accommodate scale.

The more issues you can design out before launch, the less chance of a catastrophic outage later on. This means as a SaaS provider you want your DBAs and database engineers architecting a database that avoids problems at scale, and you want them working with your developers to write better, more efficient database calls. The database infrastructure is designed and automated to work at scale, while taking into account efficient use of resources for meeting today’s requirements.

When companies move to the cloud, the cloud provider takes care of much of the operational automation and many of the mundane day-to-day tasks (for example, using database as a service (DBaaS) options such as Amazon RDS and Aurora). But this does not eliminate the need for database expertise: it moves the function closer to the design and development side of the application. Someone needs to not only design and tune the database to support the application, but also has to understand how to build the modular pieces available in the cloud into a cohesive scalable unit that meets the needs of the application and the company. This means there are much higher impacts and clearer ROIs realized from efficient database expertise.

Cloud DBA vs. Classic DBA

 

Over the years at Percona, we have seen this shift as well. Currently, more than 50% of the support tickets our customers open are related to application design issues, query performance or database infrastructure design. This is a far cry from five years ago when these represented less than 20% of our overall caseload. This makes sense, however, when you think about the maturity of our database products and the technological advances that impact the database. A more stable MySQL and MongoDB, coupled with advances in either homegrown automation or cloud-based infrastructure, reduce the likelihood of common crashing bugs and “Core Database Software” related bugs. Instead, outages and issues are increasingly caused by design decisions, bad code or unplanned-for edge cases. In order to keep up, DBAs need to evolve to move upstream to have the greatest impact.

At Percona, we recognize the changing requirements of modern database deployments. In fact, we have been providing database expertise since the beginning of the SaaS and cloud era. We recognize the needs of clients that choose to run on a DBaaS platform are slightly different than those managing their own full-stack database deployments.

That’s why we created a brand new tier of support focused on DBaaS platforms. These services allow you to rely on your cloud provider for operational break-fix support, while augmenting that with proven world-class expertise focused on the design, development, and tuning of the database itself (which cloud providers typically don’t address).

We also launched a DBaaS-focused version of our Percona DBA service. The Percona DBA service focuses on designing, setting up, and proactively improving your DBaaS cloud environment to ensure you get the most out of your investment. 

Contact us for more details on our new support and managed service options that can help optimize your cloud database environments, and make them run as efficiently as possible with the applications that drive your business.

The post The Evolution of the DBA in an “As-A-Service” World appeared first on Percona Database Performance Blog.

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