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DB Administration

The degree to which the administration of a database is automated dictates the skills and personnel required to manage databases. On one end of the spectrum, a system with minimal automation will require significant experienced resources to manage; perhaps 5-10 databases per DBA. Alternatively an organization might choose to automate a significant amount of the work that could be done manually therefore reducing the skills required to perform tasks. As automation increases, the personnel needs of the organization splits into highly skilled workers to create and manage the automation and a group of lower skilled "line" DBAs who simply execute the automation.


Database administration work is complex, repetitive, time-consuming and requires significant training. Since databases hold valuable and mission-critical data, companies usually look for candidates with multiple years of experience. Database administration often requires DBAs to put in work during off-hours (for example, for planned after hours downtime, in the event of a database-related outage or if performance has been severely degraded). DBAs are commonly well compensated for the long hours.


One key skill required and often overlooked when selecting a DBA is database recovery (under disaster recovery). It is not a case of "if" but a case of "when" a database suffers a failure, ranging from a simple failure to a full catastrophic failure. The failure may be data corruption, media failure, or user induced errors. In either situation the DBA must have the skills to recover the database to a given point in time to prevent a loss of data. A highly skilled DBA can spend a few minutes or exceedingly long hours to get the database back to the operational point.

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