Specifically, what makes a DBA different than other IT professionals such as System Administrators and Developers? What does a DBA have to know, be responsible for, and do that merits a separate title.

I suppose the answer to this question would be related to what questions are on topic for this site. Why is Database Administration so hard has some good information about this question, but doesn't specifically answer the question.

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1 Answer 1

Database Administrators need the following technical know-how

  • They definitely have to know SQL and how to do run EXPLAiN plans. That way, for any bad SQL found via EXPLAIN plans, a course of action could be suggested to developers (create an index, remove archivable data leaving the working set, replace iterative data retrieval from code with server side SQL,etc)
  • They need to know the behavior of one or more storage engines (one such as Oracle and PostgreSQL, more such as with MySQL)
  • They need to be aware of DB configuration vs the hardware
  • They need to know how to install, upgrade and patch DB software
  • Back and restore data
  • Plan for various aspects (as opposed to knowing how to do them)
    • backups
    • data migration
    • upgrades
    • future storage requirements
  • User security
  • Possible integration with other databases

They also need people skills. This demands getting everyone on the same page about the database without being demeaning and without overlooking the needs of developers.

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