SQL Server Performance

What does DBA stand for?

Discussion in 'The Lighter Side of Being a DBA' started by bradmcgehee, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. bradmcgehee New Member

    I have run across this question twice, both with unusual responses.

    Where I work, everyone really knows what DBA stands for, but my manager, also a DBA, has given it an entirely new meaning, which is "Don't Bother Asking". This is because he is well known for not providing answers on a timely basis.

    On another occasion, I was teaching a SQL Server Admin class, and at the end of the first day, a student raised his hand and asked me this question, "What does DBA stand for?" Well, given that it was a DBA class, and was to be attended only by DBAs, this question was a litle unexpected. It was very difficult for me to hold back my laughter. Some of the other students had the same problem. But as professionally as I could, I very clearly provided the answer, and the student was very appreciative. I wonder what ever happened to that student, and if he is still a DBA?

    Brad M. McGehee, MVP
  2. Luis Martin Moderator

    I don't know how DBA rol are appreciated in USA or others countries.
    Here? Nothing at all. Most customers has people to support networks, WS, servers and applications, even when they have Databases in production.
    One example: One customer by a Laser for Marketing area and spend u$s 3000. I'm asking for more disk because database is growin to much. No response at all. Why if I work in performance for that customer I have to deal with all DBA problems?. Because if I don't, well, good by Luis.
    Here is that way or Highway.
    So Brad, be happy you have DBA students. This is real something.

    Luis Martin

    ...Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
    Bertrand Russell
  3. vbkenya New Member

    Most of the 'DBAs' I have met (a large number are my students) are programmers whose role is to face the heat when something goes wrong with the development database. The rest are simply network admin guys 'good' at generating quick (ad hoc) reports (data or schema) from the vendor-supplied-and-installed database. No actual DB admin/maintenance/monitoring work at all!

    The job role as it officially stands is not very often matched with a real human being where I come from - and not because there are no databases nor human beings!

    Nathan H.O.
  4. ChrisFretwell New Member

    Here, I'd say any place that got burnt and a few who took the time to do the research have at least one DBA. Staffing that DBA is the issue. This is for a couple of reasons, the good DBAs are held onto by their employers whenever possible. The other reason is because there are lots of developers who call themselves DBAs but their sql knowledge extends to basic scripting etc. (a bit like Nathan comments).
    But more and more places are discovering (often the hard way) what a good dba does (or should do) and are trying to find the experienced resources.
    I often get asked what I do and its never a short answer. Most DBAs do some system engineer work, some developer work, some QA work, some business analyst work, some data analyst work and then add that to all the 'real' dba work (administer, tune, maintain, monitor etc).
    DBA is one of those jobs where experience counts, and the concept of entry level DBA (direct from school with no experience) doesnt really exist.
    I got my initial DBA experience when I was still a developer and we moved from mainframe to client server (sql 4.2 - shudder now). Myself and one other developer were tasked with installing and configuring the sql servers, designing databases, developing and tuning applications, setting up replication (inside, outside and through a firewall), and then installing, and maintaining the couple purchased dbs (including peoplesoft). But I didnt know what a DBA was, in my mind, I was a developer. It was a few years later when I moved a few thousand miles across the country and went through a contracting firm to find a job. Someone said "hey, you've got database experience. would you consider a dba job?" I shrugged my shoulders and said sure. An interview later, and I was in the job. I was the 5-6th person interviewed for that job, the others called themselves experienced DBAs but none of them had the experience I did and weren't even considered. Suddenly I was a DBA. And the rest is history. I still cant define what a DBA is though, at least not so that it would cover all aspects of it.

  5. FrankKalis Moderator

    hey, hey, I got another one, I will surely get crucified for [<img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-1.gif' alt=':)' />]<br /><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><br />A Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer is to computing what a McDonalds Certified Food Specialist is to fine cuisine.<br /><hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote"><br />Away on holiday for an undetermined amount of time after posting.....<br /><br />Frank<br /<a target="_blank" href=http://www.insidesql.de>http://www.insidesql.de</a><br /<a target="_blank" href=http://www.familienzirkus.de>http://www.familienzirkus.de</a>
  6. FrankKalis Moderator

  7. Raulie New Member

    Here in Mexico we use DBA but the meaning is spelled out backwards "Administador de Base de Datos". But if you think I got it bad Network Admins are called "Administradores de Red". Don't ask how they came up with RED as a term for networking. If anyone knows please tell me.
  8. Luis Martin Moderator

    Red is spanish word to identify any conection between any machine.
    Even wireless network.
    We call red telefónica to telefhone network, even celular.
    Also red energética to energy supply.
    Of course this term now is more often used with computers.

    Last: Red is a word, not like S.O.S.

    Luis Martin
  9. Raulie New Member

    Thanks Luis, I thought RED was an abbrevation for something. Good thing they honer the DBA abbreviation here in Mexico, I dont think I would like ABD.
  10. Luis Martin Moderator

    Neither do I.
    Something more, red (I don't know english translation) is what fisher mans use to capture a lot of fish.

    Luis Martin
  11. vbkenya New Member

    I suppose you were alluding to 'red herring'. It would be an interesting comparison between the guy who trawls the ocean looking for fish and the DBA who scans his databases for records of some sort. Only that, unlike the fisherman, the DBA actually 'fishes' and leaves most of the fish in 'his ocean' (in raw format, if I may add).

    Nathan H.O.
  12. satya Moderator

    At our place for fun when anybody invites for a birthday party ... they write DBA at the end of the invitation.<br /><br />It means.... perhaps Don#%92t Bother Attending [<img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-2.gif' alt=':D' />]<br /><br /><hr noshade size="1"><b>Satya SKJ</b><br />Moderator<br /<a target="_blank" href=http://www.SQL-Server-Performance.Com/forum>http://www.SQL-Server-Performance.Com/forum</a><br /><center><font color="teal"><font size="1">This posting is provided “AS IS” with no rights for the sake of knowledge sharing.</font id="size1"></font id="teal"></center>
  13. Raulie New Member

    Dont Bother Attending....I like that one.
  14. Hi all,

    As a relative newby, I could end up taking some heat for this, but I really dislike my chosen line of work. At a deeper level, I dislike working for ANYONE but myself, but then I don't quite have a couple of years salary saved up yet, nor a viable business plan. The most galling aspect of all is that I'm stuck talking to a bunch of guys in the department who are in pretty much the same position, or with even less money, or even less idea what to do with the money, not an entrepreneurial bone in one of them. Hardly a Fortune 500 meeting! Geez, with a solid business plan, it wouldn't matter if you were 2 years salary in the RED, you could talk a bank into loaning you the cash tomorrow.

    As jobs go, being a DBA can be pretty easy, frankly - come in at 9am, check the servers, put out the standard email that they're all ok, backups/batch jobs ran ok etc, and then saunter off to Starbucks for the rest of the morning, listening to Steely Dan warbling from the speakers. Ok, not every day is like that, but when you're the only guy who knows how "that database thingy" works, life can be nice. But I don't see how the heck anyone could make a business out of freelance DB work, unless you were all things to all people.

    Another thing - I am NOT an Administrator - and I don't think any of us is one. See, that titles implies a degree of authority, of a very loud voice in the decision making process, if not the final voice. But oh no, we get the crap when it hits the fan, and only grunt of thanks for a job well done. We are just DM's - Database Manipulators. We are simply Power Users who aren't asked for suggestions anymore, so much as demanded to provide a solution, and with all the stress of failing, but none of the credit of success. It is getting bad out there, people. I just don't see what my function is any more - why pay me x, when you can pay a guy in the Third World with even greater skills to RAS in to the servers, a guy whose house costs less than 10k tops, and who can live like royalty, relative to his peers, on 250 a month?

    Sorry for the rant gentlemen (and ladies!), but I'm coming up to 36, and it just isn't cool any more.



    The finest wines.

    The tastiest cuisine.

    The most delicious women.
  15. Karen New Member

    Last week I was named DBA by the guys in my department - Dork-Boy Administrator (this on top of being SQL DBA). I am not yet totally clear on what the duties will be..... <img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-1.gif' alt=':)' /><br /><br />SQLGoddess<br />Life is one fool thing after another whereas love is two fool things after each other.— Oscar Wilde
  16. tdong New Member

    What do DBAs do any way ? I mean on a daily basic. For sure I am no DBA because I never touch anything that run smoothly, and don't even know what to do with all the store procedures. I am kinda like one man standing I have to know all since the whole IT department has only one employee which is me. <br /><br />My Boss giving me the title System Analyst even on the business card (which I didn't use any so far). People at work call me the 'SA' guy I think they mean "S*ck Azz" but I get the job done. I would consider myself a programmer and a rookie (but I think I know more heheh) in Database. My daily work would be programming the huge Internal Trading software which will never finish I think since the boss get a deal and I have to write a program and add it to the big futures mainly store the data do some computation and generate report using VB6, SQL2000 and Crystal report and Officetalk (calendar to generate due date for everyone). Backing up all sort of data daily which I wrote a script and it is running be itself. I hardly look at the server at all.<br /><br />So what do you guy think my title should be ? ya I know you guys are all the same giving the "S*ck Ass" title anyway.<br /><br />Cheers <img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-1.gif' alt=':)' /> too much free time for me today I think<br /><br />May the best cheaters win
  17. Luis Martin Moderator

    "For sure I am no DBA because I never touch anything that run smoothly"<br />Well, may be because I don't work for one Company only, I allways find something to improve. <br />But if all run smoothly, I ask users what's goin on today?, and never ear from any user: all is Ok, but that's why they are users[<img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-5.gif' alt=';)' />].<br /><br />Luis Martin<br />Moderator<br />SQL-Server-Performance.com<br /><br />The views expressed here are those of the author and no one else. There are no warranties as to the reliability or accuracy of anything presented here.
  18. x002548 New Member


    Deliver Bull**** app

    That delvelopers wrote...because it won't run now....


  19. SQL_Guess New Member

    DBA = Does Bugger All ? <br /><br />More seriously, there is sometime a difference on the view of a DBA : soe companies define it as Database Administrator, while others refer's have defined it as Database Architect. Those 2 slant's do infer different focuses, but in imho, a DBA should be doing both.<br /><br />Administration: This can go from dead-boring userid maintenance to designing the DRP that may need to cater for multiple databases across varying databases servers' (and even DBMS's). This will typically include helping design/ streamline the database environments, for example the project life-cycle and migration process, and techniques to enhance the creation of testing and support environments. It spans setting up server's, and can also include optimization. In one organization, the "administrators" (also referred to a SYSTEM DBA'S) were responsible for the performance of the DBMS and the best possible installation / setup of infrastructure (above the OS and hardware level), to support the relevant system.<br /><br />Architect: (also known as an IT swear word <img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-1.gif' alt=':)' /> ) These can be defined ar handling the database from the logical inception (ERD) to the practical instantiation (the DB), giving input to the physical implementation (filegroups and files) of a database, as well as defining and/or refining the data access and ensuring that data integrity is maintained. They would also, where possible, defined estimated volumetrics, and then estimate capacity requirements, as well as defining the system specific DRP requirements (as opposed to the environment level DRP requirements above). They should consider and define, where needed, archival strategies, and also do QA of all SQL used in a system, while owning and guiding the companies SQL coding best practices.<br /><br />and my definition of DBA? Database ALL - because they have to do everything above, and ALL the other Database "stuff" <img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-1.gif' alt=':)' /><br /><br />EDITED TO ADD : Jaybe - in all my experience, the DBA has definitely had a resaonably to very loud voice ... especially after he does a tuning exercise, then gets the 99% improvements that often can be achieved by proper indexing <img src='/community/emoticons/emotion-1.gif' alt=':)' />... I think the company that you work for don't really know what a DBA is either. Start studying/researching, and wow them into a bigger voice (and hopefully a bigger cheque !)<br />Cheers<br /><br />Panic, Chaos, Disorder ... my work here is done --unknown
  20. woke New Member

    DBA....hmm.....I'd suggest its part architect ( yes, another swear word ) part mechanic and part schmoozer. Why schmoozer? Well, you have to deal with a lot of people in an organisation who usually have DEFINATE ideas on how stuff MUST be done. Quite often the trick is to gently blind-side them while you slip your requirements quietly past them...he he

    Then, you have to know how the guts of how SQL Server works and how that transaltes into YET ANOTHER unstable IIS application crashing & other people blaming anyone but themselves, and so you have to back your analysis with your findings. Amazing how powerful Profiler is in these cases and how quiet people go when you show them the facts.

    Then on top of that you have to be able to tune, tweak & generally advise people on how to develop apps PROPERLY, filter stuff that they want to put into production "sorry, its garbage and it aint going near my servers" - had to do that a few times. Makes me unpopular but I'm not carrying the can for any lazy dog.

    Then on top of that, you have to keep the boss in the loop and prepped in case any nasty politcal situation decides to pop out of the woodwork that might cause a massive & pointless workload increase.....

    Is it beer-o'clock yet?

  21. rweinstein New Member

    In my own perspective, it seems as though each company has a specific need that must be filled, and with differing software packages, different amounts of users, different amounts and experience of hardware and network administrators, it does not seem, in my inexperienced, humble opinion that any company has a clear-cut definition of a DBA. I think that the ones in this forum do DBA work, but everyone at a different capacity, level and functions. For example, I don't know how to write or use stored procedures, but it is because we don't have a need. However, I have to architect (not a dirty word in my book) a database design and create new data marts with impact analysis on processing and update times. I have to make sure my servers are running smoothely and that we have the hardware sufficient to support the overnight refresh. My usages of Cognos software makes this much easier, but I still have to create maintenance plans for DB and log backups, recover databases, write disaster recovery procedures, update statistics, shrink the DB and log files, and run the DBCC functions every now and again.

    Am I a full fledged DBA like you guys who are light-years ahead of me. Absolutely not. However I do think I do a lot of different DBA functions (some basic, some not) and have enough responsibility to be considered a DBA.

    It is tough because like I said, every company is so different with how they allocate job functions to employees and business units.

    Go Red Sox.

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