What Does a DBA Do? 22 DBA Responsibilities You Should Know About: Part II

By | In Database Administration | December 01st, 2016

In my last post, we covered the first 11 of 22 responsibilities a DBA will typically shoulder. We reviewed general database management, data modeling, capacity planning, and much more. In this post, we’ll go over 11 additional responsibilities of DBAs to round out this general overview of the DBA job description.

Read on to be further informed about the variety and breadth of tasks those in this role execute on a daily basis.

12)  Ensuring data integrity. DBAs must be able to design databases so that only accurate and appropriate data is entered and maintained. To do so, the DBA can deploy multiple types of database integrity including entity integrity, referential integrity, check constraints, and database triggers. Furthermore, the DBA must ensure the structural integrity of the database. Data integrity is right up there with backup and recovery in importance.

13)  Procedural skills. Modern databases are comprised of more than just data – they also contain program code. The DBA must possess procedural skills to help design, debug, implement, and maintain stored procedures, triggers, and user-defined functions that are stored in the DBMS and used by application systems.

14)  Extensible data type administration. The functionality of a modern DBMS can be extended using user-defined data types. The DBA must understand how these extended data types are implemented by the DBMS vendor and be able to implement and administer any extended data types implemented in their databases.

15)  Data security. The DBA is charged with the responsibility to ensure that only authorized users have access to data. This requires the implementation of a rigorous security infrastructure for production and test databases. Data security comprises both DBMS security (revoke/grant) and security on external resources (file structures, userids, and so on).

16)  Database auditing. Being able to report on who did what to which data when, along with how they acted upon that data, is a requirement for many governmental and industry standards and compliance specifications. DBAs need to be involved in terms of setting up and enabling the DBMS for database auditing capabilities.

17)  General systems management and networking skills. After a database is implemented it will be accessed throughout the organization and interact with other technologies. Therefore, the DBA has to be able to function as a jack of all trades in order to integrate database administration requirements and tasks with general systems management requirements and tasks (like job scheduling, network management, transaction processing, and so on).

18)  Business knowledge. DBAs must understand the requirements of the application users and be able to administer their databases to avoid interruption of business. Without a firm understanding of the value provided to the business by their databases and data, the DBA is not likely to be able to implement strategies that optimize the business’s use of that data.

19)  Data archiving. When data is no longer needed for business purposes, but must be maintained for legal purposes, the data needs to be removed from the operational database, but stored in such a way that is accessible for e-discovery and legal requirements. This is database archiving.

20)  Enterprise resource planning (ERP). Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software packages place additional burdens on the DBA. Most ERP applications (SAP, Peoplesoft, etc.) use databases differently than homegrown applications, requiring DBAs to know how the ERP applications impact the business and how the databases used by those packages differ from traditional relational databases.

21)  Web-specific technology expertise. For e-businesses, DBAs are required to have knowledge of Internet and Web technologies to enable databases to participate in Web-based applications. Examples of this type of technology include HTTP, FTP, XML, CGI, Java, TCP/IP, Web servers, firewalls and SSL. Other DBMS-specific technologies include IBM’s Net.Data for DB2 and Oracle Portal (formerly WebDB).

22)  Storage management techniques. The data stored in every database resides on disk somewhere (unless it is stored on one of the new Main Memory DBMS products). The DBA must understand the storage hardware and software available for use, and how it interacts with the DBMS being used. As such, DBAs must be able to allocate, monitor, and manage the storage used by databases.

The bottom line is that the DBA must be a well-rounded staff member capable of understanding multiple facets of the business and technology. The DBMS is at the center of today’s IT organization — so as the one tasked with keeping the DBMS performing as desired, the DBA will be involved in most IT initiatives.

Did I forget anything? If so, please add it in the comments.

This blog was originally published on Craig Mullins’ blog at https://datatechnologytoday.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/what-does-a-dba-do/

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Craig Mullins
Consultant at Mullins Consulting, Inc

Craig S. Mullins is working with Datavail and its DB2 practice to expand offerings. He is president and principal consultant at Mullins Consulting, Inc. and the publisher of The Database Site. Mullins has 30 years of experience in all facets of database management and is the author of two books: “DB2 Developer’s Guide” currently in its 6th edition and “Database Administration: The Complete Guide to DBA Practices and Procedures,” the industry’s only guide to heterogeneous DBA.

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