Application Administration: The Next Frontier for the DBA

The field of database administration is constantly evolving and growing. Enterprise-wide applications, higher efficiency demands and the need to align IT roles more with the business create the
necessary elements to engage DBAs into fields in the periphery of their databases. The role of the DBA is evolving quickly from managing the database to managing the information.

Enterprise-wide applications are becoming more and more the norm; examples of these abound, among them ERP, CRM and WMS to mention a few. They consolidate functionality
and enable business managers to have increased visibility across the entire enterprise. These robust and functionally rich applications depend heavily on the database platform to make data
available, secure and, in most cases, do so in real time. This heavy dependency on the database platform and the expertise needed to maintain a well tuned, secure and highly available database
platform is the first gateway into the application administration role for the DBA.

Higher efficiency demands – the proverbial “do more with less” – are another significant catalyst in this transformation.  Dependency on IT
resources is higher than ever before and demand for skilled IT professionals is increasing rapidly. If that is not enough, there is a serious drain of expertise and senior level talent.  As a
result, roles are intermingled, and DBAs assume application administration functions. Additionally, DBAs are increasingly becoming the de facto experts for other technologies in the technology
stack such as web services, scripting and application servers.

Aligning IT roles with the business is perhaps the most critical and important factor in this transformation for DBAs.  Technical expertise is no longer enough for
the enterprise DBA. Companies now look for the DBA to acquire application and business-related knowledge. In doing so. the DBA will understand the flow and usage of data. These new kinds of DBAs
will drive efforts in the physical design and early development phases of applications and solutions. They will understand information life cycles, which will provide them with the insight to
determine data archival and purging strategies.  Lastly, they will contribute heavily to the infrastructure design and development to ensure availability, security and interoperability of the
environment. In most cases, they will be the ones to ensure a proper fit between the business needs, logical means and physical infrastructure. In doing all this, a DBA will no longer remain in the
background, but rather will become a major force in adding value to the business.

The proliferation of enterprise-wide applications, higher efficiency demands and the need to align IT roles with the business are powerful factors that can transform the careers of database
administrators into the role of application administrators, sometimes also called data resource managers. This transformation results in new challenges and opportunities for greater satisfaction
for DBAs because it places them more in contact with the business reality of their work. Without a doubt, this transformation propels DBAs into significant leadership roles within the organization
while at the same time enables them to remain experts in their core competencies.


Garry, Charles – Meta Group. “Trends In DBA Staffing and Organization,
Session: 1263

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Juan Irizarry

Juan Irizarry

Juan is an Application Administrator and technical lead at Wolseley North America. Currently Juan is engaged in a global implementation of a WMS solution. The system will be deployed in North America, the UK and will host operations for 10 European countries in France. Juan has had a long and successful career spanning nearly 20 years. He is a specialist in database management but also possesses a broad understanding of other disciplines such as networking, security and systems management. He holds several technical certifications including Oracle Certified Professional and a BS degree in Information Technology. In his personal time Juan enjoys the family life, riding his motorcycle and is also an accomplished photographer.

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