We all know that the way data is gathered, processed, and stored is always changing. We also know the amount of data stored in databases is continually growing…fast! The roles and responsibilities of database administrators (DBAs) and database developers will need to shift in order to deal with this exponential growth in data.
So, what should you as a DBA and/or database developer focus on today? Everything – just kidding (well, sort of). As database professionals, you know the list is pretty endless. But in this post, we’ll focus on the top three market trends that will help you stay relevant in the SQL server monitoring game.
1. Moving to Cloud-Based Monitoring
“Get your head in the cloud” is a popular phrase that’s been headlining a lot of blogs. But why? Why is it so important to be a part of the cloud movement? Here’s why – Not only can the cloud allow you to do things faster, but it can also save your organization A LOT of money. There are many more reasons to migrate to the cloud.
Right now, everyone is pushing the cloud – Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and tons of other tech giants. But let’s focus on Microsoft since it’s SQL Server specific. Microsoft has been pushing the cloud for many years now, and they're even pushing the upgrades of SQL Server databases to cloud databases, whether that's Azure SQL DB, Azure Managed Instance, or Cosmos DB.
On top of that, Microsoft is now offering an array of capabilities for open source support, such as for Cassandra, Postgres, MySQL, etc. This cross-platform push is being driven around Azure consumption and moving infrastructure, applications, databases, etc. to the cloud.
So as a SQL Server DBA, you should really be thinking about the opportunities in the cloud, especially for SQL server monitoring – “What is Microsoft providing me with this push to Azure and the Cloud?
2. Data Privacy and Data Governance
The second area DBAs responsible for SQL server monitoring should really be thinking about is data privacy and database governance. Personally Identifiable Information (PII), protecting PII, and specifically thinking about it from a database administrator's perspective for pre-production environments, in general, is really important.
One of the key aspects of data privacy is making sure that data is being masked in pre-production. So, in most cases, developers want to have access to the most realistic data in pre- production environments so that they can do some really good development/testing of data in that environment. Well, here’s the reality. Lots of different codes and regulations prevent people from getting access to that data in a pre-production environment (because most people shouldn’t have access to it, to begin with). So again, identifying PII and being able to detect, mask, and encrypt that information in pre-production environments is really, really important for DBAs.
3. Integration of APIs into Your Database
As a SQL Server DBA, you should be thinking about the API-ification of your database from a SQL Server perspective. For many years now, Microsoft has significantly opened up more opportunities to interact with databases through APIs – they’re really (really) pushing APIs. Take, for example, Cosmos DB. If you look at the way Cosmos has been architected, it’s built in way in which developers are utilizing APIs to talk to the database, such as SQL API, Cassandra API, Mongo DB API, Postgres API, and so many more.
So, what does all this API-ification mean and why is it important for you as a SQL Server DBA? This means your world, as you know it, is changing. The way you’ve historically interacted using T-SQL is now going to change towards more of an API-oriented interface with the database.
The ability to interact with the database from an API perspective and the ability to move data back and forth using APIs is a really big trend for SQL server DBAs.
The evolution of the SQL server monitoring community will start with the database administrators - especially as they think about what their role is today and what it will be in the future.
Understanding the Evolution of DBAs
When you think about the modern-day SQL server database administrator, they live in a world of control, focusing on administration. DBAs spend a lot of time working within the schemas they’ve creating and thinking about things from a release process and management and control perspective.
And here’s where the DBA role is most likely headed – and this isn’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just the reality (based off the trends in this next sentence). Current trends are where the market’s headed, the line of business, and the need to move faster and be more agile in order to support your business. And don’t forget about DevOps and the processes and methodologies around DevOps to move and innovate faster.
So without further ado, here’s your future as a DBA – your role is going to focus more on enabling, collaborating, and working with the business and development teams to innovate faster and to enable the innovation process.
Although management and control won’t be completely eliminated from your role, it will no longer be at the forefront. Your focus will shift towards SQL server performance monitoring with collaboration and enablement of that innovation in order to satiate the way the market is headed.