According to the Gartner poll, DBAs make up only 5.5% of NoSQL users. Given this data, Gartner’s conclusion that “DBAs are not part of the conversation” seems accurate.
With the onset of DevOps-type roles, the System Administrator and R&D positions have changed in order to adapt to the new circumstance. It is clear that due to the game changing development that NoSQL has introduced to the IT world, the DBA team must undergo similar changes.
There is a common misconception that NoSQL will render the DBA position irrelevant. This could not be farther from the truth:
“…but cutting out the primary data stewards will result in long-term data quality and information governance challenges for the larger enterprise.” -Gartner
Raz Sharir, EVP of Strategy at ScaleBase explains the difference between NoSQL and MySQL:
“If an application does not need to be supported by a full blown relational database, NoSQL is the easiest, scalable and most straightforward value. One of the main differentiations between NoSQL and MySQL is NoSQL’s schema-less nature. With MySQL, the application always needs to be aware of the data model of the schema.”
The DevOps position might have played a part in creating the aforementioned misconception. DevOps are the “cool” cloud guys who promote the trendy NoSQL revolution, in which the world is schema-less and much easier to maintain, implying that DBAs are no longer required. However, as much as NoSQL has the ability to change the way data is managed, the fact remains that data is the most significant IT asset for any organization. There will always be a need for experts who know how to maintain, backup, and secure data. The past teaches us that wherever there is data there should be an expert, whether the position is named Data Champion, DataOps, or DBA.
The DevOps movement should not be about lack of responsibility but rather about engagement and communication between the various software development parties. DBAs should take a step towards NoSQL while developers, DevOps and Ops must in turn recognize that the database expert is crucial to the entire process.
Let me end with Gartner’s bottom line: “NoSQL doesn’t mean NoDBA.”
In his two-post series — “The DBA, from now to Then”, Scalebase’s CTO and founder, Doron Levari, discusses in detail the transformation of the two types of DBAs: the iDBA (Part 1) and the aDBA (Part 2). I strongly suggest that you check these out.