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Database Administration Demands

What are the demands of a DBA?

It is very demanding to be a database administrator, or DBA.
You first need to be an expert on the database software itself, in this case the database is Oracle.
The primary mission of a database is to store information on a disk, and retrieve it when needed. So you will soon find that you need to learn about disk storage, including such things as
  1. RAID,
  2. disk mirroring, and
  3. striping.
The efficient use of memory is critical to Oracle's performance, giving you another subject area to learn about.
You will need to back up your database, which might lead you into the world of tape drives and backup software. Users will want to connect to your database. Usually that is done over a network. Another characteristic of a DBA is, you have to constantly be in a learning mode.

There are many types of Oracle databases, and there are many types of Oracle database administrators .
This module discusses the role of the Oracle DBA as well as the training that Oracle DBAs typically need to be successful. You will look at the daily routine of a typical DBA, which will give you an idea of what to expect if you are new to the field. This chapter also covers ways you can improve your skill level as an Oracle DBA and prepare to keep the databases under your stewardship performing optimally. Toward the end of the chapter, you will find a list of resources and organizations that will help you in your quest to become a proficient DBA.

Role of the Oracle DBA

The main responsibility of a DBA is to make corporate data available to the end users and the decision makers of an organization. All other DBA tasks are subordinate to that single goal, and almost everything DBAs do on a day-to-day basis is aimed at meeting that single target. Without access to data, many companies and organizations would simply cease to function.

Scenario: Imagine the chaos that would ensue if a company such as Walmart no longer had access to its customer database, even for a short time. The entire company could cease to function. At a minimum, it would lose perhaps thousands of online orders. As a DBA, your job is to ensure access to your organization's data. You are also responsible for protecting that data from unauthorized access.

DBA Responsibilities

DBAs are also responsible for other areas, including the following, all of which further the key goal of making data available to users:
  1. Security: Ensuring that the data and access to the data are secure
  2. Backup: Ensuring that the database can be restored in the event of either human or systems failure
  3. Performance: Ensuring that the database and its subsystems are optimized for performance
  4. Design: Ensuring that the design of the database meets the needs of the organization
  5. Implementation: Ensuring proper implementation of new database systems and applications

In a small organization, a DBA could be managing the entire information technology (IT) infrastructure, including the databases, whereas in a large organization there could be a number of DBAs, each charged with managing a particular area of the system.
You can put the tasks you will perform as an Oracle DBA in the following three categories:
  1. Security
  2. System management
  3. Database design
I discuss each of these broad roles in more detail in the following sections, outlining what you could consider the bare minimum level of performance expected of a DBA. Although the lists in each section may seem long and daunting, the tasks are really not that difficult in practice if you follow certain guidelines. Proper planning and testing, as well as automating most of the routine tasks, keep the drudgery to a minimum. All you are left with to do on a daily basis are the really enjoyable things, such as performance tuning or whatever else may appeal to you.