Is it boring yet?Posted: February 17, 2009
Two years ago I’ve read an interesting post by Paul Vallee. He was explaining the business case behind Pythian and other IT outsourcing services, and made the point that in-house DBAs automate themselves out of work and into boredom.
It made lots of sense when I’ve read it, and since I’m a good DBA, and I try to automate everything, I’m waiting for my job to become boring. Somehow it does not quite happen.
The very scientific graph above explains part of the reason – In the last year our business nearly doubled (it was an amazing year!), while the DBA headcount was reduced by 30%. No one was fired. Actually two excellent DBAs were promoted. But they are no longer DBAs and there will be no replacements.
There are other things that keep me from getting bored.
- We are doing load tests now (I could swear it was QAs job last year). Load tests are non-boring by definition – after you have the right tools and scripts there is still tons of non-automatable brain work involved.
- We are planning to switch to new storage systems (maybe). This means that everything changes – from backups to DRP.
- We keep evaluating new tools. Confio or Grid Control? UC4 or Opsware Orchestrate or Patchlink?
- There are more and more exceptions to our standard procedures. In this economy it is risky saying “we don’t do this”, so we have to make our tools more and more flexible.
- Oracle Streams. We had it automated from day one. But it keeps breaking and we keep discovering new bugs/limitations. This product is complex and buggy enough to keep me un-bored for years.
- Integrations. Until this year we had seperate databases for seperate applications and we liked it that way. Now everyone wants their peopleware to talk to their project management tool, their monitors to their bug control, and of course everything should be integrated with the CMDB. Finding good solutions for this integrations and supporting them is a challenge.
- Process improvements. We are an ITIL shop (and proud of it!), and big part of ITIL is the process improvement process. Release management processes are the big target this year.
- Simple things sometimes fail. Just last month I’ve seen 2 DBAs, with over 30 years of experience between them, take over a week to install 10.2.0.2 RAC. A bug, of course. But bugs still exist.
So, I did not automate myself into boredom. Maybe next year. What about everyone else? Are you bored yet?