New technologies call for new skills. With the evolution of database management systems (DBMS) into cloud environments, the roles of database administrators inevitably also needs to change.
Database administrators are employed to create and monitor enterprise-grade databases, making sure companies get the most out of their DBMS investment. With the adoption of cloud computing, the roles and responsibilities of database administrators have evolved because teams no longer need to focus so much on configuring and maintaining their on-site systems.
For African enterprises moving towards cloud computing, a strategic partnership with expert database administrators offers the best return on database investments. 4C Group provides professional database services to large enterprises in Africa. By understanding the new role of DBAs, enterprises can choose the right partners for their administration.
Traditional role of database administrators
For traditional on-site databases, database administrators are employed to install and configure the necessary hardware and software. Once the database is up and running, they continuously monitor the system to improve performance and plan for future requirements.
It is time-consuming and costly to scale up an on-premises database. One of the primary functions of the administrator is future capacity planning. Using data analytics, they need to forecast business needs to make sure the database will be able to handle future data requirements. Capacity planning generally takes place three to five years in advance. This is completely different with a cloud environment.
Understanding databases in cloud environments
Cloud-based databases offer improved efficiency, lower costs and greater flexibility compared to their on-site counterparts. Burstable bandwidth capacity gives cloud technologies the competitive edge because databases can be quickly scaled up or down according to changing market demands.
For example, there may be a surge in data traffic that corporate databases need to accommodate during flash sales, such as Black Friday. Traditional on-site databases are less flexible when it comes to meeting these short-term surges in demand.
Cloud computing is not yet a viable option in many parts of Africa because of infrastructure limitations. But as the gaps in critical infrastructure start to close, more African enterprises are looking to take advantage of cloud technologies. Africa’s tech-savvy digital generation is certainly ready for the shift to the cloud because of the potential for greater agility and innovation.
Role of database administrators in the cloud
Based in the cloud, database-as-a-service (DBaaS) has become popular among enterprises looking to take advantage of cloud computing. Automation is a key feature of DBaaS, eliminating much of the manual maintenance that database administrators have to do with on-site systems. Cloud-based databases automatically perform updates, install patches, run backups and recovery. It is no longer necessary for database administrators to do these tasks.
With cloud-based databases, the admins need skills beyond just maintenance. Their role has changed to focus on improving query performance, code review, custom monitoring and security. A skilled administrator will look at how to use the database to meet business objectives.
Working with application teams, they gather and manipulate data to be used on business applications. When changes to applications are made, the database needs to automatically reflect these changes. The administrator can suggest ways to optimise this process, predicting and preventing possible issues.
Security also falls into the portfolio of a database administrator. They need to know which parts of the database contain sensitive or highly confidential data. Similar to on-site database management, the admins implement corporate security policies. These include access control, permissions, privileges and user management.
Database administrators in hybrid environments
Hybrid environments that include both on-site and cloud databases are complex to manage. When dealing with these environments, database administrators need to know how to optimise both types of systems. With large enterprises, data comes from multiple sources: from employees, customers, applications and third-party providers.
There needs to be high levels of integration between cloud and on-site databases if these various data sources are to be accurately stored, retrieved and analysed for business purposes. Database administrators need to know how to architect for effective reporting and data analytics. This requires specialisation in the field of data science.
Maintaining a hybrid system requires high levels of expertise. When migrating to the cloud, administrators need to guide a seamless end-to-end transition. When they are familiar with various cloud platforms, they are more flexible in their approach, choosing the most suitable technologies and solutions.
4C Group provides cloud and on-premise database administration
4C Group’s team of database administrators are leaders in the field of both cloud and on-premise database administration. Our highly skilled professionals provide database consultation, administration and 24/7 support to large enterprises in Africa. Whether it be for on-site, cloud or a hybrid environment, we have partnered with enterprises around Africa to propel them forward in the digital age. For more information about our database administration solutions, please contact us today.
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