Database management is among the fundamental processes in the software field of computing. Databases are used in almost every enterprise and the bigger the enterprise is, the bigger and more complicated the databases will have to be. Although facilitated to the greatest extent possible by database management system solutions, it still needs continuous human intervention. And while a system administrator can, in most cases, take care of the database, there are a lot of times when a specialist is needed, someone dedicated to database management.
The database administrator (DBA)
The people responsible for managing databases are called database administrators. Each database administrator, dubbed DBA for the sake of brevity, may be engaged in performing various database manipulation tasks such as archiving, testing, running, security control, etc., all related to the environmental side of the databases. Their job is very important, since in today's world, almost all of the information a company uses is kept in databases. Due to the fact that most databases use a different approach to storing and handling data, there are different types of DBAs. Most of the major vendors who provide database solutions also offer courses to certify the DBA.
The DBA's duties
The exact set of database administration duties of each DBA is dependent on his/her job profile, the IT policies applied by the company he/she works for and last but not least - the concrete parameters of the database management system in use. A DBA must be able to think logically to solve all problems and to easily work in a team with both DBA colleagues and staff with no computer training.
Some of the basic database management tasks of a DBA supplement the work of a system administrator and include hardware/ software configuration, as well as installation of new DBMS software versions. Those are very important tasks since the proper installation and configuration of the database management software and its regular updates are crucial for the optimal functioning of the DBMS and hence - of the databases, since the new releases often contain bug fixes and security updates.
Data analysis and security
Database security administration and data analysis are among the major duties of a DBA. He/she is responsible for controlling the DBMS security by adding and removing users, managing database quotas and checking for security issues. The DBA is also engaged in analyzing database contents and improving the data storage efficiency by optimizing the use of indexes, enabling the ‘Parallel Query’ execution, etc.
Apart from the tasks related to the logical and the physical side of the database management process, DBAs may also take part in database design operations. Their main role is to give developers recommendations about the DBMS specificities, thus helping them avoid any eventual database performance issues. Other important tasks of the DBAs are related to data modeling aimed at optimizing the system layout, as well as to the analysis and creation of new databases.