Do you really need a database administrator anymore? With DevOps and database-as-a-service options like Amazon RDS, can’t anyone manage a database? And can’t you just hire a remote DBA part-time if you do?
Not so fast! Outsourcing data competence can actually intensify organizational bottlenecks around the database, rather than alleviating it. This is counter-intuitive but 100% real and I see it nearly every day. (I just spoke with a company yesterday that’s experiencing some pain from the departure of a key DBA, for example.)
Let’s take a look at popular approaches to sidestepping DBA-on-staff:
- Skipping the DBA with cloud platforms, including PaaS and DBaaS options such as Heroku, Google Compute Cloud, and Amazon RDS
- Outsourcing Instead of Hiring Locally via offshore locations or work-from-home employees
- Remote DBA Services via companies that offer database administration teams on a fractional basis
- Using A Consultant, be it an individual or a professional services organization
The law of unintended consequences always rears its ugly head. The common theme I’ve seen with all of these (and I’m not trying to put any of them down) is dependencies and communication channels between teams can intensify.
As you know, organizational optimization is really all about communication. A company’s biggest challenge as it grows is getting communication right. Outsourcing the data competence causes communication bottlenecks around the already-bottlenecked database team, in many cases.
For this reason, you might want to consider a remote DBA as a supplement to an in-house DBA instead of as a replacement.
Originally published at Who Needs A Database Administrator?.