Study Finds Changing DBA Roles in 2005

A report from Evans Data Corp. has found that more than half of all DBAs are working not just with their SQL database, but with web services, XML, middleware and even application performance tasks. See more about the changing face of DBAs and devs in 2005.

Tags: DBAs, Database, McKendrick, Web Services, XML, Evans, Integration,

A shift is underway among top database professionals, where DBAs and devs are focusing not just on their database silo -- but on how the database enables "end-to-end" applications. A report from Evans Data Corp. has found that more than half of all DBAs are working with web services, XML, middleware and even application performance tasks.

Evans surveyed more than 400 database developers for enterprises and mid-sized companies for its Winter 2005 Database Development Survey, released last month. Integration Developer News spoke with Evans Data study author Joe McKendrick to get some highlights:

  • Databases Converging with Web Services:

    "There is definitely a lot of convergence between web services and databases," McKendrick told IDN. "A healthy majority of respondents told us they plan to enable their database to function as web services so that someone else can use a web services to reach in and get data," he said.. In specific, Evans found 58% of DBAs surveyed said they are using (or will use in 2005) web services to expose or invoke database operations. The most likely database operations to be invoked are: Stored procedures, 22%; SQL Query web services, 18%; and XML Query web services, 15%.

  • Changing Roles for DBAs :

    All this attention by enterprise IT to make data more integratable is also changing the roles of DBAs, developers and middleware experts within the enterprise, Evans found. "We're finding that the role of DBAs is definitely evolving," McKendrick said. "While the DBA is still tasked with overseeing a database's performance, we found that more and more are also involved in a development or integration role."

    In specific, Evans found 58% of DBAs said they expect to be involved in a lot more "up the stack" responsibilities, according to McKendrick, including applications tuning and database integration. "Bottom line: Companies are saying, 'We expect to our database and applications to be up 24x7,' and that means DBAs need to know more about how apps work -- not just how databases work. And that means DBAs are learning more about security, middleware integration, and other tasks that provide 'end-to-end' performance."

  • XML on Par with SQL Data;

    Interop, Migration Skills Rising:

    One of the driving forces in this push toward integratable data is indeed XML, according to McKendrick. The Evans study found that enterprise DBA and IT managers continue to expand their use of a variety of XML-driven technologies, even those that don't have a formal standard (such as XQuery). "There is substantial interest in expanding SQL as a query mechanism," McKendrick said.

    He cites an example: "Just about everybody is using data that works with XML formats, and there is a big use of XML natively, as well." The Evans study found that almost half (44%) of respondents said they were using XQuery, or planning to use it in 2005. Why this high interest in XQuery, even though it's still not a standard? "Our take would be that companies have a growing body of data that works with XML, or is in XML natively, and they're anxious to build new and efficient ways to use that data" to solve business problems, McKendrick told IDN.

All told, McKendrick sums up the Winter 2004 findings as follows: "These technology and cost-conscience factors are providing the DBA/developer all sorts of prime opportunities to further their IT careers by adding integration-related skills," he told IDN.

Evans Data Corp. provides a wide range of IT market studies based on surveys of technical staff, including DBAs, developers and system administrators.