Database admins stretched across platforms

Managing multiple database platforms has become the norm for database administrators (DBAs), claims a survey from Embarcadero Technologies.

The Database Trends Survey that shows 72 per cent of DBAs polled manage at least two types of database management systems: 20 per cent reported managing one database platform, 33 per cent manage two, 25 per cent said three, 8 per cent said four, and 14 per cent said they manage five or more.

Exacerbating the multi-platform database dillema is the fact that most DBAs are also tasked with managing multiple versions of a database, adding another layer of complexity to their responsibilities and creating more room for error, the report says. According to the survey, 69 per cent of respondents manage more than one version of the same database and, of those that do, 51 per cent said they manage three or more versions of the same database platform.

Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle were the most common database platforms cited, with 62 per cent of respondents working with SQL Server and 60 per cent with Oracle. Third on the list was Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (35 per cent), and Microsoft Access came in at 19 per cent. Not surprisingly, Oracle ranked tops as the database platform that respondents work with primarily.

The more than 1,200 survey respondents were a mixture of DBAs, developers, architects and analysts. Although the vast majority of DBAs said they are ‘proficient with more than one database platform’, they believe the variables of multi-platform environments ‘will put their skills to the test’. When asked to name the single biggest database-related challenge facing them in the coming 12 months, the greatest number of respondents named ‘cross-platform database management’. Multi-instance databases and tuning tied for second place, followed by database management in third.

Mergers and acquisitions may be partly to blame for the increase of heterogeneous database environments, and the new batch of problems they bring for DBAs. When asked if their company has gone through a merger or acquisition in the past five years, 43 per cent responded yes; of those, 18 per cent reported that they had to begin working with new or additional database platforms as a result.

Whether through a company acquisition or newly-introduced application, nearly one-third of respondents expect more database platforms to be introduced into their organisations over the next year.

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