Saturday, December 17, 2011

The vRAC DBA will be one of the highest in demand skill sets in 2012

The acceleration of the virtualization of production database servers and Business Critical Applications (BCA) has exceeded everyone's projections.   In talking to technology leaders at Oracle and Microsoft they are also very surprised by how rapidly the movement to virtualization is going.  Virtualization is also the foundation that makes cloud technology and products work, so Cloud projects are accelerating the virtualization industry as well.  The growth of the cloud market is predicted to reach $241 billion by 2020 according to analysts at Forrester Research.  

Virtualization and the Cloud are the next paradigm shift the industry is moving to after Mainframes, Client/Server and Distributed Systems.  The virtualization and cloud markets are projected to be factors higher than the database market.  There is an exploding demand for DBAs who understand  virtualization and the Cloud.   This demand is very different than the demand for DBAs that have occurred previously.  During the dot com boom, if you were breathing and could spell Oracle you could get a very good paying job as a DBA.  The demand was so high a lot of people who did not have the experience or background to be DBAs were given great opportunities and a new generation of DBAs were born.  The DBA needed to handle virtualization projects requires a much stronger skill set. 

The DBA needed today in virtualization infrastructures is a DBA that:
  • Understands virtualization best practices, reference architectures and successful processes and methods.
  • Can validate a scalable virtual infrastructure design.
  • Can implement databases and business critical applications in virtual infrastructures.
  • Has a solid background in storage and networking.
  • Understands the critical pieces in migrating databases and BCAs from physical to virtual infrastructures.
  • Has a strong background in Oracle RAC, ASM and the entire Oracle database server technology stack.
  • If migrating SQL Server has a strong background in the SQL Server technology stack and Microsoft clustering.
  • Understands hardware, processors, IOPS and how the entire infrastructure must generate the proper throughput.
  • Has a strong background in data architecture, data models and application scaling for databases.
This new DBA has been profiled by an internal center of excellence team at VMware as the vRAC DBA.  We believe the vRAC DBA is going to occupy the preeminent position in modern IT environments.  The profile of a vRAC DBA has been growing for over a year.  Industry experts from CA, owners of database consulting firms,  Oracle experts and VMware experts have all been discussing the importance of this emerging role in technical infrastructures.  

The ideal profile for this person is a very strong Oracle RAC DBA.   This DBA has all the infrastructure and technology expertise.  That is why a very strong Oracle RAC DBA is the person targeted as an Oracle Exadata DBA because strong technology experience and expertise in what surrounds the database such as storage and networking. That is the same profile as someone that will be a vRAC DBA, with the addition of the vRAC DBA must also be a virtualization expert. 

There is a very strong and expanding demand for vRAC DBAs.   With VMware controlling over 80% of the virtualization market, the major percentage of Oracle database server and BCA migrations to virtual servers are going to occur on VMware in the next year.  If you want to get in on the wave of where the IT industry is going and be in great demand then acquiring the skill set of vRAC DBA should be in your New Years resolutions.   Oracle and SQL Server DBAs that know VMware virtualization are going to be at the top of the IT food chain and in great demand in the upcoming years.

The vRAC DBA was pre-announced at the NYOUG event on December 13.  The vRAC DBA will be discussed in more detail on January 19, 2012 at the VMUGs in Boston and New York.  More detail will follow at the VMware Partner Exchange in February in Las Vegas and at Collaborate 2012 during the IOUG Virtualization track.


  1. I only partially agree. I believe there is a very large market / need for Oracle DBAs who understand the entire stack and virtualization aspects you identify.

    I believe that there should actually be a decrease in the number of companies that should employ RAC if using VMware. Now that vSphere VMs can scale to 32 vCPUs and VMware HA reducing downtime to the time it takes to restart the VM, I'm really not seeing the point to RAC for the vast majority of cases, and I'm not the only one. I recently inspired this blog post and discussion -

    The author is one of the DBAs in charge of the 4th or 5th largest Oracle EBS implementation in the world.

    RAC is becoming a corner case and not something that needs to be deployed by the vast majority of Oracle customers. Its significantly cheaper to implement vSphere with HA and provides much of the high availability of RAC without the complexity.

  2. I agree with your comments and I like your insight. When I think of top RAC DBAs, I think of someone that not only understands Oracle RAC but also understands infrastructure. Most top RAC DBAs understand storage, networking, architecture, etc. As more Oracle databases move into virtual infrastructures, having top DBAs that understand virtual infrastructures and Oracle is going to be in high demand. So when I think of a vRACDBA, I am addressing top DBAs who not only know Oracle but also understand infrastructure.