Thursday, May 17, 2012

DBAs are Way Behind the Technology Curve and Need to Catch Up

I've been doing a set of presentations on virtualizing Oracle and Business Critical Applications around the U.S.  and I've really been surprised by the complete lack of knowledge DBAs have around Virtualization and the Cloud.   This is really interesting in the fact that the virtualization of tier one platforms is one of the hottest areas of IT and DBAs that understand virtualization and the cloud are in incredibly high demand.  

Key points that stand out to during my virtualization/cloud road shows:
  • DBAs know almost nothing about virtualization and most of what they do know is wrong.
  • DBAs are trying to ignore the fact that virtualization can reduce a company's CapEX by 60%, OpEX by 30% and energy costs by up to 80%.
  • DBAs are trying to maintain the status quo, not change anything and incur no risk while ignoring the fact that they are the one's that are keeping their IT from moving forward into the next generation of technology that will completely transform how their IT organization works.
  • DBAs that can turn an index or do a backup are a dime a dozen.  The most valuable DBAs are DBAs that understand the infrastructure.  For example, in the Oracle world RAC and Exadata DBAs are in higher demand and worth more money.  What makes them more valuable is their knowledge of architecture, storage and networking.  The virtual infrastructure is the new infrastructure in IT and DBAs that understand this infrastructure are worth more money and more marketable.
  • Virtual servers have a lot more enterprise features, high availability and provide a higher Quality of Service than physical servers.  It is flat out killing companies to stay on physical servers. Yet DBAs are sticking to physical servers like the last buggy whip maker hugged the last horse buggy made.
  • Every CIO is needing to go to virtualization and the cloud to meet business objectives, DBAs that are aligned with the business goals are needed.   The DBA that focuses just on the technology side of building scripts and doing backups are going to be the DBAs that do not move up the IT hierarchy and are the most easy to outsource.
  • Virtual servers have evolved significantly and have reduced the performance overhead down to  2 - 6%. 
Understand that virtualization and the cloud always go together.  Virtualization is the foundation for making the cloud work. The industry trend around this space is consistent and almost exploding.  As a Tier One Specialist that helps organizations virtualize their production database servers and business critical applications  I can tell you the demand around virtualizing databases and business critical applications on VMware is increasing monthly.   With VMware controlling the market with an 80+ market share and years of market leadership they are still 3-5 major releases ahead of their closest competitor,  most virtualization of tier one platforms will continue to occur on VMware.  Some obvious trends and directions you need to understand.
  • Cloud solutions are "greatly" reducing the costs of IT, and companies leveraging the cloud are running their infrastructures at a fraction of previous costs with a higher quality of service which is giving them a significant competitive advantage.  This is forcing companies to come out of their physical server hugging mentality.
  • Companies initially virtualize for consolidation and cost reduction.  However, once they learn how to virtualize the higher availability, faster agility and higher quality of service is what they state are the biggest advantages.
  • Moving to virtualization and the cloud will transform the business and the IT infrastructure.  Sticking your toes in the water is not the same as swimming.  Just like virtualizing a few systems is not the same as building virtualization and cloud infrastructures.
The virtualization of production database servers and Business Critical Applications is absolutely exploding and the DBAs that have the upcoming skill sets in virtual and cloud infrastructures are going to be worth their weight in gold.

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