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A person who administers the computer database of an organization is known as a database administrator or DBA. A database has a structure and design and it should confirm to database design concepts in order to be called a database. The role of a database administrator is to devise strategies for a database development, monitor and improve the performance and utility of the database, besides planning for the expansion of the database based on the future needs of the organization. In this assignment, we look at the skills required for a database administrator, duties and responsibilities, work conditions as well as the remuneration for a database administrator.
Installation, Configuration, upgrade and migration
Database installation is the responsibility of the Database Administrator (DBA), the DBA should have knowledge of the hardware and software requirements for running the database server efficiently. The DBA should later communicate these requirements clearly to the system administrator and install the database and various options in the database product for deploying the database. The DBA should install the latest releases and patches and keep the database up-to-date, robust and efficient. The DBA should migrate the database from the old database server to the new one in case if a new server is installed for the purpose of increasing speed and efficiency of the database.
Backup and recovery
The DBA should implement and test a backup and recovery plan for the database just in case if there is a database crash. The DBA should ensure proper and scheduled backups of all databases and files so as to ensure recovery of these files in case if there is a database crash. In the event of a database crash, the DBA should ensure quick use of backup files to bring the database back to operational status without loss of data. Databases may fail due to several reasons, and it is up to the DBA to develop a strategy to recover databases in the event of database failure. Creating backups involves costs for the organization and the DBA should inform the management of these costs/risks.
Each database product like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server has a particular security model and the DBA should be well aware of these models in order to control access to data. The three important tasks are authentication, authorization and auditing. Authentication is the setting up of user accounts like providing user identification and password to users, authorization is granting permissions on various parts of the database and auditing means that the database confirms to regulatory laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPPA as far as reporting requirements are concerned.
Storage and planning
The main purpose of any database is storage and retrieval of data. The DBA must plan the storage requirements and monitor disk space availability. The DBA should keep a tab on growth trends so that the DBA can advise the management on long-term plans.
Performance monitoring and tuning
The DBA should monitor the database for any issues such as slowing down of database processes and correct these issues when they occur. Hardware capacity, operating system configuration and database configuration all can contribute to the slowing down of the processes running on the server. Database layout and disk drives, database indexing methods used, and the query methods used can contribute to the processes running slowly on the database server. The DBA should use the best monitoring tools to monitor all these activities and tune these activities just in case if a database slows down.
When there are issues with the database, the DBA should quickly identify and rectify the problem without losing data or without aggravating the situation. For these reasons, the DBA should possess strong knowledge of troubleshooting methods and tools to ensure smooth and efficient handling of the database.
Work conditions for a DBA
DBAs work in an office or a lab, and they work for 40 hours a week mostly, but, sometimes, they may work in the evenings or during the weekends so as to meet deadlines. Like all other office workers who spend more time on computers, DBAs can suffer from eye strain, back pain, hand and wrist pain etc.
Remuneration for a DBA
According to the U.S. Labor department statistic held in 2010, average yearly wages of database administrators were $73,490 in 2010; the highest payments were around $115, 660, while the lowest - around $41, 570 a year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
Opportunities for a career advancement
DBAs can grow to become senior DBAs, DBA consultants, managers, director of database administration/information technology department etc., provided that these opportunities exist in the organization that they work for. Otherwise, they can always move out to organizations that offer such career growth prospects (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
Some of the job occupations related to DBA are computer and information systems manager, computer hardware engineers, computer programmers, software engineers, and statisticians.
Job growth will not be rapid in this sector during this decade. The information technology sector will become more organized and process-oriented, and the job of the DBA is likely to be outsourced overseas (“Database Administrator”, 2010).