Note: This post ends talking about product that I am involved in developing so it could be considered marketing.
The US Department of Labor has published statistics that show demand for Database Administrators (DBA) is growing at a rate of 29%, a much faster than the rate across other occupations. This is fitting with what we see in Australasia and also as observed in Europe. This demand is growing due to the data explosion affecting most business, with data becoming a key primary assets and competitive advantages being defined through timeliness in analyzing and leveraging that asset. With the increase focus in data assets the volume of data and the number of database servers have proportionally grown, with the RDBMS market revenue growing at around the same 29% rate between 2005 and 2007.
Traditionally a database administrators role was to implement, manage and maintain the systems that contain an organisations data assets. More recently due to the volume, scale and performance requirements of the data an organization possess , a DBA is required to provide expertise into projects that are looking to drive new value from these data assets. This is effectively converting the DBA role from a role that has a $0 return (a business as usual (BAU) support role doesn’t generate new value, it just prevents loss of existing value) to a role that is value creating. This two pronged demand is pushing DBA rates higher and also bringing down the average experience level of a DBA available as the supply of new DBA talent ramps up to meet the increasing demand.
One of the key traps that many enterprises fall into is their DBAs lack the availability to participate in value generating projects. Predominately this is occurring because of the increase in data assets has had a near linear increase in operational BAU requirements. Meaning more data requires more DBAs to simply keep things running. While DBA teams often have the directive to introduce improvements to reduce BAU requirements (thereby giving them availability) these measure often only reduce operational requirements at the same rate as growth in the data assets is increasing, effectively cancelling out any tangible benefit.
This is the focus of RockSolid. With RockSolid our goal is to mitigate as much as possible the BAU requirement that goes with managing an increasing number of SQL Server data assets. Through virtualization of management and automation we have been able to reduce the BAU requirement of managing a SQL Server instance to a nominal factor, meaning the DBA time requirement to operationally managing 150 production instances for example, is very similar to that required to mange 10, 20 or 50 effectively making DBA operational overheads a near constant. This results in freeing existing resources to focus on value creating initiatives and any further investment in DBA resources can be balanced against the value that will be produced from that investment.