A Follow-up to Database Professionals: An Enterprise Requirement

Eric Wise drew some heat from the developer community at CodeBetter.com with this post about the need for a DBA during development (see my post on the subject here).

I think Eric makes a couple good points, one explicit, one implied:

1. (Explicit) A DBA – or Database Developer, more accurately (and there is a difference) – adds value to development.

2. (Implicit) There are Software Developers out there who can step into the Database Developer role long enough to solve most database tuning issues. Eric demonstrates this with himself in profiling and addressing a missing or ill-defined index.

I find most of the comments – presumably by software developers – typical. One developer stated:

My current project didn’t have a DBA for 2 years, until recently since we’re now at the stage of optimizing for performance. It seems to me that as long as the database is intelligently structured in the first place, a DBA’s role would be rather small in most cases.

<sarcasm>

I agree with the sentiment expressed here – as much as I agree that code-generation tools can replace application developers. It’s true that you can utilize SQL Server or any database engine as a dumb file store. And it’s equally true that you can build an enterprise application in C# that consists of thousands upon thousands of lines of nested If… Then… Else statements.

</sarcasm>

The question is: Why would you?

This goes beyond arguments over syntax, coding standards, methodology, and design philosophy. This is about putting competent professionals – at the height of their game – into the mix on a project.

You don’t have to take my word for it – ask software developers who have worked (or are working) with competent database developers.

:{> Andy

2 Replies to “A Follow-up to Database Professionals: An Enterprise Requirement”

  1. As a software programmer, I agree – DBAs should be part of the process. I’ve had enough years without them though, and find it sometimes hard to let them do their side without butting in.
    But I’ve also seen DBAs that are quite a hindrance to the development – making interaction with them extremely time-consuming and getting them to make changes all but impossible (I believe their team culture was led by someone who had a very specific views about the programming teams…).
    It has seemed to be a challenge for management to sign-off but also teams to really get the DBA involved when you have such disparity on what is viewed as their effectiveness. However, this is just as much an issue with business analysts and programmers 🙂 I find it hard to believe that we will never see any more Programmer/DBA job postings or programming teams that never have DBAs.

  2. Chris, I’ve also worked with difficult DBAs. I don’t like working under those conditions either. All I can really do about it – other than blog to the masses at sqlblog.com – is point out a couple things:
    1) The total-control nature of some environments necessitates this behavior in some environments, but it’s no fun for anyone.
    2) Things are more fun when folks are nice.
    :{> Andy

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