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What does a DBA do?

It may be that you have been told that your business needs to find a temporary or contract DBA resource. However, you may be unsure as to what a DBA does all day: that's ok, you are not alone.

DBAs come in a range of different shapes and sizes; each with a particular set of skills, talents and interests. To ensure you identify the particular set of skills you need, we will run through each of the main DBA responsibilities below.

Bear in mind that it would be surprising if you do not have within your business someone, or even a group of people, who are already carrying out some DBA functions. So consider where the DBA gaps are, and you'll identify what a contract DBA or temp DBA has to do for your business.


The 12 main responsibilities of a DBA. or... What does a DBA do all day?

1. Installation: A DBA is responsible for installing operating systems, software applications and databases onto your servers.

Your DBA will take ownership of installing, or approving the installation of your various software elements.  This will also cover the introduction of upgrades and patches.

Typically all such activities are carried out during scheduled & regular, maintenance windows.

2. Configuration: A DBA is responsible for safely configuring your various server based systems in order that they do what you want.

Your DBA will look at the requirements your business has and use that knowledge to configure your systems appropriately.

This will ensure that your users get the functionality they require while meeting your privacy and security obligations.

3. Development: A DBA is  responsible for designing and developing database systems to carry out the tasks your business requires.

Many DBAs are involved in Database Design and Development, though not all. This becomes important when you require application changes to meet business needs.

And is also an important skill when the DBA has to address underlying performance issues.

4. Performance: A DBA is responsible for ensuring that your server based systems perform at the speed required to satisfy the systems users.

The best DBAs will be able to review your systems and identify where bottlenecks and performance issues are arising.

They will be able to advise on whether it makes best sense to streamline the software and database, or to increase the specification of the hardware.

5.  Monitoring: A DBA is responsible for monitoring behaviour, and that servers operate within certain defined operational limits.

Your DBA will set up various alerts and logging procedures to ensure that when any unwanted activity occurs that the appropriate action can be taken.

This could be a Hard Disk reaching a storage threshold, or the detection of an error in a software sub system.

6.  Capacity: A DBA is responsible for ensuring that the servers are configured to handle the storage requirements of the various applications.

Your DBA will ensure that when the systems are setup that appropriate storage is made available.

However, this will be monitored on an ongoing basis and additional storage commissioned when the usage demands it.

7. Security: A DBA is responsible for ensuring that adequate security and threat protection is in place, and reviewed regularly.

This is of such importance that you may well have a dedicated resource kept separate from the operational tasks that a DBA looks after.

Documented processes and procedures are expected and a highly defined chain of responsibility required.

8. Process & Procedure: A DBA is responsible for ensuring that all systems are run in keeping with defined and agreed processes & procedures.

Your DBA will be responsible for ensuring that appropriate processes and procedures are maintained to cover such activities as: user privileges; backups; & updates.

These will be developed to meet your companies operational and business needs.

9. Data Migration: A DBA is responsible for safely moving data between servers when new servers are commissioned and verifying the migration.

On occassion it may prove that data requires to be moved, or migrated, to a different server.

In such cases it is the role of the DBA to draw up a migration plan to define how that data will be moved and how that move can be validated once complete.

10. Data backup and recovery: A DBA is responsible for ensuring that regular backups of the system data are carried out.

The most widely known responsibility of a DBA is to ensure that daily, weekly and periodic backups of your data are taken.

Less widely understood is that they are also required to prove that the data backed up can be restored and verified.

11. Disaster protection: A DBA is responsible for putting in place appropriate Disaster Recovery processes and procedures.

If you are struck by a major incident such as a fire or flood you will look to your DBA to restore your systems quickly.

There are many ways to do this and they are dependent on budgets. At the top end; your systems will swap over to a system running in parallel, in a location not impacted by the event. 

12. Research: A DBA is expected to keep abrest of all the latest technologies, security issues and best practices associated with the server technology.

It is the mark of a good DBA that they stay informed of current best practice and the latest industry news.

This ensures they can advise on security, privacy and technology developments. And will ensure they can offer you the best advice possible for your business.

Make sure your business gets the DBA it needs

What problem are you trying to fix with a contract DBA or temporary DBA?

When you are looking for a contract DBA or temporary DBA ask yourself what is the core activity you need done.

1. Is it general purpose activities; such as routine DBA tasks, like data backups or software upgrades & installation. 

2. Do you need a DBA troubleshooter to identify where system failures or performance issues lie. And do you need your DBA to fix those issues.

3. Are you in need of a DBA to create the processes and procedures your business needs to meet legal requirements.

4. Do you need a DBAs assistance to migrate your servers and data; to ensure you can scale your business systems safely.

5. Or are you looking for a DBA who can architect a new system for you from the ground up. A DBA who can design, develop and deploy your system expertly.


Our DBAs are experienced in designing, deploying and maintaining

mission critical database management systems.

Don't delay: call us on 01786 430076, or fill in our enquiry form, to find out how we can help and to discuss our availability.