Database Industry to be Impacted Greatest by the Cloud

(Ping! Zine) – Databases in the cloud will impact the database industry more than any other upcoming technology, according to a recent Database Trends Survey of more than 1,200 database professionals.

More than one-third of survey respondents (34%) selected databases in the cloud as the technology destined to wield the greatest impact on the community. Virtualization ranked second with 27% of the vote, followed by solid state disks with 15%, visual tuning was fourth with 12%, and collaboration technologies earned 8% to round out the top five.

“With cloud database offerings from Amazon and Microsoft and a slew of open source providers taking off, most database professionals will be involved with the technology in some form in 2011,” said Scott Walz, senior director of product management for Embarcadero. “The long-term scalability and provisioning benefits of databases in the cloud should eventually pay off, but in the meantime, DBAs will have to learn an entirely new playbook for managing distributed data in a less than predictable and controlled environment.”

States of Emergency for Database First Responders
The survey also revealed that both performance and emergencies seem to be keeping DBAs from getting a good night’s rest. When asked what database-related issues keep them up at night, production database performance was cited by 43% of respondents, placing it first on the list. Database downtime was the second-biggest contributor to DBA insomnia with 38% of the mentions, while 31% said performance degradation, and 29% worry about database server hardware performance.

Even DBAs with the most thorough documentation and thought-out game plans must be on guard to handle emergency scenarios. In fact, 37% of those surveyed reported dealing with at least five database-related emergencies in the past year and, of those, 9% dealt with more than 20 – nearly two a month. A fortunate 17% managed to avoid any emergency situations. Meanwhile, emergencies turned into overnights for more than half (54%) of respondents who said they have spent the night in the office because of an emergency.

Not Enough Hours in the (Work) Day
There seemed to be a general consensus among survey participants about the biggest project challenges they face. Forty three percent complained of not enough time to accomplish work tasks, 40% said poor planning is a huge challenge, 33% cited poor or no requirements, 31% pointed to scope creep, and 30% feel burdened by slow or inefficient tools.

On the upside, more than half said their companies offer DBA or development training, and two-thirds said their organizations have invested in new technology tools for them in the past five years.

The DBA/Developer Dance
Another trend that emerged in the study is increased interaction between DBAs and application developers, with 61% of respondents saying they collaborate with application developers more than they did five years ago. This crisscross of universes is due, in part, to more production DBAs getting involved in non-production environments and traditional developers using SQL on a regular basis. The study also revealed that both parties largely believe the other trusts them and understands their needs.

For many, the sharing of tools comes along with the sharing of roles. When asked how many database tools they share with others in the organization, 73% reported that they share at least one, and 13% said they share five or more.

Other compelling insights from the survey include:

    The greatest number of respondents said that cross-platform database management is the single biggest database-related challenge facing them in the next year
    43% said their companies had undergone a merger or acquisition in the past five years
    47% reported taking on more responsibilities as a result of cutbacks or M&As
    57% feel as if their skills are being utilized in their current roles, while 39% do not (4% cited NA)
    36% said their IT managers make purchasing decisions, followed by the CIO and then the database manager

The study, conducted in Q3 2010 by Embarcadero Technologies, was designed to uncover the challenges faced by database professionals and trends influencing the industry. The more than 1,200 survey respondents were a mixture of DBAs, developers, architects and analysts. The survey results and additional information are available online at