10 important requirements in database administration

What is database administration?

Database administration refers to the set of activities that a database administrator performs to ensure that a database is always available as desired. Other closely related tasks and roles include database security, database monitoring and troubleshooting, and planning for future growth.

Database administration is an important function in any organization that depends on one or more databases. It allows you to help organizations create new databases or update existing databases based on their internal data collection needs. A database administrator position gives you the opportunity to be creative and solve database development and testing problems by writing software scripts, testing database functions, and keeping company data clean and secure.

Main responsibilities and tasks in database administration.

The main job of a database administrator (DBA) is to ensure that data is available, protected from loss and corruption, and easily accessible when needed. Below you'll find some of the main tasks that make up the day-to-day work of a DBA. Although the mindset and toolset may vary depending on whether a database is on-premises or in a public/private cloud, the role of the DBA is relatively uniform:

1. software installation and maintenance.

A DBA often works on the initial installation and configuration of a new Oracle, SQL Server, etc. Database. The system administrator sets up the hardware and provides the operating system for the database server, then the DBA installs the database software and configures it for use. If updates and patches are required, the DBA handles the ongoing maintenance of those.

And if a new server is needed, the DBA handles the transfer of data from the existing system to the new platform.

2. data extraction, transformation and loading

Data extraction, transformation, and loading, also known as "ETL," refers to the efficient import of large amounts of data extracted from various systems into a data warehouse environment.

This external data is cleansed and transformed into the desired format so that it can be imported into a central repository.

3. specialized data processing

Today's databases can be very large and contain unstructured data types such as images, documents, or audio and video files. Managing a very large database (VLDB) may require higher-level capabilities and additional monitoring and tuning to maintain the desired efficiency.

4. database backup and recovery.

DBAs create backup and recovery plans and procedures based on industry best practices and then ensure that the required steps are followed. Backups cost time and money, so the DBA may need to convince management to take the necessary precautions to preserve data.

System administrators or other staff can actually create the backups, but it is the DBA's responsibility to make sure everything is done on time.

In the event of a server failure or other form of data loss, the DBA will use the existing backups to restore the lost information in the system. Different types of failures may require different recovery strategies, and the DBA must be prepared for all eventualities. As technology changes, it is becoming more typical for a DBA to back up databases in the cloud, Oracle Cloud for Oracle databases and MS Azure for SQL Server.

5. security assurance

A DBA must be aware of potential vulnerabilities in the database software and the company's overall system and work to minimize the risks. No system is one hundred percent secure against attack, but implementing best practices can minimize the risks.

In the event of a security breach or irregularity, the DBA can look at audit logs to see who did what with the data. Audit logs are also important when working with regulated data.

6. Manage authentication and access rights

Setting up employee access is an important aspect of database security. DBAs control who has access and what type of access is allowed. For example, a user may only be allowed to see certain information or may be barred from making changes to the system.

7. capacity planning

The DBA needs to know how large the database currently is and how fast it is growing in order to make predictions about future needs. Storage refers to how much space the database takes up on the server and in the backup. Capacity refers to the level of usage.

If the business grows rapidly and many new users are added, the DBA must create the capacity to handle the additional workload.

8. performance monitoring

Monitoring databases for performance issues is part of the ongoing system maintenance that a DBA performs. If any part of the system slows down processing, the DBA may need to make configuration changes to the software or add additional hardware capacity. There are many types of monitoring tools, and part of the DBA's job is to understand what they need to track to improve the system. Third-party vendors can be ideal to outsource this aspect, but make sure they offer modern DBA support.

9. database tuning

Performance monitoring shows where the database should be optimized to run as efficiently as possible. The physical configuration, the way the database is indexed, and the way queries are handled can all have a dramatic impact on database performance.

With effective monitoring, it is possible to proactively optimize a system based on application and usage, rather than waiting until a problem develops.

10. troubleshooting

DBAs are on call for troubleshooting any issues. Whether they need to quickly recover lost data or troubleshoot a problem to minimize damage, a DBA must quickly understand and respond to issues as they arise.