Database administrators prepare to move to the cloud

Survey points the way forward

Cloud computing is set to transform the use of databases within enterprises. According to a Database Trends Survey, more than a third of database professionals think that cloud computing is to have the most transformational effect on database technology. 34 of respondents to the survey plumped for cloud as the technology that would have most effect on their lives, ahead of the 27 per cent who chose virtualisation.

And going by other results from the survey, the professionals would be happy for the pressure to be felt elsewhere. Production database performance was nominated as the factor that was keeping staff awake at night with 43 per cent of respondents placing top of the list.

This is the sort of concern that will fuel adoption of cloud computing said Scott Walz, senior director of product management for Embarcadero. "One goal is to move some of the tasks that the DBA is normally responsible for(patch management, storage optimisation, etc) to the cloud and, by default, to the cloud vendor. As a DBA, the goal certainly is to have fewer database-related emergencies, as there will be service level agreements, as the companies will be paying for this service he said.

This pressure is reflected in the fact that according to the survey, 43 per cent of professionals complained of not having enough time to accomplish work tasks, while 40 per cent said poor planning was the challenge they were facing. However, while the move to the cloud might be attractive to some DBAs said Walz, there were some difficulties with this approach. "In our conversations with our customers, we're hearing that the biggest challenge is going to be the giving up of control. Even though the database will reside on the cloud, the DBAs will still have a certain level of responsibility," he said. When the database isn't accessible, the first call will be to the DBA".

"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 Walz. He said that this will lead to changes in the way that company was developing its own tools. "Quite a few of the tools in the marketplace are making the necessary changes to include cloud support. In our conversations with customers, we're finding that quite a few of them plan to keep the development and testing databases in-house, while only moving the production database to the cloud. So, it's imperative for them to have tools that seamlessly connect to both the local instance and the cloud.

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Maxwell Cooter

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