Whither DBAs in the Cloud?

How will the role of database administrators (DBAs) change when utility data moves off the company's back-end systems to cloud services such as Microsoft's SQL Server Data Services (SSDS)?

SSDS is designed to provide data storage, query processing, scalability and high availability. "What we're doing with SQL Server Data Services is essentially managing all that with our customers," says Fausto Ibarra, director of product management for SQL Server at Microsoft. "But the DBA still has a role to play. In most cases, customers will actually deploy their data both on-premise and in the cloud. So you will still need DBAs to ensure that the data is replicated, that the right policies exist, that the data is synchronized and connects to the premise and the cloud is written in such as way so that you can move from on-premise to the cloud."

The economic recession may boost service uptake as companies avoid capital expenditures, observes Roger Jennings, database developer and principal at OakLeaf Systems. "With Visual Studio 2008 and traditional SQL Server 2008 running on Microsoft data centers, you still have the same requirements for a DBA," he says. "But if you're using SSDS, then DBA requirements are diminished dramatically."

Microsoft MVP Jeff Levinson, who leads the ALM practice at Northwest Cadence Corp., is skeptical about near-term service adoption because too many security and compliance issues have yet to be addressed. "While there's this rush for cloud computing," he says, "I think the rush for data is only going to be relegated to companies that store their own data up there. For that reason, I think that the DBA role is going to be even more important because of how much scrutiny is on security and compliance."

-- K.R..

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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