With the rising demand for automation, speedy development cycles, and cloud, the role of the DBA is changing. As businesses drive towards digital transformation, DBAs have an opportunity to expand their value beyond data managers into data stewards who help innovate how organizations interact with, store, and protect information.

However, although modernization provides benefits that are clear to most enterprises, it also generates additional–and often unrealized burdens–for DBAs as they face an increase in workload and the need for an evolved skillset. The questions for many DBAs have become, “How can I build a skill set that extends beyond on-premises, across multiple clouds, and beyond?  How can I add value to the data I manage and protect?”

Opportunities for the New World

Being a modern DBA requires a complete overhaul of traditional operations. This blog post will explore the opportunities you have as a DBA to automate key Day 2 operations, freeing up time to focus on more strategic work that will allow you to transition from a database mechanic into a data steward in the new world.

On-premises Automation

As a modern-day DBA, you are still asked to optimize and protect the systems you manage, but now you also have the tools and resources to rethink that process–you are the pathfinder for a new frontier.  When evaluating your on-premises systems, look to implement automation tools that replicate what is found on the cloud. With a little bit of automation and custom processing, you’ll be able to completely transform your organization while getting the time you need back to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Here are a few areas to look at that are prime for automation:

Discovery. Automatically discover databases as they are added and removed from the database sprawl, including tablespaces, hosts, and clusters. Benefit from a reduced workload and keep your organization protected as new databases come online.

Protection. Manually detecting databases means that you are vulnerable–it’s too easy to miss something. Paired with automated discovery, you can backup and protect databases as soon as they’re added. Additionally, this should bundle Retention, Archival, and Replication tasks into a single job, all made easier with automation.

Recovery. Manually, recovery is a multi-step process that requires access to the backup image and logs in order to identify a point in time for recovery. With automation, you will see an improvement in RTOs.

Self-Service Database Clones

You’re probably all too familiar with the bottleneck that accompanies multiple requests for clone creation. By automating the process for self-service creation, you and your organization will see increased flexibility and operational efficiency. In automating clones for testing and validation purposes, for example, developers and stakeholders can move at their own pace, which lifts a major burden from your plate.

Here are a few examples of how automation modernizes clone creation:

Testing multi-cloud disaster recovery strategies. Disaster recovery testing is time-intensive and expensive. By automating bi-directional backups, you can quickly and easily spin up a clone to validate the backup at your different sites. It’s much cheaper than the traditional route and a fraction of the cost of a major DR event.

Compliance auditing. The time-sensitive nature of compliance means that there’s always pressure to quickly provide data to stakeholders. With automation, you can easily respond to ad-hoc requests for historical data, delivering data to stakeholders in hours, not weeks.

Tablespace and object-level recoveries. Normally, remounting takes days. Instead of retrieving an entire database, you can use automation to perform tablespace and object-level recoveries in a matter of hours. Why recover an entire database when you need only one portion of it?

Validating software upgrades and patches. Start patching systems with datasets that are as close to live as possible. Validation can now be performed by simply spinning up a clone—using near-live data—testing the patch, and then unmounting the recovered database. The patch can now be safely deployed without the usual operational delays and compatibility headaches. There is even an automated path for DBAs to mount backups without the need for additional hardware or storage space. When you’re done, simply unmount the database and go on to bigger tasks.

Evolving from Administrator to Data Steward

In understanding where data resides within an organization and how it’s being utilized, you take on the most important role of all: data governance. You must now understand what your organization does with data, not just the mechanics of the database. You are now responsible for data modeling, data security, and performance monitoring. By focusing on how data moves from one database to another and how that is used, while also managing the data process across the enterprise, you help to engineer the use of information within your organization.

These practices include:

  • Data lifecycle management
  • Data tiering
  • Data archiving
  • Replication

Finally, as a data steward, you will serve as an educator within your organization, teaching others how to navigate the new cloud-based environments, demonstrating novel approaches to the data, and promoting innovation throughout the enterprise.


Implementing new processes and procedures to make time for more strategic work doesn’t need to be a nightmare if you have the right tools. By using modern tools and strategies, you can now adopt a bigger role, optimizing and defining the way your enterprise interacts with its data. Rethink the way you’ve been managing your databases. Understand how data is being used by your organization and offer strategies that promote agility and speed. By altering your approach, you are no longer a database mechanic, but a data engineer.

Forward Sessions

For those of you DBAs who might be interested in learning how Rubrik helps address some of the Day 2 activities we spoke about above, we have a couple of database sessions now available on-demand from Rubrik Forward Digital Summit that I think you will find helpful.

DBAs: Modernize Oracle Protection and Cloning with Rubrik
Nico Groh, Field CTO – Databases, Rubrik

Rubrik simplifies data protection of Oracle databases, delivering near-zero RTOs and self-service clones. However, the total value of Rubrik for Oracle doesn’t just lie within backup and recovery. Join this session as we explore how Rubrik for Oracle works under the hood and deep dive into how Rubrik can help automate your database environment from Day-0 through to Day-N. Come and learn how you can leverage automation and self-service clones to maximize the value of your Oracle backups.

Operationalize Your SQL Server Backups with Rubrik
Chris Lumnah, SQL Server Solutions Architect, Rubrik

SQL Server is the top Rubrik workload among our largest customers and is the most frequent Live Mount. Attend this session to discover new Rubrik capabilities for SQL Server and learn a few tips and tricks to take your SQL Server protection to the next level. Come and take a look under the hood as we explore how you can leverage Rubrik APIs to address automation, migration, and the creation of self-service clones to maximize the value of your SQL backups.