From DBA to DBRE - Evolution of the database expert

Databases have evolved radically over the past few years, which is one of the reasons we prefer talking about data platforms. And of course, the role of the database administrator has to evolve with it. At Hieda, we’ve noticed our database experts are transforming into database reliability engineers. These DBRE’s blur the line between DevOps and database expertise and form an indispensable support for companies with a modern outlook on the software lifecycle.

The new role of databases

The classical view on databases actually predates our computers themselves. Databases might have largely supplanted the physical records rooms, but they still share many of the same characteristics: cumbersome, complex, rigid & static. A database is used to archive important information for long periods of time, and changes are mainly viewed as a threat to data stability and availability. 

But the world of data and software is changing, and databases are forced to follow suit. If entire application environments can now be created, managed and scaled from one central location in a matter of minutes, it’s only natural that the same should apply to our databases.

And so we arrive at the modern data platform. Data platforms are no longer static data archival tools, but rather highly dynamic solutions for organizations looking to get more out of their data. For instance, you can automatically set up pipelines to ingest raw data, store it in a data lake, structure useful information,  temporarily store the intermediate results, and write the end result into a highly structured data warehouse. 

The new role of database experts

Of course, not every database needs to undergo this transformation, and the truth is many databases probably fall somewhere in between. The best way to tell the two apart however is to look at the role and responsibilities of the database experts: where a classical database administrator (DBA) is mostly occupied with managed existing databases, whereas a DBRE is mainly in charge of setting up and managing the tools that allows developers to use DB’s as part of their agile DevOps workflows.

In other words, if you’re a database administrator with a passion for automation, you might want to consider making the switch from DBA to DBRE. Hieda operates at the forefront of database innovation, so if you’re looking to break out of your traditional role, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Simultaneously, if your company is looking to expand your database into a data platform, we have exactly the kind of expertise you are looking for. Our people will not only help you set up the perfect data infrastructure, they’ll also ensure your databases become an integral part of your DevOps way of working.

June 28, 2022
Luc Robberechts

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