Embracing NoSQL as a Database Administrator

There are many varieties of NoSQL platform in use today; AWS offer DynamoDB and ElasticSearch; Microsoft have Data Lake and Cosmos DB; other solutions include CouchDB, Cassandra, Hadoop and Mongo.  Historically, the DBA is concerned with only relational database systems - platforms based on SQL, like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL.

However DBAs have noticed the shift in the last few years towards analytics.  Tableau, an integrated analytics and BI solution that incorporates both the OLAP model and data visualization, has emerged as a major player in the market.  SSAS and Power BI are racing to catch up, with SAP, SalesForce and other analytics companies presenting a range of different solutions.

What then, is the role of the DBA?  Expanding first from relational to analytics, the modern DBA is expected to have a grasp of analytics platforms, OLAP and reporting.  Increasingly, such analytics relies on NoSQL solutions - for example the AWS ElasticSearch and Kibana offering allows detailed visualisations of key-value store, schemaless data.  Application developers on modern stacks shun SQL platforms, which have constructs that aren't conducive to the object-oriented model.  DBAs who decide to focus solely on relational database platforms are finding their opportunities are becoming more restricted.

In order to survive, DBAs must continue to develop their skills, encompassing these new technologies.  Like it or lump it, NoSQL databases are still databases - they may lack relational integrity, they may work in ways incompatible with Codd and Date's 1980s visions of large-scale distributed database platforms, but as the DBA, they're still your responsibility.

Are you stuck in a rut, and looking to learn more about NoSQL systems?  Or are you in charge of a legacy database estate and looking to upgrade, consolidate, reduce costs and improve capabilities?  At Optimal Computing we specialize in data platform troubleshooting and transformation projects.  Visit http://www.optimalcomputing.co.uk and get in touch for a free, confidential chat about your future.


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