Blurring the Lines Between Operations and Administration on the Back-End Stack

I've written numerous commentaries over the years exploring the "blurring of the lines" between the traditional DBA space and the development space. Today, it's common for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) not to have a full-time, dedicated DBA. I don't intend to explore the pros and cons of this phenomenon this week. The lines between the DBA and development stacks are officially blurred in my humble opinion.

But what about the blurring line between operations and administration on the back-end stack? Where do the job responsibilities start and stop across the boundaries of SQL Server from a relational engine perspective, from a business intelligence (BI) stack perspective, and in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft Dynamics, and the host of other server-centric products available from Microsoft?

What do SQL Server DBAs need to know about SharePoint to keep it up and running? What do SharePoint developers need to know about SQL Server to keep it up and running? Whose job is it to keep this interconnected web of server technologies up and running?

What about the BI stack? DBAs are responsible for the care and feeding of the core online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, right? Maybe. Sometimes. Who is responsible for the care and feeding of the decision support systems, regardless of whether the decision support need is BI, OLAP, or the acronym du jour? What happens when a tiny departmental BI solution becomes a mission-critical enterprise system, and breaks?

Does Microsoft offer an adequate set of tools to manage these disparate but increasingly connected server solutions? Do any third-party vendors? Do we have operational readiness across these different server environments? Whose job is it to ensure that readiness?

Data is the glue that binds these disparate server-based solutions together. SQL Server is the glue that binds the data. What's the difference between a DBA and an operations support engineer? Does the title "operations support engineer" exist? Should it?

The front-end lines between developers and DBAs have been blurring for quite some time and are now officially blurred. Let the blurring of the back-end lines commence.

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