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NoSQL Shouldn’t Mean NoDBA

by Nick Heudecker  |  February 6, 2014  |  9 Comments

Last September I conducted an informal survey of NoSQL adopters to improve our understanding of who is using NoSQL and why. The results were largely what I expected, except for the respondent profile. Database administrators (DBAs) appear to be significantly underrepresented in the NoSQL space, representing only 5.5% of respondents:


The possibility of selection bias occurred to me, but these numbers look accurate based on conversations with clients, vendors and developers. DBAs simply aren’t a part of the NoSQL conversation. This means DBAs, intentionally or not, are being eliminated from a rapidly growing area of information management. Application developers may be getting what they want from NoSQL now, but cutting out the primary data stewards will result in long-term data quality and information governance challenges for the larger enterprise (see “Does Your NoSQL DBMS Result in Information Governance Debt? (G00257910)).”

If you’ve adopted a NoSQL DBMS, what are your integration and governance plans? Do you even have any?

Category: nosql  

Nick Heudecker
Research Director
2 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Nick Heudecker is an Analyst in Gartner Intelligence's Information Management group. He is responsible for coverage of big data and NoSQL technologies. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on NoSQL Shouldn’t Mean NoDBA

  1. Chris Chang says:

    Curious what % of the respondents use NoSQL DBaaS platforms.

    • Nick Heudecker says:

      I have some data on that, but it wasn’t statistically significant enough to report. Hoping to redo the survey in August of 2014 and get better results.

  2. […] to the Gartner poll, a scant 5.5% of NoSQL users identified themselves as DBAs that run their businesses […]

  3. […] to the Gartner poll, a scant 5.5% of NoSQL users identified themselves as DBAs that run their businesses […]

  4. […] to the Gartner poll, a scant 5.5% of NoSQL users identified themselves as DBAs that run their businesses operating on […]

  5. […] in response to Gartner NoSQL analyst Nick Heudecker’s blog post stating DBAs made up only 5.5% of respondents in an informal survey of NoSQL, the MyNoSQL team […]

  6. Hmm, well.. yeah it really should mean no DBA. Sorry guys, there’s just no point in this. DBAs will have to change into architects – which is more than a simple title shift – if they want to stay relevant.

    Architects require knowledge of systemization, provisioning, application development, cutting edge techniques and networking along with DBA-esque comprehension of scalability.

    Long story short; if you’re actually working with Big Data, a whole slew of DBAs will just gum up the works and cost you a fortune in the process.

    If you are -not- working with Big Data, then you don’t need anything more than one or two college drop-outs who read a primer on some scripting language.

    • Nick Heudecker says:

      Hi Garet,

      While I agree that DBAs will have to evolve, I don’t agree with you about DBAs getting in the way of a Big Data project. Big Data isn’t special or new. It’s just data. If you ignore fundamental concerns around data quality, security and governance, your project will have a long-term negative impact on the business. Those concerns have historically been in the realm of the DBA.

      Thanks for your insightful comments.


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