By Jeff Erickson
Anyone who’s worked with Heli Helskyaho—Oracle ACE director, EMEA Oracle User Group community ambassador, and author—on a database project or experienced one of her talks knows she likes to make things fun. That, she says, is one reason she’s excited about autonomous databases from Oracle.
Autonomous databases take over the parts of her DBA work that worry her the most—unpatched databases and infrastructure, and untested backup and recovery plans—so she can focus on things she likes the most. “Now autonomous databases can do all that by themselves,” says Helskyaho, so she can spend more time having fun, which quite often involves making applications perform at the highest-possible level.
“I’ve been solving performance problems for so long that I know that most performance problems come from bad database design,” she says. Now she talks about “how to design the database correctly the first time.”
“If you’re a database administrator, database design is a skill you should acquire now,” she advises. One reason to grow your data modeling and database design skills? “Because they are things that only a human can do,” she says. “A computer cannot do it for you,” because only the DBA “can understand the many, many things you have to combine to have the right data model.”
Helskyaho and her fellow DBAs have seen Oracle Database automate task after task over the years. “Autonomous is something that’s been building in Oracle Database for a long time,” she says, “and now that it’s here, we’ll all still have our jobs but they will change a little bit for the better.”
Her career advice for DBAs in the age of autonomous databases: “Speaking with people is even more important now,” she says. “That will be the #1 skill that you should have in IT.”
To build the right data model for a business application, for example, means talking to businesspeople and developers. As this type of conversation increases, Helskyaho believes that DBAs and developers will begin to speak similar languages, “because both will be focused on collaborating to make the application better by using the database better.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Oracle Autonomous Database, according to Helskyaho, is that it gives DBAs the time and resources to do more-interesting things. “Autonomous makes things more fun!” she says.
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Illustration by Wes Rowell