IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems - December 2017 - 29
i shop, large or small, needs to
create and staff the position of
Why? For starters, a new world
has come to data and databases.
"Traditionally, all of the other
database platforms, Db2*, Oracle,
SQL Server and so on, they've all
required database administration,
and those environments have had
long-time roles and responsibilities for database administrators
(DBAs)," says Cain. "On AS/400
or even back to System/38, we
had a relational database that
did not require administration:
It's integrated, it's configured, it
works. So we never needed the
administrative side of things.
"That basically propagated
into, 'We don't need anybody to
focus on database at all,' and that
became the void," he adds.
For an IBM i environment, a
database engineer would have an
enterprise-wide focus on relational
database technology, including
database design, database architecture, database implementation,
modeling and SQL performance
tuning. Again, these sorts of
actions traditionally haven't been
done-or even seen as necessary-
in IBM i environments.
Today, the knowledge and skills
of a database engineer are needed
for all but the smallest IBM i shops.
Cain offers this general guideline:
If you're doing custom design and
development work on applications,
that's all the justification required
for a dedicated database staffer.
"Saying 'You need a database
engineer,' I know that might be a
shock to some people," he adds.
"The world of
database is a lot
bigger than you
think, and you
don't know what
you don't know."
-Mike Cain, database
consultant with IBM Systems
"The world of database is a lot bigger than you think,
and you don't know what you don't know."
The Changing World of Databases
So what don't you know? Here are some things to
consider regarding the changing world of databases:
Data. There's simply more of it now: These days,
a single file or a table can be as much as a terabyte in
size. In addition to possessing far greater amounts of
data, enterprises must now deal with unstructured
data: web pages, electronic records, video and image
files, and much more. Managing these large database
environments isn't trivial. Who will ensure adequate user
response times? Who will implement best practices?
Meeting new business requirements/providing
for end users: Every business has initiatives and
aspirations, short- and long-term. Maybe you have a
new business partner that wants to exchange documents in XML or JSON formats. Do you have someone
who's familiar with those types of documents? That's
a fundamental database engineering question.
Cain points to a starker scenario, noting the need
for IT to take the lead in providing for corporate users.
Remember years ago when individual business units
would purchase and run their own x86 boxes because
they weren't getting the functionality they needed?
That sort of unsanctioned acquisition is even easier
now. With the availability of MongoDB and other open-
Contact IBM to Learn More
If you're interested in identifying, standing up and supporting a Db2*
for idatabase engineer, or need more information on what the job entails,
contact Mike Cain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
source databases, a rogue group
can download its own data repository. If there's no one in IT who has
a comprehensive understanding
of data in all its forms, motivated
users may find another way.
"When IT people are dragging
their feet, I tell them, 'You're
in danger of being bypassed
because you're not keeping up,' "
Data security, governance
and control: Let's extend this
scenario. If you have a department that's running its own
database and conducting its own
queries on massive amounts of
corporate data, do you think
it will occur to these users to
provide backup and recovery or
otherwise secure this information? Can you afford your own
data breech? Obviously, security
must be the domain of IT, and the
knowledge and skills a database
engineer provides makes it easier
for IT to fulfill its mandate.
Making the Move
Bringing a database engineer
into an IBM i shop isn't as easy as
going to a bunch of job sites and
searching on "Db2 for i database
engineer." You simply won't find
many workers out in the world
who fit this description. But you
do have options.
ibmsystemsmag.com DECEMBER 2017 // 29