Budgeting and Staffing to Deal With the Data Deluge

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

Craig S. Mullins, DBTA columnist and president of Mullins Consulting, discussed how to contend with big data and data growth at an organizational level at Data Summit Connect Fall 2020.

Mullins began with an overview of data growth as a trend and highlighted a forecast by IDC that the global datasphere will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. While the unabated data growth that organizations are experiencing is alarming, Mullins said, the more troubling aspect is the lack of attention it receives from management—the lack of attention, at least in terms of what matters, and that's staffing. "Most organizations and their leaders and executives are saying things like 'we want to take advantage of analytics on big data' and 'we treat data as a corporate asset,' but the actual reality is somewhat of a neglect."

This is illustrated by a stat from Computer Economics: Data management staff as a percentage of IT has risen less than 1% over the 4-year period that they tracked. And, at the same time, the same study showed that IT spending per user also declined. "Now these trends align with what I think is the number-one overall IT management challenge and that's lack of budget," said Mullins.

According to Mullins, companies are collecting more data and connecting more applications than they ever have before and they say they want to make sure that that data is secure, reliable, and accessible and, in other words, they're saying, 'we need DBAs' but despite these increased demands, companies aren't growing their DBA staff levels.

Data from Computer Economics' DBA Staffing Ratios report shows that DBAs have dropped to 2.8% of the total IT staff, down from 3% in 2016, and 3.3% in 2014, said Mullins. "This poses a significant risk: More data with industry trends like the explosion of mobile devices and the growth of the Internet of Things means that more and more data is going to continue to be accumulated and amassed. And that means that we need more DBAs to  to oversee the data, but DBAs are making up a declining percentage of the total IT staff."

Perhaps, said Mullins, management is putting too much faith into marketing claims of a no-outage database, or DBA outsourcing or self-managing databases. "And all those things are happening and lend some credence to this," he acknowledged. And there is also advanced tooling that helps to better manage database systems in the cloud with software as a service, but, still, decreasing DBAs with increasing data is a recipe for problems."

Videos of full presentations from Data Summit Connect Fall 2020, a 3-day series of data management and analytics webinars presented by DBTA and Big Data Quarterly, are also now available for on-demand viewing on the DBTA YouTube channel.