Proliferation of DBMS Varieties - Not Just Big Data - Creating Management Headaches for Data Professionals, New Study Finds

The rise of big data has garnered much of the attention in the data management arena lately. But it is not simply the sheer volume of data that is challenging data professionals. Many new types and brands of DBMSs are also popping up across organizations, bringing new problems for the data professionals who are tasked with managing them, and also giving rise to scores of  "accidental database administrators" with no formal DBA training, a new Unisphere Research study reveals.

The survey of data and IT managers finds that companies are only beginning to grasp the complexities that are arising with the increasing assortment of databases. The survey gathered input from 289 qualified data managers, who are readers of Database Trends and Applications and was fielded in March and April 2011 by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., in partnership with Quest Software. 

The results of the survey are explained in a research report authored by Joe McKendrick and titled "Data Cross-Currents: 2011 Survey on Cross-Platform Database Administration," now publicly available from Quest Software.

The survey found that respondents run a variety of database brands within their enterprises. Integrating the data moving between multiple databases is considered the biggest challenge within multi-DBMS environments and in most cases, home-grown solutions are used to manage across different brands.

Most companies have databases that are managed informally by someone other than a trained database professional. Often, these are single-purpose or edge databases, and companies just don't have DBAs to properly manage these environments.

Additional sources and systems are continually being added to the mix, adding to the mix, respondents say. Challenges are exacerbated by the increased complexity of handling more and increasingly larger database instances, while also keeping up with the latest features presented in new releases, and continuing to support older DBMS versions.

New applications can add to the complexity, by bringing in new database instances through the back door. As one respondent, a DBA with a large government agency, observed: "It is hard to standardize on a single DBMS platform because [commercial off-the-shelf] applications come with many kinds of embedded databases."

Respondents to the survey were entered into a drawing to win an iPad 2. Logan G. Harbaugh, CTO, Mediatronics, was selected as the winner. While there was only one winner of the drawing, all respondents received the study report without registration. To access the study, go the Quest Software website.