Adios DBA, Hello Azure

This post has been a while coming, from some of my posts over the past few months you may have detected a change in direction somewhat - there's still been the odd Oracle thing in there but a lot of other seemingly more random stuff - much of which has been focused around Azure in one form or another.

This reflects a change in career direction for me which i really wouldn't have imagined 18 months ago - i've completed turned my back on the last 20 years working with Oracle - my double OCM, Ace associate, multiple OCP's all the way back since they came out at v7. This isn't a decision I've taken lightly - changing direction when you are so comfortable at what you are doing is not the nicest of feelings - when you first step out into the void (and actually with Azure the learning curve has been more like a wall than a curve) it's pretty stressful - i'm now starting to see the benefits of putting that effort in and heading back in to a comfort zone where i feel i know whats going on and can start making the right decisions for our business.

Since the start of January I am essentially a DBA no more and i guess the knowledge will start to seep away now and before you know it i'll has forgotten it all....

So what's prompted this change you may ask (and I'm sure thats what you're thinking right now) - i'm crazy right - with this skill set what am I doing?

Well a few things prompted the decision

1) Seeing the way the industry is going with PaaS/SaaS vs IaaS
2) Seeing the Azure cloud and what it can do
3) Having done 'everything' with Oracle there was no real challenge any more
4) The death in the short term of what i would call the 'Infrastructure' DBA (there is no denying this job will disappear in 5 years in my view)
5) Oracle's general attitude on licensing and the 'bullying' as i see it of customers - this has made us change our primary port and look to migrate off where possible

Having now worked with Azure, seen the roadmap Microsoft have and seen the amazing things the platform can do is what swung me. Also attending the MS tech summit today in the UK has really reinforced that I've made the right decision - i would defy any oracle person who saw the talk from Scott Guthrie not to be blown away by what Microsoft are doing these days.

From my experience Oracle cloud is simply not in the same league as Azure and AWS - there throwing loads of money into it but it's too late as far as i can see they are just too far behind and aggressively trying to make customers move there will backfire - everyone i talk to is talking about moving off Oracle (maybe thats partly because I'm surrounded by Microsoft people these days.....).

I honestly think now that we'll see Oracle go into decline over the next few years - there are just much better solutions out there. Oracle still has the best RDBMS on the market - but the market is so much more than the database now.

So for now it's adios on the Oracle front - i'll still be blogging at the same account but the content will just be different - maybe you'll start seeing from some of my posts why I'm so sold on Azure and maybe it will make you think about your longer term future.

IT really is a Darwin industry - you evolve or you die - at the moment it feels like we're heading into a mass extinction event and people need to start that evolution........


  1. I know you said you were going to keep going, but please make sure you do. :) I like reading the new stuff too, so don't let yourself slack of. All the best with the new venture.



  2. Thanks for writing this Richard. As a "classic" Oracle Developer; Apex, PL/SQL etc. this resonates so much with me. I have spent much of the last two years reinventing myself as an .NET Developer.

    I have just returned from NDC London and was fortunate to see Scott Guthrie talk and demonstrate some very cool features of Azure. I can see Serverless functions being very (very!) popular with clients because of the cost differences.

    I will be interested to hear about your journey as it unfolds. Good luck!

  3. While I am reading your post, I can't help to think I am reading my mind. I've been working as Oracle DBA for 21 years and since some months ago I started to think to restart my career and follow a different path. In my case, I have decanted for AWS. As you, I think that the age of the Oracle DBA is near to an end. Good luck.

  4. 61 years old having started out with VSAM and IMS and doing Oracle the last 15 years I can only agree. For me I will ride it out til my sunset knowing that Oracle won't screw it up that fast and the dinosaurs still have a few years left.

  5. I very much doubt that the Oracle DBA (or DBA's in general) will disappear to be lessened.
    Do I think you made the right choice? Absolutely! I have done the same - but having done that and helping client make the move I realize that the Kool-aid is just that. DBA's will be needed and the emphasis simply changes with the platform. The Cloud comments that DBAs are a role of the past is disingenuous. If anything the role becomes more important as Cloud introduces it's own problems that are also not easily addressed.

    Given that there is a pull back from cloud - the question of what we do and will it go away will not be answered over the next 5 years (or longer - I think longer personally).

    I just think diversifying your skillset is critical to long term career survival and necessary - but will you lose the Oracle skills - not a chance. Just a matter of change of emphasis.

    1. Hi,
      Maybe it's just our definition of what we think a DBA is here making us disagree - i think a DBA in the traditional sense is the one who installs the db, patches it , backs it up etc - the whole 'feed and water' thing. I honestly think that will disappear (or be hugely lessened).

      People who have roles around 'data' will still be needed and actually these roles will become more important if the whole 'data is the new oil' paradigm is to be believed.

      Also of you consider the A in DBA as 'architect' then i think that kind of role is still valid - if you consider it A for administrator them I'm sorry in my view you need to diversify......