On Thursday, September 30, 10:30AM EST, Bert Scalzo and I will be doing a Quest sponsored Webcast – “DBAs Versus Developers.”

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They're probably not fighting for the database...

That sounds awfully contentious, Jeff!
When visiting customers I am often talking to a group of developers in the morning and DBAs in the afternoon. In the morning, I tell my DBA jokes. In the afternoon, I make friends by piling on the developers. From time to time we have people that bridge the gap or attend both sessions. It is very interesting to watch their expressions as we talk about the challenges they face in the Oracle domain.

It’s not really a war, but it can seem that way sometimes.
I have to admit that I am flummoxed when I hear a developer claim they are not allowed to have a PLAN_TABLE or even view V$SESSION in their development instance! I mean, how are these developers expected to be responsible for the performance of their applications.

This has to be tempered by the fact that the DBA is responsible for protecting the database from it’s users. Do you open up everything to the end user, or do you go more restrictive and wait for the user to complain?

It is these types of debates and challenges that Bert and I will be discussing, and hopefully we can offer some sage advice for finding a happy middle-ground!

What is your favorite bone to pick with ___________ ?
Leave your comments and Bert and I will do our best to work it into the conversation.

I’ll place the Webcast invite link here as soon as we have it ready.


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Datachick here…

    In my experience this isn’t a personal thing at all. It’s not that Devs don’t understand or that DBAs can’t explain. It’s that devs are measured, compensated, and measured based on metrics that force them to treat data poorly. They are measured and rewarded based on how fast they can get application code into production. They have to get it past some tests, but often these tests care nothing of data integrity or accuracy.

    I have never seen a compensation or performance plan for developers that emphasized data quality.

    DBAs, on the other hand, *are* measured for data integrity, reliability, security, and quality.

    So management has, intentionally, or not, put these two communities in direct competition against each other.

    We could throw in DAs, too, who often are placed in positions that put them against DBAs and Devs, too. It’s a wonder that we survive at all. At least DBAs and Devs can work together against the data architects :).

    • JeffS

      “So management has, intentionally, or not, put these two communities in direct competition against each other.” – I love that take. Definitely something I’m going to think more on.

  2. I’m with Noel.

    I don’t believe many developers truly understand the reasons DBAs do certain things. I would also say that DBAs, in the spirit of teamwork, should go out of their way to explain some of these things (to newbies at least).

    However, it does go both ways.

    There are incompetent DBAs that do things that defy logic or who just barely know what they’re doing.

    Ultimately, I believe that by reaching out to DBAs (as a developer) is a great thing. Talk to them, ask them questions. Most of the time they are more than willing to help. I follow the “Love your DBA” philosophy…otherwise, you’ll get nothing accomplished.

  3. I’m both a DBA and Dev, so I don’t see “versus” that way. My first reaction? To me it’s those who truly care about data vs. those who don’t seem to… that includes pretending to care, just saying they do, not seeing the value of it, just tolerating data, etc. I think there are both DBAs and Devs fitting that description. Perhaps I focus on data because my career includes roles in accounting, economics and financial analysis, and my interest in data led to a shift into technology roles.

    • JeffS

      This is definitely not a black and white issue. I can say with great confidence that there is a large amount of tension out there between these two groups. I think @datachick said it best when this should have been titled ‘Developers Vs DBAs’ as they often see security measures as roadblocks to doing their job. I hope we can go a long way in the webcast to explaining the opposing perspective for both audiences.

      I’m also surprised at how little communication often happens between these two groups. It’s as if the developers are actually afraid to approach the admins.

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