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Lack of Time for Performance Tuning Tops Database Professionals' Complaints

So much to do, so little time. That familiar refrain is very much on the minds of database professionals who yearn for more time to tune and fix poor performing SQL code to accelerate their database and application performance according to a just-released Database Trends Survey conducted by Embarcadero Technologies.

The Web-based survey, taken in July and August, received 1230 responses from DBAs, developers, architects, and analysts about the database-related tasks they wanted to spend more time performing. Most respondents (41.8 percent) work in enterprises valued at more than $1 billion; 60 percent of represented organizations had at least 1,000 employees. Nearly a third (30.4 percent) had been a DBA or working with databases for ten to 15 years.

Forty-one percent of respondents cited tuning as the job they'd like to find the time for, followed by fixing sub-optimal SQL code (39 percent), monitoring their databases (28 percent), and learning new skills or technologies (27 percent). Rounding out the list: "keeping skills up to date, testing new database features, and eliminating bottlenecks," Embarcadero said. Loading and unloading data finished in last place on the list.

The lack of time could be due to the additional responsibilities placed on respondents. Forty-one percent of DBAs said they are writing more SQL code than they did five years ago (about 31 percent said they weren't doing more; the question didn't apply to the remainder of respondents).

“The lines between DBAs and developers are continuing to blur, with more production DBAs getting involved in non-production environments and traditional developers using SQL on a regular basis,” said Kyle Hailey, program manager for database performance and optimization products at Embarcadero, in a prepared statement. ”At the end of the day, both groups have equitable concerns and goals -- namely, how to tune and improve the performance of SQL code without making it an enormous time suck.”

To give them more time for the tasks they said they want to do, many respondents thought automation could help and their work lives easier. Topping the list of tasks to automate: over a third (36 percent) chose diagnosing production issues, followed by "fixing poor performing SQL code" (29 percent), database monitoring (26 percent), and database tuning (24 percent).

The complete survey results are available at no cost. No registration is required.

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 10/06/2010

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