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Is there a good guideline for the number of DBAs an organization should have relative to the number of employees or users or size/type of DB (or some other qualifier)?

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Is this a real question? –  bigown Jan 4 '11 at 19:25
    
I thought it was. What's wrong with it? –  Ramy Jan 4 '11 at 19:30
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1. we have no idea what type of work your business does; 2. we have no idea how dependent on databases your work is; 3. we have no idea how busy the DBA is through the day; etc. –  Joe Jan 4 '11 at 19:34
    
I wasn't asking explicitly about my organization. I started to describe my organization and thought it would be best NOT to do that. I'd just like to know what factors go into determining how many DBAs a company has. –  Ramy Jan 4 '11 at 19:38
    
Is there a good guideline for how many (x) type employees I need in my (y) type of business with (z) number of total employees? –  REW Jan 4 '11 at 22:19
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closed as not constructive by Brian Ballsun-Stanton, Joe, Sathya, jcolebrand, Coder Hawk Jan 5 '11 at 5:04

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2 Answers

Enough so that existing DBAs aren't overworked and getting burned out; not so many that the DBAs are sitting on their thumbs all day waiting for something to happen.

update: as at least one person doesn't appreciate the humor --

It's impossible to use any other metric; one good DBA with some skills in scripting/automation might be able to pull off the work of 2-3 mediocre ones. Even if the typical issues that come up are tuning the database -- there are those that can figure out what needs to be done in 2 hrs, and the ones that take 2 weeks.

I've worked in shops where there were two of us who had gone through the Oracle DBA classes out of a group of 8-10 people (the rest were graphic designers for the most part, and two that did some Perl and ColdFusion programming; the DBA-ish folks were also the sysadmin/webserver admins, plus programming support, so probably only ~1 FTE of DBA).

I've also worked for places that had at least 8 people who had Oracle DBA certification in a department of 200 people (supporting 35k students and 3k?4k? faculty and staff.), but in that case, did the three of us who managed the LDAP servers count as DBAs? It's a database, we were administering it. Or the person who was in charge of DNS? Or the people who administered the mail servers (again, a database backend). But the only people who had the title of 'DBA' were the ones responsible for the backups and user provisioning of the systems (Banner and Oracle Financials) ... and they couldn't handle tuning if their life depended on it.

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It really depends on the company. You could have a company of 500 people with two small databases and no in house DBA and be just fine. On the other hand you could be a company with 1000 employees and 2000 very large very busy database servers and need 2-3 dozen database professionals to manage the systems.

There is no magic number. It will also depend largely on the skill of the database people on staff.

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