WOW. That’s all I have to say after watching Microsoft’s 4/19 Data AMP Presentation. SQL 2017 is the official name of SQL vNext, otherwise known as SQL on Linux. We knew about SQL on Linux last year, so this isn’t some new revelation. That is, until Microsoft announced Python and R support for SQL 2017. And not just support, but IN QUERY support. Then there was demo’s of a ton of other stuff geared towards data warehouse and business intelligence, as well as extended capabilities of Azure.
Did I mention Python support for SQL on Linux (sorry SQL 2017)? Ya, I’m a little too excited about that I think. You can’t blame me though. 20 years ago, it would have dismissed as a pipe dream because Linux was this cute little cousin to Unix. 10 years ago, it would have been heresy to mention SQL running on an open source technology. Today, it became reality. The little IT kid in me as all kinds of … well, giddy.
The landscape is changing
What else did I get out of this presentation? Well I could try to talk about PowerBI, the Data Lake stuff, the Data Warehouse capabilities, or Azure but I would be talking out my backside as I just don’t have much experience with those technologies. And I’m starting to realize that might just be a problem.
We all have our specialities, but I’m starting to wrap my mind around the idea that maybe dipping a toe into these other worlds isn’t a bad thing. At least from the sense that you’ll get a better understanding of the overall picture. Not to mention, you never know when knowing a little a bit about other areas of SQL might pay off or help you solve a problem quicker.
What did resonate pretty well with me though, is Azure is becoming a force. Maybe it has been for awhile and I just haven’t looked up long enough, or often enough to notice. If you can get access to the latest technology without the expense of the hardware, finding the expertise to run said hardware, and it scales quickly….just how are on premise data centers suppose to keep up? Not cheaply, that’s for sure.
Which brings me to my ultimate realization after today’s presentation. Career wise, DBAs have to evolve. I know it’s been said a thousand times, but the days of running backups, granting permissions, and the other daily dba tasks are riding off into the sunset for all but those who work in data centers such as Azure, Google, or AWS.
That means for the rest of the DBAs to continue to be employed as data professionals they have to learn new skills. Unless I am missing something, that means focusing on development skills. Not just SQL either. They are going to have to know things like R, Python, PowerShell, and probably some C#, including .NET framework. That might not be the only thing, as Thomas LaRock (b/t) thinks there might be other areas to invest in as well.
I mean, you can’t ignore these areas any longer. Microsoft was demoing Data Lake enhancements against databases that were Petabytes in size. That’s plural Petabyte. I remember when they told us we’d never be able to fill a gigabyte drive. I was just getting accustomed to the handful of database that I support that are under 10TB.
On the upside, I think it has supplied me with some direction as to where I need to focus my energy.