The Over Protective DBA

Deviating from the developer sphere, we continue the Development Project Archetypes

A good many application require access to a database. If you’re lucky, you’ll have free rein over the database to make whatever changes you deem necessary. If you’re unlucky, you’ll need to make those changes through an Over-Protective DBA.

The Over-Protective DBA protects his database with an iron fist. Requests for changes to a stored procedure go through several iterations to ensure they include the standard corporate header and naming conventions. He also challenges every single piece of code in the procedure to see whether you really need it. Only when satisfied that the application can’t be deployed without it will he grace the database with your changes. In the development environment, at least…

If you really want a battle on your hands, suggest to an Over-Protective DBA that you should switch to an object-relational mapper. Be prepared to launch into a prolonged debate on the performance of stored procedures vs. dynamic SQL, the dangers of SQL injection, and the “importance” of being able to deploy changes to business logic without re-compiling the application.

The Over-Protective DBA often has company policy on his side so he will be a challenge. Don’t spend a lot of time confronting him head-to-head. Your database is an important part of your application, it behoves you to get along with him. Instead, arm yourself with knowledge and talk to him in common terms. In our experience, DBAs can often be negotiated with for certain things, such as an automated database deployment.