72% of DBAs manage at least two types of database platforms, according to new survey: mergers and acquisitions leading to more multi-platform DBMS environments.

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Managing multiple database platforms has become the norm rather than an exception for database administrators (DBAs). A new Database Trends Survey that shows 72% of DBAs manage at least two types of database management systems. Of those surveyed, 20% reported managing one database platform, 33% said they manage two, 25% said three, 8% said four, and 14% said they manage five or more.

Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle were cited as the most common database platforms, with 62% of respondents working with SQL Server and 60% with Oracle. Third on the list was Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise with 35%, and Microsoft Access earned 19%. Oracle ranked tops as the database platform that respondents work with primarily.

Multiple Databases and Multiple Versions

Exacerbating the multi-platform database situation is that most DBAs are also tasked with managing multiple versions of a database, adding another layer of complexity to their responsibilities and creating more room for error. According to the survey, 69% manage more than one version of the same database and, of those that do, 51% said they manage three or more versions of the same database platform.

"Each database platform and version has its own features and functionality, and keeping them all straight can be a monumental task for DBAs," said Scott Walz, senior director of product management for Embarcadero. "Multi-platform database management is becoming more commonplace, but that doesn't mean it's getting less complicated."

DBA Challenge No. 1

Although the vast majority of DBAs said they are proficient with more than one database platform, they believe the variables of multi-platform environments will put their skills to the test. When asked to name the single biggest database-related challenge facing them in the next year, the greatest number of respondents said cross-platform database management. Multi-instance databases and tuning tied for second place, followed by database management in third.

The M&A Effect

Mergers and acquisitions may be partly to blame for the increase of heterogeneous database environments and the new batch of problems they bring for DBAs. When asked if their company has gone through a merger or acquisition in the past five years, 43% responded yes. Of those, 18% reported that they had to begin working with new or additional database platforms as a result.

Whether it is through a company acquisition or a newly introduced application, nearly one-third of respondents expect more...

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