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Dev or DBA? Where does the responsibility lie…

… which could be the title of a really great post about a big prod issue debriefing, but sadly, all you’re getting is this post instead!

At the UKOUG 2011 conference, I attended a presentation by Michael Salt about indexes. During the course of the presentation, he mentioned something along the lines of “DBA’s should be responsible for indexes (including creating them)” (that’s not a quote; I can’t remember exactly what he said, unfortunately!). I more or less recoiled, because as a database developer, I would expect to be the person worrying about whether I should be creating an index on a column(s) or not, as part of the design / coding phase. Or even as part of the “why is this query going soooo sloooooooowly?!” prod issue investigation phase.

When I mentioned this on Twitter and Facebook, one of my friends said it was because I was a control freak. He’s not wrong – I am a control freak – but I think that’s irrelevant in this case; the time for thinking about index creation is at design phase, and that (at least, to my mind) is firmly in the developer’s area.

Don’t get me wrong; DBAs are fantastic, knowledgable people (I have to say that, I know far more DBAs than Oracle devs! Anyway, it’s true – at least for most of the DBAs I know) and I’m more than willing to take up my DBA’s advice whenever he’s got some to dispense, but DBA’s are always busy looking after far more systems than I do, so I try hard not to take up more of their time than I have to.

It seems that I’m in a minority over where the dev responsibility ends and the DBA’s starts – things like schema / app design, index creation, SQL optimisation etc are dev activities, whereas things like backups, restores, db creations, GoldenGate setup and tinkering, db tuning, giving advice on poorly performing areas of the code, etc etc are more DBA concerns.

Is it just me? Who should deal with thinking about indexes? Devs or DBA’s? What are your thoughts?