Build resilient systems at scale
May 27–29, 2015 • Santa Clara, CA

Database reliability engineering, modernizing the DBA role

Laine Campbell (Fastly)
5:05pm–5:45pm Thursday, 05/28/2015
Location: Ballroom CD
Average rating: ***..
(3.67, 6 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Prerequisite Knowledge

Mid Level Systems Administration (Ideally Linux/Unix) Scripting Concepts


Consider this a new database administration primer, focused on teaching the developer taking on Operations; or the systems administrator diving into site reliability. This is about the core concepts of database operations within today’s IT paradigms, which can include continuous deployment and delivery, DevOps culture, infrastructure as code, and cloud/virtualized environments.

By the nature of the topic and time allotted, this talk will focus on breadth, not depth, but should allow the participant to understand the concepts, and gain a framework to focus their additional pursuits and education.

1. Database reliability engineering, overview (5 minutes)

  • Site reliability engineering overview/history
  • Database administration overview/history
  • Today’s operational DBA
  • Today‚Äôs DBRE
2. Design (10 minutes)
  • Knowing your datastore, the CAP theorem
  • Designing for operations
  • Velocity – managing change
  • Efficiency/cost
  • Scalability
  • Performance
  • Availability, resiliency, and anti-fragility

3. Deploy (10 minutes)

  • The observability stack
  • Configuration management and deployment
  • Capacity planning
4. Maintain (15 minutes)
  • Data stewardship – Rule 1, protect the data
  • Disaster preparedness and business continuity
  • Release engineering and change management
Photo of Laine Campbell

Laine Campbell


Laine Campbell is AVP of Pythian’s open-source database practice, former CEO and co-founder of Blackbird, and a founder of PalominoDB. Laine has been an Oracle, MySQL and Cassandra DBA architect and designer for 11 years with such organizations as Obama for America, Travelocity, Zappos, Chegg, LiveJournal, Disney Mobile, and Adobe. Laine is also an open-source proponent, and advocate for bringing technology, job opportunities, and privileges to underserved populations.

Laine is co-author of O’Reilly Media’s Databases at Scale. Learn more.