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Inspired by a similar question specifically about developers, I would like to know how system administrators work with Database Administrators better.

In my 10 years experience as a system administrator, I've worked with a variety of DBAs. I've seen a lot of conflict on both sides, most often due to disagreements about who owns what, especially regarding security.

So the question is: How do you come to compromise when disagreeing with DBAs?

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Sadly everywhere I've worked, I've been both the sysadmin and the DBA. Reduces the arguments a little :) –  David Pashley Jun 5 '09 at 7:40

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Be ready to explain WHY you do something and listen to WHY they do something.

It really helps is both parties can back up a few steps and concentrate less on how they currently (or expect to) do something and focus on what the overall purpose is.

If the DBA is focusing on getting program X to talk to the database when the sysadmin doesn't allow program x to run on "his" network no one is going to leave the room happy.

If on the other hand the DBA needs to accomplish something that can be done with program X, but the sysadmin knows of a security flaw in program X. The DBA can discuss what he's trying to accomplish. The sysadmin can share the information about the security issue. Together they can look for a better way to accomplish the goal (or find a fix to the security issue).

When it's over, the job will be done and both parties have learned something.

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At the end of the day, it's really about negotiating compromise so each person can do their job better. This answer is even better if you edit to flesh that out more :-). –  jtimberman Jun 6 '09 at 6:33

I think it's helpful to remember that when doing your job, sometimes the way you do things may not make the most sense to outside observers, but you do them that way for a reason. The same principle (probably) applies to that difficult DBA. Showing them the same respect you'd like to be treated with can go a long way.

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Like anyone, be friendly. It makes life easier.

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  • show respect
  • say "please" and "thank you" when appropriate
  • assume the other guy knows what he does, when you don't understand, politely ask "why", and indicate you wish to learn.

In short, be friendly & respectful .. not something this engineer always pulls of without an internal struggle..

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