Oracle Database Management Strategic Directions

1. Best Practices for managing Oracle database servers.
2. Oracle Fusion Middleware products like J2EE, ADF, XML, BPEL, SOA, Web Services, Discoverer...).
3. Oracle Application Servers and Apache.

 
 
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oracle Open World - Following the Money

Oracle Open World from my perspective and a lot of people I've talked to was one of the best Oracle Open World in years.  Main reasons:
  • Lots of energy and excitement over Oracle products and applications.
  • Great user and vendor turnout.
  • Oracle and user groups (IOUG, OAUG, Quest, IOUC, HEUG, etc) all working really well together.  When this happens the entire Oracle user community gains.
  • Lots of innovation, Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Applications, Hyperion and Business Intelligence, Enterprise Web 2.0 and the new features in all the Oracle products.
  • Great networking with Oracle Connect, unconferences and an incredible array of evening networking events.
  • Great combination of Marketing presentations to understand strategic directions balanced with a very good technical presentations. There was plenty for everybody.
It was also an exciting conference for the future of the DBA.   Companies have been using software, hardware and outsourcing to greatly reduce the number of working DBAs in the market.   A key point that stood out to me is that there are going to be a lot of new opportunities for DBAs that are willing to learn new things they will be rewarded by being in hot demand for the next couple of years.   Some key areas where growth will create a demand and high revenue for Oracle DBAs and Developers:
  • Data Infrastructure Administrators (DIAs) - who can manage multiple tiers of an Oracle infrastructure.  These DBAs will support the Database Server and Application Server in an enterprise.
  • DBAs who can configure and support Hyperion and BI as it moves into the database.  Hyperion may grow at a tremendous rate over the new few years.
  • Developers who can develop and customize Oracle Fusion Applications using Oracle Fusion Middleware.
  • DBAs who can configure and support the Oracle Application Server and Enterprise Web 2.0.
  • DBAs who can support advanced Oracle configurations such as RAC, Streams, Data Guard and OEM.
  • DBAs that can support Oracle applications.

There are additional areas but these are the three that stand out to me.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting your First Oracle DBA Job

Getting your first job as an Oracle DBA
I received a comment on the blog about how someone changing careers can get their first job as an Junior Oracle DBA. I thought this a very good question so I thought I would share my answer with everyone. There are specific areas I would work on to get a job as a Junior Oracle DBA.
  • Get certified to demonstrate some basic level of Oracle DBA knowledge.
  • Learn the Optimal Flexible Architecture.
  • Practice to get some hands on experience to develop basic skills.
  • Learn how to sell yourself and understand how to write a good resume, cover letter and prepare for a successful interview.
  • Get comfortable with the Oracle documentation and the key reference manuals.
  • Learn where to go to network.
Get Certified

Changing careers to become an Oracle DBA is a definite challenge. If you are looking at becoming an Oracle DBA and you are new to technology then I do feel the certification will definitely help you. It will at least show a certain level of knowledge and a commitment to learning the Oracle technology.

Learn the Optimal Flexible Architecture

The Optimal Flexible Architecture defines a set of guidelines and standards for how to configure an Oracle database server. Most companies follow OFA to some degree. OFA defines well known best practices for how to configure an Oracle database server.

Practice to develop basic skills

Along with that an Oracle DBA has to work in a technical environment. The more a potential employer can feel you can move into their environment and be successful, the more likely you are to get hired. Basic Unix and networking skills are also important to be an Oracle DBA. Understanding the fundamentals of Unix, shell programming and being able to install and manage Oracle in a Unix environment is also important. The good thing is that with VMWare in can be relatively inexpensive to install VMWare (around $80), then you can install a free version of Linux (i.e. Enterprise Linux) or Fedora or SuSE and you can then go through the installation steps to install Oracle on Unix/Linux. Practicing a little bit every day will add up to a lot over a period of time.

Basic skills you should work on:
  1. Read OFA 5 times and conform to its guidelines.
  2. Install Oracle according to OFA. Be able to setup a tnsnames.ora environment.
  3. Make sure you completely understand the Oracle architecture (SGA, background processes, server processes, data files, system tablespaces, redo logs, archive logs, init.ora and spfile).
  4. Be able to write a Unix script to perform a cold backup using a cron job.
  5. Be able to perform full and incremental backups using RMAN. Practice different recover scenarios.
  6. Get comfortable with the data dictionary main views (DBA_DATA_FILES, V$instance, etc.)
  7. Search on the Internet for Oracle DBA best practices to see what other DBAs are doing.
  8. Be able to set up archiving, perform backups and be able to clean up archived files that have been backed up.
  9. Read some introductory chapters on performance tuning. For SQL tuning understand how to understand an Explain Plan and how to perform a SQL trace and run a TKProf report.
  10. Read up on top 10, 20 top things to tune for an Oracle DBA.

Be able to present yourself successfully to a potential employer

Being able to sell yourself and the positive things you would bring to an organization. This is just as important as your technical skills. Companies are always looking to hire someone that has a strong work ethic, will contribute positively to a team and someone that has a great attitude and fits in with a team. The key part of getting your first opportunity as a Junior DBA is selling a potential employer on yourself.

What do you see as your key assets? What can you do to present yourself well to a potential employer? Read up on how to succeed in an interview and interview tips and interview mistakes. Dress professionally for your interviews and be early for your interview. Read up on the company, see what interests you about working for that company and ask the interview questions about the company that show you are interested in joining a quality organization.

To get an opportunity as a Junior DBA you need to show a potential employer that your personal assets and intangibles can make up for you lack of experience. I can tell you that I know a number of people that have changed careers to become an Oracle DBA and they sold the company on themselves to get their first job as an Oracle DBA. I assure you companies are looking for people that work hard, have great attitudes, are trust worthy and can contribute positively to a team. These type of people are hard to find, finding someone with just DBA skills is pretty easy for a company.

Key Oracle Reference Manuals

Below are key Oracle reference manuals you should be very comfortable with.
  1. Oracle Concepts Manual - has entire chapters on different parts of the Oracle architecture.
  2. Oracle Reference Manual - key chapters on data dictionary views and initialization parameters
  3. Oracle SQL Reference Manual - get comfortable reading documentation to add a tablespace, modify a user, add a redo log group, etc.

Learn how to network

Usually the best jobs you get are through networking. Spend some time going to different local networking events. These events are usually a little uncomfortable for people how are new to them. However most networking groups are very motivated to make new attendees welcome. Networking events are also a great way to develop communication skills, learn about different companies and to let people know you are enthusiastic and looking for an opportunity as an Oracle DBA. Ask them questions you have about business, Oracle and any recommendations they have for companies to look at and apply to.

Good networking events to attend:
  • Local Oracle user groups. Search on local Oracle user groups in your area. Most major cities have strong local Oracle user groups.
  • Local Linux user groups.
  • City Business chamber meetings
  • Local Toastmasters meetings
  • Local small business meetings
The first job as an Oracle DBA can be the hardest to find. Don't give up and develop a game plan on things you can do to increase chances for success.

Good luck!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oracle Open World - Changing Role of the DBA

One thing that stands out at Oracle Open World 2008 in San Francisco is the changing role of the Oracle DBA. There are a number of presentations showing how new Oracle technologies and the next generation of Oracle Grid Control are going to change how DBAs manage databases. Oracle DBAs that want to stay marketable are going to have to make sure their skills are consistent with the demands of the market. Oracle DBAs in demand are going to need to specialize in some of the following areas:
  • Oracle High Availability - RAC and Data Guard
  • Storage Management - Automatic Storage Management (ASM)
  • Oracle Streams
  • Oracle Grid Control - Using new tools, advisors and metholdologies for managing the enterprise.
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware - Ability to manage multi-tiered architectures.
  • Identity Management - Ability to work with Oracle Internet Directory and other LDAP servers.
  • Ability to support Enterprise Web 2.0
  • Ability to support multiple database platforms like MySQL.
The old days of an Oracle DBA being able to get by on just performance tuning and backup/ recovery skills are not going to be enough to stay marketable in the future. Basic skill sets are easy to find and easy to outsource. To get a better vision of the future you should look at new features in Oracle Database 11g that can greatly simplify database administration. Some of these include:
  • Automatic SQL tuning
  • New Diagnostics Advisor
  • RMAN Advisor
  • SQL Tuning Advisor
This list is a very small subset of all the diagnostic and advisor tools available in the Oracle Enterprise Manager for Oracle Database 11g. These large set of tools are going to play a large role in managing Oracle production environments. The old days of writing custom scripts are almost over. DBAs are going to use more tools like Grid Control automate a lot of the day to day tasks DBAs typically perform.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oracle Open World - Oracle Database 11g Expert Panel

There was an excellent expert panel on Oracle Database 11g New Features on Sunday that helped set the tone for Oracle Database 11g for the week. This panel had recognized leaders in the Oracle user community and key leaders that were part of the Oracle Database 11g beta program. Trubix has been part of the Oracle Database 11g Beta program since the fall of 2006. The panel included:

  • George Trujillo - Oracle Database 11g Beta Program Leadership Council
  • Dan Norris
  • John King
  • Charles Kim
  • Plamen Zyumbyulev
Oracle Open World is strongly emphasizing Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g throughout the conference. You can also expect that Oracle Database 11g will be emphasized at the upcoming Collaborate 2008 Conference in April, 2008 in Denver, CO. You can expect to see a quicker adoption of Oracle Database 11g with its outstanding features as well as its stability. This option will be a stronger consideration for leap frogging Oracle 10g.

There are blog entries below that summarize Oracle Database 11g New Features.

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The Days of Fusion Confusion are Over

People used to have fun saying Fusion Confusion, etc. Those days are over. Oracle Fusion Applications and Oracle Fusion Middleware are emerging key areas of Oracle applications and technology. Saying “Fusion Confusion” is showing that you are not in touch with what is going on with Oracle technology.

This next generation of Oracle’s strategy will impact those directly involved in Oracle technology as well as those reliant upon it. Current and future Oracle DBAs and developers will need to be able to support Oracle Fusion Application environments. For Oracle DBAs, being able to support Oracle Fusion Middleware environments is going to be a steep learning curve. System administrators are starting to fill the gap of the need for administrators who can support the Oracle middletier. If you want to stay marketable as an Oracle developer, you are going to need to learn at least parts of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, Siebel, Retek and Hyperion applications are all going to need administrators that can manage multiple tiers of Oracle and non-Oracle infrastructures as well architects, developers that understand Oracle Fusion Middleware technology. With the explosion of middleware technologies such as Application Servers, J2EE, Web Services, SOA, BPEL, Business Rules, XML, etc. there will be a strong need for Oracle Fusion Middleware professionals.

Oracle Open World 2008 - San Francisco

Sharing a few Oracle Open World Experiences


Oracle Open World in San Francisco is one of the best (maybe the best) conference Oracle I've been to. There is so much energy and excitement I thought I would share a few of my experiences.

Catching the Excitement of Oracle Open World in the Caribbean

I was on a flight from San Juan Puerto Rico heading towards San Francisco for Oracle Open World (OOW). Someone sitting next to me seen I was in the Oracle documentation on my laptop. She asked if I was going to OOW and I said yes. She said that she was too. She and a number of members of her team were headed for OOW as well. Before long we were talking about how excited we all were to be heading to OOW.

The excitement of everyone going to OOW seems to be a constant for everyone I talked to in San Francisco. I’ve been to a lot of Oracle Open Worlds and I can’t remember when there was so much enthusiasm for customers, vendors as well as Oracle employees. On Saturday and Sunday all the meetings I had seemed to be full of smiles and a lot of enthusiasm and energy.

Saturday night we had an IOUG board meeting and invited some key volunteers from the conference to join us. It was a great dinner and a lot of fun to discuss upcoming IOUG activities and events for the upcoming conference.

Sunday morning I had some early morning meetings and did some final preparation for a 90 minute expert panel I was leading on Oracle Database 11g New Features. I had a lunch meeting and headed over to the Moscone Center. I got registered and headed up to the IOUG booth where I ran into a number of board members from the IOUG and key leaders from the IOUG. It seems like everywhere I went I was running into people I knew and everyone was full of smiles and you could feel the excitement.

IOUG Helps Launch the Start of Oracle Open World

The International Oracle Users Group (IOUG) was given a large number of presentation slots to launch Oracle Open World. Key IOUG leaders delivered technical presentations ranging from Oracle Database 11g New Features (my presentation), RAC, ASM, Oracle Application Server, Security, Oracle Fusion Middleware, etc. all focusing on best practices.

The IOUG has always emphasized best practices. It was great to see the IOUG get recognized for leadership in the technology side of Oracle.

The agenda for the week is one of the best I’ve every seen at an Oracle conference. Some things that stand out to me at the conference include:

  • Great layout of technical presentations focusing on Oracle Database 11g.
  • Large emphasis on Oracle Fusion Middleware.
  • Strong focus on Enterprise Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Oracle Applications seem to be everywhere.
  • Great evening events with Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac.
  • New Unconference activities.
  • Open World Connect allows networking with other conference attendees. A great way to bring people together. This is a new level of networking at conferences which includes the opportunity to start your own blog.

Attendees had a choice of getting a flash drive with the conference technical presentations or getting a hard copy book. I liked being give that choice. I preferred the flashdrive. I’m slowly making a move off of hard copy materials and moving everything to a wiki or web sites. With Enterprise Web 2.0 growing in momentum we are all going to need to make the move to more electronic materials.

 
 

George Trujillo
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