Wednesday, August 31, 2005

How cool is this???

I have to admit, I'm getting quite fond of the new sport of 'Blog surfing'.

I like to follow links on Blogs I read, just to see where I end up.

Reading through the links on Robert Vollman's blog what do I find?

I find a link to my Blog!!!

I then follow another link from Roberts blog, to that of an Oracle blog run byRadoslav Rusinov.

And what did I find???

A link to this blog!!

Cool! Very weird, but at the same time very cool.

Thanks for the publicity guys!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Newbie hints and tips

Following an anonymous post requesting an elaboration on the hints given by Jeff Hunter, I have decided to dedicate this post to just that.

Here are Jeff's comments in full, in an email response to my request for information...

"From the perspective of somebody who answers a lot of questions, I can give a newbie this advice:

1. State your problem clearly. On a forum I frequent you may get hit with a "Crystal ball broken today, please explain" if you don't state your problem clearly.

2. Explain what you want to do. Please include sample data and any errors you encounter.

3. Do not be offended when someone asks you what the business justification is. You may be trying to do something stupid, and we're just trying to figure out why.

4. Tell me what you've done already. Do you want me to assume you did a full backup before I tell you to drop a tablespace?

5. Please understand we do this for free. Sure, we learn how to solve problems in the process, but you get more out of this than we do.
Getting upset with me just puts you on my ignore list.

6. I don't care if your problem is URGENT!! to you. In fact, if you mark your message URGENT!!! I will probably ignore it. You DO have support, right?

7. No, I won't give you my CSI so you can create a metalink account. "

Pretty much common sense, right?

If you are a Newbie, you will do well to take note of this advice.

If you want people to help you, then you have to learn how to help yourself first.

I'm collating a list like this of all comments made by 'seasoned veterans' on how to be a good Newbie. It will appear in my presentation and I will continue to post comments here.

An Apology...

Ok, Ok, I'm still here, still breathing (just!)

Been offline a bit lately, I've been working on my final paper for my BSc in Computing and needed to make sure i got it right!

I'm off now to work on the next post, but thought I'd best check in first.

I've had quite a few people ask if I'm still blogging (yes, Tom, that includes you!), I hadn't realised I'd left it so long.

Where does the time go?

Watch this space...update very shortly!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

How to be a good Newbie

What constitutes a 'good' Newbie?

One of the things I've been looking at lately is how Newbies are treated out there in the big, bad world of DBA's, particularly in forums and discussion groups.
Some forums and individuals are quite tolerant of Newbies and aim to be helpful, others are just downright hostile.

RTFM seems to be the stock answer of choice these days, with the Newbie often left thinking 'which FM are they talking about!'
A previous post on Tom Kyte's blog talks about this in depth.

What I'd like to know is, what do the 'elders' in the community expect from Newbies?

What would make you more enthused to help out?

I received an email from Jeff Hunter outlining the ways in which he believed Newbies could raise their profile.
It was very helpful, and with hindsight, most of it is common sense.

These forums are a free service, nobody is obliged to answer a post.
Newbies should also not forget that many of the people responding are at work themselves, so they don't appreciate being asked to do someone else's job for them.

Newbies are more likely to get a helpful response if they can prove they have done some thinking for themselves.
Sending a post saying "I have a problem, X, I have tried solutions Y and Z, but I still have a problem, what can I try next" is more likely to get a response than "It's broken tell me how to fix it".

What suggestions do you have?

The Rehearsal

Registration is now open for the UKOUG Unix SIG meeting to be held on 13th September in Slough, UK.

My Newbie presentation is on the agenda.

It'll be a good opportunity for me to practice before the conference in November and to make sure I have the content right.

Anybody that is planning on attending, feedback would be appreciated!

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Little Guys

Following the comment posted by Harry I wanted to broaden this out a little.
I started in my first DBA role 3 years ago. The production finance system was Oracle Financials 10.7 CUI running on Oracle 7.3.4 on a DG/UX Aviion server.The company is still running that configuration today.

Now, I'm working in an IT team of 5 people.We have 2 production systems with third party applications on SE on Windows 2000.To class either of these systems as 'busy' I'd need to reach 10 concurrent users. Seriously.

The databases were installed about 18 months before I joined the company. They were put in by the third party applications vendor, just a standard install accepting all the defaults.
As the systems are not 24x7, nor are they heavily used at the moment, there isn't much of a requirement for me to intervene.There were a few little tasks for me to do initially, such as changing default passwords and multiplexing controlfiles and redo logs, but at the moment, I just have to keep an eye on them and let them tick over.Our production finance system is about 25GB in size, the project system is at 5GB.

As you can probably imagine, being a DBA is not my only job function here. I'm currently rewriting our Security Policy and leading various projects including looking at change control, housekeeping and disaster recovery.
I try and keep in with Oracle stuff as much as I can, through papers, books, websites etc, but it can be difficult to find the time with so many other responsibilities.
I know of DBA's who have allocated reading and research time during the working day, I'm still trying to convince people that sitting at my desk reading, or browsing the internet is not 'wasting my time'.

There are so many things I want to do with the databases, but the general consensus here is that they are working fine and 'don't need played with'.
Things I need to do include patching from to at least and trying to build in some resilience.

My next big task is the business has announced it wants to upgrade to the next version of one of the applications. The new app is not, however, supported on 8i.
So I'll just have to upgrade the database to 9i.
I'd never done an install or upgrade before - I just did the test system a couple of months ago - but as one of my colleagues pointed out 'you get a CD, it can't be that hard'.

So to answer Harry, I won't forget about the little guys using SE, because I am one of them.

Are there any more of us out there?