Monday, September 26, 2005


I gave my presentation, I asked for feedback, than I disappeared for a week in the sun.

I returned to find I'd topped 1500 hits on my blog, I got a couple of comments about the presentation, and I got a few really nice, positive emails about the presentation I gave.

Oh, and I got my results on the day I returned.........I now hold a Bsc in Computing!

Well done me!!

I got my degree, and now I have a whole load of free time in which to up-date my blog and get my website started.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Rehearsal Part II

Today I gave my Newbie presentation at a UKOUG SIG meeting.

Despite being a bit nervous before hand, I did really well.

I got a few questions afterwards, the result of which being I will add bits into my presentation for UKOUG. I also had a lot of people congratulate me and, more importantly, tell me that they had learned something.

I'll be offline for a week now, as I'm heading off for some sun to get over the excitement of the presentation!!

If anybody out there saw my presentation today, I'd be grateful for feedback.

See you in a week!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Watch this space...

I'm now the proud owner of

Not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it yet, but I have a few ideas.

You know us girls, we live for impulse shopping!

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

(oh, and there's nothing there yet, so don't bother looking!)

The Analogy

OK, for the benefit of Niall.

The database is like a castle surrounded by a moat.

The instance is the drawbridge.

When the drawbridge is in place, you get easy access back and forth to the castle. That's what it's there for.

When you take the drawbridge out of position, you can still see the castle, you know it is still there, you just can't reach it.

(I can't believe I've just explained the concept of database and instance to an Oakie ;-))

I like analogies. I've always found it easier to 'get' a concept when I have a real world situation to liken it to. (But then again, I am a blonde!)

I use analogies a lot when trying to explain things to non-technical people, as well as Newbies.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What do I need to know? Part I

I was asked to sit in on a 9i DBA course a couple of weeks ago.
The training was being given to some of the engineers from our support services provider (we outsource our network and infrastructure support).

I was asked along just to see how the training went, and to provide specifics about our systems if necessary.
I thought it would be a good idea also as the course was around 9i, which we are currently looking to upgrade to, so I might pick up a few tips!

It was a 3 day course, the first day of which concentrated on an introduction to SQL and using SQLPlus.
Out of the 4 delegates, only one had some database experience, using MS SQL Server, the others were complete Newbies.

On looking at creating tables, one delegate asked about the meaning of terms such as 'initial', 'next', and 'pctfree'.
They were told simply - 'you don't need to know that just yet'.

Similarly, on asking the difference between a database and an instance, the given answer was 'they are the same thing, you don't need to worry about it'.

I'm not disputing the trainers decision to not go into a lot of detail.
On a 3 day course it isn't always advisable, and too much detail can be overload for a Newbie!

So what does a Newbie need to worry about?

Newbies need to learn the basics to form a level of knowledge on which to build.

What has worked well for me the last few years, is to firstly try and gain a broad understanding of all areas of DBA work, without going into too much detail, and without trying to specialise.
I've also tended to learn on a 'need to know' basis.

Here's what I would recommend as a starting point:

1) Learn the structure of an Oracle database.
Know the different 'parts' that make up a database, and what each of them does.
You should be able to note the difference between datafiles, controlfiles and redo log files.

2) Learn how the different parts work together.
Know the different processes that exist and what they do.
You should be able to explain what the log writer or database writers do. At this stage, it is enough to know what is done, rather than how it is done!

3) Learn the concepts of backup and recovery.
Know the difference between archivelog mode and noarchivelog mode, and what that means to the recovery process.
Understand hot backups and cold backups and when you would use each one.

Once you have a good grounding in the above areas, you will be able to build on your knowledge.
Knowing how things are supposed to work will also make it easier to troubleshoot when things don't work.

In part II, I'll look at how to build on the basics and where to go next.