Friday, August 24, 2007

UKOUG Event - Back to Basics: Database Administration

I’m absolutely ecstatic to announce that the UKOUG will be hosting a one day special event aimed at beginners.

It has long been noted that there have been plenty of expert sessions and advanced technical events, but relatively little aimed at the Oracle beginners out there.

After many discussions between myself, the UKOUG and my peers, we now have the ‘Back to Basics’ concept up and running, beginning with the Database Administration event.

‘Back to Basics: Database Administration’ will take place on February 28th, 2008 at Oracle’s City Office in London.

This event is aimed at Oracle DBA’s who are fairly new to the role and are looking to fill the gaps in their existing knowledge.
Maybe you’ve moved into a DBA role from a previous role as a developer or programmer and are looking for that bit of knowledge that’s missing.

The day will aim to provide hints and tips, ‘How to’ advice and point out things that you should be doing. There’ll also be a session on the best ways to get help and how to take your learning forward.
Please note though that this should not be considered a training course in how to learn Oracle.

There is a lot of support for this event from popular speakers so this is an opportunity for beginners to learn from the experts.
As a taster, we have confirmation that Pete Finnigan will be presenting a beginners guide to Oracle Security!

A draft Agenda is in place, in terms of the topics we will be covering, however as it is not yet confirmed there is an opportunity for you to have some say in what you would like to see.

The UKOUG have published an online survey here to give you the chance to provide some direction in what you would like to see covered. It’s also an opportunity for us to gauge the number of people who would be interested in attending.

If you, or any of your colleagues would be interested in the Back to Basics day then please take just a few minutes to fill in the survey.

I hope that all the Newbies out there are as pleased to hear this as I am, and I will hopefully see many of you there!

Friday, August 03, 2007

A word of caution

It’s a fact of life that there are certain subjects on which people will disagree.

Whether it’s about politics, religion or which football team to support, there will always be someone who has a different opinion to yours.

This is also true with technology: do you use a Windows platform or Unix, a PC or a Mac, the list goes on and on.

It’s exactly the same in the Oracle world.
People will disagree and there can sometimes be conflicting opinions out there.
-Do you need RAC,
-Do you need DataGuard,
-What is the best approach for performance tuning?

These are all subjects where there are people on different sides, and they have all been the subject of presentations at various different venues and events.

A difference in opinion, and a healthy debate is normal.
It helps you make a more informed judgement if you are exposed to both sides of the debate.

What isn’t healthy however, is when an opinion is based on an incorrect fact.

It’s also a fact of life that there are occasions where people make mistakes, or are mis-informed, and their opinion can therefore be dangerous as it is based on incorrect facts.

As Newbies, you need to be aware of the different, and sometimes conflicting opinions out there, in order to make sure that the advice you are following is appropriate to you and your circumstances.

This post is not about telling you what is right and what is wrong, it’s about showing you how to make that distinction for yourself.

So here’s some advice:

Widen your reading material
Don’t just stick with one website, or one book or one author – take in a wide variety of sources to get a different perspective.

Do your research
If you’re unsure of something you have read, do some further research on the subject.

Test things out for yourself
If you come across different sources that give conflicting advice, test things out for yourself. It’s the only way you can be sure of what is correct.

Beware of search engines
Although there may be many occasions where search engines are your friend, there is no guarantee of the quality of the results shown. The advice may be out of date, or not relevant to your particular set up or circumstances.

‘Try before you buy’
If someone suggests that the answer to your problem is to run script ‘xyz’ or type command ‘abc’, don’t automatically run it through production.
Read through the script and make sure you understand what it is doing. Look up the command if you aren’t sure what it will do.
Your job will not be saved by saying ‘but Mr X told me to do it!’.
That may sound like simple common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people have been caught out by blind trust.

Check that it is relevant
When asking for help, or researching an issue, make sure you clarify the details. Advice on how to solve an issue in 10g may not work if you are running 9i. Different versions can have different fixes with a range of results.

While the above may all seem like common sense, you will do well to remember it.
Don’t assume that just because you’ve seen something it print, or been told it, that it’s correct.

It will be your job on the line if it all goes horribly wrong.