Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

On DBA innovation: who is afraid to fail will keep falling forever

In Cloud, Database tuning, DBA, Exadata, Grid Control, Oracle database on April 24, 2012 at 19:06

Managers always ask software engineers to deliver something sooner rather than waiting to deliver everything later.

How come it is fine to deliver an incomplete low quality IT product just because it is delivered on time? Most of us have been on several occasions limited by that deadline and time-schedule in terms of creativity, innovation and pro-activeness.

Innovation in database management and database administration has nothing to do with DBAs from whom you often hear phrases like “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or DBAs who follow blindly the KISS principle.

In DBA terms, innovation is the process of introducing and implementing new features in the database and using new options and database products.

A good example is the adoption of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid/Cloud control. I have seen so many excuses for not implementing it or delaying its implementation. And the benefits and savings of OEM implementation can be measures in times!

Do you wonder how quickly and efficiently one can find out all details of a certain SQL statement without Cloud Control? No other database brand has so highly sophisticated tool for performance analysis like Oracle has. See all the details offered with one mouse click: Exadata Cell Offload Efficiency (96% in this case), Wait Activity in detail, use of the Result Cache, etc. All that from a single screen!

Accepting new innovative database properties, tools and appliances is hard for many IT architects, IT managers and most of all for DBAs who have the primary responsibility to test, verify and promote these features.

Let us have a look at one other innovation from Oracle. Implementing Exadata can be strongly considered if any of the following 5 points are in the IT roadmap:

1. Implementing a new Business Intelligence solution
2. Datawarehouse licenses are up for renewal
3. Database platform consolidation exercise
4. Storage requirements are increasing and the performance is decreasing
5. Performance of transactional systems requires major improvements

Look at the list below and think how many of these are used by your company or client:

– Exadata
– Enterprise Manager Cloud Control
– Edition-Based Redefinition
– Advanced Compression
– Oracle Database Appliance
– Automatic SQL Tuning
– Total Recall
– Real Application Testing
– One of these init.ora parameters: db_ultra_safe, result_cache_mode, optimizer_capture_sql_plan_baselines, awr_snapshot_time_offset

Although I did not put Enterprise Manager Cloud Control on top of the list, is it still a must for every Enterprise using Oracle products. On the light side, I was recently asked if you can see the temperature of a given computer from OEM 🙂 Here we go:

Jon Taplin said it very well in his article on Steve Jobs and Innovation: “At the Innovation Lab we try to inculcate the notion that you can’t be afraid. You can’t be afraid to fail. You can’t be afraid to “be different”. You can’t be afraid to celebrate the weird mix of art and science that is true innovation. Steve Jobs embodied all of those qualities. I wrote a bit about him in my new book and there is a cool video in the book of his graduation speech at Stanford that you will see replayed too often in the next few days.”

As a DBA, one should try to step out of his comfort zone where (s)he is surrounded by the everyday administrative tasks and reactive performance tuning work and try to make difference in the enterprise by acting more like a Database Architect than a Database Operator. Prove the complexity and importance of the DBA role!

P.S. Often in IT, the way from Insight to Action is longer than the Way of St. James.