Thursday, September 07, 2006

SIG Meeting

I've just gotten the verbal OK from my line manager to attend the Management and Infrastructure SIG meeting on 4th October. Most of the opresentations look like they will be both interesting and useful. My employer is looking to introduce ITIL so the "Can it help me? What are the pitfalls?" presentation could be useful, similarly the DBA/Database ratio presentation is highly relevant to my current environment. The VLDB and Datawarehouse talks should be useful as some of ourdatabases are growing to be pretty huge, partly just datagrowth but also because we're getting situations where two or more separate applications (each with their own database) are being collapsed into one, total data volume has probably fallen but the data is now all in one place rather than being spread over two or more servers.

There's currently a big discussion going on about where the DBAs should sit in the organisation. In the background to the discussion are questions about what a DBA is and what a DBA does. There are a number of people who call themselves DBAs but are really application support people who happen to work mostly in the database, often doing little more than running prepackaged scripts and stopping/starting the database using OEM. They don't do any problem resoution (the problem resolution procedure is "Raise call with application vendor"), tuning or maintenence (other then running prepackaged scripts). Then there's a few people like myself who tend to do problem diagnosis and resolution, tune databases, set up servers, do proactive and preventative maintenence &c.

I was recently asked to give my thoughts on what a DBA does and landing up splitting it into three roles: Development DBA, Application Support DBA and Infrastructure DBA. here's my descriptions:
A Development DBA is one who does database side development as part of a development team, advises the front end/middleware developers (mostly about query tuning and fixing syntax/logical problems), create database objects and may administer (startup/shutdown, create users) the databases used in development. Tycally they will not be involved in installation of the Oracle software, creation of databases, setting up servers, server tuning, Oracle patching or anything outside of the development process. There is a good description of a development DBA here:

An Applications DBA is one who works as part of an applications support team to implement and support an application. They will be very focused on one particular application (or a small group of related applications) and typically will only deal with the schemas for that application. They tune queries, create and recreate objects as needed (mostly indexes) &c. Often they won't even have a login to the database server or have the sys/system passwords for the database. Typically they will not be involved in installation of the Oracle software, creation of databases, setting up servers, server tuning, Oracle patching (although they will patch the application) or anything outside of the application they support.

These first two are very much vertically oriented, stove piped even, they are only concerned with one application (either developing it or suppoorting it). Infrastrucxture DBAs, however, are very much horizontally oriented. They support the databases accross the organisation and are not restricted to just one application or small group of related applications. Infrastructure DBAs tend to be involved in pretty much everything to do with the database not covered by Application DBAs or Development DBAs, often they will advise or co-ordinate with Application DBAs.
Obviously there is a lot of grey area here, e.g. you might have an application DBA who patches the Oracle software but only on the machines their application(s) run on &c.

I'd describe myself as mostly Infrastructure with occasional flashes of Development.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Agenda for UKOUG 2006

These are the sessions I'm planning on attending at this year's UKOUG conference:

08:00 - 17:45 Registration Open
09:15 - 09:30 Introduction by Ronan Miles, UKOUG Chairman
09:30 - 10:30 Opening Technical Keynote: "What's Coming Next?" by Tom Kyte, Oracle
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 12:00 Accountability for System Performance (introducing Six Sigma quality in Oracle software performance)
Mr Cary Millsap
Hotsos Enterprises, Ltd.
12:10 - 12:55 Moving lots of data quickly
Mr Connor McDonald
12:55 - 13:50 Lunch
13:50 - 14:35 Understanding Logical I/O
Mr Daniel Fink
7S Consulting, Inc.
14:45 - 15:30 All Oracle DBAs have to know about Unix Memory Monitoring
Mr Jurijs Velikanovs
"IT Alise" Ltd
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee
16:00 - 16:45 Everything you wanted to know about indexes
Mr Ben Bor
Acuma Solutions
16:55 - 17:40 An introduction to SQL*Trace, TKPROF and Execution Plans
Mr David Kurtz
Go-Faster Consultancy
17:50 - 18:35 Wait Events and the Geeks Who Love Them
Kyle Hailey
Independent Consultant

08:00 - 19:30 Registration
09:15 - 09:30 Welcome & Introduction by Ronan Miles, UKOUG Chairman
09:30 - 10:30 Keynote Presentations by Ian Smith, Oracle & Jesper Andersen, Oracle
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee
11:00 - 12:00 Practical database performance monitoring
Mr Peter Homes
12:10 - 12:55 Instrumentation 101
Mr Thomas Kyte
12:55 - 14:10 Lunch
14:10 - 14:55 An introduction to the Cost Based Optimizer
Mr Jonathan Lewis
JL Computer Consultancy
15:05 - 15:50 Advanced Research Techniques in Oracle - Part I
Mr Tanel Poder
15:50 - 16:25 Coffee
16:25 - 17:25 Advanced Research Techniques in Oracle - Part II
Mr Tanel Poder
17:35 - 18:35 Average Active Sessions - the magic metric?
Mr John Beresniewicz
Oracle USA
18:40 - 19:30 Exhibition Drinks
19:30 - 23:00 Event Dinner


08:00 - 19:00 Registration
09:00 - 09:45 Converting from Rule-based to Cost-based.
Mr Jonathan Lewis
JL Computer Consultancy
09:55 - 10:40 Storage Internals for the Oracle Architect
Mr James Morle
Scale Abilities Ltd
11:15 - 12:15 Tuning with SQL Profiles
Mr Joze Senegacnik
Senegacnik Joze - Raziskovanje v naravoslovju
12:15 - 13:30 Lunch
14:25 - 15:10 Inside RAC
Mr Julian Dyke
15:10 - 15:40 Coffee
15:40 - 16:25 A Problem for every Solution
Mr Carel-Jan Engel
16:35 - 17:35 CBO – A Configuration Roadmap
Mr Christian Antognini
17:45 - 18:45 Guest Speaker (Simon Weston)
18:45 - 23:00 Focus Pubs & Disco till late

08:00 - 14:30 Registration Open
09:00 - 09:45 Performance and Scalability Enhancements in Oracle 10g and 10gR2
Mr Tanel Poder
09:45 - 10:15 Coffee
10:15 - 11:00 Oracle Database 10g Release 2: Performance Diagnosis Update
Mr Graham Wood
11:10 - 11:55 Once around the block
Mr Connor McDonald
11:55 - 13:10 Lunch
13:10 - 15:05 Creating and Interpreting Basic Block Dumps
Mr Joel Goodman
Oracle University UK

Looks like it's going to be a good conference.