What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? Time management. There’s a tendency to think a project will go much faster than it does. People get sick, need time off for this or that, or need training on new technology—or a completely unexpected glitch is discovered. Too many times there’s no slack in the schedule; one misstep and the whole project is thrown off. The best solution is to plan pessimistically. When I first started consulting, my boss at the time advised me, when estimating a project time, figure out how long you really think it will take, double that, and add 10 percent. That seems to still hold true. It’s always better to come in under the deadline than over it.
Company: Hotsos, a consulting firm helping clients and customers improve the performance of their Oracle systems
Job title/description: Education director, responsible for writing and delivery of Hotsos’ Oracle education curricula
Location: Grapevine, Texas
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified DBA (Oracle 7, Oracle 8i, Oracle 9i), with 31 years of experience using Oracle products
What’s the next big thing driving change in your industry? Of course the cloud is making a shift in how we do things. Interestingly, to some degree it’s a shift back in time. In the town I grew up in, small companies used to rent time on a large company’s computer system to do accounting-type work. And when I was taking classes in college, I would log in to the computer back at school from home and do my course work. This was, in a sense, like cloud computing today. Of course it’s much better than when I was logging in to a VAX cluster at Eastern Michigan University. But the concept is the same—just highly improved.
What’s your go-to Oracle reference book? The Oracle Database Concepts manual. This one book can be the gateway to an incredible understanding of all things Oracle. I try to read it cover to cover every major release or so.
How did you get started in IT? When I was a child I was addicted to video games. Later, as a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a game developer. I started developing not only at school but also in my spare time. Immediately after finishing my studies, I got a DBA job offer in a big data center and accepted it. I was 20 and in love with my new job—and I still love it so much, many years later.
Company: Trivadis, a provider of IT consultancy, system integration, solution engineering, and IT services in Central Europe
Job title/description: Senior database specialist, providing advanced database consulting services including license audits, high-availability and fault-tolerance audits, performance reviews, and training
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Professional DBA (Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Database 12c) and Oracle Certified Performance and Tuning Expert (Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Database 12c), with 17 years of experience working with Oracle products
Oracle ACE Director
What’s your favorite tool on the job? Definitely the Data Guard feature of Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition. Not only because it’s by far the best solution for Oracle Database disaster recovery, but also because it gives unique capabilities such as rolling upgrades or the capability of moving your databases online from one server to another one. You can also leverage snapshot standbys to work on fresh copies of your production database every day, or use your standby databases as a master for storage-based snapshot copies—for example, using ACFS [Oracle Automatic Storage Management Cluster File System].
Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? When Oracle Database 12c Release 1 was released, I was skeptical about the real use cases of Oracle Multitenant. Now I’ve tried the new features of Oracle Database 12c Release 2 such as improved resource management, I/O rate limits per pluggable database [PDB], near-zero downtime PDB relocation, lockdown profiles, and PDB flashback. And I finally see a real potential for consolidation and manageability of midsize applications. Databases with different characteristics, workloads, and recoverability needs can all be managed with a few SQL commands inside a container database instance—without the operational effort of maintaining several scripts and instances at the OS level.
Which new features in Oracle Cloud Platform services are you currently finding most valuable? Right now I’m focusing heavily on application- programming interface [API] management and have been beta-testing the Oracle API Platform Cloud Service for a few months now—so far I find it to be simple to use, yet very powerful. I’ve also implemented Oracle Mobile Cloud, which in my view is one of the most mature and stable of the cloud services. I’m in the process of implementing Oracle Integration Cloud, Oracle SOA Cloud Service, and Oracle Messaging Cloud.
Company: Capgemini, an IT consulting, outsourcing, and professional services company
Job title/description: Cloud principal, focused on helping organizations define and implement cloud strategies and Oracle platform-as-a-service solutions
Location: London, England
Oracle credentials: Oracle SOA Suite Certified Implementation Specialist and Oracle Business Process Management Suite Certified Implementation Specialist, with more than 15 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Director
What advice do you have about getting into web development? At present it’s a lot easier to get into programming than it was back in the day. There’s so much information online that all it takes is a browser, Google, and of course the right appetite and attitude to learn. I find Java to be one of the most useful languages to start with, because it sets a solid foundation in object orientation and multipurpose programming. There are several resources online to help get started.
What green practices do you use in your development work? I use the green software wiki, which is a good source of inspiration for best practices when writing energy-efficient software. Of course, it’s not always practical or even possible to adopt them all, but obvious ones such as “avoid data redundancy,” “avoid polling,” and “make proper use of virtualization” are now default practices when defining solutions.