Big Leaps

From zoology to zero downtime, peers get social and go the distance with Oracle RAC.

By Blair Campbell

May/June 2013


Martin Widlake

How did you get started in IT? I left university with a degree in genetics and zoology, but my interest in home computers as a teenager and some programming work during my degree was enough for the UK National Health Service to take a chance on me. On the patient administration software team, we used a “relational data reporting tool” that was so awful no one else wanted to touch it. Somehow I got it to work, learned about this SQL language it used, and taught others how to use it. Not long after that, Oracle UK was looking for people who knew healthcare systems and relational databases, and I joined them.

Peer Specs

Company: ORA600 Limited, an IT consulting firm

Job title/description: Independent consultant, serving as an Oracle performance and architecture specialist
Location: London, England
Length of time using Oracle products: 21 years
Oracle ACE Oracle ACE

What’s your favorite tool on the job? My favorite Oracle tool is Automatic Workload Repository—both the graphical front end provided by Oracle Enterprise Manager and the raw data held in the underlying tables.

What’s your go-to Oracle reference book? Over the last couple of years I’ve found my copy of Expert Oracle Exadata by Kerry Osborne, Randy Johnson, and Tanel Põder [Apress, 2011] invaluable. When I do my introductory presentations on Oracle Exadata, I always tell people to get a copy of this book.


Christian Trieb

How are you using cloud computing in your work these days? I use cloud computing for testing—for example with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. We have a private cloud solution with an 8-node Oracle Real Application Clusters [Oracle RAC] cluster with many different Oracle databases. This Oracle RAC cluster is monitored with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. For our test systems, we’ve built the private cloud solution with Oracle VM 3.

Peer Specs

Company: Paragon Data GmbH, an IT service provider running the data center for its parent company, Deutsche Buchhandelsholding (German Booktrade Holding)

Job title/description: Senior DBA, responsible for database administration of approximately 50 Oracle databases
Location: Friedrichsdorf (near Frankfurt), Germany
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Specialist (Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g) and Oracle Certified Associate (Oracle Database 11g), with 22 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Oracle ACE Director

How are you using mobile computing? I administer the databases with my mobile devices—specifically, monitoring Oracle databases with my iPhone and the mobile version of Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control.

How are you using social media? As president of the DOAG [the German Oracle Users Group] Database Community and a member of the DOAG management team, I use many social networks—Facebook, LinkedIn, XING, Oracle Mix, SlideShare—to be in contact with Oracle DBAs, Oracle ACEs, and Oracle user group members worldwide.


Satishbabu Gunukula

What’s your favorite tool on the job? Oracle Recovery Manager [Oracle RMAN]. It allows me to perform backup, recovery, and maintenance activities; SET NEWNAME offers the flexibility to set the new name using a single command for the entire database or tablespace; and Data Recovery Advisor automatically determines repair options and performs repairs.

Peer Specs

Company: Intuitive Surgical, designer and manufacturer of platforms enabling robotic-assisted surgery

Job title/description: Senior DBA/architect, responsible for managing and supporting enterprise resource planning and corporate applications
Location: Sunnyvale, California
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Expert (Oracle Real Application Clusters 10g Release 2 Administrator) and Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle8i Database, Oracle9i Database, Oracle Database 10g), with 13 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Oracle ACE

Which Oracle Database options are you currently finding most valuable? Oracle Real Application Clusters [Oracle RAC] has many exciting capabilities, such as zero downtime for patching and Oracle Automatic Storage Management Cluster File System, a robust file system that can expand and contract without any downtime.

What technology has most changed your life? Definitely Oracle RAC. Since completing my Oracle RAC expert certification, I’ve started sharing my knowledge and experience through my Website,, and through writing articles for major Websites and publications.