In the Field

Survival for the Database Technologist

Five steps to help you sort through the information about information management

By Michelle Malcher
Oracle ACE Director

January/February 2014

The exciting part of being a database technologist is the data: the amount of new information being thrown your way and new ways to support and manage the data. The challenging part of that role is also the data: the amount of new information being thrown your way and new ways to support and manage the data. Just a few years ago, you were worried about storing terabytes of data; then it was petabytes; and now it’s zettabytes! And it’s not just the amount of data being stored in the databases that is growing but the amount of information you receive as managers of these environments that’s worrisome. You are bombarded with so much information about best practices, faster hardware solutions, and high-availability options that it can seem as if the amount of information you have to sort through about how to work with your database environment is larger than the amount of information in your databases. How is anyone managing database architecture supposed to survive all of the new information about managing information?

Even a busy database administrator needs to make time to develop new skills.

Because information is coming with overwhelming velocity, here are five basic things to consider as part of your own information management process.

  1. Develop trusted sources. Just as you do for a database upgrade, gather information from trusted sources as a first step. This gathering might even require a step back to develop some trusted sources. Sources can include people who have already been there and done that as well as experts on the subject. User groups, such as the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), are an excellent source of information about managing information. There are experts on a variety of topics in the user group community, and networking within user groups offers the opportunity to discuss your issues with others who have implemented similar solutions or have looked at the same issues. Developing a few trusted sources allows you to get needed information without having to pull in a volume of information that you can’t possibly sort through.

  2. Test before tackling. Just as when you roll out something new in your database environment, testing is also a part of the managing-information-about-managing-information process. Pull in information from experts, test some of the suggested solutions, and verify that the results sync up with what is being said.

  3. Educate yourself. As another part of the information-gathering process, make it a priority to read an article or attend a webinar once a week about a topic that is relevant for a current issue as well as something that is an up-and-coming topic. Even a busy database administrator needs to make time to develop new skills.

  4. Develop a checklist. The next step in the information-gathering process is to develop a checklist. I have checklists for setting up a database environment, adding monitoring and maintenance jobs, setting up security, and applying patches and managing changes. In considering the process of gathering new information, your checklist should include business issues, hot topics, new things to learn, things to ignore, and trusted sources of information. Each company has its own issues and focus areas, so you should also be prepared to anticipate additional needs and look for new information areas to develop.

  5. Expand your knowledgebase. Information is out there about Oracle Database 12c’s new features, storage, hardware, engineered systems, performance tuning, and high availability for the database environment. Add these topics to your information management checklist, review your current sources, and verify the solution information by testing it and comparing the results with those of other users or people in your network.

Next Steps


 LEARN more about Oracle Database 12c

Photography bySumner Mahaffey,Unsplash