Thought Leadership

Technologist of the Year

The Oracle Excellence Awards include the Technologist of the Year awards (formerly the Oracle Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards), recognizing individuals for their extraordinary efforts and contributions to enterprise technology solutions as DBAs, IT managers, cloud architects, enterprise architects, and developers.

By David A. Kelly

January/February 2012

Syed Jaffer Hussain


The learning never stops for Oracle RAC expert.
Winner Specs
Name: Syed Jaffer Hussain
Job title: Oracle Database support manager
Company: Alinma Bank
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Award: Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: DBA, 2011

Today’s best DBAs have a dual role: mastering intricate technologies while remaining closely connected to the needs and processes of the businesses they serve.

“Being a DBA for Alinma Bank gives me the immense satisfaction of managing one of the most complex Oracle RAC [Oracle Real Application Clusters] environments in the Middle East region,” says Syed Jaffer Hussain, Oracle Database support manager for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia–based Alinma Bank, an Oracle ACE Director, and winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: DBA. “I know our management appreciates the database team’s ability to prevent rather than only resolve business-critical and challenging database and technology problems.”

Established in 2008, Alinma Bank is a rapidly growing bank based on the principle of Islamic law. The bank runs its complete business solutions on Oracle cluster technologies. “In order to provide uninterrupted service availability around-the-clock to our valued customers, we rely on Oracle cluster technologies,” says Hussain.

On top of these clusters, Alinma has implemented a sophisticated Oracle RAC 10g Release 2 environment with four systems running nearly 200 database instances. Hussain and his team recently upgraded all four Oracle RAC environments and databases to Oracle 11g Release 2.

“Most of our critical business processes run on Oracle databases and use Oracle E-Business Suite solutions, and we are also in the process of implementing other Oracle-related solutions,” says Hussain. “Beyond any doubt, Oracle technology is the integral part of our organization. We strongly rely on Oracle technologies for our reputation and business growth.”

Having mastered a wide range of Oracle technologies and gained experience putting them into practice in real-world situations, Hussain likes to give back to the Oracle community. He’s continually sharing his knowledge of Oracle database technology both as a blogger (at and as the coauthor of Oracle 11g R1/R2 Real Application Clusters Essentials (Packt, May 2011), a book focused on real-world Oracle RAC scenarios.

In addition, he continues to refine his expertise by exploring new technologies and implementation challenges, so he can deliver more at work and contribute more to the community. “To be a good DBA, one needs to be hungry for new skills,” says Hussain, “and keen to learn, test, and apply new technologies that could have a big impact on the organization.”

Sreekanth Chintala

IT Manager

Dell Inc. grid team lead helps usher in new era of scalability and efficiency. 

Winner Specs
Name: Sreekanth Chintala
Job title: Senior manager, grid team
Company: Dell Inc.
Location: Austin, Texas
Award: Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: IT Manager, 2011

For Sreekanth Chintala, database strategist and senior manager of the grid team at Dell Inc., grid computing is not only more efficient from a technology perspective; it’s also cost effective from a business perspective.

“So far, the grid/cloud program at Dell has resulted in about [US]$18-plus million savings overall in cost avoidance,” says Chintala, one of the architects of Dell’s Oracle-based grid computing solution and winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: IT Manager. Dell’s grid solution hosts more than 1,300 database instances on 200 Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) nodes.

Dell IT started the private cloud program in 2008, when the organization’s data centers were at capacity. Although the original architecture and process had served well for a few years, they were unable to scale with customer needs. Chintala was brought in to manage Dell’s grid team, improve processes, and design the next-generation grid program. He helped lead the transformation by introducing various architectural and process changes—and he also helped facilitate the cultural changes necessary for the application and database teams to understand the benefits of the new shared-infrastructure approach. “I am very fortunate to have a team that is committed to making a difference,” says Chintala. “It’s all about dedication, integrity, and passion to make it better.”

Consolidating databases and servers into an Oracle grid architecture reduced the number of Dell’s physical servers by more than 1,000 and saved more than 500 terabytes of usable storage. The program also saved data center space and operational costs, and significantly reduced the number of hours required for database provisioning and maintenance operations. The infrastructure is all run on Dell enterprise products, and Dell’s open hardware solutions and Oracle software combine to run an efficient database environment.

“Oracle and Dell are key partners,” says Chintala. “We work closely with Oracle on what our day-to-day challenges are and how they can improve their products.”

Since its initial deployment in 2008, Dell’s grid has continued to grow, with a more than 30 percent yearly increase in the number of database instances. Succeeding with such rapid growth requires good collaboration between an organization and its partners—something Chintala and his team have fostered. Additionally, the team has proven the efficiency of running Oracle technology on Dell standard platforms for a more efficient environment, Chintala says, adding, “It’s a winning situation for both companies and, most importantly, the customers.”

Gürcan Orhan

Enterprise Architect

Architect troubleshoots network alarms with customized Oracle Data Integrator solution.

Name: Gürcan Orhan
Job title: Software architect and senior developer
Company: Turkcell Technology
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Award: Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: Enterprise Architect, 2011

For Gürcan Orhan, software architect and senior developer at Turkcell Technology—a firm that develops applications and building infrastructure for Turkcell, the leading communications and technology company in Turkey and the third-largest mobile phone operator in Europe—success comes down to quickly diagnosing critical problems across a diverse and heterogeneous network infrastructure.

“We wanted to be able to quickly detect network alarm locations, which is difficult because alarms can be originated from more than 200,000 network nodes and produced from 50 different source systems, and their location is hidden in two unstructured columns,” says Orhan, winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: Enterprise Architect. “To overcome these challenges, we needed a robust, solid software solution that leverages an ELT [extract, load, and transform] approach.” In 2008, Turkcell Technology created a team to compare different data integration products and ultimately selected Oracle Data Integrator.

“We selected Oracle Data Integrator because its architecture leveraged the database engine power and provided best-in-class performance and scalability,” says Orhan. “It eliminated the use of a middle-tier transformation server and thereby avoided additional hardware investment.”

Orhan’s integration solutions feed into a multiterabyte Oracle Real Application Clusters data warehouse called NODI (Network Operations Data Infrastructure), which is running on Oracle Database 11g Release 2. NODI is unique because it has an unprecedented model design and is flexible, easy to maintain and implement, and modular.

Some of the data flowing into NODI is unstructured data from network monitors and alarms, so Orhan’s team had to build algorithms to analyze it and successfully identify the exact location of more than 100,000 alarms each day. “We’re currently correctly identifying the five unstructured dimensions, such as reason, source system, vendor, and more, for the alarms 100 percent of the time, and the location of the alarms more than 99.99 percent of the time,” says Orhan.

In the end, Turkcell’s bet on Oracle infrastructure is paying off, especially when it comes to creating flexible solutions that will continue to address any future need.

“Oracle Data Integrator is a tool that can talk, or learn how to talk, with any database or operating system in its own language,” says Orhan. “That’s the power of Oracle Data Integrator.”

Dr. Frank Munz

Cloud Architect

Cloud evangelist helps organizations embrace Oracle software in a virtual data center.

Winner Specs
Name: Dr. Frank Munz
Job title: Principal
Company: munz & more
Location: Munich, Germany and Sydney, Australia
Award: Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: Cloud Architect, 2011

When it comes to designing successful and scalable solutions, Dr. Frank Munz, an independent Oracle architect, consultant, and trainer, thinks companies should start at square one.

“It’s important to thoroughly understand the technology and the architecture alternatives before you make your design decisions,” says Munz, winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: Cloud Architect. “Very often I see people who make their design decisions and then attend a technical workshop. I think it’s just the wrong way around.”

As founder of the Munich, Germany and Sydney, Australia–based consulting firm munz & more, Munz has helped organizations from telecommunications companies to logistics giants optimize, fix, and fine-tune their SOA; cloud; Java Platform, Enterprise Edition; and Oracle Fusion Middleware solutions. He’s also an expert on the integration of heterogeneous technologies with Oracle-based solutions.

In addition to helping his consulting customers, Munz also enjoys sharing his expertise with the general public. He has published more than 200 articles on Oracle Fusion Middleware and cloud computing on Oracle Technology Network and in his blog. In his new book, Middleware and Cloud Computing (munz & more Publishing, 2011), he explains what it takes to achieve availability, elasticity, and management of Oracle Fusion Middleware in clouds.

Munz’ focus on cloud computing comes as organizations join the rush to design and deploy new cloud-based solutions, and he’s particularly impressed with Oracle’s new public cloud offering.

“I think that Oracle is making a dramatic achievement with Oracle Public Cloud,” he says. “It offers an easier-to-use solution that’s more accessible to most users.”

Shlomi Noach


Work of open source developer extends MySQL capabilities and gives back to community.

Winner Specs
Name: Shlomi Noach
Job title: CTO and architect
Company: SFNK Ltd.
Location: Kiryat Uno, Israel
Award: Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: Developer, 2011

When Shlomi Noach—CTO and architect at Kiryat Uno, Israel–based SFNK Ltd. and winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for Technologist of the Year: Developer—encounters technology challenges, he doesn’t look for help. Instead, he creates solutions.

Noach, an active MySQL community member (, has spent years developing complex, scalable systems using MySQL, publishing much of his work as open source software.

SFNK’s product, makam, provides real-time social media analysis services to companies, based on information flowing in from Facebook, Twitter, and other types of social media. The company’s core systems are built on MySQL Community Edition 5.1 and 5.5, so Noach devotes much of his time to developing open source tools for managing and extending MySQL implementations. One example is a tool he created that enables organizations to manage large MySQL instances and allows for live, nonblocking schema changes.

“We had large MySQL tables and needed to be able to make changes on the fly,” says Noach. “I came up with an algorithm using available MySQL tools that enables organizations to refactor MySQL tables dynamically.” The resulting solution was so successful, says Noach, that his ideas on refactoring live MySQL databases inspired similar efforts by the MySQL team at Facebook.

“I’m thrilled to have people use my code to their advantage. It’s a wonderful feeling,” says Noach. “Of course, those people also give me feedback that helps improve the code I write, so it’s a beneficial situation for everyone.”

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Photography by Aldo Schumann, Unsplash