Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tired but done...

Tired, but done… Just finished two days of customer meetings. Every hour a different group would come in. I did this from 9am to 8pm yesterday and then again today till just after lunch. The format was - we’d get introduced – and then get down to what they wanted to discuss. It was interesting. I talked to people from health care, independent software vendors, dba managers, managers - and others. They all had the same or very similar questions:

  • Windows or Linux, what should we go to and why

  • Consolidation

  • RAC, ASM, Grid (the what, the when, the how)

  • Continuity of operations

Every now and then we’d get down and dirty (latching, locking, tuning) but mostly the topics centered around those four key ideas. The four key ideas were all tied together as well – most of the people were looking to consolidate, using grid technologies, on either windows or linux and being up 24/7/365 was an important consideration.

So, the conversations got easier, since I was sometimes saying almost the same thing (deja-vu…).

Perhaps the hardest one was the last one I did yesterday. It was an interview with a local computer magazine. These are typically fairly easy – but this time it was complicated by the fact I don’t speak Hebrew and he couldn’t take notes in English. I found it very hard to get complete thoughts across – since I had to talk in “sound bites” (else he couldn’t jot down his notes fast enough). We ended up with sort of a process – I would say “no writing for a moment”, then speak my idea/answer to his question in a complete paragraph. Then we would “sound bite it” – having the other Oracle people present translate some of it into Hebrew. It was quite a process – took a while, but it was working well by the end.

Anyway, this trip is almost at the end. My flight leaves at 5:30am, so I have to be at the Tel Aviv airport by 3:30am, so I have to be up by… Well, really really early.

Normal programming to resume Friday, East Coast of the US time.


Anonymous blo said....

Why go to bed at all? Just sleep on the will make for a short flight...I've done it once...went to Europe for a weekend, stayed up most of the time...then fell asleep in Frankfurt, woke up in Chicago.

Wed Feb 08, 02:05:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Rob H said....

Any point in asking for the answers to those 4 questions?

You're wife must be a very understanding woman, you seem to be endlessly travelling. Do you bring the family much?

Wed Feb 08, 02:16:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Thomas, I wish you could do podcasts as frequently as you bog. The Typepad makes it easy to post your podcasts (mp3) easy to post on the blog. I hope blogger allows it too?
Have a nice flight home!


Wed Feb 08, 02:37:00 PM EST  

Blogger KD said....

is it possible to get a few thoughts on those 4 questions? no need for a difinite answer (i.e. if you choose not to) just a personal opinion would do.

Wed Feb 08, 06:03:00 PM EST  

Blogger Andrew Allen said....

Not being known for keeping my opinions to my self, I will give my $.02 worth. And you will get every penny's worth of it.

* Windows or Linux, what should we go to and why
a) Use what you and your systems administrators know. If you have sufficient Linux support, then it probably would be the better choice. I prefer Linux (and unix) because I am a command-line guy and find it easier to manage the database and create and run ancillary scripts. However, remember, too, that the cost of the OS, software, and hardware are just the down payment. Your real costs are people and +business costs so you want an OS you can work with smoothly and efficiently.

* Consolidation
a) This is a real good idea if kept within reason -- whatever that is. I am supporting a set of servers (prod, test) that have one or two databases of several releases running concurrently. Each database supports several applications, each in its own schema. Since we are running 9i, 10.1, and 10.2 we can easily migrate each system to the next level database as soon as the vendor or developers certify. When the next release comes out we will install that too and start moving new and upgraded apps to it. Some of our databases have eight or ten application schemas running concurrently. By doing this we get economies of scale bercasue we only have one set of CPUs, one set of memory, one temp, one undo, one system tablespace, one backup set, and so forth. Works great. Take it from someone who has done it.

* RAC, ASM, Grid (the what, the when, the how)
a) Carefully consider your performance and availability requirements. Many user communities consider thenselves 24*7*356 because they operate all day and night every day. But in my experience, they do not really need to be what I call 'true' 24*7. They are more like 'near' 24*7 in that they can afford a short (few minute) outage without significantly disrupting business operations. I consider a 'true' 24*7 operations systems where the business cannot ever afford to be down because it will cause a significant loss of revenue, credibility with the customer, or put lives at risk. So, taking that into consideration, what is the level of outage this part of your business operation can sustain without significant (your determine what that means) harm. Once you have determined that, you will almost natrually fall into one of the various availability options. Likewise consider your performance requirement for this area of your business, then use that to guide you in deciding on RAC, shared server, grid, dedicated server, etc.

* Continuity of operations
a) Like above, once you know your area of the business' tolerance for loss of service, you will konow what you need to do to assure that level of service continuity. But, and this is very important, you must consider the whole operations recovery or contunity plan. You may or may not recall, but during the floods this past autumn in New Orleans, a number of businesses had thier DR tapes safely off site in a third-party storage site. Then when the time came to reestablish operatins at a recovery center the found that everyting was in place and ready to go, except that they had not tapes to reload. It seems that the offsite storage location was in the New Orleans flood area too and it was at least four days before they could learn the condition of their tapes, let alone get ahold of them.

So, all in all, I suppose there is no single right answer. It all depends on your situation and what is right for your operation.

Wed Feb 08, 09:01:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

a) Use what you and your systems administrators know. If you have sufficient Linux support, then it probably would be the better choice.

Unfortunately, it's been my observation that neither Windows nor Linux admins know enough.

Thu Feb 09, 09:44:00 AM EST  

Blogger KD said....

there would never be a single right answer because of the governing dynamics of different companies/projects/etc. with that said, i do believe that prior experience and professional opinions do the ultimate trick.
For me, ORACLE + LINUX rocks my world.

Thu Feb 09, 10:18:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Windows or Linux?

Doesn't matter. Setup, maintenance and administration are the real keys. I've seen setups on both environments crash and burn.

Thu Feb 09, 11:15:00 AM EST  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> Unfortunately, it's been my observation that neither Windows nor Linux admins know enough. <<

Nor DBAs, in many cases.

Thu Feb 09, 11:53:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Nor DBAs, in many cases.

True enough, but which would you prefer: A Windows admin who can't keep out worms, or a DBA who breaks Help by stopping sql injection attacks through mod_plsql?


Thu Feb 09, 03:38:00 PM EST  

Anonymous dave said....


id want someone who knows what they are doing and know the implications of their actions

Fri Feb 10, 08:58:00 AM EST  

Blogger KD said....

i would like to know the answer from a dba's point of view. knowing what your dba and sys adm. knows is great and helps the management make the decision but what i want to know is what is the general preference in dba community. what would you prefer if you were a dba? i m new to dba community. just been here for 2.5 years. I prefer linux coz i m a command line guy. that may not be the case for all the dbas.
a few hints or suggestions from veterans would help a lot. and trust me i would do the rest to keep my knowledge upgraded and learn more.(people who have been reading mr. kyte's blog would know what i m talking abt.)

Fri Feb 10, 09:58:00 AM EST  


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