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RE: Duhvelopers and DB-ehs?

From: Thomas, Kevin <>
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 02:47:21 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Hi Don, and well done for taking the step back towards a normal life...(whatever the heck that is!)...  

LOL     "hit any user to continue"

Kevin Thomas
Technical Analyst
Deregulation Services
Calanais Ltd.
(2nd Floor East - Weirs Building)

Tel: 0141 568 2377
Fax: 0141 568 2366 <>  

-----Original Message-----
Sent: 01 September 2001 02:26
To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

OK. I've resisted the temptation so far, but (puffing out chest)...  

In one job in my distant past, at a turnkey software/systems shop, four
(initially two) of us used to administer about half a dozen in house Oracle
servers and remotely administer about 2-3 dozen of our clients' database servers. They were scattered all over the US and Canada and we all did database and Unix systems administration "part time". About 80% of our time was spent in custom software/systems design and development. Everybody got Oracle DBA training, but nobody was a full-time DBA or systems administrator. (A very novel approach that resulted in very few deeply imbedded application performance issues!)  

>From late 1997 until mid-1999 I administered up to about 45 Oracle databases
(each was 10-200 GB & OLTP) by myself - including design/modeling, code
reviews and tuning, physical server configuration (sizing systems, creating raw devices, etc.), and production database administration. I was the only Oracle DBA in the entire company for my first 18 months there! We actually had about 12 distinct Oracle-based application systems, most with distinct dev, functional test, performance test, and production databases. These were spread over more than 40 Sun servers ranging from Ultra 2s to E10Ks. Three of the production systems were on Sun PDB cluster and Oracle parallel server. Critical? At least four were the core components of the trading systems at one of the world's largest online brokerages - serious 24 x forever with (usually) million+ dollar costs for any downtime.  

Actually the number was about 24 databases until Jan 1999. At that time, they gave me some help - the guy who was the (only) DBA for the Informix system (which was phased out the following Fall) - to retrain as an Oracle DBA. Two weeks later I was asked to create 21 new databases on 17 new servers - within nine days. I made it with a little under an hour to spare. That brought the total up to about 45. By August, the ex-Informix DBA was doing Oracle full time and they had hired some more help (all with no significant Oracle experience!) - and, of course, added another 20-30 databases! When I left a couple of months ago (no surprise is it?) we had 42 production Oracle databases on 35 production servers, with a total of over 160 databases on over 120 servers, administered by 6 DBAs. We also had over 100 other servers (Web servers, WebLogic servers, Tuxedo servers, etc.) that had the Oracle client (including Pro*C)installed - which we also maintained.  

Of course I was working an average of about 95 hours/week much of that time... And sleeping less than half that.  

For none of these did I ever have any significant 3rd party tools (BMC Patrol, etc.). I did develop a *LOT* of homegrown scripts and automation though. [I still prefer, with a very few select exceptions, homegrown tools over commercial tools.] The other key was in *ADAMANTLY INSISTING* on being able to set things up "right" at the start. Having enough space on (at least most) test systems to load (or clone) production-sized databases helped also.  

This sounds kinda like "When I was a kid, we had to walk five miles to school in neck-deep snow - uphill both ways!" doesn't it? Unfortunately, its true. I have references and the complete lack of an outside life to prove it! Since I left, I've been decompressing and going through social rehabilitation ["Hi, my name is Don. I haven't been on a bridge call in over two months." (Smattering of applause...)]  

-Don Granaman
[certifiable OraSaurus and shameless braggart]  

PS: Most of, and certainly the best of, the DBA's I've ever worked with had significant prior experience as developers (not "duhvelopers").

Yeah, well, in a previous life I was in charge of 27 databases on 9 servers ALL BY MYSELF. Didn't have anybody working with me, man. Zilch. Nada.  

And, of course, I'm not going to talk about the nature of the systems 'cause then it wouldn't sound so impressive....  

--Walt Weaver
  Bozeman, Montana

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 10:38 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

We do about the same number with 6 DBAs...  

(not that that means sh*t without talking about the nature of the systems,
of course)

Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ:
Author: Thomas, Kevin

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Received on Mon Sep 03 2001 - 04:47:21 CDT

Original text of this message