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Re: command line vs grid control

From: DA Morgan <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 10:40:23 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Noons wrote:
> On Jul 11, 12:50 am, DA Morgan <> wrote:

>> Most of the large firms here are using the Grid and are happy.
>> Among them I might mention a very large aerospace firm.

> I don't have a doubt large firms are using it.
> Unfortunately, large firms are NOT the majority
> of db users out there. To claim that "most" are using
> it because "most large firms" are, is a leap of faith
> I'm not prepared to take.

Have you looked at Oracle's customer base recently? eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Retek? These organizations don't all have classically trained DBAs in depth. For someone coming to Oracle from SQL Server, Sybase, or Informix OEM gives them instant access to what otherwise would take years to learn.

>>> You know, that old story about the "expensive dba
>>> writing scripts" is such old hat...  Whoever invented that one
>>> in Oracle marketing hasn't got a CLUE what the real work
>>> of a dba is!
>> If you believe that is wholly myth I have some wonderful beachfront
>> property I want to sell you. It may be a myth where you are ... but
>> it isn't here.

> Daniel, modern dbas spend the vast majority of their time
> working around problems caused by appaling application
> code, unstable hardware/software combos, configuring new
> or replacement servers, running backups, refreshing
> development and test databases, resolving interface problems
> between varous server architectures and data workflow
> requirements and resolving the odd performance problem
> here and there. And with various databases, not just Oracle.
> They also spend a LOT of time trying to work around glaring
> bugs, Oracle's included.

Agreed. So you think to that burden we should add building and testing shell scripts to perform routine tasks?

> The last thing a dba wants to do is write scripts for
> Oracle: they got enough in their hands already!


> Grid helps them in one of those bits above. One only.

But it could help with much more if they let it. You are totally discounting the value of ASH, AWR, ADDM, and the advisors.

In an organization such as many where I consult there are databases in the hundreds. Each of which requires manual patching. For some DBAs just keeping up with this is a full-time job.

>> Depends on what you expect it to do. If the point is to determine
>> which resources are up/down then the hours is roughly 0.5 per server.
>> If you are talking about writing your own plugin, of course, that is
>> quite another matter.

> Precisely.
>> But "undivided attention?" You must be doing something with the Grid
>> I'm not familiar with. Out here we have it contact us ... we don't
>> sit at the monitor eyes glued to the screen.

> Well, for that they don't need to cough up the moolah for grid. What it
> does in that chapter they already do very simply and cheaply and so does
> any dba that has been on the job for a while.

That is not what I hear from corporate IT management. They have a very different impression.

> Where grid can help with new stuff requires the dba to sit around and
> capture and examine patterns, a process that will always consume time
> no matter how much automation you throw at it.

Have you actually worked with OEM Grid? I don't mean the casual look on a test box but actually worked with it for an extended period of time managing multiple servers as part of a team with multiple DBAs?

>> Turn the question around. Assuming the life of the product is 5 years
>> how much grid control can you purchase for $1,000,000? And it doesn't
>> take a vacation or leave for dinner with the family or catch an attitude
>> in the middle of a meeting?

> Of course not, but can it tango?
> Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)

No but it can tell the occasional off-colour joke or two.

>> Enough budget is irrelevant. For-profit business exist to make a profit.
>> And upper management, unless you've somehow missed the offshoring trend
>> issue budget-irrelevant mandates with respect to FTEs.

> Dan, IT budget is nowadays a minimal fraction of
> the worries of upper management of large companies.
> The one I work for has an IT budget that can only be
> described as small change compared to what they make
> elsewhere. And don't think by this I mean we spend
> peanuts in IT: nothing could be less true. The post-2k
> era of reducing costs is long gone, IT is not a big ticket
> anymore. To try and beat that horse to death will only
> ensure no one is listening...

And yet they continue to save pennies, at least in theory, by off-shoring and, in the US, trying to circumvent caps on H1B visas so they can bring in more people at a lower cost.

>> Lighten up noon ... OEM grid has its place. Perhaps not in every firm.
>> But in enough that it makes a big difference.

> Sure, Daniel. I know what you mean. But
> let me just propose this:
> Oracle is going to have to do a bit more than just
> whoo-in the big brass while beating up on the
> dba as the "evil of IT".


> They are up against tremendous competition in the
> small to medium size shop and are losing at the rate
> of knots.

I don't have the actual numbers so I can't say that this is or is not true. What I can tell you is that I don't see anyone looking worried about it.

> Meanwhile, companies like Microslop with
> their much more friendly products and pricing structures
> are winning big time there.

Perhaps where you are. Where I am most companies of an size have Oracle on-site for their line-of-business applications. Including, though I expect the whining to begin immediately, Microsoft, which I know for a fact, just last week, was bringing in more people with Oracle skill sets.

> You don't hear Microslop blaming dbas: they blame
> products that do *not* help the dba. There is a world of
> difference right there. They never tried to eliminate the
> dba: they simply say the dba has life made easy with
> their products.

Most SQL Server shops don't really have DBAs in the sense that we use the word in Oracle. Want to configure blocks size? You get your choice of 8K or 8K. Want to run a 10046 level 12?

For the vast majority of what I see here SQL Server isn't really on the radar screen ... not just because it is SQL Server but because of Windows. And Vista has set Microsoft back quite a distance: It is, at least in its current iteration, a horror story.

> If you refer back to my list of what a dba does nowadays,
> you see a list of things that grid and such has no hope in
> heck of addressing anytime soon. But you also see
> a large number of things that are incomparably easier to
> achieve with the Microslop toolset. And cheaper too.

Cheaper? I'm not sure that is correct. Are you comparing Oracle EE with Microsoft EE? I hope not. Lets compare Microsoft EE with SE1. No amount of money in Microsoft technology will get you RAC or TAF or Data Guard or numerous other technologies.

However I would like to drag you back to what started this thread which was shell scripts. Written any shell scripts in Windows to manage SQL Server lately? No anyone that has?

> Any wonder Microslop's db market share has sustained
> higher growth than db2 and oracle combined, for 6 years
> now? And let me also state this: Oracle isn't making any
> friends with their constant "the dba is evil" nonsense...

At the rate my friends in Redmond are going they may never produce another version of a major product again. The place is growing more and more dysfunctional with each passing year.

> Chief, go outside the States and it's a Microslop world.
> Oracle folks better wake up...

Not in Asia. <g> And given what I do know of Oracle's position in the EU market I suspect they may have more to fear from Microsoft's failures than successes.

Daniel A. Morgan
University of Washington (replace x with u to respond)
Puget Sound Oracle Users Group
Received on Tue Jul 10 2007 - 12:40:23 CDT

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