Re: possible nomination for oracle wtf

From: joel garry <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 14:05:58 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <>

On Jul 23, 12:09 pm, John Hurley <> wrote:
> On Jul 23, 1:05 pm, gazzag <> wrote:
> snip
> > I think you completely missed the point, John.  As others have
> > commented, she was pointing out the value of proper error reporting:
> > "....the basics of error handling should not be ignored – When an
> > error occurs,  we must know what was the error."
> > It reminds me of the circumstances in which I entered the world of the
> > Oracle DBA.  Many years ago, Oracle 7.3.4, in fact, I was a contractor
> > in a government department.  At the time, the incumbent Oracle DBA was
> > away for a week and we had a problem that could possibly have required
> > us to revert to the previous night's cold backup.  I was tasked with
> > locating the relevant tapes and checking their contents.  I tried the
> > tape from the previous night's backup and my heart sank as it appeared
> > to be empty.  The tape from the night before was empty aswell.  As I
> > worked backwards through tape after tape, it became apparent that we
> > had no backup whatsoever.
> > I located the script that was run by cron every night and examined
> > it.  There, the very last line in the script simply was:
> > echo "Backup completed." | mail <list_of_recipients>
> > There was no logic within the script - that line would be executed
> > regardless.  Fortunately we found a workaround to the issue, so no
> > real harm was done.  Apart to the DBA's career, naturally.  When the
> > then-DBA returned from holiday he was "promoted sideways" and I was
> > treated to approximately six weeks worth of training with Oracle :-)
> The part especially for Oracle WTF was the code in the WHEN OTHERS
> logic ... basically job failed not catching how/why and no RAISE
> statement.
> But it is at least amusing to me the politics involved in having
> Oracle ACE's employed ( that might or might not have a clue ... it
> probably varies a lot person by person ) in organizations that allow
> stuff like this to either almost run in production or really get
> installed into production.

ACEhood isn't a recognition of quality, it is a recognition of online helpfulness. That said, most seem to me pretty high quality, even if any of us personally have a low opinion of some, whether justified or not. (I haven't had a low opinion of any on the db side, myself, some of the others seem like rah-rahs).

We can't all work for perfect organizations, I'd argue the worse the stuff the organization uses, the more they need good people to deal with it. Somehow I have the idea that the most people who have gotten new jobs after getting ACE have gone to work for Oracle. Probably just skewed sampling, but still, by definition someone is going to be highly visible to get the ACE.

> It could be the factor "well we know better but we do not have any
> management willing to stop stuff like this from happening".

Deeper than that, management allocation of scarce resources _normally_ leads to a different view than the perfect technical solution.

> Also amusing is the idea that this project is so big and so important
> and ... well let's allow the DBA involved to take a 3 week vacation as
> it goes live ... that sounds like a recipe for fireworks if any
> problems develop.

PHBitus, fer sure.


-- is bogus.
Received on Thu Jul 23 2009 - 16:05:58 CDT

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