RE: OT: sheltered little world i live in -> NODB?

From: Gerald Cunningham <>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 15:19:25 -0400
Message-ID: <>

The author is obviously insane. The USA makes the best beer in the world these days.


From: [] On Behalf Of Mark W. Farnham [] Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:59 PM
Subject: RE: OT: sheltered little world i live in -> NODB?

gee whiz. I think people think of me as a DBA. re: "That's true that DBA would start designing application from database."

Larry Constantine has written some excellent books about information systems design. Many of my ideas are well explained in those books.

First, you figure out what the application needs to do. Folks have made the phrase "use cases" popular in recent years. I always check whether someone is wearing clothes when I hear that phrase. For some it is an extremely useful focusing phrase and for some it is an excuse to not know what you're doing. So check. By the way, figuring out what the application needs to do, right away, includes getting a ballpark idea of how much total data is going to be handled and where that fits in the context of the current capabilities of hardware. "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"

Second, you need to figure out what the inputs to the systems are, what the outputs of the system are, where the transform centers from one to the other are, what instrumentation is appropriate to determine whether the inputs are correctly becoming outputs (where appropriate includes performance), and what the required information life cycle is for all the data and metadata about the system. Lingo: Inputs are called afferent legs, outputs are called efferent legs. A point many folks (not including Tim Gorman, who nailed this in one as well as making several other key points with many fewer words than me) is that efferent legs include reporting requirements. That's analytics, mining, performance metadata so you know whether your system is heading for the crater: ALL THAT.

Third, you need to figure out the data model requirements for the system. (That could indeed be a flat file [and please note that a single flat file can be a representation of a relation] - and awk might be just the right tool [or even just grep], but you don't know that before steps 1 and 2.)

Fourth, you need to figure out how much of the system you can build in the first chunk without making it impossible or difficult to build the other parts of the system.

Fifth, you need to assess a useful point on the scale between complete waterfall design and the lightest weight agility that makes sense for the project.

Sixth, you need to choose tools and technologies and start construction if the expected value of the application exceeds the expected cost and is within budget.

Seventh, you need to get a pizza and a beer. And I hope it is a really good beer. I think the article author made a lot of good points about beer. Now for some really trivial applications, you might go through the first six steps and build the thing in under an hour. If that's the case, you better do a few of them before you proceed to a bundled step seven. But do not forget to budget for the pizza and the beer.


PS: Step seven is also the seventh step of debugging, but that is a different story

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Mindaugas Navickas
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:47 PM
Subject: Re: OT: sheltered little world i live in -> NODB?

My view might be not very popular within Oracle DBA community, but I found the article very interesting and intriguing. That's true that DBA would start designing application from database. And if that would be Oracle DBA, for sure he/she would start with Oracle EE + RAC + DataGuard with all available packs. Another point in the article is that new technologies are comming into database market (NoSQL, In-memory, Column-store...) that potencialy can change the DB technology landscape - but again if we apply it where it fits most. Risk is that new technology often is discredited placing it in places where traditional RDBMS would do the best. This is how I interpreted this... thank you for sharing the article and your views Mike Navickas
Oracle&DB2 DBA

From: Andrew Kerber <> To:
Cc:; "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:08:51 PM
Subject: Re: OT: sheltered little world i live in -> NODB?

I took it more as someone pointing out that not every application is a database application. We as DBA's have a great knowledge of database usage, but there is software out there that does not need a database behind it. And I have seen applications that use Oracle AQ when a simple fifo queue design with a single queue was all that was required to run the entire application.
On Tue, May 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM, Tim Gorman <> wrote:

> My US$0.02...
> When I read that article, especially the part about an implicitly
> ignorant "marketing guy" claiming that a relational database is
> needed, and that flat files won't work, I hear a blinkered technical
> niche-worker who sees only his own little job function and cannot
> conceive of any other requirements, such as downstream data analytics,
> data mining, and data warehousing. I see an organization strangling
> for lack of ad-hoc access to data, choking on the software development
> lifecycle, flogging overworked developers who struggle to churn out
> new reports from arbitrary and unstructured flat-file structures.

Andrew W. Kerber

'If at first you dont succeed, dont take up skydiving.'



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Received on Thu May 17 2012 - 14:19:25 CDT

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