As Published In
Oracle Magazine
January/February 2007

CHANNELS: Peer-to-Peer

The Good Old Days

By Blair Campbell

Three peers reflect on early adventures in database programming, analysis, and split-finger fastballs.

Steve Karam

Peer Specs


 Company: Burleson Oracle Consulting and Training

 Job Title/Description: Senior Oracle DBA and instructor, responsible for training, mentoring, backup and recovery, performance tuning, and implementation of new systems

 Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

 Oracle Credentials: Oracle-certified master (Oracle Database 10g), with 10 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE
How did you get started in IT? My aunt gave me an 8086 computer when I was nine years old, and the first thing I learned to do on it was program in GW-BASIC. Around age 10 was when I really started programming, and by age 16, I was writing a program to hack into my school's computer. A classmate who saw me writing that program in study hall told his dad, who was an Oracle contractor for the Navy, about me, and his dad ended up hiring me on as a junior Oracle DBA.

What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do differently? I'd like to see an increased focus on Oracle Academy, Oracle's education program for high school students, and the Oracle Academic Initiative, for students at the college and university level. It would be great for Oracle to concentrate on getting really intelligent up-and-coming technologists into the Oracle field.

Tell us about your upcoming book, Easy Oracle Jumpstart (Rampant TechPress, 2006). It's a DBA primer—the basic concepts you need to know. It's a joint effort between me and another DBA, Robert Freeman. My second book, Oracle and Ajax , is due to the publisher next April.

Nicolas Gasparotto

Peer Specs


 Company: Communication & Systèmes, a systems integration company

 Job Title/Description: Oracle DBA consultant and Oracle's PeopleSoft applications administrator, currently providing technical support to France Telecom's development and production teams
 Location: Toulouse, France

 Oracle Credentials: Oracle-certified DBA (Oracle9i), with more than 8 years of experience using Oracle products

 Oracle ACE
What's your favorite tool or technique on the job? Statspack and session tracing—to find the most important queries and optimize their execution time by rewriting them when possible, or by playing with indexes and parameters. Implementing table partitioning is a big challenge: One table in our database is more than 150GB, without accounting for the indexes, and finding the best partition settings for this table is crucial for running our nightly batches.

Which new features of Oracle Database 10g are you finding most valuable? The possibilities for composite partitioning, including range/list partitioning, open new doors for performance and storage. These features, along with the new partition pruning capabilities, are very useful in a large database like ours. I first did database analysis using bstat/estat utilities, so I find the latest version of Statspack greatly improves database analysis.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? I love the Pyrenees—it's a beautiful mountain range with a long and interesting history.

Dave Moore

Peer Specs


 Company: Database-Brothers, Inc. (DBI), a firm specializing in database performance and accountability

 Job Title/Description: Vice president, research and development, responsible for all R&ampD tasks for database security and performance products

 Location: Austin,Texas

 Length of Time Using Oracle Products: 15 years
Oracle ACE
What advice do you have about getting into Web and database development? Build a Web site for something you're passionate about. If it's gardening, build and maintain a gardening Web site that you think would be useful to others. Then enhance it over time—add a database back end or wiki. It will be very rewarding.

What technology has most changed your life? First, there's Quicken, which has actually made me look forward to paying my bills each month. Second is my BlackBerry, which I depend on much more than my laptop these days.

How do you use the internet? I use it mainly for research—like finding out the pitfalls of throwing a split-finger fastball at too early an age. These days, however, I find myself visiting fewer and fewer sites. I use as my morning newspaper but really only frequent about four other Web sites: ; ;; and, of course,