As Published In
Oracle Magazine
July/August 2009

CHANNELS: Peer-to-Peer

What Do Peers Want?

By Blair Campbell

No-surprises performance tuning, Oracle en español, and collaboration tools top the list.

Karen Morton

Peer Specs


 Company: Method R, a software performance company

 Job title/description: Director, education and services, working with customers to deliver consulting and training related to Oracle performance

 Location: Beaverton, Oregon

 Length of time using Oracle products: 18 years

Oracle ACE
Oracle ACE

How did you get started in IT? I was originally an accounting major in college, but I had to take a BASIC class as part of the business curriculum and got hooked on computers and programming. For my first real class project, I wrote a program to calculate life expectancy—which said I was going to live to 124. I’ve continued writing bug-free code ever since!

What’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? I swear by using extended SQL trace data to diagnose and repair Oracle performance problems. Its compelling value proposition is simple: Surprises are eliminated, because you measure exactly what you care about, and you can know in advance how much a proposed performance improvement is going to help you.

What technology has most changed your life? One thing I wouldn’t want to live without, now that I’ve found it, is my Kindle. I bought a Kindle e-book reader from and have used it to keep a library of Oracle reference books and novels always at my fingertips.

Francisco Alvarez

Peer Specs


 Company: Database Integrated Solutions, a provider of remote administration and 24/7 monitoring

 Job title/description: CEO, responsible for remote DBA services, consulting, and outsourcing services

 Location: Auckland, New Zealand

 Oracle credentials: 19 years

Oracle ACE Director
Oracle ACE Director

Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? Oracle Active Data Guard and Oracle Real Application Testing. One of the most common requests I receive from my clients is to provide a better way to reduce migration and development costs, and to reduce the overload of production environments caused by several reports in an online transaction processing environment. I can now easily achieve these goals using these two fantastic new technologies.

What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? Invest more in the Spanish-speaking market, holding more conferences in Latin America and offering services such as Spanish blogs and forums on Oracle Technology Network [OTN].

If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could only take one Oracle reference book, what would it be? Pro Oracle Database 10 g RAC on Linux [Apress, 2006]. It’s an excellent book that really helped me understand and improve my knowledge of Oracle Real Application Clusters.

Geoff Garcia

Peer Specs


 Company: March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization focused on pregnancy and baby health

 Job title/description: Portal administrator, handling basic administration functions such as performance tuning, configuration management, and upgrades

 Location: White Plains, New York

 Length of time using Oracle products: Seven years

Oracle ACE
Oracle ACE

What’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? Apart from day-to-day administrative work, I’m also tasked with looking into other technologies that could benefit the March of Dimes. To that end, I’ve found TechCrunch [] to be an invaluable resource to trigger ideas, and the OTN discussion boards to be a great place to ping my peers about those ideas.

How is the March of Dimes using Oracle technology to enhance productivity and collaboration? We’re using the Oracle WebCenter Interaction portal internally to provide a place for employees to collaborate and share information, as well as to provide tools and content to help them with their day-to-day tasks. In an extranet capacity, we’re using the portal as a collaboration platform with volunteer groups, partners, customers, and pilot programs at the international level.

What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? I’d like to see Oracle move more aggressively in the Web 2.0 landscape, by coming up with some best-of-breed collaboration, blog, portal, and wiki software that appeals to the masses of non-IT folks out there.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? There is no country as beautiful as India. I love the countryside, the undulating hills, and the villages. This is life at its most spiritual and simplest. The ocean shores of India are also very beautiful, and I love to visit these sandy beaches. I also like to vacation in Udwada in Gujarat, which is a pilgrimage spot for our ancient Zoroastrian religion. There’s a holy fire there that’s been burning for more than 1,200 years.