Keeping It RealBy Blair Campbell
Three Oracle technologists push their comfort zones, test reality, and take control.
What advice do you have about getting into Web and database development? Don’t be afraid to take on a challenge that may be over your head or outside your skill set. As long as you have good support—examples, documentation, coworkers who are willing to help, and online forums—you’ll learn much more when you’re pushed outside your comfort zone.
You’ve taken Oracle University (OU) classes in the past. What led you to do this? I’ve taken several OU classes related to both the database and application server technologies—but only after I’d been working with the products for a while. The classes were invaluable for reinforcing what I had learned on my own and for filling in the gaps.
What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? I see a lot of value in offering a free “light” version of software, as was done with Oracle Database Express Edition. This lowers the barrier to entry but gives people a database that can really grow with their products.
How did you get started in IT? I got a CPC 464 [a popular personal computer produced in Europe in the 1980s] as a present for my 15th birthday. After using it just for gaming for a while, I got bored and started to write my own applications in Assembler. My first “big”application was a program to capture the contents of discs with a GUI.
Now that you’re a pro, what’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? Even though I’m now much more of a DBA and an architect, I still love to write code using PL/SQL. I’ve never learned such a powerful programming language so easily. A lot of DBAs still underestimate the benefits of using PL/SQL.
Which new features of Oracle Database are you finding most valuable? I took part in the Oracle Database 11g Release 1 beta program. When I first heard about Oracle Real Application Testing, I was impressed. In the past, I had some really hard projects trying to do realistic load testing. Oracle Real Application Testing is a great new feature that keeps the complexity in that kind of project to a minimum, and it’s even more realistic at the same time.
Porus Homi Havewala
What technology has most changed your life? Oracle grid technology, including Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control and all the great management packs. I really like the advanced capabilities of Oracle Grid Control for tasks such as patching databases in an automated schedule, setting and scheduling Oracle RMAN [Oracle Recovery Manager] backups on the fly, and issuing SQL scripts and OS commands against any database or server.
What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? Oracle has demonstrated technical and thought leadership since its inception in 1977. The most recent example of innovative technology is the announcement that we can use Oracle Grid Control to back up our databases directly to the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. My request would just be to keep up this leadership.
What green practices do you use in your DBA work? I don’t print anything—I keep everything as electronic copies.
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.