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									How Are The Challenges Different
      for Internet DBAs?

            Roger Schrag
       Database Specialists, Inc.
       www.dbspecialists.com
            Today’s Session
• Introduction (a little about the author)
• Technology challenges facing
  internet DBAs
• Other challenges
           My Background
• Application developer at Oracle Corporation
• Oracle DBA at Fortune 500 companies
• Oracle DBA at internet startup
• Internet DBA consultant
• Manage team of internet DBAs
       Technology Challenges
        Facing Internet DBAs
•   Development tools
•   Educating others
•   24 by 7 operation
•   Reads vs. writes
•   Development and test environments
•   Backups and fault tolerance
•   Scalability
•   Budgets
          Development Tools
• Cross-platform languages
   – Perl, Java, C, C++
• Proprietary languages (grudgingly)
   – PL/SQL
• Application framework products
   – Net Dynamics, Cold Fusion, Dynamo

                                   You mean
                                  Oracle offers
Where are the Oracle             more than just a
                                   database?
tools?
     Internet DBA as Educator
• Native SQL functionality
  – “How do I prevent my query from returning
    duplicate rows?”
• Avoid re-inventing the wheel
  – “So you think I should use a GROUP BY clause
    instead of writing my own sort routine in Perl?”
• Design principles
  – “Why should I declare a primary key constraint
    when I can just create an index instead?”
      True 24 by 7 Operation
• Dynamic instance parameters
  – ALTER SYSTEM SET <parameter> = <value>
• Avoid free space fragmentation
  – Uniform extent sizes are a winner
• Anticipate future needs
  – “We want to run in archivelog mode soon, but we
    haven’t thought about how to manage the
    archived redo logs.”
• Think outside the box
  – “Can we move the temporary tablespace to the
    new RAID set without taking the site offline?”
              Reads vs. Writes
• Many internet databases are practically read-only
• Some are write intensive
• Read vs. write behavior impacts configuration
  decisions
  – SGA component sizes
  – Redo log placement
  – Use of RAID
  – Backup and recovery strategies
Development and Test Environments
  • “So you think we should have a separate
    database for development?”
  • “Why shouldn’t the entire development
    team know the production DBA password?”
  • Volume testing and capacity planning are
    challenging!
    – Number of users unknown
    – Don’t know how people will use the application
    – Difficulty simulating randomness of human
      behavior
     Backups and Fault Tolerance
• Often a back burner project
   – “We must always be up.”
   – “We have a script that exports the database once
      a week. Isn’t that good enough?”
• Standby databases
   – Minimal down time
   – Not an extra cost “option”
   – 8i standby databases can be used for reporting too
  Backups and Fault Tolerance
                (continued)
• Oracle Parallel Server
  – Licensing costs
  – Added complexity
  – “Server pinging” performance problems
     prior to 8i
               Scalability
• From proof-of-concept to millions of hits
  per day
• Transitioning from a few folks with an idea
  to a household name
• “So do you think you could port our
  application from MySQL to Oracle…
  today?”
                  Budgets
• Funded projects vs. the not-so-funded
• Oracle licenses cost $$$$
  – You can’t leverage the Oracle technology if you
    can’t pay for it
  – “Say, why don’t you just write us some PL/SQL
    to push data around so we don’t have to buy the
    Enterprise Edition of Oracle?”
• Fighting fires caused by lack of budget
  – Squeezing out a few more bytes of storage
  – Compensating for undertrained staff
    Other Challenges Facing
        Internet DBAs

• Corporate culture
• Work environment
• Staff turnover
          Corporate Culture

• This is a cool place to work
  – Ping pong, foosball, nerf paraphernalia
  – All the soda and junk food you can eat
• Power to the people
  – “We’ll move our weekly team meeting from
    10:00 to 11:00, because most folks seem to
    have trouble getting in by 10:00.”
  – “Survey results are in. The theme for all new
    server names will be serial killers.”
          Corporate Culture
                (continued)

• Smart people enjoy learning
  – Designating one developer as DBA
  – “How hard could this stuff be?”
  – Lack of perceived value of experienced DBAs
        The Work Environment
• Physical space
  – Crowded due to budget or explosive growth
  – Eclectic, or just plain weird
• Internet time
  – Plan for next week, not for next month or year
  – Analysis and design go out the window
  – “Our test plan? We put it in production and see
    what happens.”
  – Constant change of direction
• Flexibility and agility are key
    The Staff Revolving Door

• The folks who designed the system are long
  gone
• Documentation: obsolete or non-existent
• Staff can be hard to get a hold of
  – Virtual employees
  – Working from home
  – Flex time
The Internet Is Changing Everything…
          …Even for DBAs
  • Technical issues
  • Work issues
  • The pace of change
          Contact Information

Roger Schrag
rschrag@dbspecialists.com
http://www.dbspecialists.com

                       Database Specialists, Inc.
                    388 Market Street, Suite 400
                      San Francisco, CA 94111
                                 415-344-0500

								
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