On Grids and Groups
Three peers navigate trends in virtualization, database monitoring, and social media.
BOB MYCROF T
SHEERI K. CABRAL
Company: Capgemini, an IT services and
business consultancy company
Job title: Senior Oracle DBA, working on the
team overseeing Capgemini’s U.K. Environment
Location: Leeds, England
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified
Professional (Oracle8i Database through Oracle
Database 10g) and Oracle Certified Expert
(Oracle Real Application Clusters 10g), with
15 years of experience using Oracle products
Which new features of Oracle Database are
you currently finding most valuable? I’m
playing with the Flashback Data Archive and
Flashback Transaction Query features at
the moment. With every new version of the
database, we’ve been increasingly able to get
the system back to an old point in time, or
look at data at an old point in time, without
the nastiness of doing a point-in-time
recovery. Anything that saves us time is good.
Any other products or features currently
piquing your interest? Oracle VM. It’s really
the only truly supported virtualization
platform for Oracle products. The ability for
us to potentially use Oracle technologies for
the whole stack and then to virtualize the
hardware itself is seriously attractive, as it
means a single vendor for support.
If you were going to the International Space
Station for six months and could only take
one Oracle reference book, what would it be?
The Art and Science of Oracle Performance
Tuning, by Christopher Lawson [Apress,
2003]. It’s quite an old book now, but I really
like the way Lawson approaches the subject.
Company: Accenture, a management consulting,
technology services, and outsourcing company
Job title/description: Head of database
management, overseeing a global team of DBAs
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Master,
Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle8i Database
through Oracle Database 11g), and Oracle
Certified Professional Developer (Oracle Forms 6,
Oracle Forms 6i), with 23 years of experience
using Oracle products
What’s your favorite tool or technique on
the job? Oracle Grid Control—it’s the best
tool Oracle has ever created. Oracle Grid
Control is a must for DBAs who need to
manage a lot of databases. It can drastically
reduce database administration time and
significantly improve a DBA’s productivity
and efficiency. I most like the fact that you
are able to monitor the complete database
stack from one consolidated view.
What advice do you have about how
to get into database and application
development? Attend an Oracle University
[OU] class! It’s the best place to get Oracle
knowledge. I’ve taken dozens of OU classes,
always in the classroom, and I used them to
prepare for my Oracle certification exams.
OU is the place where information, study
materials, and training are all provided from
the very heart of Oracle. And I’ve always
admired the enthusiasm and dedication of
What technology has most changed your
life? The TV set and the computer. Both
equally—and almost all for the better.
Company: PalominoDB, a remote database
Job title/description: Community manager and
DBA, working in the field to handle all database
tasks for PalominoDB clients
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Oracle credentials: MySQL 4.0 Core certified
and Oracle Certified Professional DBA (MySQL
5.0), with 10 years of experience using Oracle
How did you get started in IT? In college
I wanted to major in neuroscience. Math
and computers were interesting, so I was
going to minor in computer science just for
fun. However, I ended up getting a D– in
Introductory Neuroscience in the middle
of my junior year, so with three semesters
left to go I changed my major to computer
science, got all As and Bs, and then went
on to get a master’s degree in computer
science as well.
What’s your favorite tool or technique on the
job? Lately I’m very enamored with mk-query-digest and EXPLAIN to do query reviews of
the MySQL general logs. As for query reviews
themselves, I find they are extremely helpful
in finding queries to optimize before they
become a problem in production.
How are you using social media in your work?
I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter. I try to keep
Facebook personal, although I do participate
in MySQL groups and events on Facebook.
I have a blog, and I’m also the cohost of
OurSQL: The MySQL Database Community
Podcast [listen to the show at dev.mysql
Learn more about the Oracle ACE program at otn.oracle.com/community/oracle_ace.