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How do you recognize a good Oracle DBA?

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
Robert G. Freeman


How do you tell a good DBA?

I've seen many a DBA in my years it seems. I've done technical interviews over the phone and in person. I've been introduced to the DBA staff at many a client site, moving from cube to cube trying to remember names and faces (I'm terrible at names). As a consultant, it seems to me that it's very important to quickly size up the DBA's you will be working with. So, I ask the question, how do you tell a good DBA?

Now, as a consultant, I can't go around giving formal technical interviews. I am not sure this would go over that well....

Me: "Hello Mr. X, I have to work with your group and I need to figure out who the good DBA's are and who the idiots are."

Not making friends there.... I kind of pondered on this, and I think I have a subjective set of criteria I use to make some rather rapid decisions. It's not perfect, but it works a good deal of the time:

1. How many books do they have, how worn are they, and WHAT books do they have?

- No books, bad news. You are in a managers office.

- If the cube is filled with a bunch of 10 year old C books on the book shelves that are dog-eared, but few if any Oracle books, I'm in trouble.

- If the cube is filled with a bunch of new Oracle books on bookshelves that look like they have never been touched, you are probably in trouble.

- If the cube is filled with only a few, well worn, carefully chosen titles on the bookshelf, you are probably in very good company (but beware, you might have a neat freak on your hands).

- If the cube is filled with only a few, well worn, carefully chosen titles scattered all over the place, with paper hanging out of them, dog eared and well used, hey, this is a DBA I can work with!

- If the cube is filled with only a few, well worn, carefully chosen titles scattered all over the place, with paper hanging out of them, dog eared and well used, and there are stacks of printed MOSC notes, even better!

2. What does the DBA talk about when you meet him?


- Ok, if the DBA spends more than 2 minutes talking hobbies or his last vacation.... all wonderful topics, when you sit down to talk, be worried.

- If, after a couple of minutes the DBA says, "Hey my hit ratio is 98.9%, how do I make it 99%"... You might have a problem.

- If, after a couple of minutes the DBA says, Hey, here is a document on all of our instances, he's probably a good DBA.

- If, after a couple of minutes the DBA is demonstrating the HTMLDB application he made that interfaces with the Oracle SGA to produce performance reports without interfering with Oracle itself..... it's time to be scared of this DBA. :-)

3. What is the DBA's response to your request for access

- If the DBA's response is: OK, I'll fill out the paperwork and it will take a week....  Well that just simply means you are working at a fortune 50 company that will be going bankrupt in the next 10 years or so.

- If the DBA's response is: Ok, normally it takes a week but I'll take it down and handle it myself so it's done today. This is a *good* DBA most likely, or he knows he's going to be able to shovel off his work on you. One of the two is probably true.
 



 

 

  
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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