Making Decisions

Oracle Databases and Backups

I have now had several months of experience as an Oracle DBA, and my advice is backup frequently (but of course being DBAs you already knew that :)). The general concept I use in my day-to-day administration is very simple, and is very much the general practice in the administration world. The best strategy would be to do a full database backup using the RMAN tool included in Oracle Standard and Enterprise database products. Once per week, a full database backup is performed, and daily there are incremental backups, to maintain the changes that have occured to the databse that day. Since the database at work is used internationally, a “run at night” solution is not the most feasible or effective solution, so I have looked at peak load times, and have tried to schedule my backups to occur during general periods of low usage. Also for quick manual backups, I quite enjoy the new expdp and impdp utilities in Oracle 10.2g and 11g, as they allow for fast, easy manual backups. The only word of warning is that these database utilities are not naturally consistent nor do they use the old exp and imp tools consistent=’Y’ feature.

To ensure data consistency and integrity you should use the flashback feature. It supports both SCN (system change number) and dates. When using flashback_date, it takes the timestamp and finds the most recent SCN to that time, so basically it just extends SCN. To find your current SCN, you can just run the following stored procedure from SQL*Plus: SELECT CURRENT_SCN FROM V$DATABASE;

On Following Your Dreams

I’ve always been a big dreamer. Always have had plans, goals, ideas and the knowledge and research inclination to be able to complete them given time and motivation. Time is never the issue, there is plenty of it to go around most days, but I have always lacked motivation to follow through on my dreams. That is changing in me, and now I’m facing some interesting and complex decisions about what I want to do over the next few years. One venue that I am exploring is graduate studies, and will likely follow through with that until I at least have a Masters in hand. The other venue is starting up a company I have had in the back of my mind for a while now. It has always been a dream of mine to be an entrepreneur and start my own company and now I am finally at a point where I have enough skill and enough motivation to get things rolling. As such, I have a couple ideas of mine to share with you when asking yourself what you want to do:

  1. Do what you want to do, not what you have to do – This one is hard to swallow sometimes, but it is something I’ve followed since childhood. The key being once you are doing what you want to do and content with it, it will become what you have to do. Many people pick a careerĀ  for whatever reasons, and it starts out as being something you have to do (money, family, etc). If you are doing what you want to do, it is because you have a passion for it.
  2. Take chances – I struggled with this for a very long time. In fact, even the small things like maintaining a blog to spread my opinion and knowledge was difficult at first. What if people criticize me? What if I say something wrong? You have to be willing to take some chances; This is particularly important when you start to project outwards, ideas of running a business, researching new areas. You have to be wrong sometimes to be right most of the time.