A Fast-track Conceptual Approach for Management and Peer Technical Disciplines of Oracle DBAs

posted February 15, 2013, 8:57 PM by

Dave Welch (@OraVBCA), CTO and Chief Evangelist

I advocate that IT management at all levels and administrators of peer technical disciplines read the Oracle Database Concepts Guide’s Introduction chapter. Yes, that includes the C-level. That read will go a long way in preparing you to participate in database-related discussions at any level. Although this is beneficial if your organization deals with Oracle databases at all, it will prepare you to understand and accept a qualified architect’s suggestion that running Oracle business-critical workloads on the vSphere platform can provide remarkable benefits with minimal if any risks.

As I post this, it’s interesting for me to introspect on how little my mentoring activities have shifted since I authored my first version of this document. This is the centerpiece of guidance I developed and field-tested over seventeen elapsed years of Oracle DBA team building and mentoring. If you intend to become a DBA, study my selected subset of the Introduction chapter as if you were preparing to take a test on it. In 1995, one of my protégés started with the ingredient goo that evolved into this guidance table. He went on inside a year to become a successful consultant working for Oracle Corporation.

Why am I recommending a document and release version that ostensibly became obsolete years ago when Database release 10g went into mainstream adoption? Certainly not as an excuse to save time by repurposing existing collateral. I just rewrote this approach table from scratch. I find the Database Concepts Guide’s Introduction chapter got cumbered as of release 10g, and the nice self-contained introductory chapter is no longer what it used to be. I’m not saying I could have done a better job authoring the newer Concepts Guides. You can return later to more recent versions’ concepts guides to spot look up newer features as needed. But I believe the benefit of a coherent, consolidated read exceeds the risk of wasting time in older release documentation. It can be difficult to find quality vendor-provided documentation. Oracle’s documentation, at least up through 9i, is a notable exception.

The 9i Concepts Guide’s Introduction chapter is 67 pages. In the approach guidance table that follows, I’m suggesting that you read only about two thirds of that chapter. Your first read needs to be slow and careful to understand the concepts. Then return to review the concepts sufficient to suit your purposes.

The following approach table follows all the way through for DBA candidates’ needs. Non-DBA candidates will know where short of that to stop. DBA candidates should follow this overview with a study of the 2-Day DBA guide first published with Database 10g. I have my own selective approach to that document as well, which is beyond the scope of this post.

Here is your syllabus:

Oracle9i Database Concepts
Release 2 (9.2)
March 2002
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B10501_01/server.920/a96524.pdf

Heading

PDF Page

Doc Page

Initial Read

After Initial Read

Notes
Database Structure and Space Management Overview

46

1-2

Deep

Data Access Overview

54

1-10

•SQL Overview

54

1-10

Deep

•Objects Overview

56

1-12

If job goes there

•PL/SQL Overview

57

1-13

Deep

•Java Overview

58

1-14

Skim

•XML Overview

59

1-15

Skim

•Transaction Overview

61

1-17

Deep

•Data Integrity Overview

63

1-19

Deep

•SQL*Plus Overview

65

1-21

Deep

Memory Structures and Processes Overview

65

1-21

Memorize it

This is the most critical part of the chapter. DBA candidates: be prepared to reproduce the diagram’s key elements off the top of your head however
you want to draw them and explain any aspect of it on demand.

Ignore everything here and in this document that has to do with Shared Server processes, the User processes to the left of the Shared Server
processes, and the D000 box associated with those.

Application Architecture Overview

76

1-32

Deep

Distributed Databases

77

1-33

•Replication Overview

79

1-35

Skim

•Streams

80

1-36

Skim

Streams has pretty much been replaced by Oracle’s acquisition of Golden Gate which probably took place in 2009-2010. But do skim this to understand
the high-level solution to the business problem of asynchronously synchronizing very large databases of different versions/platforms to allow cutover with just moments of downtime.

•Advanced Queuing Overview

82

1-38

Skim

•Heterogeneous Services Overview

83

1-39

Skim

Data Concurrency and Consistency Overview

84

1-40

•Concurrency

84

1-40

Deep

•Read Consistency

84

1-40

Deep

•Locking Mechanisms

86

1-42

Skim

•Quiesce Database

86

1-42

Skim

Database Security Overview

87

1-43

Skim

Database Administration Overview

93

1-49

•Enterprise Manager Overview

93

1-49

Skim

This stuff has been totally replaced in 10g (April 2004) with Enterprise Manager Grid Control.

•Database Backup and Recovery Overview

94

1-50

Memorize it

As I approached home growing into being a DBA in 1994, I decided that a DBA who couldn’t confidently restore/recover a production database during a 2 AM emergency, was otherwise of little use to his employer.

Data Warehousing Overview

97

1-53

Skim

•Differences between Data Warehouse and OLTP

98

1-54

Deep

•Data Warehouse Architecture

99

1-55

Skim

•Materialized Views

102

1-58

Deep

Yes, it is two paragraphs. But they’re important.

•OLAP overview

102

1-58

Skim

•Change Data Capture Overview

103

1-59

Skim

High Availability Overview

104

1-60

Skim

•Transparent Application Failover

105

1-61

Skim

•On-line Reorganization Architecture

106

1-62

Skim

•Data Guard Overview

107

1-63

Deep

•Log Miner Overview

109

1-65

Skim

•Real Application Clusters

109

1-65

Skim

•Real Application Clusters Guard

109

1-65

Ignore this forever.

Content Management Overview

111

1-67

Ignore this forever.

•Oracle Internet File System Overview

112

1-68

Ignore this forever.

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