Scott's Column
DBA or Not DBA

August 1, 2005
By Scott Lewis

This month there is not much to report. I may be increasing by DBA responsibilities. Should I?

This Month's Games

I am getting very little time to game. That will change as soon as the school year starts up. I have played some more of Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy, but that's about it. I got stuck on one mission, an optional one, and couldn't find where I was supposed to go. I eventually made it past that and finally finished the mission. I don't think I will be doing any more optional missions.

When school gets underway I want to get back to playing Splinter Cell. The friend I built a computer for loaned me a copy of Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow. He said it was great. I want to finish the original Splinter Cell before moving on.

To DBA or not to DBA?

Is that really a question? We are starting a huge move off our mainframe system at work. We are going to use Oracle 10g and its Grid computing to store all of our data. As it sits now we have three main systems. First is the mainframe, which is being de-supported by the vendor. Next we have SQL Server to feed all of our web sites. Finally, we have Oracle 8i that supports all of our printing production. We do have another system that runs off an Access database and a marketing database running Oracle 8 (not 8i).

I am the "acting" DBA for Oracle 8i. However, I have noticed my skills to be lacking when trying to work with 10g. I have told my boss that I want to take on the task of being "the" DBA, and to send me to training on Oracle 10g. I will need the normal training on installing, backup and recovery, and performance tuning. I will also need training on the Grid technology.

Oracle's Grid technology is supposed to allow you to use multiple servers to handle the database load. If one goes down the database stays up, you just lose some performance while the one node is down. Also, you can add more nodes to pickup performance. I will be very interested in seeing this in action. I would also like to see what kind of difference in performance occurs when adding and removing nodes.

We will see if my boss is going to be able to find the $20K or so in the budget to send me to the classes I need. If he does it should make me more marketable, and should earn me a raise.

I'll keep you posted.

Right now we are concentrating on learning about a software from Taurus that is used to replicate data from our mainframe system to Oracle. It has a fairly simple scripting language. It will really depend on how complicated the rules are in replicating data from our mainframe to the design my coworker and I came up with to support everything (everything except the marketing database, but who cares about marketing).

Web Site Tools

I am getting ready to look into Dreamweaver. My wife has the chance to learn it as part of her school's online tutorials. I am going to go through them myself. I thought I would take this opportunity to compare Dreamweaver to FrontPage. Also, Nvu is now out of beta, so I thought I would do a three way comparison. Each is supposed to handle site management as well as be a WYSIWYG page editor.

I am going to try and build the main pages of this site in each product. FrontPage will have an edge due to my familiarity with it over the years. Since I will build a site from scratch, it will be interesting how much I can do easily in each.

I will be planning out a new look. I will attempt to get the look as close as possible in each program. I will also be looking at each one to see how well it can create a look itself. I have used FrontPage's themes in the past. I stopped because it creates at least one extra file for every file that makes up my web site. This created a problem with disc space on my hosting service.

I will see what Dreamweaver and Nvu has that compares to FrontPage's themes, and how many files they create.

Whatever look I come up with will probably become the look of this site, so it will take a little bit of time to get my comments completely organized for an article.


That's it for this month. I hope to have fun playing with Dreamweaver and Nvu. I'll report back when I have decided with is best.