|Robert Freeman, author of Oracle9i New
Features and Oracle 9i RMAN Backup & Recovery, is
currently working on a book about the Oracle 10G database,
which will be unveiled at OracleWorld in September.
recently talked with SearchOracle.com about the most common
DBA mistakes he sees while working as a technical consultant
for Lombard, Ill.-based TUSC, which provides consulting
services to Oracle clients.
Freeman repeatedly sees DBAs make mistakes that could have
been avoided by paying attention and taking nothing for
granted. In this interview, he offered his top 10 suggestions
for achieving success as a DBA.
Make backup and recovery a top priority. Without
good backup and recovery systems, DBAs can be guaranteed two
things: IT disasters and unemployment. DBAs need to make data
recovery their primary focus.
Lock out unused Oracle accounts. When you create a
database, Oracle creates a number of ancillary accounts for a
variety of Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) functions. Remember
to lock out these unused accounts to outside users. If Oracle
9i is installed manually, then the ancillary accounts could
remain open and create a hole in the system.
Put the production database in archive log mode.
Running the database in archive log mode allows hot backups to
be performed while the database is open and available. It also
allows recovery of the database in the event of a failure. To
avoid loss of critical data, an archive log is absolutely
Set privileges on data files. Unless the files are
encrypted, someone knowledgeable in how Oracle stores data
could access the files. Only those who need access to the data
should be given privileges. In Unix, Oracle data files will
allow anyone read/write access, unless DBAs set specific
Follow a prescribed set of standards when creating and
administrating the database. Often a DBA will create a
database without any standards for setting objects and
creating a set of schemas. A lack of standards usually lands
DBAs in a mess.
Don't use new features before they're ready for prime
time. A lot of the newest database features often need
time to prove themselves. A good DBA is versed in new features
but knows when and when not to use them. Any bugs in the new
feature could cause the loss of valuable information.
Always be on the lookout for trouble. It's important
to set up a robust proactive monitoring program. For example,
DBAs need to watch how much space they have free in the
database and, as that number shrinks, they need to go in and
make a planned change to increase the space.
Find a mentor. This is very important for new and
midlevel DBAs, because the Oracle database encompasses so much
technology. Find someone who is experienced and really knows
what they are doing. Look for a mentor online, in DBA forums,
or find one at work.
Read everything. Educate yourself as best as
possible by keeping up with the latest technology and
practices. This means knowing relational database technology,
online transaction processing and data warehouse technology.
Trust nothing (at the outset). Don't trust
everything you read at first glance. No two Oracle
installations are the same.