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Thread: How to become an Oracle App DBA?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    I am a senior Unix Oracle DBA. I am always proud of my Unix skills and Oracle DB admin experience until recently. I talked to several headhunters last week. I was told that Oracle Application DBAs are in really high demand. But, general Oracle DBAs with only DB administration experience are not on the list. It's kind of shock to me. This is very different from six months ago.

    I have not worked in the Oracle application field. I would like to set up a testing Oralce Application environment for self-learning. Here are some questions:

    1. Do you think it's easier to start on the NT/Win2000 platform?

    (When I said it's easier, I mean it's easier to get the resource. I don't think it's easier to get a spare Unix machine with a lot of empty diskspace for testing. )

    2. In terms of database tier, I know the difference between the implementaton on Unix platform and NT platform. Now, what's the major difference for Ora Apps between these two platforms?

    3. How many machines do you need to set up this learning environment? (This is a multi-tier environment.)

    4. Has anyone ordered the CD packs from Oracle Store? Is it the same as the production CDs?

    5. How do you start up?
    Installation - testing - case study ......?

    I did not see enough info on DBASupport about Ora Apps, compared to Ora DB Admin. I hope this thread will start accumulate some good hints and tips to help DBAs interested in switching to the field of Oracle Application DBA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    It seems like Oracle Application is a pain in the a**, my collegue is working with it and he has already applied about 25 patches in the last 4 weeks! Also I think you need pretty good knowledge on IAS since 11i is based on multi tier architecture. So I would think twice before want to get involve with Applications (I am forced to, next week my nightmare starts)

    Ah!!! Then you have problems like integrating Discoverer with Applications (just to list one)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Chicago IL
    I AGREE WITH PANDO. IF you dont have to dont get into ORACLE APPS administration. I did it for 1.5 yrs and it sucks really bad. Oracle Apps arent stable and every .releases require about 200 patches and each patch takes about 3- 5 hrs to install based on if its a mega patch etc.

    The patch always breaks...by the way...you have to open a tar with Oracle. They dont have a clue and you usually get involved with Oracle Developers and they promise these pathes in their next upgrade but your clients will not have the patients to wait that along..and u get al the heat.

    i rather be an simple dba. drop me an email if you wantl.
    "High Salaries = Happiness = Project Success."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Apps administration is a whole different animal. Personally, I think a greater understanding of the database is worth more in the salary department than being an Apps DBA.

    However, Oracle Apps is out there. If it says Oracle, it usually ends up in the DBA's lap. There's a lot of maintenance when a new piece of functionality is released, but its not to bad day-to-day. You will question your technical knowlege many times over, but eventually you will get it.

    If you want to setup an apps demo environment, you will need either one really beefy machine (512M RAM, 40G disk) to run both tiers, or two decent machines (512M + 20G Disk Each). Installing the software is really simple, configuring it is a different story. Most Apps implementations have dedicated Functional Consultants that set up the business rules that run the system.

    Keep in mind that Recruiters are scrambling right now. There's no jobs out there and they will place you in ANY job so they can collect their fee.

    If you get Apps into your shop, embrace it. Learn the middle tier. Learn all the web do-dads that come with it. Otherwise, sit tight until the economy starts coming back and become an Expert with the database.
    Jeff Hunter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    Believe it or not, I am an ORACLE DBA with CPA background. That's why I am interested in Oracle Financial. Would you please add more details about Oracle Apps installation. Once the installation is complete, I can start the configuration.

    I tried the installation of 11.5.1. There are 8 CDs and the installation failed because there are some directories do not exist on the machine. (How can a NT machine own a "/" slash directiories -- it should be back slash, shouldn't it?)

    Thanks a lot!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2001


    I am an Oracle DBA and Oracle Financials DBA.

    In my opinion the jobs differ quite alot. On the one hand being an Oracle DBA can become quite boring and sameish, you almost have to look for work if you are in a permanent job. Consultancy work is different, you come up against something new everyday.

    Oracle Financials gives you work ! There is always something going wrong, whether you have installed it properly or not. Yes, there is alot of patching to be done, but this can be scripted to run itself. I once spent a whole summer applying patches ! The money is the reward if u like. I was getting alot of sterling a day for applying patches, that summer (3 years ago). You wouldn't get anything near what I was getting, doing straight Oracle DBA work, unless specialised in tuning, etc, where you would probably get alot more.

    The answer to almost any Oracle Financials technical question can be found on metalink. Metalink will become your best friend. You may have to try several searches, but it nearly always comes up trumps. don't bother phoning Oracle as most of the people on the support desk won't have clue what you are talking about (not all) and all they do is search metalink anyway, bugs and tars not included

    If you want to get into Financials jump in at the deep end and then start metalinking. NT would be the way to go. Unix is the environment most 11i environments are being run on, with NT coming second.

    It's not that much of a pain in the a*s, it's just different...and after all, aren't we all in this for the money anyway ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    I totally agree with you. Thank you for your inputs.
    Could you please recommend some other websites/books dedicated to Oracle Apps?

    Thank you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    your welcome...here some sites that I use

    http://www.appsdba.com --> good scripts here and check out the reference link for some great sites.
    http://www.oaug.com/ --> join the excellent DBA listserver here. You may get alot of mails, but if you have a lot of questions about APPS DBA stuff, chances are they will be answered here.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    I'm a year into being an Apps DBA. I started with 10.7 Smart Client > moved to NCA > and now am installing 11i. I think it's a challenging job because like many people mentioned earlier the patches and scripts provided from Oracle tend to have errors and or create invalid objects.

    Also something that you should be aware of is that some of the documentation is full of misleading information, and some of the step by step examples do not work.

    In the upgrade manual there are several areas that can not be completed. Oracle knows this, and they are probably too busy dealing with iTars caused by their own documentation to fix the documentation that caused the issues.

    Just to install 10.7 and patch it to the current release took at least 6 months. This was partially due to the fact that I had no Oracle Financials experience at the time.

    As far as Oracle Metalink and Support goes, I find that once I learned how to properly use the advance search feature of Metalink, I could wade through some of the more advanced issues and solve technical issues on my own. In fact, I have solved stuff that the support staff worked on for weeks and couldn't resolve (i was simply lucky and fell onto a solution - not because i necessarily was more skilled).

    The key to being a good Apps DBA is knowing that most things that seem simple can turn into a big project, and ALWAYS do a backup before you do ANYTHING. It may seem as simple as applying a 3 minute patch, you should still backup if at all possible. This is preaching to the choir for most DBA's, but going from first hand experience, not backing up daily during patches can be so so ugly.

    Although it's frustrating, being an Apps DBA is interesting because you are dealing with something that can be used as a ERP if the company decides to go that way.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Helsinki. Finland
    This is an interesting thread.

    My opinion is that nowadays just being a pure DBA is not enough. It is not necessary to mention that the times of say Backup & recovery DBAs are over. Many companies are looking for application DBAs. I first started as a programmer in 1984 (Fortan and PL/I) and I have been following the market for almost 20 years.

    Now I am an Oracle DBA, who is also a programmer. I write PL/SQL packages, make reports with Oracle Reports and user interfaces with Clarion 5 (I use to work with Oracle Forms last year too). Things may become at times hectic and I should admit that sometimes I make mistakes.

    Time flys... I see that in the IT market now it is more important, much more important, how well someone is able to learn the new things than how well he can use the old stuff.

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