The Blog from the DBA Classroom

By: Joel Goodman

Prepare to Upgrade your OCP to 12c and other Certification news

Posted by Joel Goodman on 13/03/2014

I have been involved for over 18 months now in writing and reviewing various Oracle Database 12c Certtification exams and am pleased to inform OCPs that the Oracle Certification programme will begin releasing Exam Prep Seminars for the 12c track.

The first one to be released will be the Oracle Database 12c Upgrade Exam Prep Seminar, which is a single-exam for OCPs  who hold earlier versions of Oracle Database Certification  from  Oracle7.3, Oracle8, Oracle8i, Oracle9i, Oracle Databases 10g or 11g.  IN the past this would have required more than one exam for some OCPs who were too many releases behind.

My colleague and fellow OCM, Gwen Lazenby is the Oracle University Subject Matter Expert who features in the Exam prep seminar and you can get a quick preview of the seminar here. The seminar will be available in a few weeks.

This seminar can  you to prepare for the Upgrade to Oracle Database 12c (1Z0-060) exam.

Look out for more posts about new Oracle Database 12c Certifications in the Oracle Certified Expert and Oracle Certified Master series this year.




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Tales from #oug_ire 2014

Posted by Joel Goodman on 13/03/2014

Was delighted to join my colleague and fellow Oakie Uwe Hesse, at this years Irish Oracle User Group conference in Dublin.

Uwe posted this morning on this here.

Was also pleased to catch up with Tom Kyte on the one day Optimizer seminar on the day after the conference.

Looking forward to working again with Uwe, Tom and others at future EMEA conferences.



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Upcoming User Groups and Conferences

Posted by Joel Goodman on 19/02/2014

I will be presenting on Oracle 12c Clusterware New Features at the next UKOUG AIM SIG on April 2nd  2014 at Thames Valley Park.

Also will be at the Finnish Oracle User Group Conference on June 5th and 6th in Helsinki, and at the Bulgarian User Group Conference on June 13th to 15th 2014 presenting on:

  • Global Resource Coordination in RAC 
  • Oracle 12c Automatic Data Optimization

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Join Oracle University at OUG Ireland 2014

Posted by Joel Goodman on 13/02/2014

I will be presenting at OUG Ireland along with my colleague Uwe Hesse on Tuesday 11th of March

and also at the OUG Ireland 12c Workshop on Wednesday 12th March.

Look forward to seeing you there.

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Speaking of Which……

Posted by Joel Goodman on 21/11/2013

Presented a talk on Global Resource Coordination at the German Oracle User Group Conference this week. Met many of my fellow Oak Table member there who presented on a wide variety of topics

Next stop is the UKOUG  Tech13 conference in Manchester where I will present a Parallel Execution Master Class length Oracle University lesson on Wednesday morning.

Also presenting at the Oak Table World UK 2013 conference.

Hope to see some of you at the upcoming events.

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UKOUG New Feature(s)

Posted by Joel Goodman on 30/09/2013

The UKOUG Tech13 conference will be held in Manchester this year and a new feature for the conference launch is that of the Featured Speaker of the week, in the weeks leading up to the event.

I am pleased to have been chosen as the first Featured Speaker last week and that my Oracle colleague Iloon Ellen-Wolff is the second Featured Speaker this week. Iloon  Teaches Apex for Oracle University, in addition to her global support role in Oracle.




Look out for other featured Speakers in the weeks leading up to the conference. I look forward to seeing friends and colleagues at the conference.



Posted in Oracle | 1 Comment »

Talk the Talk

Posted by Joel Goodman on 30/08/2013

I’m pleased to say that I am now on twitter as JoelJGoodman.

I also am pleased to add that I have been confirmed as a speaker at the DOAG conference where i will speak on Global Resource Management in RAC.

This is on 19/11/2013 at 15:00 CET.

I have been working on various certification exams and am pleased that the Oracle Linux 6 Certified associate exam is now available for Beta testing.

You can find details here :

The Oracle Linux Certified Professional exam will eventually follow.

I will also be presenting at the Oracle Database Server SIG in Thames Valley Park on October 8th on an Oracle Database 12c topic as yet to be decided. Ill update on twitter when the topic is confirmed.

Looking forward to meeting up at the conferences or in Oracle courses.





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User Groups can be Abstract

Posted by Joel Goodman on 03/08/2013

I have had confirmation from two user group conferences for this autumn:

1. DOAG – where I shall present a talk on Global Resource Coordination in a RAC Environment

2. UKOUG – where I shall present a Parallel Execution Master Class and host two round table discussions:

2.1 Grid Infrastructure and RAC Round Table

2.2 Engineered Systems Round Table

I am please also that some of my Oracle Colleagues will be at these conferences.

Uwe Hesse from Oracle University is presenting at both conferences on DBA topics

Iloon Ellen-Wolff from Oracle Support is presenting at the UKOUG on APEX Listener.

I look forward to seeing some of my friends and colleagues from past conferences and courses.

Note: I am now on Twitter as JoelJGoodman

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Speaking on Ships can be Testing

Posted by Joel Goodman on 10/05/2013

1. The Ship

I took some time off working on the development of several Oracle Certification Exams to participate in the Norwegian Oracle User Group conference. Many other speakers and attendees have described the wonderful environment of the conference, comprising a land day in Oslo, followed by two days aboard the Colour Magic Cruise Ferry from Oslo to Kiel in northern Germany and back.

I had one talk on each day:

  1. Parallel Execution Master Class  – three hours on the first morning in the land day. Many people attended to “fill in the cracks” or Parallel execution and were also quite keen to understand the 11gR2 changes that permit automatic parallel execution. This talk covered:
    1. Parallel Execution Administration
    2. Parallel Execution Plans
    3. Parallel Query
    4. Parallel DML
    5. Parallel DDL
    6. Monitoring and Tuning Parallel Execution
  2. Global Resource Management in RAC – this was a conventional one hour talk on first day of cruise about the management and coordination of global resources such as:
    1. Global Enqueues
    2. Global Locks (Instance Locks)
    3. Global Buffer Cache
    4. Global Result cache
  3. Partitioning Master Class – this was a  two hour Master class on day two of the cruise for people with or without experience of partitioning and covered:
    1. All Table Partitioning Methods
    2. All Index Partitioning Methods
    3. Partition Maintenance Operations
    4. Partition Pruning (or Elimination)
    5. Partitioned Execution Plans

All the talks were well attended for the English Language stream, and I plan to do these at future conferences.

While at  the conference I made some new friends and enjoyed the company of  colleagues from past conferences too.

  1. Philippe Fierens – who attended my talks, discussed technology and philosophy at dinner and joined our group for drinks each night
  2. Jan Karremans – who exemplified the dedicated IT professional. Jan overcame getting motion sickness at sea to be at the conference and to share time with us at dinner and drinks
  3. Iloon Ellen-Wollf - from Oracle Support. I attended her talk on Oracle Public Cloud overview and learned a bit about how this offering works. I was pleased to see Oracle Support providing speakers to a User Group conference as this is not that common in my experience in speaking at such conferences.

2. The Exams

I have been working on various certification exam projects for Oracle in the past 9 months, either as an exam reviewer, or for some topics as one of the exam developers. some of the projects are:

  1. Certification projects for the next release of the Oracle Database Server.
  2. Development of the next version of Oracle Linux certification exams based on Linux 6
  3. Development of a certification exam for Oracle Database Cloud Admin
  4. Migrating the Oracle Certified Master Exam environment for Oracle 11g  to version 11..2.0.3
  5. Training the MySQL Developer Exam writing team in Oracle Item writing standards
  6. Training the MySQL Administration Exam writing team in Oracle Item writing standards
  7. Training the Solaris Exam writing team in Oracle Item writing

Exam development involves many steps from design of the blueprint for the exam right through to the exam going live, but the Subject Matter Experts who create exams must all be trained in the Oracle Item writing standards. This is a soft skill separate from the technical area of expertise. I have worked for many years with Julia Johnson, Global Director of Oracle Certification Exam development to create training guides, instructional videos and mentoring sessions, all with the aim of improving the standards of exam item writing.

One of the crucial stages in the process is the Beta test for any exam. So if you are interested in participating in the Beta programme for any Oracle certification, that is in Beta, please let me know and we can contact you closer to the time.


May 2013

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Can Supporting an Exadata Database Machine Make You Certifiable?

Posted by Joel Goodman on 28/02/2013

One of my roles in Oracle is to help develop Oracle Certification exams, and I have been extremely busy in recent months. This work is a global activity, and is in addition to teaching courses and seminars for Oracle University in EMEA and to speaking at user groups and special interest group meetings.

The role entails:

  • Collaborating with Oracle Database or Linux Subject matter experts to help write exam items for Oracle Certified Expert  (OCE) certifications
  • Reviewing entire exams written by the core technology exam development team for Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) or Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) certifications
  • Teaching exam item writing workshops to other exam development teams with Oracle, including the Solaris and MySQL item writing teams.
  • Reviewing existing exams to assess where improvements can be made by exam developers for future projects.

The exam development projects in which I have participated in recent months are:

  1. Oracle Database OCP upgrade exam for the next release of the Oracle Database server for existing OCPs
  2. Oracle Database OCA exam for the next release release of the Oracle Database server for new OCA candidates
  3. Bronze exam for certain markets, based on the 2 day DBA overview course
  4. Oracle 11g SQL Tuning OCE exam
  5. Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control  Cloud Administration exam
    • For Oracle Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Cloud Administrators -
    • For Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) Cloud Administrators.  This includes Database as a Service (DBaaS) and Middleware as a Service (MWaaS)
  6. Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3 Administration Oracle Certified Expert exam

Whilst all these exams have their interesting aspects, the focus of this post is the Database Machine OCE exam.

The Database Machine Support Skillset Challenge

Much has been written by myself and others about the different skills involved in provisioning a Database Machine and then maintaining and monitoring the various components. This skill list can be briefly summarised as follows:

  1. Hardware provisioning, installation and maintenance – A Database Machine requires floorspace, adequate ventilation and power supply
  2. Network Administration – A Database Machine must have its Ethernet switch and some other components connected to the corporate LAN. There may also be a requirement to connect Media servers to the Database Machine InfiniBand network.
  3. Operating System Administration  – The Database nodes, also referred to as “Compute” nodes, require O/S administration including backups and patching
  4. Exadata Storage Administration – The Storage nodes or “Cells” need administering and monitoring of Celldisks, Griddisks, Flashcache and other resources
  5. Grid Infrastructure Administration – The Clusterware and Oracle ASM must be administered and monitored> ASM in particular is crucial for monitoring the mirrored disk groups, because Exadata uses ASMs host based mirroring. Mirroring is not done in the Cells.
  6. Oracle Database Administration – this includes Single Instance Oracle, RAC and RAC One Node as all three are possible on a Database Machine

The challenge for an organisation is figuring out how to support a Database Machine (or any other “Engineered System”). There are three models that I have encountered amongst the attendees to the Oracle Database Machine Admin course over the past three to four years:

  1. The Silo Model – This involves having DBAs look after any Oracle products. So DBAs must skill up on all the skills listed above. The advantage is that the support organisation has all the skills in the one team and each DBA can handle support requirements in several areas, but this requires training to expand the traditional DBA skill set.
  2. The Team Model – This involves creating a new team which amongst all the members has the required skills, but where each member is responsible for their own area of expertise. This model requires less training as the members have the required skills already, but requires a change to the organisation.
  3. The Virtual Team Model – This involves creating a virtual team which amongst all the members has the required skills, but where each member is responsible for their own area of expertise. This model requires less training as the members have the required skills already, and requires no real change to existing organisational structures, apart from agreeing on the terms of reference for the virtual team.  This is the most common model I have encountered.

The Database Machine Certification Blueprint Challenge

The challenge for developing the Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3 Administration exam was to address the skill set profile of the typical administrator in light of the  preponderance of the Virtual Team Model. Since few people would be likely to have all the skills to support the Database Machine by themselves, we focused the exam content blueprint on the main skills that one uses in day to day administration. This is predominantly a DBA-centric skill set.

Here is a general outline of the skills and how we treated them for the purposes of the exam:

  • In-depth knowledge of Exadata Storage Server Administration. This is the key component of the Database Machine. The Storage is very DBA-centric, as it is defines specifically for Oracle Databases and ASM, and is not a general purpose storage solution
  • In-depth knowledge of ASM features relating specifically to Exadata based disk groups. This includes but is not restricted to ASM mirroring, Exadata-specific disk group parameters, and Exadata specific monitoring.
  • In Depth knowledge of Clusterware features relating specifically to Exadata resource management and availability. This includes but is not restricted to I/O fencing in for  Exadata based ASM disk groups, partitioning the Exadata storage grid to support multiple database clusters and maintaining storage availability to the storage during patching.
  • In Depth knowledge of Oracle Database administration relating to the use of Exadata based ASM disk groups. This includes but is not limited to Monitoring SQL execution plans when objects reside in Exadata bases ASM disk groups, Exadata specific wait events and Exadata specific statistics.
  • Overview knowledge of network administration. This includes network overview, general IP address and Ethernet connectivity requirements, very general knowledge of the InfiniBand switch topography and port requirements.
  • Overview knowledge of Operating System maintenance requirements. This includes but is not limited to differentiating between the storage nodes and compute nodes, knowing what is and what is not permitted regarding O/S patching and administration, and maintaining high availability during patching.
  • Overview of The Database Machine Hardware components. This includes but is not limited to rack sizes, disk options. site planning, installation and support.
  • Concept Only Overview of Monitoring the Database Machine with Enterprise Manager.  Since both Grid Control and Cloud Control are available for monitoring, the exam focuses only on concepts including but not restricted to as SNMP traps, plug-ins and target discovery

For a complete list of possible exam topics visit the Certification page for the Database Machine Exam and click on the “Exam Topics” tab.

The Exam Development and Quality Assurance Challenge

The Exam was written by a team Oracle University Subject Matter Experts who were all experienced in the product. The review and Beta Test involved Experts from Oracle ACS, with field experience, and other SMEs who were not involved in exam item writing.

If you work with the Exadata Database Machine, preparing for this certification will help you gain a mastery of the skills most often used on a day to day basis as well as a good working knowledge of all the other skill areas listed above.


London February 2013

Posted in Oracle | 4 Comments »


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