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The Dark Side

By Steve Jones,

Recently I was invited to speak at the Rocky Mountain Oracle Training Days. It was part of some cross platform talks that have happened in Denver, with some Oracle professionals coming to our last SQL Saturday in Denver. I was happy to oblige, and ended up spending part of two days at the small conference. I was a little nervous beforehand, unsure of how SQL Server talks might be received at an Oracle event. There's a fair amount of animosity between the companies and that seems to bleed over to the professionals working on these platforms. I've made my share of Oracle jokes in the past, though all in fun.

It was interesting to sit and talk with some of the Oracle DBAs attending. For the most part, they have the same problems as SQL Server DBAs, and seem to approach things in a similar manner in terms of indexing, tuning SQL and more. They have the same types of problems, with similar solutions, though the details are different. And, of course, the Oracle solutions tend to be more expensive. I did hear about one thing that I wish was a part of SQL Server: mirroring of log files. I haven't had many issues with log files, but as databases get more critical, this seems like an enhancement to SQL Server that would make sense.

One of the interesting things I did hear about was from a cross platform DBA who didn't have a unified directory services structure and struggled with the SQL Server authentication when clients came from non-Windows systems. This person loved the integration of the Microsoft stack, but moving outside of their technology resulted in lots of challenges. This is one of the areas where I think Microsoft has fallen down in the past, in not supporting a variety of clients well. Even today there are issues when you leave the IE browser in some applications.

It was a good conference, with so many people facing the same types of concerns over limited resources, technology changes, and job security. Most of the attendees just want to learn more, get better at their jobs, and stay employed. I'm glad I had the chance to attend, and hope I get to go back next year.

Steve Jones


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