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Not much Exadata training necessary for experienced DBAs, says expert

LAS VEGAS -- Migrating to Oracle Exadata may seem intimidating to database administrators and IT managers alike, but one database consultant says that minimal Exadata training is necessary to make the move to the integrated hardware and software system.

Marc Fielding, a senior database consultant with Pythian, said in a video interview that managing an Oracle Database is managing an Oracle Database, for the most part. Whether it sits on commodity hardware or a server appliance like Exadata doesn't make a huge amount of difference when it comes to database management, according to Fielding, who spoke to SearchOracle at the Collaborate 2014 conference in Las Vegas this month.

"I think there is a lot of unreasonable fear from people who are seeing this brand-new Exadata system," Fielding said about longtime Oracle DBAs who suddenly have an Exadata box to manage. He added that some DBAs think that because of new Exadata components, such as an internal InfiniBand network, a lot of Exadata training will be required to take advantage of the system. That's not necessarily the case, he said.

"One of the points I like to make is that on an Exadata system, it is an ordinary Oracle Database," Fielding said. "The things we deal with as Oracle DBAs, we also deal with them in the Exadata world." Tasks such as performance tuning, backups and high availability "don't go away" -- and don't change, he said.

Even so, companies don't spend millions of dollars on an Exadata just to get the same database performance they saw on commodity hardware, so some training and education might be a good idea. Fielding said that much of the difference with Exadata is in the storage level running underneath the database. Instead of running a storage area network, Exadata has its own storage with features like Smart Scan.

"Smart scans can be orders of magnitude faster than some of the large queries you've run before," Fielding said. But, he added, DBAs need to become familiar with how the functionality works before employing it.

Watch this video to hear Marc Fielding's other comments and recommendations regarding Exadata training for Oracle DBAs.

Mark Fontecchio may be reached at [email protected]. You can also follow SearchOracle on Twitter and Facebook.

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