Friday, June 29, 2012

Picture With Words Depicting Facts….

At times, some things just pop up in front of you making you sit back and think about something. Just the same happened with me when I stumbled upon this below picture which has also a very true fact mentioned in it as well, something which I don’t think any one can deny. Have a look,

love

So as I am a guy, I shall pick the quote given for the guys and say that its absolutely true. It takes long, rather very long for a guy to cry for a gal but when he does it means that gal means so much to him. So if you are a gal, make sure that if your guy cries for you, hold on to him and never let him go because its not always that you would find someone who cries for you! And if you are a guy remember that at times when you may cry, you may get to hear this too from you gal that she has no time for these tears! What to do at that time? Wish I could tell you but I have no answer with me for it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Accident, Yet Again….

I am not sure that what’s the bloody reason that whenever a little smile tries to come to me, something terrible comes along with it. I bought a new phone and something for home and just on the same damn day, met with an accident! Yes, I got injured but its my sister who has got the much worse muscle injury on her leg. Though I am at home right now but I have to leave soon for work and that’s just making me so much worried and upset. I thought I shall write about my new Galaxy S3, about organizing something again that I did three years ago and also about the last session of mine which made me really upset. But I believe all of this would have to wait since neither I have time nor mood to talk about anything else at the moment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Interview Of Mine Got Published….

I am a guy from a small city and I really don’t think that I know a lot about Oracle database that I can be called a Guru or a master, let alone to be called or considered as a celebrity. But some folks , very kindly do consider me a little knowledgeable and I am so grateful for them to think in such a high regard about me. One of such kind persons is  Nassyam Basha who asked me few days back to answer some of the questions that he wanted to post as an interview of mine on his website. I did give the answers and sent them back to him and he very kindly, posted my first ever interview on his website. I must say thanks to him for giving me the space and chance to speak about myself and some things that I probably always wanted to share with others. I am going to post the entire interview over here itself for easy access. Have a read,

Interview with Aman Sharma (Aman…) – Oracle ACE, Author, Instructor

Aman Sharma has more than 11 years of experience working with Oracle products, especially with Oracle Database. He made his hands wet first with Oracle 7.3 briefly and went more deeper with it with version 8 and have used almost all the versions of Oracle database since then. He has worked as database administrator in the past and currently, works as technical instructor teaching professionals around Asia Pacific, modules related to Oracle Database. In his spare time, he likes to interact with professionals around the globe over various technical forums , especially at OTN’s Database General forum. He is member of AIOUG.

Besides this, occasionally he updates his technical blog with posts related to various topics related to oracle database.

Specialties
Oracle database high availability architecture, database administration.

Your hobbies, favourite food & your best places so far?

Learning Oracle database is one hobby of mine that would come on top of the list.. Other than that music, poetry, traveling are my favourite past times. Anything that my mom cooks for me is my most favourite. I am foodie so I do like to try different dishes whenever I can and wherever I can. I am a vegetarian so the choices for me are limited but still, I do keep on tasting different things whenever possible. Best places, my home town! I am fortunate that I do travel a lot for my work so have been at many places(while there are far more where I still have to visit) and fortunately, I have met always really good people wherever I have gone. So every place where I have visited left a very good impression on me. If I have to pick one place still, I shall say Singapore so much.

How to Reach you?

I can be reached most easily over the OTN’s Database General forum where I spend a lot of time almost daily. Other than that, I maintain an Oracle blog of mine- http://blog.aristadba.com and also am there on Twitter. One can follow me on Twitter using http://twitter.com/amansharma81 . My LinkedIn profile page is http://in.linkedin.com/in/sharmaaman .

Your strengths & weakness?

I guess the strength is that I keep on trying to learn and to improve in any possible way I can. I am in a profession where I get a lot of room to learn many technologies and I try to make myself a little more better in each one of them. Other than that, I would say that I have a lot of patience and I don’t lose temper easily. Being an Aquarian,I have a keen eye for details and perfection.  Weakness, well I guess there are going to be many so better not list them here! :)

How much time do you spend daily for technical stuff?

Oh a lot actually! I work as an instructor so for me the day starts with a session which is either a new one or is already underway. Besides delivering the module, there are a lot of discussions which happen along with it and that itself is very good for me in order to get more familiar with different aspects of a particular feature and/or a module in totality. Besides that, there is a lot of preparation and reading that goes on behind the scene like reading additional books than the courseware, discussing things with the other instructors and also playing around with the features on the test instances. In addition to this, I am a subscriber to the http://OraNA.info  feeds which has all the blogs listed in it. I try to consume all the favourite ones of mine almost daily. And last but certainly not the least, I have always a tab opened in my browser which has OTN’s Database General forum and I try to participate in the discussions as much as I can do. I started learning Oracle database purely as a hobby(yes, that’s true) and for me, it’s not like a 9-5 thing. As I mentioned somewhere above, it is one of my favourite hobbies so I spend almost all of my time doing some thing or the other related to it. Even if I shall be listening to music, there would be a tab opened in my browser which would either have OTN forums open or some tech paper/article would be there.

Can you share your experience first day of your job?

I joined and was assigned a batch of few participants and was told, if they won’t throw you out in the next two hours, you are on! I stayed for much longer time than two hours and that batch scored the highest in all the OCP exams among the other batches who started along with itJ.

What are your overwhelming and embarrassing moments as an Oracle DBA?

Well, I work  as an instructor so  every single session is a new learning for me. Because of this profession, I have been fortunately traveling a lot and meeting a lot of talented people every week and also get a chance to learn from their questions.  So for me, when I am able to see that I have made someone understand a particular concept in which he/she was struggling understand, I get the feedback from the delegates that they enjoyed the session and it was productive and useful for them, that brings a great deal of satisfaction and happiness for me. Disappointments, not anyone that I can recall but if I must say, the lack of sleep and not having a very good food at times is a little trouble  :) . Just kidding!

What made you to learn & work on Oracle databases?

Oracle Database is one of the most sophisticated and complex piece of software in the world. In addition to this that a lot about is written almost at millions of places on the web and in many books, articles as well, there is still a lot about it which is a mystery for us. And to add to this the gazillion new features that are being added with every new release and the complexities they introduce is just overwhelming. For me these two things are the biggest motivational aspects. The thought that there is a lot that I don’t know than I know always gives a kick and makes me get back to read the manuals, books and play around and yet, each and every day, I learn either something completely new or get corrected or improved in something which I had already known.

Biggest technical challenges so far in your career?

My area of work is that in every week, I meet a new pool of professionals, DBA’s , people who use Oracle database day-in and day-out and at times, are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am. So for me, I shall say every week is brings a new set of challenges but in a pleasant and rewarding way.

Any role model in career point of view?

The list is fairly long to be honest. I believe, like many other dba professionals, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I shall mention too the names of Jonathan Lewis and Tom Kyte.  Though I have not been able to meet Tom Kyte in person but I have been reading and following AskTom since its started along with all the books that he has written along the way. I must say, his book Expert One on One and its next releases covering the more recent versions of database, are a must-to-have collection for any oracle database guy. About Jonathan Lewis, what more I can say than this that meeting him in-person was one of the most happiest moments of my life! And I also got a chance to attend his session and to experience that how so much he knowledgeable and yet so humble he is. The knowledge that he has, that so deep understanding of oracle database and how it works, almost each and every aspect, every portion of it and on top of it, how much he shares it with us, the oracle community  is just so amazing! Also I shall mention my friend Hans Forbrich. His patience, focus on learning and then sharing that learning making things understandable to others, being so supportive are just few of the aspects that I admire so greatly. So for the sake of the question, I shall say that these three people are my role models though the list is far too long and I have missed a lot to mention.

Your own technical best books/ White papers/ Articles so far.. if any?

I have co-authored a book along with my good friend Kamran Agayev. This book is about backup and recovery techniques done using RMAN. It’s not yet out but we have spent a lot of time working over it so I hope that when it is out, it comes out to be useful for the community. Besides this, as I said, I maintain an Oracle database related blog where I write. Its not often but whenever I find something interesting or learn anything new, I try to share. I wrote a white paper about DBCA and more recently contributed an article for http://althingsoracle.com website related to 11.2 RAC’s feature Server Pools.

If you have blog, please share link and give a brief explanation on it?

One can find my blog at http://blog.aristadba,com . I guess like any other database related blog, mine also is the collection of the interesting things that I encounter while playing around with the product. I don’t write there often but whenever I find any such thing, I try to share it with the community.

What are the favorite books so far in your repository?

Oh I have a lot of them and trust me all are my favourite books only. But at the moment, I am reading Jonathan Lewis’s Oracle Core Essentials and as it covers a lot about oracle’s internal working and functionalities, an area which I really like to explore so much, is probably my most favourite book and would be remaining the same for a long time.

Your contribution & experience with OTN forums?

As I said, I am very frequent over OTN forums, more particularly over the Database-General forum.  I must say that OTN forums are the best forums in the whole wide web. I mean where else you would find Guru’s like Jonathan Lewis, Hans Forbrich, Hemant Chitale(and many many more) coming and answering questions , clearing doubts of the people? I have been on the forums from quite some time now and I must say that I have learned so much from it. The questions asked are of a mixed nature where some questions are easy and others are tough. But either way, it’s a very rewarding experience because at times, even with the simplest of the questions, you make yourself recall the concept and thus put it in the most simplest way for the person to understand. At times, I don’t know the answer of some questions and at that time, I read the replies given by the other forum members. So in all the ways, it’s a win-win situation. There are various other forums as well on the web and few of them, I have visited and participated too but the quality of both, questions and replies , given over the OTN forums is unmatchable. I shall suggest very strongly to all that if not for a longer time, at least spend an hour over it and you would learn so much.

Your advice for oracle learners?

I have become a big fan of the saying that late Steve Jobs said in his famous speech at MIT, “stay hungry, stay foolish”. That’s the same which I follow and shall advice to anyone else too. It’s very easy to get into the illusion of knowing-it-all but 9 out of 10 times, it’s not the truth. Having a passion of learning for forever is a must if you are thinking to pick oracle database as a career option. Read the documentation, install a virtual machine using Virtual Box and beat it in whatever way you can. When struck, read the documentation and if you think its too much big in size, check in an another book. If still not clear, ask over at the OTN forums and someone or the other would be putting you on the right track. But don’t think that there can be an easy way. It’s an ever changing world and you must be ready to start from scratch many things almost all the time. Other than that, I shall say that get a formal training from Oracle University. The content, structure and the flow given in the courses of OU is just fantastic and provides an very in-depth view of the topic.

What is your view on Oracle vs Other database ( SQL server/Mysql/ DB2….), Are you proud as an Oracle DBA?

I just know and do one database and that is Oracle database. So I don’t think I can give a fair answer in the comparisons of Oracle  with the rest. I believe every database software has some good things. But in Oracle the list is much longer and I am definitely very proud to choose and work in it. :)

What are the areas you will visit, so that you will keep up to date with Oracle?

I believe Exadata would be the one that I shall be spending a lot of time upon along with the latest Big Data offering of Oracle. And obviously I would be waiting for 12C to come sooner so that can get started with it as well.

Your Certifications , how they been helped you & how it benefits you?

I hold OCP certification on multiple versions along with OCE and OCS titles in addition to the Solaris Administration. As I said already, I take certifications in a very positive way and for me, they are the best way to get a structured way to do the preparation of a module. Yes, being certified certainly doesn’t mean that you have now become a master in that topic but it shows that you have put an effort to learn that module or topic. That’s the way I look at the certifications and for me, preparing and writing them always have brought more confidence about my knowledge about the said topic.

So what are you looking forward to learn technically in future?

I think for me learning Oracle database is just an on-going process. So my aim is just to keep learning it and try to become a little more better in it with every passing day than the previous one.

Your specialization in oracle

Database architecture and the understanding of how most of the things work within the db,

Your experience as an oracle instructor, what courses you will deliver, your favorite course, how you enjoying it?

I deliver the modules related to Oracle database and I absolutely love my job.  Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing and hearing that because of your session, someone has understood a feature in a better way or an old doubt of someone is clarified. The interactions which happen in the sessions is something which is my take away from it because from those discussions, there is a lot of stuff that I get to know and also many times, new aspects about a certain topic becomes open in front of me. Also because of it, I do a lot of domestic and international travels and get a chance to see a lot of new places , meet with a lot of new people every week. So that’s something which can be called as an added bonus. So the whole experience is very rewarding in every way for me.

I think there is no single course that I can say that I like more than the rest because all of them are related to oracle database, a topic that’s very dear to my heart so I like teaching them all!

How you experiencing as an ACE Member & road map, Brief if any other achievements. 

Oh that’s the best thing happened to me and trust me and I love and feel very proud on being an Oracle ACE every moment! I can’t express it enough that how much big award it is and how much of respect and honor comes with it. It’s a very elite club of professionals who don’t just know the things very well but also like to share it with the rest of the community and I just feel so honoured to be a part of this club. A big thanks goes to OTN team for such effort and doing so good work for the ACE program. The road map on becoming an ACE? Well, it’s an award given as recognition of your contributions and sharing within the community. So if you think you can help others, share your knowledge and learning and keep on doing it and eventually, someone would definitely notice it and the ACE award would come to you.

Aman….

– Special Thanks to Aman Sharma–

What more I can say except thanks, isn’t it?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Travel Starting In About Three Hours….

Yep, in about 3 hours from now, I shall be on the road hopefully. Though travel is not something that’s new for me to do but this time, right away after the travel, I shall be in the session-in about 2 hours after reaching the destination. That’s going to be really REALLY hard especially after a night long travel in the cab and two hours in the plane. And as like always, just to make things more spicy, the module would be very tough too. Let’s see what happens. I have two drafts sitting in my draft folder which I really want to post ASAP but I guess both have to wait for next week. I wanted to post this week itself but I have been very busy in it so far. Anyways, its time to get some stuff needed for travel and start to do the packing. Hope Sunday is treating you all very well and wish that Monday would be a little kind on all of us :) .

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Finally, At Home And Happy….

Its very early in the morning but I shall be very busy today, just like the past few days so I thought that I shall write this post at this moment. Its been already 3 days that I am at home but there has been a lot of work that I am supposed to do which is taking a  lot of time of mine. Yesterday, I was traveling and today. hopefully, I shall be indulged in a task which is very near to heart, a tradition of Punjab which makes me feel very proud to be a part of whenever I can. I am not sure any one can guess what it is but to give a hint, its something which I did organize about 3 years back for the first time and did write a post about it too. No idea still? Well, wait then because if all goes fine, I shall definitely be sharing it here. In this post, I shall just mention about the last trip of mine which has made me extremely happy.

I have been on the road in the last month for all 4 weeks. Three weeks were spent at Colombo and the last one was at Bangkok. I have mentioned already about the first two weeks and mentioned in it that I have a 3rd week pending at the same Colombo and than I shall be facing probably one of the toughest challenges of mine. The 3rd week, like the first two weeks, went really great! I went to a different place this time. It was a little away from Colombo and the traffic was horrible at times but still, it was great. The delegates were having their first ever session of Oracle training and I was very fortunate that I got the chance to kick off things there. We had a great time discussing things related to Oracle. Like the last 2 weeks, when I finished the module here as well, I was presented with gift from the head of the computer science department and they were very kind in saying that all went very well and they are extremely happy. I was also very much relieved after finishing probably the longest of my trip done at an overseas location ever and also from this that all went well. A big thanks to all from my side for all the kind words, giving me such a warm welcome and also for all the efforts made by every one to make my stay a very pleasant one and this includes even the hotel staff too. You can imagine that how nice they were with me that when I told them that I am really sick and tired from the normal menu that I am having everyday and I want to try something else. The issue was that in my booking, I was entitled to pick items only from a specific budget menu which has very less for me as I am a vegetarian. As my stay was a very long one, it was just natural for me to get very tired by having the same stuff every day. So when the catering manager heard me, he himself offered me another menu and guess what, they didn’t charge me for it too and it was counted in the same budget menu too. Isn’t it so nice of him? So a big thanks to Global Towers hotel(Colombo), a place where I stayed 2nd time this time and you can be sure that I shall be a returning customer.

Though I stayed at Colombo, but I still didn’t get any time to go anywhere as like a tourist for the reason that I had a very important session coming up right after Colombo trip at Bangkok. So I had to sit and prepare for it, which took a lot out of me. But still, once I was done with my session at Colombo, I went to the sea shore, which was just opposite to my hotel for a walk. This was my first ever such a close encounter with the ocean and it was just great! I have taken a few mobile camera shots which if you are willing to see, are here. It was just amazing. A little scary too for someone like me who never got a chance to be with the ocean so closely but still, completely worth taking the risk. Having so close to the hotel is probably going to be one more reason for me to go back to Global Towers hotel :) .

I believe the talk about the Colombo trip can’t be complete without me posting the group photo which was taken after the completion of the first 2 weeks of the training. And I guess, somehow, I did manage to put a smile on my face in this one :) . Here it is,

DSC_5177

So that finished the talk about Colombo and finally, it was time for me to face probably the most toughest challenge of mine which was waiting for me at Bangkok.

Normally, whenever I take a session,I always have either some sort of training gotten for it or I get a chance to sit in some one else’s session to see how to take up the things myself. But this time, I was going to take up a module which neither I had worked upon before ever nor I had gotten any training for it too. And to make things even more interesting, I was going to take my first session of the same module at an overseas location, yep at Bangkok. You can imagine that how stressed I must be even by thinking about it let alone the situation when I was actually going to be delivering the same at Bangkok. I have mentioned above that I didn’t go anywhere despite staying for 3 weeks at Colombo for this very reason only. I just locked up myself in the room all the time and I was studying not just the course book but also two additional books to do the preparation along with many many notes that I collected from the web. This was going to be my first ever session and if you know me, I would never step in the training room without being completely ready and to be ready, I shall do whatever it would take and that’s what I was trying to do, to get ready as much as possible. Finally, the deadly Monday came and the session started. Since I had no experience about the module and how to deal with its timings and all,  I was extremely careful about all the things but some how, every thing remained under control and I was able to finish all the 4 days without having any issues at all. And the best part, I got a rating which was much much more than the required minimum one! Yes, there is still a lot of room left for me to further polish my skills in this module but the biggest burden which was over my head to get this first session completed on a good note was relieved now. Needless to mention, I was so very happy and to give myself a small treat, on the last day of my stay at Bangkok, I went to Pizza Hut and ordered some really good stuff for me and no , it wasn’t pizza! I wanted to come back home with a smiling face and that did happen. About the delegates, as I always say, if they ask for your contact details after the session and  carry a smile on their face at the end of the session, its a very big sign that all went well and that’s the same which did happen in this session as well.

Finally, now I am at home for few days but there is a lot that’s left for me to do so its not going to be relaxing week at all. Let’s see how week shapes up, hope it would be good.