Oracle will be releasing Oracle Database 12cR1 at some point this year. Many companies will avoid this release, opting to wait for 12cR2, their reasoning being it will be more stable and, as a terminal release, will have a longer support life-cycle. Since 12cR2 is what most businesses care about, what can we do to make it as good as it can possibly be? Here are a few thoughts…
- For a start, you’ve got to use 12cR1 in your organization to understand what it does well and what is a bit crappy about it. If you don’t figure this out during 12cR1, chances are your wishlist will not be ticked off in 12cR2. I’m not saying launch straight into production, but don’t just place your head in the sand either.
- Report every bug you find, even those that already have resolutions in MOS. Lots of people, including myself, complain about how buggy the Oracle database has become as the functionality has expanded. Workload in any organization has to be prioritized. Chances are, the things that people shout about the most are the things that Oracle will get done. If we all make our feelings known by logging every bug that affects us and explain why/how it is impacting on us, it can only help the cause.
- Report bugs in the documentation. The Oracle docs have improved a lot over the years, but there is always room for improvements. In the old days you had to report faults in the documentation as SRs. Now, you just need to add comments directly in the documentation, which is a lot quicker and easier. When you see a problem, report it. If you think something is missing, ask for it. Once again, if enough people shout about something, it may affect the priority.
- File enhancement requests. You often come across things that almost solve your problem, but not quite. If that’s the case, file an enhancement request on MOS. If enough people ask for stuff it will probably get added. Even better if you have an example of how cool that feature is in another DB engine.
- Get involved in beta programs. This is not always as easy as it sounds. I would love to have been involved in the 12cR1 beta program, but I was not considered worthy. If your company can get involved in beta programs it’s a good way to help improve and shape the product. The more issues logged during the beta testing period, the more likely the final product will live up to your expectations.
- Make sure Oracle salespeople know and understand your priorities. At the end of the day, Oracle exist to make money. In most commercial companies the sales department have a disproportionate influence on the direction of the products. At every opportunity, make it know what *your* priorities are. I love the new and geeky stuff, but to be honest, most of the work I see people doing requires little more than what was available in Oracle 7. If bug fixes and stability are more important to you than new functionality, make it known.
I have no knowledge of the internal workings of Oracle as a company, so I can’t guarantee these suggestions will have any impact, but I think of this the same way as I do about voting in elections. If you don’t voice your opinions, you don’t really have any right to complain. If Oracle know exactly what their customers want and don’t deliver, they only have themselves to blame if everything goes wrong. If we as customers don’t make our opinions known, we shouldn’t be surprised if Oracle keep chasing the next buzzword, rather than doing what matters to us.