It’s not simple, so don’t claim it is!


Rant Alert. The following is an unreasoned attack on the IT community in order to vent my frustration. I’m not claiming it makes any sense or it’s factually correct. It’s just how I feel today. Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow…

I can’t help feeling that companies like Oracle are doing the IT world a major disservice by trying to make out that their products are easy to use. I have a quick newsflash… They are not!

This post is really a response to two things:

  1. My current work situation.
  2. Some of the questions I field on my forum.

From a work perspective, the mass exodus of people from my current company has left me having to deal with bits of technology that aren’t really my bag. It gets doubly annoying when I’m having to use bad support services to help me do really basic tasks. If software and hardware vendors were honest and made customers aware that they would need trained professionals to deal with this crap, perhaps people like me wouldn’t be left fumbling in the dark, trying to pick up the pieces.

From the Oracle forum side of things, I’ve really noticed a shift over the last few years and I’ve written about it before. The same type of questions are being asked as they always were. The difference is that in the past these questions were being asked by people trying to learn the technology. Now they seem to come from people who are employed as DBAs and developers by companies. I don’t believe the intellectual capacities of people have dropped over the years. I just think companies are employing under-skilled people to save money, or expecting people to cover roles they are not qualified to do. You wouldn’t let an electrician fix your plumbing, so why would you let this happen?

I don’t claim to know the answers, but I can see that the constant barrage of “point-and-click”, “intuitive” and “self-tuning” marketing messages are leading people to believe they don’t need qualified staff, and the result is a whole bunch of people asking how to recover their production databases from incomplete backups.

IT is getting more complicated and the range of skills needed in a company is getting bigger by the year. Companies need to be made to understand this or they will constantly be finding themselves in the shit!



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

5 thoughts on “It’s not simple, so don’t claim it is!”

  1. Hear Hear!

    I think it’s a combination of employers not understanding that better quality people (at more cost) is better value and employees over inflating there skills to stand out from the crowd (and not being “found out” before being hired).

    Not sure what the answer is, but I still cringe when I recall an “experienced” contractor asking me some years ago – “So what are indexes for?”

  2. I like the analogy with sparkies & plumbers and I feel for your position, it seems to have deteriorated since 2004 when I worked with you.

    Do you feel that if you could get your message across to the ‘pointy-haired’ bosses that they are being sucked into mass marketing hype, they would change?

    I for one do not.



  3. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    There’s just been a flurry of posts about recovery with XE. Oracle thoughtfully provides a ‘restore database’ option in the Windows menus, but if you need to do disaster recovery, for example, it doesn’t have any pre-built scripts that prompt you to specify a DBID, for example. At which point, it’s back to the command line and having to type it out for yourself -but you want to bet how many XE users, familiar with its cutesy interface, are going to have a clue what to type or why?

    Anyone who learnt RMAN the hard way, however, will not have a problem working it out.

    So what was the point of a cutsey interface in the first place?!

    Making people believe that recovering a database -*any* database- is a piece of cake and a mere two-click effort is a serious disservice, and Oracle shouldn’t be thanked for it.

  4. Howard: It always ends with a backlash of people complaining how they were lied to about the simplicity…

    Paul: Good to hear from you. You don’t know the half of it. ๐Ÿ™‚



  5. Hi,

    As the one probably most to blame for Tim’s current work position, I think I should apologise for his rant ๐Ÿ™‚

    But why are support services so bad these days…? You can probably blame the commodity hardware phenomenon.
    There’s an interesting discussion over on the HP forums.

    I quite like this quote from Duncan Edmonstone:

    “10 years ago, when we bought a ‘critical’ system we were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars/pounds/shekels/’insert your currency here’ on the tin, and we didn’t think much of spending up to 20% of the value of the tin on support contracts. 20% of a $1M tin purchase paid the salary of at least one head to support that system!

    Now we are in the land of ‘commodity IT’ – this is where IT analysts, industry experts and yes, the vendors too have been pushing us – now that critical system might only cost us $0.1M, and guess what – 20% of *that* figure don’t pay much of anyones salary, whether they’re in Palo Alto, Houston, New York, London, or even Bangalore…”

    Makes you think doesn’t it !



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