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When a business adopts Oracle database technology, how should it go about deciding whether and when to deploy it?
Donald Sullivan, database specialist, VMware: What I think is amazing is that you have this culture where bad mistakes follow other bad mistakes. The acquisition of powerful technology is often not necessarily appropriate for the individual applications that were considered to begin with. So it's very important to look at the individual pieces of technology you have and apply them to the individual applications.
Oracle RAC is a perfect example. Oracle RAC is easily the most powerful, sophisticated database management technology in human history, and it has tremendous capabilities and tremendous value. But often it is more than you really need. If you have an application that doesn't need sub-one-minute failover, the advent of virtualization with four-, five-, six-minute failover on a virtualization level for an entire application stack can easily meet your general [service-level agreements] (SLAs).
What you want to make sure of here is that when you acquire various types of technology, that you still only use those pieces of technology for the right purpose. Deploying that technology can be as expensive as the initial acquisition.
Michael Corey, president of Ntirety, a division of Hosting: That absolutely makes sense. I'll give you an example. When I was working with Children's Hospital in Boston, they were one of the early adopters of Oracle RAC. We were monitoring critical things within the hospital, and it made perfect sense to me. But then I hear about a paint store that uses Oracle RAC and I think to myself, a paint store can't be down for an hour? I mean, maybe the point-of-sale system, but really, an hour?
To me it's really not about the technology. As technologies, we want to deploy Oracle RAC because it looks good on my resume as a DBA. I want to use Exadata because it's the latest and greatest thing, and I tell people that they need to step back and look at the business reason.
Here's another example. We do a lot of business with ski resorts that use a lot of database replication, and people say, why? Well, if you're a ski resort and you own three resorts in the same mountain range, you might want to sell a lift ticket that's good at all three mountains. So then you need some sort of technology to replicate the data as a differentiator from the competition that can't offer that. That's a valid business reason for making the investment that helps make the business stronger and healthier.