Home > Interviews, NoCOUG, Oracle > Ten Provocative Questions for Mogens Norgaard

Ten Provocative Questions for Mogens Norgaard


As the editor of the NoCOUG Journal, I interviewed some of the smartest minds in the Oracle universe. I’m no longer the editor but I get to do an interview with the very independent-minded Mogens Norgaard. Here are the ten questions that I sent him. The answers will be published in the August issue of the NoCOUG Journal (Issue #99).

  1. Years ago you said that we probably don’t need RAC. Have you recanted yet? Do we probably need RAC?
  2. Do we probably need Exadata? Is Big Iron the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?
  3. Do we probably need Oracle 12c or whatever the next version of Oracle Database will be named?
  4. Do we probably need MySQL? Or do we get what we pay for?
  5. Do we probably need NoSQL? Should we throw the baby out with the bathwater?
  6. Do we probably need certification? Or do we learn best by making terrible mistakes on expensive production systems?
  7. Do we probably need ITIL? Should we resist those who try to control and hinder us?
  8. NoCOUG membership and attendance has been declining for years. Do we probably need NoCOUG anymore? We’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary in November. Should we have a big party and close up the shop? Or should we keep marching for another 25 years?
  9. It costs a fortune to produce and print the NoCOUG Journal. Do we probably need the NoCOUG Journal anymore?
  10. I’m writing a book on physical database design techniques like indexing, clustering, partitioning, and materialization. Do we probably need YABB (Yet Another Big Book)?

I suspect that I won’t be able to agree with Mogens on every issue but I would love to read his answers.

Categories: Interviews, NoCOUG, Oracle
  1. May 24, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    From 6 above, I presume you claim that certification is a guarantee of no errors.
    Shall I mention the names of the “certified” folks who have crashed my dbs in the last 10 years?

  2. Iggy Fernandez
    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 am

    I do not claim that database certification is a guarantee of no errors. But, neither do I claim that the currently available database certification program is strong enough.

    I do claim that certification should be a minimum bar to entry. I also claim that it should be a difficult bar; that is, the certification program should be very strong. In other words, we need good training as well as proofs of good training.

    Most other skilled professions have training, certification, and even continuing education requirements. Why is the database administration profession immune from these requirements?

  3. May 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    It’s not immune at all, far from it. However, you are lumping together “Oracle database administration” and “database administration”: the two are not synonyms.

    In fact, there are industry certifications. The difference here is the term “industry”, as opposed to “Oracle”.

    I do not recognize or accept that Oracle as an organization has the credibility to define industry-wide certifications or training.

    If you want to blow your money on an Oracle-exclusive certification, you’re most welcome – and I’m quite sure Oracle themselves will reward you with lots of ACE-dom or some other equally irrelevant tag.

    Me? I prefer to spend my cash with industry-wide qualifications and training. Not just Oracle’s. But then again, I don’t go for glitz.

  4. Iggy Fernandez
    May 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    One solution to the inadequacies of the Oracle certification program would be to make industry-wide certifications a pre-requisite for the Oracle certification.

    In the US, there is now an organization called DAMA which offers a data management certification program (http://www.dama.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3399). Database administration is one of the available specializations.

    In the UK, the British Computer Society offers a Database Systems syllabus (http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/dipdssyll.pdf) as well as an Advanced Database Management Syllabus (http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/pgdadmssyll.pdf).

    P.S. My family calls me an Oracle Ass.

  5. Hans Forbrich
    December 23, 2011 at 4:51 am

    There are several sides to this ‘Oracle Certification’ story. Many have (legitimately) criticized both the certification program and the Oracle training material.

    Biggest problems I have are

    – in some countries the instructors are professional instructors and not professional users of the software, and thus don’t necessarily know where the course material has ‘holes’; and
    – some people cheat when they write the certifications (pure memorization instead of understanding what the say).

    Both of these problems lessen the value of the product, and ultimately cheat the learner, their potential employer and the industry. Sad.

    On the flip side, Oracle-independent certification and courses usually are based on the assumption that Oracle’s products are commodity and the same code can be used for Oracle Server as for MySQL or SQL Server, or the same admin techniques can be used for WebLogic Server as for Tomcat or WebSphere. Anyone who goes down that path is also misguided.

    Can’t win …
    /Hans (Oracle ACE Director, Independent consultant and Oracle instructor)

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