Friday, June 10, 2005

Where can I find help?

I'd like to consider myself as someone that contributes to the Oracle learning process for aspiring Database Administrators. Oracle is a big piece of software that we all need a little help in figuring out. The one thing you need to remember is someone has done what you are trying to do. When I get stuck on something, where do I go for help?

The first place I usually look is the online documentation at tahiti.oracle.com. There's usually a wealth of information on every little aspect of the piece of functionality you are searching for. The hardest part is filtering out all the extraneous things you don't need.

Next, I logon to Metalink and start searching for documents related to my problem. If you what you are looking for, Metalink is a great resource. My first seach is usually restricted to documents. If that doesn't yield enough results, I'll open it up to the forums as well.

If I still haven't found my answer, I'll navigate over to AskTom. The searching capability on this site is phenomenal. It has five years worth of questions and followup on just about every topic immaginable. If you get the rare chance to ask Tom a new question, definitely take it. You may even want to formulate your question beforehand and check back from time to time to see if he is accepting new ones.

Then I navigate to some other sites maintained by some people I really respect. You might not get a specific answer to your question, but may get some background on the subject you are researching. A great resource for install and "how-to" articles is OracleBase by Dr. Tim Hall. If you're dealing with latches or locking, definitely navigate to Steve Adams's IXOra. Howard J. Rogers site www.dizwell.com also has a lot of information and tips for DBAs and developers. Last, but not least check out Jonathan Lewis' site at http://www.jlcomp.demon.co.uk.

Then I'll start looking at "the forums". There are lots of question and answer forums for Oracle support and you have to pick and choose which ones you trust. I may be a little biased, but I prefer DBASupport.com and dizwell.com. Those forums are usually frequented by people that really want to help. As a hint, the people that answer questions really get turned off by subjects that contain "URGENT".

If all that fails solve the problem, I'll submit a TAR to OracleSupport. You won't get an immediate answer, and you might have to state your problem two or three times, but you'll eventually get either an answer or they can file a bug. If you're not happy with the progress of the TAR, you can always call the main support line and have the TAR "duty managed". Don't "duty manage" all your TARs, but only the ones that are important to business that might not be Sev 1's.

As a last resort, search the web. However, there's so much bad information out there that you really need to have an idea of what the solution is to help you in your search.

If anybody has any additional sites, please post them and share with the rest of us.

11 comments:

Tim... said...

Thanks for the kind remarks about my site. It's cool to get positive feedback from guys who are "in the know".

Perhaps next time you can mention it in the same sentence as words like "Viagra" so that I get a sharp spike in my hitrates ;-)

By the way, I follow a similar search pattern as you, but you forgot the most obvious one of all. Remember to type something vague into google and spend the next 3 years sifting through the deluge of rubbish until you find the answer.

Cheers

Tim...

Jeff Hunter said...


Thanks for the kind remarks about my site.

No, thank you. It is a great site and the second place (after the docs) I look whenever I have to install on a new platform.


Perhaps next time you can mention it in the same sentence as words like "Viagra" so that I get a sharp spike in my hitrates

You refinance mortgages too, right?

Anonymous said...

You site is a great resource as well.

-mdinh.

Jeff Hunter said...

Thanks.

Robert Vollman said...

I agree. Your blog is becoming one of my favourites for its useful Oracle posts, like this one.

Cheers,
Rob

OracleDoc said...

Ever notice how the regulars on the forums like you, me,dave,ect hardly ever ask questions? It's because we take the time to search for the anwser which 9 times out of 10 is easily found. If only more people would take the time to do a little research, we could spend more time harassing each other :p

Tim... said...

The acronym RTFM springs to mind.

I guess it takes a while for people to develop the skills to search effectively for information.

Cheers

Tim...

Anonymous said...

Interesting that all the search locations mentioned are soft/online.
Apart from syntax issues (where I go to the Oracle manuals) my first places to look are my dog-eared "Expert one-on-one Oracle" and "Oracle 9i New Features" (with lots of hand-written comments about 9iR2 additions).

Once Tom's new book(s) come out, I can probably retire those two.

Jeff Hunter said...

Interesting that all the search locations mentioned are soft/online...my first places to look are my dog-eared "Expert one-on-one Oracle" and "Oracle 9i New Features"
True. The premise was that I have exhausted my local resources (ie. books, notes, other DBAs, etc.) and need to search outside that realm for my answer. I should have stated that more clearly.

Howard J. Rogers said...

Thanks for plugging the Dizwell Forum... now, how about plugging the Dizwell main site, too??!

Oh, OK. I will then. www.dizwell.com.
There. I feel better now

:)

Jeff Hunter said...


now, how about plugging the Dizwell main site, too?


Better?