After working at A.T.U Auto-Teile-Unger headquarters for over six years, there’s a new challenge calling on January 1st, 2009, and hopefully, it’s for a long time again.
I guess it’s a good time to look back:
Starting as a trainee in their user help desk, I quickly managed to change into Linux server administration. It was my first own field of duty at A.T.U! But these servers nearly always became database servers in the end, so my curiosity made me occaisonally looking into this “application” running on “my” Linux boxes as well. And this turned out to be sticky business: Much quicker than I could realize I have been called “our database administrator”. In the beginning, I have been fairly free from any database or Oracle knowledge, but there was no other chance than “learning by doing”. Oracle University classes supported this process, but you will always have to learn on the job, otherwise you end up as a puppet of web tutorials and/or as a fool. But for still being a trainee, this was the greatest job you can have in the world: Individual responsibility and all the time in the world to learn to cope with it.
My first own project
An example for learning by doing: My first production database to set up was a brand-new Oracle 10gR1 RAC, about two weeks after the official release date. A.T.U did need the clustering features, so a developer and me spent more than half a year on adopting RAC and DataGuard technology for the php intranet application. And this at a time, when no Oracle support engineer did know anything about the Oracle Clusterware (CRS) or Automatic Storage Management (ASM). If you ever tried a brand-new Oracle release, you know what this meant.
But, the system went into production after that time, and was more relieable and more powerful than the old 9i single instance box.
For an IT technican, there is one most-unpopular topic: Licensing. Software companies are trumping each other with confusing licensing models, one of the worst examples is Microsoft. Being a deep-hearted Linux guy, managing Redmond licenses was one of the ugliest jobs ever to do. But at least, introducing a license management process and -software (softwaremanagement.org) for the affiliated group was good for my general education, and it sharpened my legal senses. And, last but not least, I learned to appreciate GPL and OpenSource ideas in a very new way.
A big one
Piece by piece, more and more databases were added, like a pearl necklace. But the technological biggest database, and the most complex project has been a communication server for the A.T.U customer relationship management, a kind of credit and bonus card for the customers, interconnecting the card service provider, internal and sales frontend / POS systems. I have been responsible for the IT ressource planning and the IT system technology, starting with specifications, going over to technical contacting to the provider(s) and ending at database fine tuning. Setting up an Oracle MAA system with four RAC nodes, physical standby database and a four-host application server cluster using OCFS2 was a great task, but due to organizational business there has been nearly no chance to enjoy the technology. We went into production exactly as scheduled, with the work of two years done within ten months. It was an honour to work in this great team!
And so on …
Further tasks have been the introduction of Oracle grid Control, setting up the multi-purpose database on RAC, datawarehouse machines with nearly 20TB in size, a database for the customs application, the all-over-design of the new intranet platform backend with single-sign-on based on Kerberos with RAC, Dataguard / MAA and so on.
Working at A.T.U has been highly educational, there have been chances for me I never would have estimated or imagined before. The IT team was really great, taking into account atmosphere, know-how, superiors and colleagues. I am a bit sad to leave that behind, but it was my decision. I repeat what I said several times in the last days: The reason to leave was not A.T.U or within A.T.U, the reason was the new challenge waiting for me!