FAQ
Hi all -

I have a generic question that hopefully some of you have experience at.

What do you think the IT requirements would be for a project that
wants to take an existing Oracle 11 database (roughly 40 data tables)
and add a GIS front-end to it with ARC (probably the Enterprise
version, for multi-user, multi-editor). This is all still in the
planning stages (for another month), so I'd like to be able to provide
some facts for the person proposing the project. So far, it sounds
like they are only planning on one part-time IT person.

This person would be responsible for everything Oracle and ARC-GIS
related, including installing, configuring and maintaining an
ARC-server installation, the main Oracle database, probably a dummy
Oracle database in-between (to avoid giving ARC DBA rights in the real
database), all of the programming, user support (for the ARC and
Oracle parts), maintaining a 5 person office with it's LAN and
associated hardware, etc. There are several schemas within the
database for other projects, but (so far) only one of the schemas will
be GISable

Is it realistic for one person to actually accomplish all of this with
only a 40 hour work week, or would more folks be required, in your own
professional opinions? Keep in mind that 250 hours (a little over 6
weeks) of the work year is wasted on security documentation, plus
roughly 2 months each year for Annual Leave, sick time, training,
maintaining the other schemas and their associated programming, etc.
So, this only leaves about 38 weeks each year (maximum) that could be
spent working on and maintaining the above, along with training new
users, developing new code for added functionality, etc.

Things are still in the planning stage on this, and I think the
workload estimate is way to low, and the person stuck with this will
burn out extremely quickly, but I would like to have some case
examples before the person proposing the project finishes up. I'm only
an IT person, not a scientist, so obviously I have no idea what I'm
talking about when it comes to these gosh-darn technical issues, so
some actual case examples from those of you who have either done it or
seen it done, and how it worked (or failed) and why would be useful. I
really don't have much hope of this project actually requesting (and
recieving) any extra IT support, and just the Oracle end of it has
been keeping me busy, around 80 hour weeks without additional
compensation. I just really don't see how this can be successful based
upon my own experience and knowledge, but perhaps I am missing
something?

Thanks for any and all input.

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  • Taylor, Chris David at Sep 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm
    I would probably argue for training one of the existing office members in the use of ARC and the GIS front-end and work with an Oracle dba on a short-term contract to setup the Oracle database objects & security.

    Then, you could pay that dba consultant as an "on needed" basis to provide support etc and work with the ARC application developer on new modifications etc.

    Just my $0.02

    Chris Taylor
    Sr. Oracle DBA
    Ingram Barge Company
    Nashville, TN 37205
    Office: 615-517-3355
    Cell: 615-663-1673
    Email: chris.taylor_at_ingrambarge.com

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: oracle-l-bounce_at_freelists.org On Behalf Of Bill Ferguson
    Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 8:13 AM
    To: Oracle-L List
    Subject: OT - Opinions on workload

    Hi all -

    I have a generic question that hopefully some of you have experience at.

    What do you think the IT requirements would be for a project that wants to take an existing Oracle 11 database (roughly 40 data tables) and add a GIS front-end to it with ARC (probably the Enterprise version, for multi-user, multi-editor). This is all still in the planning stages (for another month), so I'd like to be able to provide some facts for the person proposing the project. So far, it sounds like they are only planning on one part-time IT person.

    This person would be responsible for everything Oracle and ARC-GIS related, including installing, configuring and maintaining an ARC-server installation, the main Oracle database, probably a dummy Oracle database in-between (to avoid giving ARC DBA rights in the real database), all of the programming, user support (for the ARC and Oracle parts), maintaining a 5 person office with it's LAN and associated hardware, etc. There are several schemas within the database for other projects, but (so far) only one of the schemas will be GISable

    Is it realistic for one person to actually accomplish all of this with only a 40 hour work week, or would more folks be required, in your own professional opinions? Keep in mind that 250 hours (a little over 6
    weeks) of the work year is wasted on security documentation, plus roughly 2 months each year for Annual Leave, sick time, training, maintaining the other schemas and their associated programming, etc.
    So, this only leaves about 38 weeks each year (maximum) that could be spent working on and maintaining the above, along with training new users, developing new code for added functionality, etc.

    Things are still in the planning stage on this, and I think the workload estimate is way to low, and the person stuck with this will burn out extremely quickly, but I would like to have some case examples before the person proposing the project finishes up. I'm only an IT person, not a scientist, so obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to these gosh-darn technical issues, so some actual case examples from those of you who have either done it or seen it done, and how it worked (or failed) and why would be useful. I really don't have much hope of this project actually requesting (and
    recieving) any extra IT support, and just the Oracle end of it has been keeping me busy, around 80 hour weeks without additional compensation. I just really don't see how this can be successful based upon my own experience and knowledge, but perhaps I am missing something?

    Thanks for any and all input.

    --

    Bill Ferguson
    --
    http://www.freelists.org/webpage/oracle-l

    --
    http://www.freelists.org/webpage/oracle-l
  • Amaral, Rui at Sep 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm
    I agree with Chris to some extent on that. Have a dba "on-call" throughout the day with some one in the office that can support the devlopers and end-users but it's tough to determine the extent of the workload without actually knowing what type of workload is going to happen - say like some major revisions might require more involved support in which case having someone on an "on-call" basis won't work (ie., one takes care of the heavy duty stuff while the other deals with the day to day or minor stuff). If it's minor work then it should be fine.

    However, you also mention security in your comments. I am going through some audit stuff right now and a few things come to mind. If you have audit considerations to deal with then you would need to have at least 2 people - since no one individual should have 2 or more critical functions to administer (SOX section 404). Also if one is sick or on vacation (do we still have that;-P?) then having a second person to cover off who can deal with some of the critical functions is ideal which makes it now 3 individuals. This is just an assumption on my part though so take it what you will.

    Just some thoughts.

    Rui


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  • Bill Ferguson at Sep 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm
    Thanks for the comments so far.

    The security stuff is an issue, just one that they (previous project
    management) was just too happy to ignore (separation of duties amongst
    other things). I am THE Oracle DBA and developer, along with running
    the servers and the OAS installation. So, if I was re-assigned to the
    'new' variation of the project, the Oracle stuff would be taken care
    of, but at a minimum we'd need somebody that knew what they were doing
    to get the ARC Server installed, setup and configured to access
    Oracle, then perform whatever programming was required on the ARC side
    of things and keeping that system running as well.

    The guy proposing this has no experience running IT projects, but has
    used the single-user version of ARC, and since that was easy,
    everything else HAS to be easy as well, right? I've been down this
    path many times before in the past, but evidently my opinions and
    experience do not carry the same weight as someone with no IT
    experience.

    I've been trying to express my opinions about staffing, but I just
    keep getting told that I'm either "being to negative", or "not being a
    team player", etc. Been there, done that, I'm finally (temporarily)
    done with the 80 hour weeks (while only paid for 40), and I am not too
    keen on the very likely possibility of suddenly jumping to 120 hour
    weeks. Maybe if I got paid for it, it might be a different story, but
    tripling the workload and still only getting the pay of a 40 hour week
    IS NOT going to entice to me want to be part of the project. If I got
    stuck with it as the only IT person and no other IT backup, then I
    wouldn't be able to achieve my performance goals for the year, which
    in turn has a negative impact on my perfomance appraisal, and any
    promotion possibilities.

    I just need some proof or other evidence from folks that have seen (or
    done) this implementation before and can give some valid time
    estimations based upon actual experience, not what a scientist read in
    a magazine or what an ARC user has said could be done fairly easily.
    As you can probably tell, in this part of the organization, IT is an
    afterthought and not totally supported the way most organizations do.
    Most IT folks are simply regarded as the "IT Nazi's" and their
    opinions are mostly ignored, even after time after time they were
    proven right, but the 'scientist' in charge suddenly gets the credit
    for identifying the issue and putting the sole IT guy in charge of
    fixing it at the expense of other work.

    I may be coming across as being negative, but if I can foresee
    potential problems and don't metion them, along with consequences,
    workarounds, etc., then it becomes my fault and not the fault of the
    non-IT person proposing this project. I merely see it as being an
    inherent part of my job whether they want to hear it or not.

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