Sometimes Linux Admin / Programmer End-up Doing DBA Work

I saw a posting recently that caugth my attention….

Sometimes Linux administrator or programmer may end-up doing some basic DBA operations on development database. So, it is important for non-DBAs to understand some basic database administration activities.

it’s been my experience that the Linix administration or programmer will forget the part..

On development database.

Many times when we come across companies where they don?t have an in-house DBA and the development staff or system administrator is also providing DBA support when we audit the database backups they fail the audit.

What make?s a good programmer are not the same skills that make a good database administrator. What make?s a good database administrator are not the skills that make a good programmer.

I commend this person for wanting to teach programmers some basic DBA operations. I guarantee the point ?on development database? will be lost. This has the potential recipe for disaster written all over it. 

My last blog was titled Death By Delete talks about a company that went to a hosting provider that offered package for hosting, website and database. It was such a great bargain till the first bill came in. The worst part was a developer was working in the production database and accidently deleted it all. They lost the entire database and more importantly went into bankruptcy as a result of it all. To read the original story…

Dev Disaster: Death by Delete

That why when people send the support of their database to the lowest bidder I shutter violently. They are risking their whole business to save a few dollars. Ask MegaPetCo who is no longer in business. I get just as worried when people think a good programmer or system admin is a replacement for a DBA. Companies in this economy are looking for ways to save money at every turn. If they think they can get by without a DBA they will try.

So when I read ?For a DBA, starting up and shutting down of oracle database is a routine and basic operation. Sometimes Linux administrator or programmer may end-up doing some basic DBA operations on development database. So, it is important for non-DBAs to understand some basic database administration activities.?

Its like asking someone who is not a pilot to fly a plane. Lets just hope your not along for the ride when they get over there head.

For companies that think not having proper database administration of the databases their mission critical business applications reply on. Ask MegPetCo if that was such a good idea.

Oh yeah right, you can?t ask, they are no longer in business. 

The author of the blog I am commenting on was trying to pass good information along. There is nothing wrong with that. They also were smart enough to make the point…

On development database.

 lets hope all the readers of the blog are smart enough to understand this new found knowledge should on be used on …

On development database.

 For those companies that think they don?t need solid database administration talent supporting their mission critical business applications think again or you could be the next victim of..


If you don?t think you can afford proper database administration support, then you have not looked at companies like Ntirety that offer Database Administration As a Service ?TM?. It?s a very cost effective way to make sure your company does not suffer from


For those of you that still want to learn more about the blog I referenced here is a sample with a link at the end to the site….

How To Startup Oracle Database

1. Login to the system with oracle username

Typical oracle installation will have oracle as username and dba as group. On Linux, do su to oracle as shown below.

$ su - oracle

2. Connect to oracle sysdba

Make sure ORACLE_SID and ORACLE_HOME are set properly as shown below.

$ env | grep ORA

You can connect using either ?/ as sysdba? or an oracle account that has DBA privilege.

$ sqlplus '/ as sysdba'
SQL*Plus: Release - Production on Sun Jan 18 11:11:28 2009
Copyright (c) 1982, 2006, Oracle. All Rights Reserved.

Connected to:
Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release - Production
With the Partitioning and Data Mining options

3. Start Oracle Database

The default SPFILE (server parameter file) is located under $ORACLE_HOME/dbs. Oracle will use this SPFILE during startup, if you don?t specify PFILE.

Oracle will look for the parameter file in the following order under $ORACLE_HOME/dbs. If any one of them exist, it will use that particular parameter file.

  1. spfile$ORACLE_SID.ora
  2. spfile.ora
  3. init$ORACLE_SID.ora

Type ?startup? at the SQL command prompt to startup the database as shown below.

SQL> startup
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area 812529152 bytes
Fixed Size 2264280 bytes
Variable Size 960781800 bytes
Database Buffers 54654432 bytes
Redo Buffers 3498640 bytes
Database mounted.
Database opened.

If you want to startup Oracle with PFILE, pass it as a parameter as shown below.

SQL> STARTUP PFILE=/u01/app/oracle/product/10.2.0/dbs/init.ora

How To Shutdown Oracle Database

Following three methods are available to shutdown the oracle database:

  1. Normal Shutdown
  2. Shutdown Immediate
  3. Shutdown Abort

1. Normal Shutdown

During normal shutdown, before the oracle database is shut down, oracle will wait for all active users to disconnect their sessions. As the parameter name (normal) suggest, use this option to shutdown the database under normal conditions.

SQL> shutdown
Database closed.
Database dismounted.
ORACLE instance shut down.

2. Shutdown Immediate

During immediate shutdown, before the oracle database is shut down, oracle will rollback active transaction and disconnect all active users. Use this option when there is a problem with your database and you don?t have enough time to request users to log-off.

SQL> shutdown immediate;
Database closed.
Database dismounted.
ORACLE instance shut down.

To read the remainder of the article click here. if you intend to actually do these things, then I suggest you take the time to read it all. I left off one of the more important sections… Oracle Database Startup and Shutdown Procedure

For those of you who drink some of the vendors koolaide and think you dont need a DBA. Better check the Koolaide, it was poison and you better get to the hospital.


I am offmy soap box for now. !

Posted Michael Corey,

Founder & CEO, Ntirety

My Personal Twitter Account: Michael_Corey

Ntirety Corporate Twitter Account: Ntirety


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.