The Perfect Gift For The Oracle DBA: Top 5 DBA T-Shirts

Posted on 1-December-2014 by Craig Shallahamer,

It's that time of year again and I can already hear it, "Dad, what do you want for Christmas?" This year I'm taking action. Like forecasting Oracle performance, I'm taking proactive action.

Like most of you reading this, you have a, let's say, unique sense of humor. I stumbled across the ultimate geek website that has an astonishing variety of t-shirts aimed at those rare individuals like us that get a rush in understanding the meaning of an otherwise cryptic message on a t-shirt.

I picked my Top 5 DBA Geek T-Shirts based on the challenges, conflicts and joys of being an Oracle DBA. With each t-shirt I saw, a story came to mind almost immediately. I suspect you will have a similar experience that rings strangely true.

So here they areā€”the Top 5 T-Shirts For The Oracle DBA:

Number 5: Change Your Password

According to Slash Data the top password is now "Password". I guess the upper-case "P" makes people feel secure, especially since last years top password was "123456" and EVERYBODY knows thats a stupid password. Thanks to new and improved password requirements, the next most popular password is "12345678". Scary but not surprising.

As Oracle Database Administrators and those who listened to Troy Ligon's presentation last years IOUG conference presentation, passwords are clearly not safe. ANY passwords. Hopefully in the coming years, passwords will be a thing of the past.

Number 4: Show Your Work

Part of my job as a teacher and consultant is to stop behavior like this: I ask a DBA, "I want to understand why you want to make this change to improve performance." And the reply is something like one of these:

Because it has worked on our other systems.

I did a Google search and an expert recommended this.

Because the box is out of CPU power, there is latching issues, so increasing spin_count will help.

Because we have got to do something and quick!

I teach Oracle DBAs to think from the user experience to the CPU cycles developing a chain of cause and effect. If we can understand the cause and effect relationships, perhaps we can disrupt poor performance and turn it to our favor. "Showing your work" and actually writing it down can be really helpful.

Number 3: You Read My T-Shirt

Why do managers and users think their presence in close proximity to mine will improve performance or perhaps increase my productivity? Is that what they learn in Hawaii during "end user training"?

What's worse is when a user or manager wants to talk about it...while I'm obviously in concentrating on a serious problem.

Perhaps if I wear this t-shirt, stand up, turn around and remain silent they will stop talking and get the point. We can only hope.

Number 2: I'm Here Because You Broke Something

Obnoxious but true. Why do users wonder why performance is "slow" when they do a blind query returning ten-million rows and then scroll down looking for the one row they are interested in.... Wow. The problem isn't always the technology... but you know that already.

Hint to Developers: Don't let users do a drop down or a lookup that returns millions or even thousands or even hundreds of rows... Please for the love of performance optimization!

Number 1 (drum roll): Stand Back! I'm Going To Try SCIENCE

One of my goals in optimizing Oracle Database performance is to be quantitative. And whenever possible, repeatable. Add some basic statistics and you've got science. But stand back because, as my family tells me, it does get a little strange sometimes.

But seriously, being a "Quantitative Oracle Performance Analyst" is always my goal because my work is quantifiable, reference-able and sets me up for advanced analysis.

So there you go! Five t-shirts for the serious and sometimes strange Oracle DBA. Not only will these t-shirts prove and reinforce your geeky reputation, but you'll get a small yet satisfying feeling your job is special...though a little strange at times.

All the best in your Oracle performance endeavors!


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at craig at

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