On Feburary 16th, 2012, I had the honor to have exclusive interview by Kamran Agavev, a fellow Oracle ACE and industry leading expert on Oracle technology, the author of book “Oracle Backup & Recovery”. Here are the contents of my interview. You can see the intervew post in Kamran Agavev’s Oracle blog at http://kamranagayev.com/2012/02/16/exclusive-interview-with-kai-yu/:
Could u please provide answer to the following questions as follows?
> Brief information about yourself and your family
I work for Dell Oracle Solutions Engineering lab. I was originally from China. I live in Austin, Texas, USA with my wife Jin who also works in software industry, and my daughter Jessica who currently is a freshman in high school.
> Your education:
I got my BS and MS degrees in Computer Science in China before I came to US. Then I got my second MS in Computer Science in US.
> Your experience with Oracle. When you started first? Has it been interest of your side or just a coincidence?
My interest with database started with my Master degree thesis research on relational database more than 20 years ago. My Oracle database career started in 1995 shortly after when I took a database engineer position in a software company working on OCI and C++, PL/SQL and DBA. On that job, I really enjoyed learning and working on Oracle database technology on both applications development side as well as the database administration side. The technology really fascinated me and I decided to pursue my career in Oracle database.
> What was the motive behind to prefer Oracle? Who you have been influenced by?
I was motivated by the great flexibility and power of the Oracle database and the strong technology behind it. In my career with Oracle Technology, I have been really inspired by several people. My first mentor was the chief database architect Chip Young in my early career who taught me how to build a high performance application on Oracle Database. In 1997 I learned the Oracle Parallel server (OPS) technology from an Oracle parallel server architect from Oracle and started working with Oracle cluster database technology. Since 2006, Nadia Bendjedou and Steven Chan and Erik Peterson at Oracle really inspired me to take my Oracle Technology career to the next level by contributing my efforts to the Oracle community (user groups) and Oracle conferences. With their great inspiration, in April 2010 I reached a great highlight in my career when I was awarded the Oracle ACE Director rank by Oracle Technology Network
> What would your preference of profession if not Oracle?
I would probably end up in software development work.
> What motivates you in your job?
The appreciation and love of the technology always motivate me to learn and try new things in my job.
> Do you give lectures on Oracle?
Not official Oracle University class. But I have done several seminars on Oracle RAC SIG, which were recorded and managed by Oracle University and are publically accessible. I also have spoken at several IOUG web seminars and Oracle technology conferences worldwide such as Oracle OpenWorld, IOUG/OAUG Collaborate conferences, UKOUG conference, Scotland conference, Ottawa conference, OTN (Oracle Technology Network) Latin America conference tour and APAC conference tour.
> Have you authored any book in Oracle?
I have not finished any book. Recently Syed Jaffar Hussain has been very kind to invite me to co-author his new Oracle RAC book with him
> Do you manage with your time as to read books on Oracle? What is the name of the book that you read recently?
By working in an engineering lab, I usually work on very latest technology on which normally there are no many published books around. I spent more time reading Oracle documents, whitepapers, Oracle support notes and Oracle blogs of other colleagues and OTN forms. But I do find a great value to read various published Oracle books to learn the topics in details in a systematic ways.
Here is a list of books I found very useful:
1. Oracle Database 11g Release 2 High Availability: Maximize Your Availability with Grid Infrastructure, RAC and Data Guard by Scott Jesse, Bill Burton, Bryan Vongray
2. Oracle Backup & Recovery: Expert secrets for using RMAN and Data Pump, Kamran Agayev Agamehdi & Aman Sharma
3. Oracle 11g R1/R2 Real Application Clusters Essentials , by Ben Prusinski, Syed Jaffer Hussain
4. Oracle Wait Interface: A Practical Guide to Performance Diagnostics & Tuning by Richmond Shee, Kirtikumar Deshpande and K. Gopalakrishnan
5. For Oracle Applications DBA, Oracle Applications DBA Field Guild by Elke Phelps, Paul Jackson
> What do you think on OTN forums?
Oracle Technology forums is really a great way for people to share the experience and help each other. A lot of time when I ran into issues, I was able to find some hints or even the answers to my problem. I also try to share my findings on the OTN whenever possible.
> Do you refer to the documentation? And how often does it happen?
I would say Oracle documentation is my primary resource to learn the new products. Many times I started with the beta version of the product as well as the beta version of the documentations. Last year when I involved Oracle Enterprise Manager cloud control 12c beta and Oracle VM 3.0 beta, I have heavily relied on the beta documentations and the consultation of the Oracle product managers, even the engineers from the development team.
> What is the biggest mistake you have ever made during your DBA career?
Back to the late 90’s, on the third day after I just started working for a small company, the rented small data center had some issue with its air conditioning, and I didn’t pay much attention and only forwarded the issue to the data center facility manager to fix it. But the fix was not done immediately. Next day, the database crashed, and I was not able to bring up the database as the database startup always crashed in middle of the instance recovery. After working with Oracle support, the root cause was identified that the data block corruption in the logs caused by the overheated storage prevented the instance recovery from completing. So we had to fix the storage issue and restore the database from the backup and recovered the database to the time right before this corrupted block was written. It was very painful and very time consuming process to get the main revenue generating database back online. Luckily I implemented the online database backup in the very first day when I joined the company.
> What was your greatest achievement as an Oracle DBA?
In my 17 years Oracle DBA ad architect career, I have received many awards including three times awards from Dell Executive management, and the 2011 OAUG innovator of year award from OAUG. But my greatest achievements were that I was able to catch up the latest technology and to be recognized by Oracle technology community with the Oracle ACE director rank and the privilege to get to know many industry leading experts in various areas of Oracle Technology.
> What is you priority to manage the challenges you face?
My priority is always the technology. My job requires me to research the technology and design and implement the Oracle engineering solutions for various IT organizations.
> How would you describe the essence of your success? According to your definition of success, how successful have you been so far?
Hard working, appreciation and interest on technology are the essence of my success. I am pretty happy for what I am doing today.
> What are your best skills which make you differ from others?
I got a chance to work on the entire IT stack: server, storage, networking, virtualization, OS, database, middleware,
and applications. This allows me to look at the problems from a broad view
> What’s your major weakness?
I prefer hand on technology work, not much management type work.
> Have you ever lost your spirit? If so, what has been the reason and how have you overcome it?
Not really. But I found hard time working with the people that don’t appreciate technology and don’t appreciate technical skills.
> What is the next success you would like to attain and your efforts to this end?
I would appreciate if I can get a higher technology ladder like a principle architect position or a technical director position as I have been in my current senior technical position for ten years. But I will continue to focus on my technology interest no matter what.
> How do you balance your daily life with your career?
It has been a very challenge to balance my daily life and my career, as I like them both, but there is no enough time. But it may be possible to have both sometime. Last year, I took my daughter with me on my conference trip to England and Scotland, and she found it very interesting and very educational on the trip.
> Please describe your one day summary of activities?
I normally get up around 7:30am, taking my daughter to school and get into office around 9:00am. I work in office until 7:00pm. And after dinner, I started working around 8:30pm to 12:30am. During the night hours, I may also talk to my daughter about her school work or watch some pieces of movie or TV for a break.
> How many hours do you work and sleep in a day?
Around 11-12 hours work, and 6-7 hours sleep a day, and depending on the workload or other activities.
> Where and how do you spend your daily, weekly and annual holidays?
I like to spend my holiday in travel around the world, also visiting my parents and brother and sister in China.
> Do you think about Oracle during vacations?
No much, travel is my big favor. I would like to learn the different cultures and places on travel. I also travel to different places in the world for Oracle conferences as well as for vacations.
> Do you have time or motivation to go in for any sports? If yes, which kind of sport do you go in for?
I swim and play Ping-Pong (table tennis) and also run sometime.
> What’s your favorite meal and non-alcoholic drink?
I don’t have any particular favorite food, but just prefer light taste food, not much non-alcoholic drink either.
> What foreign languages do you know?
Beside of English, I speak standard Chinese, my native language.
> What’s your average typing speed?
I can’t type very fast, as never had any special training on typing
> Have you ever get involved in politics?
No. not very interested.
> What are your hobbies?
Swimming, playing Ping-Pong, military history.
> How do you spend your free time?
Being with family, travelling, exercising, reading, watching movies/TVs, house work etc.
> What’s your biggest ambition?
Visiting all the countries in the world.
> What would be your advice to the beginners in Oracle?
Learn the solid foundation of the major; Have a strong passion for the Oracle technology; be ready for the life time learning.
> Would you like your children to follow in your footsteps or take a different path in life?
That will depend on her interest. I don’t force anything. However, I see technology is a very good career.
> Do you have any followers of you?
I have seen some followers in my blogs. But I found that people are easier to find the materials from my blog entries than from my whitepapers and conferences although my 16 whitepapers and more than 40 conferences presentations listed in my Oracle blog (http://kyuoracleblog.wordpress.com) have much richer materials than those on my blog entries. I plan to find some time to extract some materials from those whitepapers and conference presentations and put them on some the blog entries so that the search engine can pick up them.
> What is your vision on the future of Oracle?
I think Oracle is a great company that produces the great Oracle Technology. I love to continue to work with Oracle Technology.
> Could you please take a photo in your office near to your desktop?