Oracle Administration - Part 2
August 19, 2004
Part one of this series covered some important aspects of Oracle administration (MetaLink and licensing). Part two highlights the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) and Oracle sales/reselling. Most DBAs will not have occasion to work directly with either of these programs, even though they may directly benefit from them. Some of those benefits are personal in nature - benefits that can save you money and help you learn new skills. If you work for an independent software vendor (ISV), other features of OPN can save your customers money, and lots of it.
OPN is almost like a secret club. Hard to get into, but once you are in, you can enjoy the full benefits accorded by your membership level. Membership does indeed have its benefits. A typical ISV at the Partner level (Partner, Certified Partner, and Certified Advantage Partner are the levels) enjoys a wealth of benefits. Some are geared toward benefiting your company, and others are targeted at the individual level. Let's take a look at what being a Partner gets you.
Two major benefits have to do with online training and money saving features. Personally, I hadn't looked at all of the benefits in a while, and I just realized that I could have saved over $160 by cashing in the two free OCP exam vouchers you get at the Partner level. I knew about and used the 35% discount for each exam I have taken, but I spaced out the fact that two of the exams could have been free. I would really like to thank Prometric's Oracle exam representative for not reminding me about the vouchers when I called to get the OPN discount and for letting me pay extra.
The screenshot below shows some of the resources and benefits by membership level. You can download a PDF file if you want a hard copy of the table.
As an OPN member, a huge resource of information is totally free to you, and it contains hours upon hours of online instruction. This resource is the free access to Oracle University online library. Just within the "High Availability" section of database training, there are over 17 training hours available. Do you want to learn something about Oracle Forms? Are you interested in the OCP exam prep material straight from the source? How does almost 69 hours of FREE training sound to you?
What if you are not employed by an OPN member company? For a modest fee, you can access the online library on an individual basis. $280 for a one-year membership buys you access to more than 400 courses with literally thousands of hours of training time. That is a phenomenal bargain in anyone's book.
Shown below is a sample of topic categories available under "Database." Data warehousing, high availability and real application clusters are skills frequently mentioned in "high end" DBA job ads. If you cannot get hands-on training while on the job, you can at least soak up the free material via the online library. Further, many of the classes have exercises that require you to create a database environment. You will get some hands-on training if you follow all of the instructions.
On the business side of OPN, your company can gain more exposure to the Oracle user community. For example, look at the back of any Oracle Magazine (you do take advantage of the free subscription, don't you?). You will see a "Certified Partner Advantage Index." Companies with that OPN membership level receive "Highest priority placement" in the Oracle PartnerNetwork Solutions Catalog in addition to receiving "a higher level of service, training and certification from Oracle."
How to save your customers some money
As a member of OPN, you can become a reseller of Oracle products. Further, you can embed Oracle within your application (so when your application installs, Oracle software and a database are installed and created behind the scenes).
The three types of licenses are Full Use, Application Specific Full Use and Embedded Software (FU, ASFU and ESL). You can read more about these license types at the Steps to become an Oracle Distributor web page.
There are legal documents to read and sign, and in some cases, your company's sales rep will have to take an online course and pass a sales certification exam. There are monthly reports and some other administrative matters to deal with, but the bottom line is this: your customers receive a discount (it can be significant) on their own Oracle licensing costs.
How to make some money for your company (or yourself)
OPN member or not, you can refer sales leads to Oracle and become eligible for a 5-10% commission, with caps set at $25,000 and $50,000 for each level. There is some minimal paperwork involved, so if you have the opportunity to steer a sales towards Oracle, you may be looking at receiving a fair amount of change in return for your effort. The specific name for this program is the Open Market Model.
In this two-part series, I have touched on some key features and benefits related to Oracle administration. If you work for an OPN member company, you owe it to yourself to look at the **free** online course offerings from Oracle University. If you are not employed by an OPN member company, as mentioned, you can still take advantage of the online courses for a modest fee.
Take advantage of your access to MetaLink. Support analysts post new knowledge base articles almost every day (look under "My Headlines"). Learn something new every day. Additionally, MetaLink allows you to bookmark articles. There are scores of "How To" articles you can have at your fingertip. I have printed several key articles (recovery scenarios, Forms trigger firing sequences, troubleshooting notes, etc.) and have them in a binder for ready reference.
Finally, if you are involved in sales or product recommendations, you should become familiar with Oracle's licensing schemes, minimum number of users requirements, and opportunities to not only save money, but earn money as well. There is a whole other world of Oracle out there that has nothing to do with administering a database. That's why I call it Oracle administration.