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Database Administration Services

Partnering With SkillBuilders

Some of Our Services   [Top]

Listed below are some of the services that we currently offer. If you can't find what you need here, drop us a line and we'll see what we can do for you. We have over 30 years of Oracle and Banner experience among us. We provide Oracle Database Administration and Ellucian Banner services to various educational clients and others, quickly and comprehensively, including complete documentation (with a step-by-step transcript of commands performed) and easy to use client-run scripts, at just $150/hour (4 hour minimum). Some of our Oracle DBA services include:

Setting up backup scripts   [Top]

Do you need a nightly backup system installed on your servers for your databases? One that provides minimal or no database downtime, low storage requirements for quick disaster recovery, along with reports on tablespace, datafile, table, and index space usage for proactive maintenance? These features are available in the set of public domain backup scripts on my web site, which are free to you, but, we can set them up, usually overnight, to run on your unix servers with your set of databases.

This service includes renaming your datafiles and other database files to follow the standard naming convention expected by the scripts, if needed, modifying the scripts to match your set of databases that you want to back up, installing GNU Zip to provide compressed file backup and recovery, and adding cron tasks for running the nightly backups and for shutting down and starting up other processes that can't be running while the database is being backed up, if needed.

Remote database monitoring and proactive maintenance   [Top]

Are you tired of dealing with those unpredictable and usually untimely production stops from those nasty "unable to allocate next extent" messages for tables and indexes, or from tablespaces maxing out, or other space issues such as making that valuable, but unreleased, space from deletions from indexes available for reuse? Well, then, you need to sign up for our remote database monitoring and proactive maintenance services.

Three nights per week (with some prorated exceptions), we will log into your system to monitor the growth of your tables, indexes, and tablespaces, and provide proactive space maintenance as needed to minimize or eliminate those production stops. This maintenance includes updating or rebuilding tables and indexes to allow for orderly size increases, recreating indexes that are holding onto large chunks of unreleased free space, and adding datafiles to tablespaces that are closing in on their maximum sizes. And all of this for a monthly price ($1,200) for less than what some companies charge for a single day for one of their consultants. What a deal! But, since we have a limited number of slots for this service (currently only 4 slots available), if you need remote database monitoring and proactive maintenance, you should sign up quickly before all of the slots are gone. (This service is for Banner users on unix, and installing our backup scripts first is recommended.)

Database reorganizations for performance and bulletproofing   [Top]

Are your datafiles, redo log files, and other database files distributed efficiently among your disk drives to minimize bottlenecks and to lessen or eliminate potential data loss should one of those drives crash? We will check your file placement and redistribute your database files as needed to accomplish those goals. A minimum of three disk drives (such as 2 SCSI and 1 RAID on Windows systems) on separate controllers is required for this reorganization service. And, if you have four disk drives, we can split off the indexes from your table data to that fourth drive for even better performance. (Or, if you want to do this yourself, most of the information and scripts for these tasks is on my web site.)

Disaster recovery   [Top]

Your disk just crashed, or someone accidentally dropped a table or did a mass delete, or some student decided he needed lots of space for his graphics files and removed that big datafile to make room for them, and everyone in the business office is screaming and panicking around you, and the phone starts ringing off the hook from the registrar's office that is suddenly missing the student records they entered today, and your DBA just left on his honeymoon in Tahiti. Got the picture? Frightening, isn't it? Well, first calm down, take a breath, and don't join in on the panic. And, especially, don't get tickled at the sight of all the red hot steaming contorted faces popping up from their cubicles or start trying to mimic them (especially the one in the corner office with the door - you know who I mean) - probably not a good job move!

Just contact us, describing what happened, when it happened (time of day) and what the symptoms are, and give us the IP number or name to telnet into your server, along with a unix Oracle userid and password as well as the Oracle sys or system or other DBA account userid and password needed to log into your server and into the database, and we'll see if we can do anything to recover your database with minimal loss of data, and, then, attempt the recovery if you give the go ahead. We will usually require that you make a backup of your database first before we start working on a recovery, and, having our backup scripts already installed and running could make that recovery much quicker. There is a one-hour charge for investigating your crash, which is waived if you want us to attempt the recovery, at which time the four-hour minimum charge applies (starting after you have made your backup).  (Or, if you want to try the recovery yourself, information about disaster recovery is on my web site, which gives fairly straightforward and comprehensive step-by-step instructions.)

Banner data loads from legacy systems   [Top]

If you can get your legacy data into ASCII delimited format or fixed-column format, and give us the mapping of that information into the Banner tables and fields, we can create the SQL to load your data and do the load for you. (Not much explanation needed for this one!)

Banner HR/Payroll and Finance Reports (SQL-based)   [Top]

Are you overrun with custom report requests from your business office, and can't get them all done when they want them? Been there, done that! Just offload them to us, with information on how you want the report to look and which Banner tables and fields to get the data from, if you know that, plus any special processing of that data that you need for the report, and leave the SQL coding to us.

Banner System Upgrades   [Top]

After having gone through dozens of HR/Payroll, Finance, A/R, and General Banner upgrades from Ellucian, I've just about got it down to an hour or two task per database per point upgrade (such as 8.1.1 to 8.1.2).  If you are a new Banner site and haven't applied any upgrades yet, or, if you want to relieve your DBA of that task, we can do that for you. For this service, you will need to have separate SEED and production database environments with a duplicate set of $BANNER_HOME directories for them, which we can set up for you.  We will apply the upgrade first to SEED, let you know of any problems we encounter, and apply the upgrade to your production database after those problems have been resolved. You will be responsible for contacting Ellucian's ActionWeb and resolving any problems with the upgrades at your site. You should also make Banner and database backups before we start on the upgrade, unless you want us to do that. And, finally, since we only work through telnet, you will have to FTP the updated forms to your client side network, and, possibly regenerate them. But, relieving you of that tedious upgrade process will give you time to do other more pressing tasks.

How Do We Work?   [Top]

We provide all of our services remotely via Telnet through the Internet, so, we need to be able to connect to your server using a domain name or IP address.  We will also need a login ID and password and home directory set up on your server, and an ID and password set up in Oracle to work in sqlplus, which needs to be set up with a default DBA role for system administration tasks, or other grants as needed for the individual projects.  At the current time, our Banner expertise is mainly in the HR/Payroll and Finance modules, and working with the Linux and Windows operating systems; however, we can do work in the other Banner modules, if you need it and if you don't mind assisting us with tables, fields, data relationships, and processing flows as required for those tasks outside our fields of expertise.

For remote database monitoring and proactive maintenance services, as well as for disaster recovery services, you need to have our backup system installed (such as the ones on my web site) so that we have a common setup to work with across all sites.  Although we can offer disaster recovery services without our backup system installed, the time to recover could be extensive (our recovery times with our backup systems usually require under an hour, but, the 4-hour minimum per incident still applies).

With our partnership with the talented folks at SkillBuilders (www.skillbuilders.com), we can offer RAC, Groovy and Grails, APEX, and Cloud services (at their normal contracting costs), along with their vast expertise in Oracle Database Administration services, while we offer them Banner, disaster recovery, RMAN, DataGuard, fast cloning, and other DBA services.  And we both offer Oracle training and free tutorials at their site and at ours (www.oracletips.guru) for your enlightenment.

What are our fees?   [Top]

We currently contract for $150.00 per hour, with a 4-hour minimum per report written or incident handled.  Remote database monitoring and proactive maintenance services are $1,200 per month (checking 3 times per week, with some prorated exceptions).  Upon signing our Standard Engagement Letter, we will proceed with your project.  Invoices, payable on receipt via PayPal using the Donate button on our web site, will be emailed every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the project.

YIKES! Why So Much???  Well, there's one word for that: TAXES.  With the federal government getting 35% for personal services corporation taxes, plus over 15% for Social Security taxes, plus state and local taxes, plus whatever other expenses come along, in the end, we take home about what your normal high-level professional employee makes in hourly wages.

On the other hand, Why So Little???  We're aware that there are other contractors out there that charge up to twice as much as us.  Our fees are less than theirs because we have less overhead and other expenses than those companies have.  We are here to assist and supplement your Banner and Oracle staff and to meet the current demand for high quality consulting and contracting work, resulting in part from today's pressures due to low Oracle database unemployment and thousands of computer programming jobs going unfilled.  And with our low costs and partner firms, we can even contract for your interim DBA needs whenever you are searching for your next DBA employee and are without coverage.

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