The Oracle Australia and New Zealand Middleware and Technology Blog.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oracle Database Vault

Recent statistics indicate that there is a shortage of experienced IT staff across Australia. Here in Sydney, it is estimated that around 3000 additional DBA’s are required to meet projected database management requirements. What does this mean for Oracle’s customers? Well, first of all the DBA’s that are currently employed or engaged by organisations are in ever-increasing demand and secondly the demand on these DBA’s to do more has increased dramatically and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Trying to do more with less time and less human-resource inevitably leads to errors being caused by these stretched resources so is it any wonder that Forrester reports that operator and user errors account for 40% of all unplanned IT downtime?

So, what does this mean to Oracle customers out there in the big-wide-world?

IT staff are being worked so hard they make errors! In a recent study we found that more than 50% of all database support calls occur outside working hours. Additionally, a significant percentage of these support calls concerned the rich-features of the Oracle database product-set and focussed on 20 of these that if used incorrectly, can cause a database to become unavailable.

When we talk to Oracle customers (in particular, the IT area responsible for providing a stable database environment to the wider-populace) about availability we ask a common set of questions…

• Have you had an unplanned outage in the last 12 months?
• Is availability important to your organisation?
• How long can you afford to be down?
• When does an inconvenience turn into a disaster?
• Are Service Level Agreement with the users being met?

We usually hear the same answers to these questions from a wide-variety of differing customer types (both by business vertical and size of deployment) and typically find that customers put up with downtime because they don’t know that there is a solution to their problems – Oracle Database Vault (ODV).

So what does ODV Do?

In simple terms it prevents unplanned downtime due to human error by restricting the use of certain commands. It does this by creating customisable realms and rules that provide multi-factor authorisation capabilities. This means that administrators and IT staff only have commands available for their role and responsibility. This is a bit like someone standing behind you and asking “are you sure you want to use the “DROPTABLE” command just before you hit the enter key – or more simplistically, preventing the command from being called in the first-place.
For a piece of technology that provides a high-degree of protection, ODV is an incredibly simple and easy piece of software to deploy. Most deployments and configurations, including mapping roles and responsibilities to functional capabilities, take place within a week. Of course, some deployments can take longer than this period and other take less – it really comes down to the customer-requirements for the implementation.

We would be very interested to hear from anyone that believes they could make use of Oracle Database Vault or who would like more information – contact me directly via email or visit our website at


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