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Archive for October 5th, 2009

Exclusive Interview with Syed Jaffar Hussain

Posted by Kamran Agayev A. on 5th October 2009


He’s Senior Oracle DBA with over 16 years of IT experience which also includes above 8 years of production Oracle DBA exposure. Presently the only Oracle 10g Certified Master in Saudi Arabia with Oracle RAC Expert, Oracle 8i, 9i and 10g OCP DBA and Oracle ACE credentials.Past one year and so, he has been largely working with Oracle RAC environemnts that inlcudes successful 8 node production, 6 node development RAC setups on HPUX Itaninum with EMC DMX SAN Storage. He’s one of the regular contributor at Oracle forums, oracle freelist group and occasionally writes up at his blog. He’s currently engaged in writing an Oracle 11g RAC book


Could u please provide answer to the following questions as follows:

Brief information about yourself and your family

I am Syed Jaffar Hussain, an Indian national currently working for Bank Inma in Saudi Arabia country.  I have 3 brothers and a sister and I am married with three sons. My wife is Ayesha and my sons are Ashfaq(9 yrs), Arfan(6 yrs) and Aahil(10 months old).


  • Your education

I have done my Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) and did a diploma in Post Graduation In Computer Applications.

  • Your experience with Oracle. When you started first? Has it been interest of your side or just a coincidence?

I had first heard about Oracle technologies way back in 1997 and wanted to switch my career from FoxPro programmer to Oracle technologies.  Hence, in 1998 I have learned Oracle 7.3 version.


  • What was the motive behind to prefer Oracle? Who you have been influenced by?

In 1997, from few people I have heard about Oracle technologies and its influence and rapid growth in the market. Hence, I wanted to start with something new and adopted Oracle technologies.


  • What would your preference of profession if not Oracle?

I would have been continued as programmer.


  • What motivates you in your job?

Being an Oracle consultant, it gave me an opportunity to work with different clients, big clients, on different environment with different requirements.  I had a new and very challenging role with each client I have worked for.


  • Do you give lectures on Oracle?

I do deliver Oracle University 5 day courses on behalf of local Oracle University on different Oracle Technologies and I have also given one day seminar on RMAN in Sweden and Denmark on behalf of Oracle EMEA. Also, frequently conducts corporate tailored made Oracle training to different clients.


  • Have you authored any book in Oracle?

I was one of the Technical Reviewer of Oracle 11g Scheduler book by Packt Publications and currently authoring a book on Oracle 11g Real Application Clustering which covers 11gR1 and 11gR2 topics for Packt Publications along with my co-authors, Mr. Ben  and Mr. Guenadi Jilevski


  • Do you manage with your time as to read books on Oracle? What is the name of the book that you read recently?

 During my initial days, I used to read Oracle documents and other Oracle related books for at least not less than 6 hrs a day. Though, I don’t spend that much now, but, still reads Oracle Documentations. It’s been quite a long time that I really read any Oracle book complete.


  • What do you think on OTN forums?

I really have a great respect for OTN forums where you can see the top most Oracle Experts take some time from their busy schedule to answer to interesting and challenging questions. OTN Forums is one stop for all new and experienced DBA to get answers to their questions as I think a silly question is better than a stupid assumption. I have learned a lot from OTN forums and I used to spend most of my time answering on OTN Forums with the nick name The Human Fly.


  • Do you refer to the documentation? And how often does it happen?

As I mentioned before, I am a great fan of Oracle Documentation and really it does contains everything that you are looking for though a quite large number of pages.


  • What is the biggest mistake you have ever made during your DBA career?

I don’t remember any such incident, however, I want to recall an incident  that happened at one of my previous client where they were maintain a data warehouse database around 3TB sized has only one redo member and all the redo groups /members were placed in the same file system. The admin screwed up the filesystem while doing something and due to the loss of all redo log files, we were ended up restoring 3TB database.


  • What was your greatest achivement as an Oracle DBA?

There are quite a lot. I have done a lot of Performance Tuning and increased the performance tremendously for most of the critical application databases. I have setup Data Guard for all the banking critical application databases and done switchover and failover on demand. I have also set up 4 RAC environments with 8 and 6 node production and 3 and 6 development setup with over 100 databases across the nodes.


  • What is you priority to manage the challenges you face?

Understand the problem or requirement first, have detail study and think all possible way to implement or resolve the problem. Don’t panic at any situation as every problem got a solution, this is my funda that I believe in.


  • How would you describe the essence of your success? According to your definition of success, how successful have you been so far?

I believe that there is no short cut for success. Dedication and Hard working is only the way to success. Whatever I have done so far, I have been thoroughly successfully because of my dedication and hard working. You need to love what you are doing and put dedication and hardworking, success will follow you.


  • What are your best skills which make you differ from others?

My mind set and determination.


  • What’s your major weakness?

Believing people blindly and being too emotional.


  • Have you ever lost your spirit? If so, what has been the reason and how have you overcome it?

At one my previous company I gave my 4 yrs services believing that I will get all the rights that I am deserved for. However, some people back stubbed me with their cunningness to cover up their mistakes. It was a shock for me, at the same time, a big lesson to learn in my life. However, now, almighty given me that I never think of and I must remain thankful to almighty my entire life.


  • What is the next success you would like to attain and your efforts to this end?

I use to dream about becoming Oracle Certified Master one day, finally I have achieved OCM a year ago and since then thinking of something more challenging and ended up writing a book on RAC.


  • How do you balance your daily life with your career?

It’s really tough to balance the personal life along with the hectic duty hours. Working for one the biggest bank here in Saudi Arabia, I am on round the clock support and most of the week-ends working for several maintenance tasks. Sometimes, felt that I am not a good father to my kids as I am not able to spend my time with them. But, I must thankful to my wife who is so understanding about my situation and encouraging for my work.


  • Please describe your one day summary of activities?

I think that my everyday life is like a machinery life, no change, and daily as usual. I typically wake-up at 6am in the morning to drop my kids at school as their school start here at 7am, sometime takes my breakfast, most of the time without breakfast, comes office at 8am with 1 hrs lunch break in the afternoon. By the way, there is no static timings for leave office in the evening. Typically, I go home almost 7pm, watch TV for few hours, or sit on PC to finish any pending work and go to sleep at 12 in the night.


  • How many hours do you work and sleep in a day?

I work from 8am till 7pm and hardly sleep for 5 hrs a day.


  • Where and how do you spend your daily, weekly and annual holidays?

Every year we all go to India for a month vacation.


  • Do you think about Oracle during vacations?

These days, strictly NO.


  • Do you have time or motivation to go in for any sports? If yes, which kind of sport do you go in for?

I feel I am old enough to play any sports now. My favorite sport is Cricket.


  • What’s your favorite meal and non-alcoholic drink?

Hyderabadi chiken or mutton biryani with a diet pepsi.



  • What foreign languages do you know?

A Bit of Arabic language. I knew Telugu and Hindi Indian languages.


  • What’s your average typing speed?

My typing speed, either on Numeric pad or characters is too fast.


  • Have you ever get involved in politics?



  • What are your hobbies? 

 Watching cricket, movies and reading news papers.


  • How do you spend your free time?

Watching movies.


  • What’s your biggest ambition?

Start my own IT company.


  • What would be your advice to the beginners in Oracle?

If you decide to do anything to achieve, don’t give up, do the hard work and never let your tempo goes down. Understanding the basics of any technology is the most important key factor for a good career foundation. Read and test and don’t hesitate to ask a silly question which comes to your mind.


  • Would you like your children to follow in your footsteps or take a different path in life?

I really don’t want my children to go through what I have gone in my life. I really want to see my children achieving great heights and definitely want them into non IT field, like Doctors or Business areas.


  • Do you have any followers of you?

Quite  a lot in family and friends.


  • What is your vision on the future of Oracle?

Oracle making life easier of most of the DBA by introducing automatic features. 

  • Could you please take a photo in your office near to your desktop?


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