Tanel Poder’s blog: Core IT for geeks and pros

About Me

Hi, as you may have seen from my blog by now, I am an IT-enthusiast, fascinated by the opportunities of using technology to improve our productivity and lives. I’m focused on getting the most out of information technology, both for my clients and for me.

Tanel at Oracle OpenWorld conference

I started my professional career as a part-time C developer at age 16 (was not too good at it though because lack of software engineering experience back then). I got introduced to Unix though, which gave me good foundation for understanding Oracle and enterprise-class applications when I started working for a consulting company at age 19.

By now I have over 11 years of experience managing and improving Oracle-based database and application environments, troubleshooting, tuning, also delivering training classes for Oracle Education and partners.  Currently I’m particularly focused researching Oracle 11g internals and it’s touchpoint with Unix/Windows for gaining fast and accurate troubleshooting skills – and of course for getting most out of it’s new features.

I took the first public Oracle Certified Master DBA exam in Oracle Education center in Chicago (2002) and became 25th-27th OCM in the world there. 25th to 27th because previously there had been two internal beta exams for Oracle employees and 24 people were certified already, also few people (like Dave Ensor) had received an honorary OCM certificate. There were 4 people taking the exam, but one of them unfortunately lost some data during a simulated crash and a DBA cannot be called a master if they fail to deliver the most fundamendal part of their work – retaining the data. So, 25th-27th it is :-)

Tanel speaking at UKOUG Conference

In 2004 I got invited to the OakTable Network during Miracle Database Forum. I think this is the greatest professional honour and recognition I’ve ever received and I proudly accepted (after having to justify why MS-SQL Server is much better than Oracle to 10+ OakTable members in a public debate). One of the worst hangovers after the party though.

In April 2003 I also got my first international conference speaking experience from IOUG-A Live in Orlando, FL. I spoke about how to do major Oracle E-Business Suite upgrades with minimum downtime for the business. I had about 15 people attending my session in a big 300+ people room. But it looked like they liked it and I sure liked it. Ever since I’ve been speaking at conferences 3-5 times per year, depending on how busy (and lazy) I have been at that particular year.

And now I’m blogging. I hope to give something back to the community, as I have gained so much from it. But also I hope this blog becomes a good way to keep in touch with friends around the world in todays extremely busy life – which we’ll sure improve though, eventually – with throwing even more technology at it ;-)

Happy reading and hopefully commenting too! 

Tanel Poder



  1. Tanel

    Interesting career line :) Adding you blog to my blogroll.

    Happy Blogging ;)


    Comment by Sidhu — June 28, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  2. Hi sir,
    I just got your blog today and I raly wish and hope that you will keep this blog alive.
    Adding it to my bloglines and fav list of blogs.
    Best regards

    Comment by Aman Sharma — July 9, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  3. Hi Tanel

    you said ;

    “after having to justify why MS-SQL Server is much better than Oracle to ”
    I wonder if is there any presentation or whitepaper available about this justifying ?

    Comment by coskan — September 25, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  4. Coskan,

    Unfortunately no whitepaper nor presentation – as this was supposed to be a surprise to us two guys invited to OakTable, so we had to figure something out quickly when standing in front of all the people. The justification itself failed miserably, but we all got a good laugh out of it :)

    Comment by tanelp — September 30, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  5. Tanel,

    Do you have any whitepaper nor presentation for Oracle CTXCAT index.

    Comment by Mohan — February 1, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

  6. Mohan, unfortunately not. I know there’s some material in Metalink, but you need to look it up yourself as I dont remember the note id.

    Comment by tanelp — February 3, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

  7. thanks

    Comment by Mohan — February 4, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  8. So, you were among the first 3 OCM’s (not counting oracle employees) :)
    A really impressive career.

    Comment by Siba — April 11, 2008 @ 1:58 am

  9. Hi Tanel,
    I kind of stumbled upon your blog while routinely googling for Oracle performance tips/tricks and MAN-o-MAN, am I AMAZED or what?

    So, you’re the kind of geek that gets depicted in most the sci-fi movies, right? :)

    Its actually very nice to know about somebody who is so very talented. And the way, you explain the things, simply is just good.

    Please keep the good work coming. I wish you all success in all that you are aiming for in the future.


    Comment by Srinivas Chintamani — June 17, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  10. Could you pls tell me about OCM exam you attended? How things happened, which problems were there?
    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Tim — July 12, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  11. Hi Tanel, You was pratically was the first OCM on world , so it´s a kind of POWER, and on portuguese PODER means POWER.
    Is it some kind of destiny ? :-)

    Comment by heliodias — July 13, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  12. Yeah I realized that when was travelling in Central America :)

    No destiny I think, Poder means elk in estonian.. but on the other hand, elk is a big animal so go figure :)

    Comment by tanelp — July 16, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

  13. Tim, I took the OCM exam over 5 years ago (when it was just introduced) so I think it has changed a lot by now. Also every attendee signed a paper saying we wouldn’t disclose the details of the exam, so what I can comment here is limited.

    The main thing which I think is still the case, is that there is very little time to do anything. Which essentially means that you must immediately know the right way to carry out your task and you even should remember most of the syntax and/or where to access it from EM GUI (note that EM GUI wasn’t available during some excercises)

    ..and if you don’t remmeber the syntax off the top of your head, you have to know where to look it up in documentation (e.g. SQL Reference guide etc).

    Anyway, even though I paid everything from my own pocket (2 training classes, travel+hotel from Europe to Chicago + 2000USD exam fee) I think the whole thing has greatly paid off! (especially as I can still claim I was one of the first ;)

    Comment by tanelp — July 16, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  14. Hi,

    It’s a great pleasure to see and read such things about you and case studies (Research you have done).. !!

    I Wish you all the Best and Success in your Future…!!

    Can you guide in knowing the things…specially the Internals / Architecture of ORACLE.

    Looking forward for your reply….

    Pavan Kumar N

    Comment by Pavan Kumar N — September 7, 2008 @ 2:30 am

  15. Hi Tanel,

    You mentioned that

    “Anyway, even though I paid everything from my own pocket (2 training classes, travel+hotel from Europe to Chicago + 2000USD exam fee) I think the whole thing has greatly paid off!”

    Is the OCM certification really that valuable? I did a quick search on the Web and didn’t find anything related to how it could really boost your career. Do most of companies hiring people with Oracle skills even aware that there is such a certification and that it’s very difficult to get it? Just curious. : )

    Comment by peter — September 12, 2008 @ 5:00 am

  16. Hi Peter,

    I’m speaking from my long-term contracting experience back when I was working with headhunters for getting new jobs (stuff like 6-12 month DBA contracts or project work).

    The headhunters haven’t even heard of OCM (and I often got asked whether I do have OCP in addition to this OCM thingy :)

    The decision whether to hire a contractor is made at/after the face-to-face interview where it doesn’t matter how many degrees or certificates you’ve got – if you don’t answer their questions well, you won’t get hired.

    But the OCM has been useful somewhere between the two above points in the hiring process, the Oracle DBAs normally know what it is and raised the eyebrows of DBA managers too. So that used to be one thing which helped my CV to stand out from rest of the millions of CVs…

    Now that I do specialized consulting it’s less critical for getting consulting deals, I rather let my blog & work speak for me.

    Comment by tanelp — September 13, 2008 @ 10:51 am

  17. …so, often one of the questions at my interviews was “what’s the OCM about” and this gave me a good chance to describe the exam, it’s difficulty level and why did I go for it. It was a good chance for showing that in addition to my technical skill I’m passionate about this stuff and nobody sane says no to that combination ;)

    Comment by tanelp — September 13, 2008 @ 11:00 am

  18. @Pavan

    I’ll write a blog entry about this some day ;)

    Comment by tanelp — September 14, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  19. your sessions’re very great at oow08, I like your scripts.

    Comment by surachart opun — September 26, 2008 @ 12:41 am

  20. Hello Tanel,

    I really like your blog and enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

    This is probably a wrong place to ask but did not know where to comment:

    Could you make your blog more printer friendly. Severeal articles I would love to print but format is screwed by the rightside banner. A good example i eg Jonathan Lewis’ blog.

    Comment by summer69 — October 5, 2008 @ 2:38 am

  21. Thanks for the comment.

    Yeah I’ve noticed that the whole formatting thing of wordpress and my CSS template sucks somewhat. So I plan to start publishing more serious content on a different site soon (also in PDF format)… I’ll launch the site in Nov…

    Comment by tanelp — October 5, 2008 @ 3:06 am

  22. Do u have any plans to write a PT book :)

    Comment by k.senthilmurugan — October 24, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  23. Hi,

    Yes I once started writing an Oracle performance troubleshooting book but I gave it quickly up after realizing how much time it takes to write a good book (at least a year of full dedication I would say). As I didn’t want to write a junk book I postponed it for future and concencrated on my seminars, conference presentations and blog instead.

    Btw, if you want a good and up to date Oracle troubleshooting book – this would be my choice to buy:
    http://antognini.ch/top/ (actually I have already bought it and I like it!)

    Comment by tanelp — October 24, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  24. I remember some of the early tuning books that Richard Niemiec wrote. I then remember Cary and Jeff Holt’s book. Good stuff! Now I have Chris’s book. It’s interesting to see how Oracle tuning methodologies and techniques have improved.

    Comment by Tom — October 31, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

  25. Saw the Advanced Troubleshooting lecture today (05/12/08) at UKOUG, thought it was one of the best, most interesting, pertinant and well presented lectures I’ve seen.

    Many thanks.


    Comment by Simon Palmer — December 6, 2008 @ 4:23 am

  26. Having sat next to Mr Palmer today at the UKOUG (05/12/08) I have to agree completely with his comments, easily the most interesting and useful technical presentation I have seen, I will definitely make use of the information you gave, my only criticism would be that you reminded me of how much I still have to learn and I’m now depressed!


    Comment by Paul Till — December 6, 2008 @ 7:29 am

  27. Thanks a lot guys!

    Comment by Tanel Poder — December 9, 2008 @ 2:57 am

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