I’ve now worked in IT for over 27 years, a thought that fills me with a combination of both pride and growing horror.
After migrating to Canberra, Australia from my native England in 1982, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computing Studies in 1986. In 1985 while still studying, I was employed in my first IT position as a humble Cobol Programmer with the Australian Public Service. What was initially planned to be a temporary move slowly evolved into a mini career as I moved to various Public Service IT departments, working mainly in IBM shops, first with hierarchical IMS and later with relational DB2. I worked in various different roles, including Programming, Project Management, Data Modeling, Database Design, finally specialising in Application Tuning and Technical Training.
In late 1996, I made the decision to leave the “comfort” of the public service and join the “commercial monster” that was Oracle Corporation, as a DBA Specialist and Technical Trainer, based in the local Canberra office. In my first year with Oracle, I both learnt and taught many of the common “myths” surrounding Oracle that were popular at the time. However, I eventually became suspicious that much of what I learnt was actually not quite correct and spent the following years relearning many aspects of the Oracle database, reading more specifically and researching for myself how Oracle actually behaved. Thus began my search for the technical truth and my quest to expose and dispel the myths that surround the Oracle database.
During my time at Oracle Corporation, I became regarded as one of the top DBA specialists and instructors in the Australasia region, winning many internal awards and accolades. In 1999, Marcel Kratochvil and I won the award for 2nd best paper at Australia’s OpenWorld conference for the ground breaking “Good DBA Bad DBA” presentation, which highlighted many bad DBA practices while uniquely combining a serious technical presentation with “theatre”, something rarely attempted previously. To this day, I still meet people who ask me whether I’m “that” Richard Foote who did that really weird presentation that day …
In 2002 I left Oracle Corporation to become an independent consultant. I worked at various Oracle sites in the Canberra region helping to diagnose and resolve numerous performance issues. For one specific client, I managed to improve overall database performance to the point of delaying a planned hardware upgrade until the hardware reached end-of-life. During this time, I began a stint as President of the Australian Capital Territory Oracle User Group (ACTOUG) where I presented regularly, including a certain presentation called “Oracle Indexes: Rebuilding The Truth” which is just as relevant today as when I first presented it and which has followed me around ever since. In 2002, I also became a member of the Oracle OakTable Network, a group of like-minded Oracle experts I really respect and admire.
In 2005 I became permanently employed by the Australian Government as a DBA specialist, supporting mission critical, large scale Oracle databases. I could also be found contributing regularly on various Oracle related newsgroups and forums, where I exposed and highlighted these Oracle myths whenever they appeared. They still do appear from time to time but I believe that slowly but surely, the battle is finally being won.
In 2008, I was appointed an Oracle ACE Director by Oracle Corporation. I also presented a 2 day in-depth Oracle Index Internals and Best Practices Seminar, which covers most things to do with most Oracle index structures; how they’re implemented by Oracle, how they should be maintained, how they should (and should not) be used, how the CBO uses and evaluates indexes, etc. etc. much of which is very poorly or not at all documented. The seminar has proven to be very successful and has been presented in some 18 countries over the years.
In 2011, I returned back to Oracle Corporation, this time as a Principal Solutions Consultant, focusing on Oracle’s Database technologies.
My other great passion is music and instead of spending my free time rebuilding indexes, I’m likely to be listening to the music of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Radiohead, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Coldplay, REM, The Beatles, John Lennon, Midnight Oil, Crowded House, ELO, U2, Nick Cave, James Blunt …
I also love to read, especially Fantasy/ Sci-Fi books by authors such a Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R. R. Martin, Stephen Donaldson, Peter F. Hamilton, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Julian May, Sara Douglass, Robert Jordan, J.V. Jones, Terry Brooks, Raymond E. Feist, L.E. Modesitt Jr, Stephen King to name a few. I also have around 50 books on the music and life of David Bowie !!
And yes, after all these years, I still live in sunny Canberra, Australia.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries.