How I Became an Exadata DBA using these 8 Tips

Are you a DBA and wants to be an Exadata DBA ?

I was also like you few months back, I had a lot of excitement to know more about Exadata, How it works its features and How to be an Exadata DBA ?

Exadata Database Administrator has few more role and responsibilities than a Normal DBA. Now apart from knowing DBA in and outs a DBA must have knowledge of Exadat Storage Server, Networking, Switches and Hardware etc. In this post I would Explain, what you should know to be an Exadata DBA, Though the information is basic but this can give you a direction to explore further.

Since, Exadata is a bundle of Hardware and Software clubbed together by Oracle, So for smallest to biggest Hardware and Software change DBA has to contact Oracle Support. But to effectively work with Exadata a DBA should know about Exadata is it's Architecture, Component and Features.

If you know the basic of Exadata then it's easy for you to deal with Day to day Exadata Challenges. Here are few must know for Exadata DBA.

1. Maintain Database, RAC and ASM Instances:  This is nothing new for a  Database Admin. A DBA has been maintaining all these things, So in Exadata you also has to take care all of these parts of Database. Depending upon the number of node in the RAC environment DBA has to maintain Health of Database and Real Application Cluster and ASM instances as well.

2. Backup and Restore: Backup and Restore are also same in Exadata Machine, So DBA has to take backup and restore them as per the requirent. To optimize RMAN backups in Exadata, backups processes are offloaded to Cell Server. i.e Now Backups will execute on Cell Server, Since this is an inbuit feature of Exadata So There is no DBA involvement in backup process offloading to Cell Server.

3. Hardware Maintenance: Till Traditional Database Systems Hardware Monitoring and Maintenance part was a role of System admin team, but In Exadata this has moved towards DBA, So an Exadata DBA must have knowldge about Exadata Store Server Architecture which is like number of harddisks their size, position, Flash Disk in Storage Server, Flash Disk Size and position etc.

A Database Administrator can use tools to check Exadata Hardware Health Named as Sundiag. Sundiag is an Oracle provided tool to check Exadaa Hardware components.

Exadata Database Administrator used to get mails whenever there is a Hardware failure in Exadata Machine, So He has to open a Service Request at Oracle Support and Oracle team changes the Hardware part. you should not be worry about Data lost due to Hardware failure because ASM Normal and High Redundancy are available in Exadata.

A little worry for Data lost could be when Exadata System lost two Hard disks at same time from Two difference Cell Servers. However, chance are very less for this situation. A Storager Server/Cell Sever (both are same) Exadata DBA can also use CellCLI commands to check disk status.

4. Exadata Storage Server Administration: To be an Exadata DBA, Database Administrator has to play a role of Storeage Administrator as well, which includes checking Cell Server health, startup and shutdown cell Services and Cell Server, Checking Cell Server efficency, Cell Patching, Checking Cell Alert logs etc. 

There are mainly there services in a cell Server Management Server (MS), Restart Server (RS) and Cell Service (CellSRV). CellSRV is the main service which perform all Cell I/O Related Operations.
Some times Exadata DBA has to execute some service restart commands etc. CellCLI is the command line utility used by Exadata DBA to work on Cell Server, Here is the list of 7 commonly used CellCLI commands by Exadata DBA.

5. Exadata Health Check: Health Check of Exadata Storeage Server is another main responsibility of Exadata DBA, Oracle has given a very good tool as Exachk to check Health of Whole Exadata system. Exachk shows Health score of the Exadata System. If system has 100 Score this means perfect, if score is some thing less than 100. Exadata DBA should try to achieve 100 by applying recommendations suggested in Exachk Report. Exachk checks health of all S/W components like Database Software, ASM Instance, RAC instance and Exadata Software health. So it's a one place health check tool for most of System Health related queries.

6. Exadata Features: The Exadata is very power full machine not because of it's Hardware it's because of it Features which are included into Exadata Storage Software. So for an Exadata Database Administrator it's most important to know its features:-

A. Smart Flash Cache Intelligent Caching:  This features is used to keep most frequently accessed data into Storage Serve flash Cache to avoid reading data from Hard Disk and gives a boost in performance. Read more about Exadata Smart Flash Cache.

B. Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC): Compression is used for reducing storage consumption for large databases. In this technique a logical unit called Compression unit is used to store Hybrid columnar Compressed Rows. Hybrid Columnar Compression technique can compress data from 10 to 15 times.

C. Smart Scan Processing: In Exadata storage server has got intelligence to filter data at storage level, rather than transferring it to database server. This feature is called Smart Scan Processing. Using this way Only requested data by the query is transferred to Database Server.  Read more about Exadata Smart Scan.

D. I/O Resource Management: In traditional Database environment, If you have more than one database running on a Shared storage server. Large queries from one database can use more resource and cause performance issue for other databases. To avoid all these challenges Exadata has introduced Exadata Storage Server I/O Resource Management (IORM). With help of IORM DBA can manager resource across databases.

7. Exadata Patching: Patching in Exadata is different than Traditional Database system. In Exadata there are four components, So Exadata DBA has to patch each and every component separately. Each component has its compatibility with other component. So Exadata DBA has to take care compatibilities as well. To know more about Exadata Patcing

8. Join Communities and Blogs:  To be an Exadata DBA you have to know more about Exadata, Discussion forums and Blogs can help you to know more about Features, Troubleshooting and Optimized use of resources.  To achieve this Joining Discussion forums like:-

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I believe this post can help you to get a direction to Become an Exadata DBA. Please ask if you have any query and doubt in this post comments. 


  1. Thanks a lot for such a wonderful article....

  2. could you tell me...what are the day to day activities of exadata dba?

    1. You can get it here

  3. Good one...

  4. One of the best site for Exadata.. Thanks for sharing knowledge...

  5. Many thanks for your article...

  6. Thanks Umesh for this Article