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What makes a good man? When I contemplate this question, I think about the Boy Scout Law – the standard of excellence for men – young and old alike...
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Enjoy your day, Scott
Somehow my wallet fell out of my pants pocket. I didn't realize this until about five hours later. This discovery, of course, came on the heels of searching every place in the house, the car, the truck, the garage, the boat, and every other place that I had been to in the last few hours.
I returned to the movie theater and spoke with the "professional" behind the window. She paged the manager, and supposedly the manager would search the theater for my missing wallet.
Of course, it wasn't found. The manager took my name and cell phone number and promised he would call me if it turned up.
I spent the rest of that Sunday night and the following Monday calling all of my credit card companies - at least the ones that I could remember. I also had to order replacement health insurance cards. As for the most miserable task of all, I also had to go and visit our local driver's license office. TALK ABOUT A WASTE OF LIFE AND PRECIOUS TIME!!! Ordering a replacement driver's license took over FIVE hours!
Here's the Important AdviceFor each credit card, I had to go to the bank's web site and find a number to call for Lost and Stolen cards. Remarkably, after you call this number, ALL of the banks want you to enter your 16 digit account number to navigate through their delightful phone tree systems.
I lost my cards. I do not have the account numbers.
Since I don't have the account numbers handy, it is completely aggravating trying to reach a human. Each call probably takes at least 10-15 minutes longer than it should. Fortunately, once you reach a human, they can look you up via your social security number.
ADVICE:Take an inventory of everything in your wallet. Write it down or put it into an Excel spreadsheet. Be sure to include bank names, account numbers, and phone numbers - this will save you hours of aggravation.
Amazingly, FIVE days later, the movie theater manager telephoned me to let me know that he found my wallet while searching for a little girl's doll. I left work immediately and picked up my wallet 30 minutes later. But, FIVE days later? What does this tell you about how often and thoroughly movie theater floors are cleaned?!?!?
Of course, unfortunately, my $90 cash was gone but everything else was still intact. I got back some wallet photos of my wife and daughter that were irreplaceable. I also realized there were two credit cards that I forgot to call and cancel.
Well, this drama isn't over yet. The new replacement credit cards are starting to arrive by mail. Each card requires a call to be made to activate the card - there goes another two hours of time.
And the worst is still yet to come. I, probably like most people, have many service suppliers that charge their monthly fees to my credit cards automatically each month. All of these automated charges will now start to be declined when the vendors hit the old card number. Dozens of suppliers will have to be called to provide new card numbers. New forms will have to be filled out. Phone menu trees will have to be navigated. I still have several hours of lost/stolen/replaced credit card misery ahead of me.
And the State of Texas assured me that they would "rush" my new license right out to me - "You should have it in about six to seven weeks sir" they said.
Let's summarize this Advice for your Wallet:
- Keep it secure. I am looking for a leash for mine.
- Make an inventory of everything in your wallet and keep this inventory in a safe place that is readily accessible.
So, in light of worldwide health concerns, it seems to me that it is important to choose your friends wisely. This photo was just too cute not to share.
And remember to wash your hands continuously.
And don't touch anything or anyone, especially in a public place.
Wear leather gloves, leather boots, leather pants, and a leather jacket in public if you must go out, and cover your face too with a mask.
Well, maybe this is getting a little carried away.
In other news, I am rather excited about a DB2 LUW Performance Tuning Science Project that I just completed. Readers of my personal blog have the good fortune of learning about my findings first.
IBM is kicking off a Smarter Planet initiative. Let's have a look at how a little bit of DB2 performance tuning can have a substantial impact on your organization. Watch this short 9 minute video:
As you hopefully saw, Database Performance Management plays a pivotal role in achieving GREEN IT and IT Cost Optimization Initiatives. By adding "the right" missing index, response times tumbled from 6-9 seconds to sub-second, CPU utilization dropped from 100% down to 5-15%, and Power consumption dropped by 7%.
DBI provides the tools you need to identify "the right" indexes so that you can be an IT Cost Optimization Hero within your organization. For Oracle professionals, check out Brother-Owl™, and for DB2 LUW professionals, check out Brother-Panther®.
In other news, I've done some interesting research lately on GREEN IT, cost cutting, saving power, and the value of performance management and tuning. I hope to blog about this soon on www.ibmdatabasemag.com.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to remain focused on personal growth and achievements that are within the power of your control. Daily personal successes make it easier to deal with national and international news.
Have a fantastic day,
Farewell 2008 - Welcome 20092008 is behind us, but the news media suggests we will need to endure 2008's financial hangover well into 2009. Perhaps you've heard "It is going to get worse before it gets better". I loathe negative thinking like this. I mean, who hasn't heard of "self-fulfilling prophecies"? Negative thoughts and negative energy beget negative consequences. It wasn't long ago that Oprah was promoting " The Secret". If you haven't read the book or watched the movie, I suggest you add this to your accomplishments list for Q1 2009.
Think Positively - Take ControlWhile curing world economies might be beyond the scope of your individual resources or abilities, there are steps you can take to improve your life and personal situation. We cannot always control the events around us, but we can certainly control how we react. Let us react positively and make changes that will better our lives, our communities, and our economies.
New Years Resolutions?It seems it is an annual ritual. Under a glass of bubbly, sometime around midnight, people make resolutions for changes they'd like to make in their lives. Too often the goals are lofty and difficult to achieve, and the resolutions end up having a very short life span. Bearing this in mind, this year I decided to try something different.
A 30 Day AdventureInstead of aspiring to lofty lifetime changes, I'm taking control just 30 days at a time. I'd like to shed a few extra pounds this year (not an uncommon goal). I am 6 feet tall. According to this BMI (Body Mass Index) Chart, I should weigh about 182 LBS or 82 KGs. I am currently 30 LBS over budget, so I've got some work to do and here is my 30 Day Adventure plan:
- Drink Black Coffee instead of adding milk and sugar
- Eat healthy breakfasts instead of just buying the ingredients for my family. Oatmeal with fresh fruit is an early front-running favorite.
- Walk 30 minutes each day
- Exercise four to six times a week - I enjoy running - just need to make the time to actually do it.
- Eat salads, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and occasionally some fish. Beef and Chicken will have to wait until my 36 inch waist pants fit comfortably.
- There is a reason, my doctor says, that calorie counts are not printed on beer, wine, and liquor labels. I already avoid sugary sodas, so - for just 30 days - I plan to avoid alcoholic beverages. With the social season of football upon us, this won't be easy to do, but I figure if I can eliminate caloric waste it will be better for my waist goals.
- Tell family and friends about my goals and plans. By telling others what you plan to do, you can become increasingly committed to achieving your goals.
Eliminating IT WasteThere is a great deal of buzz these days about cutting IT Costs. In the Forrester Research blog for CIOs, the article DEFINING LEAN caught my attention. This article discusses the importance of eliminating IT Waste. You can cut a great deal of IT Waste by putting your database transaction costs on a diet, and DBI can help you achieve this goal. If you want to achieve GREEN IT objectives, eliminate waste, lower your costs, AND improve business performance, please CONTACT DBI and we'll help you.
DBI in 2009Despite "the 2008 economy", we had a very good year with record setting customer growth. We began 2008 with the simple mission of helping organizations improve the financial and operational performance of their businesses. We believed that if we provided extraordinary results for our customers and extraordinarily benefits for our team members who make the magic happen, then our business would grow - and, I am pleased to say, it did!
In 2009, DBI will:
- Continue to provide team members with 5 bonus holidays so that each month there is a 3 day weekend
- Continue to provide team members with a paid vacation benefit that covers travel, living, meals, and entertainment
- Continue to seek and retain top shelf, highly motivated, team members who are committed to helping our customers achieve extraordinary success
- Begin exploring new ways to communicate with our rapidly growing customer list and develop communities for our customers
- Continue to add new world wide business partners and nurture existing partners
- Continue our focus on our primary core value - helpfulness. We help our customers. We help each other.
Closing RemarksNever mind all of the negative noise and energy in the world right now. You are in control of YOU, and YOU can make a difference. You can improve your life, and you can improve your career and business by taking the lead on cost cutting, waste elimination, and operational performance improvements.
Here's to your success in 2009!
I hope your holidays are filled with good family memories.
Do you only have a general practitioner doctor? Do you see an oncologist when you have a tooth ache? If you were diagnosed with terminal cancer, would you not seek treatment advice from multiple doctors and then select the one with the most promising methods? I hope that you will not have your general practitioner or family doctor perform your heart bypass if you need one.
If your one neck to choke vendor only sells hammers, soon your problems may begin to all look like nails. Have you considered an alternate vendor that provides nail guns?
If your one neck to choke database vendor wants to sell you his or her performance tools, isn't that like having the fox watch the hen house?
DBI helps hundreds of customers around the world run their businesses faster and more efficiently. During calendar Q2 2008 DBI ran a Tune Your Database for Charity contest. 100% of the databases submitted were ripe with performance problems, inefficiencies, or substantial "opportunities for improvement". Remarkably, over half of the contestants already had licenses for the database vendor's performance tool. The contest winner was able to shave hours off data warehouse end user queries by using DBI's performance tools.
If you are faced with GREEN IT initiatives and performance management challenges, I assure you that DBI can help you be successful beyond your wildest objectives. We are the oncologists of DB2 LUW and Oracle database performance and efficiency. If you have another name brand database, please see a proctologist. We are not one neck to choke and do not aim to be, but every customer gets my cell phone number and I welcome calls 24x7 if DBI's products or services ever fail to please you.
Do you have Sam Palmisano's cell phone number? Larry Ellison's? Vinny Smith's? Steve Ballmer's?
Does your database "Self Tune" itself but you are still faced with hardware upgrades? Don't worry - the fox is watching the hen house.
In this current economy, more than ever, do you not have a fiduciary due diligence responsibility to seek out best of breed IT solutions that provide the most value?
Freedom of choice is what separates advanced nations from those with lower standards of living. If you choose to surrender your freedom of choice to your one neck to choke vendor, then you are forfeiting your optimum opportunities for success and surrendering to mediocrity.
When you are seriously interested in maximum DB2 LUW and Oracle performance, efficiency, and security with lower IT costs, just click here to contact DBI. Evaluations, trials, proofs of value, and second opinions are still free.
Thanks for reading,
We put weeks of effort into planning our launch of "DBI Bid" where customers can name their own price and terms for software license procurement. We even "upgraded" our web site infrastructure.
The big press release hit at 1am EDT earlier this morning for distribution around the globe. Much to our chagrin, around 9am EDT our web site tanked. Too many hours later, our provider got us back online.
I guess this is what is meant by "bleeding edge". When you innovate and you do things that capture the world's attention, I suppose it is probable that you take a beating along the journey.
No matter how hard it is being a trail blazer when it comes to helping IT organizations lower their costs AND simultaneously improving business performance, we will be relentless in our pursuit of being helpful. So, please pardon our occassional imperfections. We will emerge from each growing pain a little stronger.
With best regards,
Every once in a while, you see a movie that stimulates your brain and gets you thinking about your priorities. The Bucket List is one such movie. I laughed, I cried, and it forced me to think about some of the things that I value and would like to achieve. At the time of this blog post, I'm about 46 so I need to get busy on making some changes.
DBI's culture is critically important to me. This is a place where we work and have fun helping each other and our customers. Being helpful is our #1 core value. Being helpful isn't always easy, so the challenge is to make being helpful fun and rewarding.
A few years ago, I read about a rare company that team members simply loved working for. In many ways, this company challenged the status quo. As a bit of a rebellious rule breaker myself, I admired many of the initiatives this company had undertaken and hoped that, someday, I would be able to create a similar culture at DBI.
On my Bucket List:
- Create and sustain a team work environment that is fun and celebrates helpfulness and success
- Implement extraordinary team member benefits that reward team members for deeds well done
- Provide uncommon team member benefits that help team members recharge and sustain high levels of helpfulness
- There are about 12 national holidays throughout the year. DBI is adding 5 additional "holidays" so that each and every month (including February, March/April, June, August, and October) every team member will have a 3 day weekend. In short, EVERY MONTH has a 3 Day weekend, or more, for every team member. Customers, don't worry. These extra holidays are implemented on a staggered rotation so that DBI will be open for business on the days you expect.
- Each team member has been given several recognition coupons with varying bonus dollar denominations. Team members are now empowered to bestow cash bonuses on any other DBI team member for extraordinary deeds well done.
- And here's the kicker - PAID VACATIONS - not to be confused with just paid time off (or vacation time). Beginning in summer 2008, DBI will be paying team members to go on pre-approved trip vacations up to a maximum benefit limit. Trains, planes, automobile rentals, buses, hotels, amusement tickets, hotels, motels, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and more are reimbursable. Get out of town and go have some fun!
I should mention we love helping our customers save money too. Unfortunately, too many organizations have been burned by too many ISVs too often. You will find doing business with the helpful people at DBI to be uncommonly refreshing and fair. In fact, this quarter DBI is offering Enterprise Licenses with unlimited CPU capacity at prices that pleasantly surprise purchasing departments. Some think the deals are too good to be true. Find out for yourself: Contact DBI
PS - As for the rest of my Bucket List...
- Visit Sweden and Finland during the month of June when the days are long and warm
- Ride my Harley to Sturgis, Daytona, and Milwaukee
- Walk my daughters down the aisle and "give them away" to a perfect gentleman
- Run in a 10K race, and finish before they take down the free snacks and party at the end
- Be known world-wide for having helped a lot of people
- Throw a really big party for friends I have, and new ones I haven't yet met
Our story begins last Saturday, 22 December 2007, when I was celebrating my birthday at my mom and dad's house. Mom made my favorite dinner (Ham, mashed potatoes, and an amazing ham gravy), and gave me one of my favorite birthday presents--- a cookbook titled "Fat-free ITALIAN" by Anne Sheasby.
Sunday night, 23 December, I was in the mood to try a new recipe. Soup sounded good, so on page 44 I set out to prepare "Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup" since the recipe looked fairly simple and quick.
Let the life learning experiences begin... my father used to say "The difference between stupidity and ignorance is how many times you make the same mistake". Let me tell you about some mistakes I intend to never make again.
After cooking the onions, tomatoes, and other tasty ingredients in a big pot for about 20 minutes, the next step was to puree the soup in a blender or food processor. I own both of these kitchen gadgets, but chose the blender for its greater capacity and speed.
I carefully filled the blender about 2/3 full and put the top on. My right hand held a pot holder which covered the blender lid. My left hand pressed the button labeled "puree".
Now I've got a pretty fancy blender with about 20 speeds. There's a switch labeled "low" and "high" that is supposed to switch between speeds 1-10 and 11-20.
- Here's mistake #1: The switch was set to "high".
- Mistake #2: I wasn't earnestly applying pressure to the lid of the blender to keep it closed.
- Mistake #3: I had forgotten the explosive force that boiling, steaming hot liquids can produce when agitated
- The lid blew up off the blender
- The blender boiling hot ingredients went flying everywhere around the kitchen - the floor, the kitchen cupboards, down the hallway... everywhere
- Everywhere includes having steaming hot contents spray my glasses and obscure my vision (in hindsight, wearing glasses was a blessing which protected my eyes)
- Everywhere also includes having some hot sauce and hot chunks of tomato splatter onto my forehead and face --- where they lingered too long while I fumbled for the OFF switch.
You can imagine I was quite upset as anyone might have been. I resisted temptation to hurl nearby objects (such as my laptop) out of windows in anger. No, I didn't want to create the opportunity for yet another data breach in 2007, nor increase the magnitude of the mess and damage already done.
I took several deep breaths, bit my lower lip for a minute, then smiled at my wife and daughter and pleasantly said "It's ok, I'm ok, I am accountable, I will clean this mess up and finish the soup."
As it turns out, the soup was delicious. My soup was a bit diluted from melting ice cube water dripping into it, but it was fine all the same. I'm sure I'll make it again in the future.
I am not going to sue the author of the cookbook or the publisher for failing to caution the cook with a "WARNING: SOUP IS BOILING HOT AND INJURY MAY OCCUR, USE CAUTION WHEN PREPARING". Duh.
I am also not going to sue the blender manufacturer for making such a fine device that is capable of splattering boiling hot soup several meters in every direction. It operated according to the operator's use of the controls.
I am accountable. I cleaned up the mess. I finished preparing the soup. I (re-)learned some important cooking lessons. And right now I have some very attractive (not) burn wounds healing on my forehead and face as a reminder of my valuable lessons.
We are each individually accountable for the consequences of the actions we take, and also for the consequences of failing to act. There are plenty of sayings to exemplify this thinking: "Life is what you make of it" or "You've made your bed now sleep in it" are just two examples.
Accountability is very important to everyone on the DBI team. We are accountable to each other and to our customers. Our slogan "Accountability Starts Here" is a reminder of our accountability, and the accountability that we can help provide to our customers through software technology and services.
Brother-Thoroughbred™ helps determine who, in an organization, is accountable for (or "owns" or "is most responsible for") performance issues in a database - is it the DBA team or not? Brother-WatchDog® helps create and enforce data accountability in organizations by producing audit trails of user data activities--- without audit trails, an atmosphere of anonymity is a breeding ground for data breaches and other malfeasance.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
Being helpful is our number one most important company value. We help each other. We help our customers. Everyone on our team is uncommonly, extraordinarily helpful. It just tickles us pink when we help someone dramatically improve the performance of a database or achieve their audit requirements.
Just the other day we helped a customer in Illinois discover several database performance problems they were not aware of. We found an SQL statement that was using 41% of the CPU in the database - it was missing an index and scanning thousands of rows with each execution. In less than two hours, the performance of the application was dramatically improved!
Another customer was amazed when our support staff spent four hours on the phone with him helping him tune his database. In an age when many support calls are routed to a foreign country and it is difficult to keep a support person on the phone for ten minutes, suffice it to say that we greatly exceeded this customer's expectations.
Different people enjoy doing different things. Some like to knit socks, others like to exercise or cook, we like to help people solve database problems and improve efficiency. For us, helping a company accelerate its business is like solving a numbers puzzle - it's fun, and it feels good to help others achieve their goals.
How can we help you? Contact DBI
It didn't take very long until I began to see a river of dirty sink water streaming across my kitchen floor. I knew it was time for a trip down the road to my nearby Home Depot store.
At the store, I reviewed several new disposal options and features. Back in the late 1980's, I used to put Emerson E10 or E20 units into rental properties. These lower end units got the job done, with a fair amount of noise, and a minimal warranty.
This time, since this was my first disposal purchase in many years, and since I prefer spending my time doing things other than home repairs, I decided to go with a near top of the line Insinkerator model. The box packaging promised that the disposal would be very quiet and provide optimum chopping of food waste.
After a bit of a struggle, I won the fight against the old disposal and freed it from my kitchen sink. Much to my surprise, the unit I pulled out was an Emerson E20 - the same model I was installing in rental properties years ago.
The installation of the Insinkerator went smoothly. After two years of being focused on the software industry, it was refreshing and rewarding to "play plumber" and complete a home improvement on my own. I imagine you can relate to the satisfaction.
As per the instructions, I turned on the cold water and checked for leaks. There weren't any. Next I turned on the power switch.
Remarkable. Wonderful. Awesome.
These words can only begin to express my joy over how quiet the new unit was as it produced its barely audible purr. I added some lime peels and cantaloupe rinds. I heard a very quiet clink clink, like a gentle tapping sound, as the new disposal made quick work of sending the food debris down my pipes.
What a difference technology advancements can make! For almost four years since moving Austin TX, I have suffered with excruciatingly loud window rattling noise with old Emerson E20 unit. Sure, it was doing the job, but in hindsight I wish I had taken the time to "play plumber" three years ago, for now I had a much better, much quieter, tool in my kitchen - and I do like to cook.
And isn't this a metaphor for our business lives? How often do we hear "If it isn't broke, don't fix it"? We may have tools and processes in place, and rather than invest in new technology, we maintain the status quo because "it isn't broke". The problem is, we're often unaware of how much better things could be.
So, I'd like you to consider giving some new performance tools for DB2 LUW a test drive. DBI's Brother-Panther™ and Brother-Eagle™ provide features and capabilities unlike you've ever seen before:
- A Database Score - like a credit score - that assesses a database's performance health and efficiency so there's no need to digest 20-30 different metrics for every database
- A Database Summary, with scores and key metrics, so you can perform database triage quickly
- Database Score reports - like your credit report - that provide you with insight into why a given database received a less than perfect score
- Integrated work flows that guide you through bufferpool performance analysis, to tablespaces, to tables, and then to the problematic Statements driving the I/O to those tables, and then to interfaces with Explain and the Design Advisor
- Performance trend charts with integrated, correlated change events, so you can see the impact of configuration and physical design changes on database performance
And DBI is making it easy to become a Performance Hero in your organization (earn valuable rewards and gift certificates too). Just register on our site, download and install Brother-Panther, and you should be performing performance miracles in a matter of minutes. See for yourself what a difference in upgraded technology can do for you and your organization. It may be time to upgrade.
With best regards,
Well, we've passed another milestone! On July 15, 2007, DBI turned 2! Today, July 16th, we've made downloads of Brother-Panther available. Brother-Panther Hunts Performance Problems with Speed and Agility - it is the best tool you can use to quickly become a Performance Hero in your organization. Good luck and have fun!
In the early 1990s, Client Server computing became popular. Organizations linked multiple smaller computers together in a network to improve speed and access to data, and to lower their costs. Data Warehouses and Data Marts were built on open systems using distributed databases. Organizations raced to acquire virtual mountains of data to improve the quality and speed of decisions. Data has been made widely available throughout organizations - it is as if some even hang neon "Hot Now" lights in their hallways to alert privileged data consumers of the availability of new data that is ready for decision analysis. The problem is, during this Information Technology race to make data widely available to privileged users and decision makers, sufficient attention wasn't paid to security and accountability. The data buffet has been opened and no one is watching what data consumers consume.
With no one watching how valuable data is being used, changed, or accessed, this opens the door to data crimes, thefts, and malfeasance. After enough individual citizens and investors have been harmed, this is when government steps in and passes laws in an attempt to protect people. Today organizations are faced with a myriad of legislation and regulations because organizations have failed to be good stewards of their, and our, data assets. Sarbanes-Oxley, for one, in the wake of Enron, is intended to protect investors from fraudulent financial reporting - which is based on data, and which requires attestation to accuracy. HIPAA attempts to protect consumers from inappropriate use of PHI (Protected Health Information) by providing privacy protections and requiring audit trails for access to information. Other laws, regulations, and standards include GLBA, PCI, and CA/SB1386. Even the FDA has regulations requiring data accountability.
But never mind the regulation alphabet soup. The laws and regulations exist today because organizations have failed to be good stewards of valuable data assets; they have failed, and continue to fail, to make privileged data consumers accountable for their access to, and updates of, data.
Symantec Corporation did a study in late 2006 and found that identities were commonly sold for $14 to $18 each on the black market. An individual whose identity has been compromised can spend months and hundreds of dollars attempting to restore their financial lives. And identities aren't the only valuable information stored in organization databases - trade secrets, intellectual property, customer lists, recipes, drug formulas, oil locations, inventory, financial data, and many more types of sensitive, valuable data are easily accessible to privileged users. I know. I used to be a privileged user in my former career - I was a database administrator (DBA), and a DBA can often easily access or update any data he or she chooses. DBAs rule the data kingdom, but they are not an organization's only concern. Any user who is given, or gains, legitimate access to data can easily steal, abuse, or inappropriately modify data, and they can do so without fear of repercussions if organizations are not actively monitoring data access. When no one is watching, it is easier to commit crimes.
When was the last time you went to a bank and didn't notice security surveillance cameras? Have you noticed surveillance cameras in jewelry stores? At my local Chevron gas station, there's a sign on the gas pump that reads "Smile - You're On Our Camera." - Apparently gasoline is valuable and the owner wants to deter and prosecute thefts. I went to my local Target store a few weeks ago to buy some new underwear. Lucky me, I found a great sale on a six pack for only $19.99. I looked up to thank my lucky stars for finding such a bargain and observed a security surveillance camera. "Imagine that," I thought, "my underwear is more valuable than my identity."
Every US State will tell you that driving is a privilege, not a right. The same is true with access to data- it is a privilege. State and local governments place surveillance cameras at intersections with traffic lights to deter drivers from abusing their driving privileges. The cameras can also be used to issue tickets to red light offenders and apprehend drivers who cause accidents.
Whether used by government, stores, banks, gasoline or underwear merchants, it seems that cameras that record activity provide effective deterrents to crime and a means to apprehend and help prosecute those who do not obey the rules.
Remarkably, many organizations are already wise to the value of surveillance. It is common practice for companies to actively monitor employee email activity. Email surveillance is clearly communicated in HR policies. If monitoring email activity provides security and value to a company, why aren't more companies actively monitoring access and updates to their valuable data assets?
In 2006, the Ponemon Institute conducted a study of 14 separate data breaches and found that the average cost to an organization was $14.8M with the highest cost reaching $22M. Subsequently, TJMaxx stores reported the breach of 47.5M credit card numbers plus 455,000 merchandise return records which included drivers license information. Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut Attorney Generals have filed class action lawsuits seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages for these data thefts which occurred over a period of years - unbeknown to TJMaxx. Why? *** No one was watching. ***
The Ponemon Institute study further identified that the average data breach costs an organization $182 per compromised customer record. Remarkably, an identity thief pockets $14 which costs an organization $182 and the victim potentially hundreds of dollars and months of time attempting to recover their good name and credit.
But wait, it gets worse. When organizations were asked who was responsible for the response to a data breach, 30% of the time NO ONE was responsible. How's that for a reprehensible lack of accountability? The same study found that the cost of new preventative measures averaged $180,000, or just 4% of the total breach cost, and not all organizations put electronic protections in place.
The good news is that the Big 4 auditing firms have become increasingly wise to data risks and vulnerabilities. Through their risk management and regulation compliance consulting services, they are helping organizations mitigate data risks and avoid material weaknesses in financial reporting. One of these four, in particular, prudently and commonly requires monitoring of database activity - especially the activities of DBAs. Not only does database activity monitoring improve data security by deterring data malfeasance and facilitating the apprehension of offenders, but the activity records can be used to create audit trails which satisfy regulation compliance audit requirements.
In the absence of database audit activity records, an auditor, CEO, or CFO cannot know with confidence that financial data has not been tampered with by a privileged user. And, without confidence, and in the face of the threat of fines and jail, it is difficult or risky to attest to the accuracy of financial information. If an auditor identifies a material weakness in internal Information Technology controls, then this will need to be reported in the company's financial reports. Material weaknesses typically cause a company's stock price to drop by 4-6% following the weakness disclosure.
Why aren't more companies actively monitoring access and updates to valuable data assets?
Perhaps it is because that 4% cost of a preventative control isn't budgeted or will taint their otherwise glowing record profitability results. What, after all, is a few million in data breach costs to a multi-billion dollar organization? It is pocket change to the company but life changes to identity theft victims.
The data security problem becomes even more complicated when we consider Web Application Users. Just the other day I watched a name brand CRM application user download his company's entire contact database to his laptop. Then he put it on a jump drive and handed it to me. Information theft by privileged application users is very easy to do.
Organizations that are interested in deterring data crimes and capturing evidence to prosecute those who abuse their data privileges need to get serious about Database Activity Monitoring. DBI provides a solution named Brother-WatchDog® that can be implemented in 1-2 days at a price point roughly 75% less than Oracle's Audit Vault. With a digital surveillance camera in place that records access and updates to data assets, organizations can improve data security and regulation compliance.
Thanks for reading this long blog post. National and International Data Insecurity is obviously a topic I'm quite passionate about.
President & CEO, DBI
Have you visited DB2 Magazine online lately? They've made several improvements and enhancements to their online content. Not only can you find the current print articles, but also extra "online only" articles, plus a new community wiki, and new blogs.
Speaking of blogs, I have become one of the contributors to the DB2 Magazine blog. In my first set of posts, I am teaching excerpts from my IDUG Education Seminar "DB2 LUW Performance Diagnostic Lab". If you're interesting in learning about DB2 LUW performance and tuning, please visit the DB2 Magazine blog.
Want to follow along here? First you'll need to prepare for the class by collecting some performance data from your DB2 database. You can find the class preparation instructions at www.database-brothers.com/db2mag/GettingReady-IBMDB2LUW-Performance-Diagnosis-Lab.pdf.
What type of database do you have?
You might think you have an OLTP transactional database. Or, you might think you have a Data Warehouse database. But what does your database think? How is it, or the queries within it, really performing?
The Average Result Set Size
Transactional databases tend to process small result set sizes (the actual number of rows retrieved for a given SELECT statement). Data Warehouse databases tend to process large result set sizes - often returning hundreds or thousands of rows for any given SELECT statement. My rule of thumb, or the tipping point between OLTP and Data Warehouse, is an average result set size (ARSS) of 10. If ARSS is less than or equal to 10, then the database is behaving like an OLTP database. If the ARSS is greater than 10, then your database is behaving like a Data Warehouse database. If the ARSS is just a little bit greater than 10, then you may have an OLTP database with some concurrent decision support (DW) queries running.
The ARSS Formula
Using a database snapshot (e.g. dbsnap2.txt), simply divide the number of rows selected by the number of SELECT statements (ROWS_SELECTED / SELECT_SQL_STMTS).
You can learn more about the Average Result Set Size (ARSS) here from Brother-Eagle's Advice, or you can download, install, and run Brother-Eagle Standard Edition ( get it FREE ) to have this and several other metrics computed automatically for you.
FREE is a very good price.
Until next time,
Back in January, I was pleased to complete 3.1 miles in a little under 40 minutes. Heck, just making it to my virtual finish line was a thrill. I understand that improving performance is a process of continuous, disciplined improvement, so I kept at it. Some weeks I ran 3-4 miles two to three times per week, and other weeks I completed much longer runs of 6-10 miles during a single DVD movie (yes, I've got a DVD LCD TV in front of my treadmill). By mid-April, I had my 5K time down to about 34 minutes.
On April 28th, I participated in the Texas Round Up 5K/10K race in Austin. Wow, what a thrill that was. To see all of those runners and feel all of the energy was simply awesome. It took a whole minute just to get across the starting line, and then I was off! The first 1K was easy - it was on a slight grade downhill. What goes down, must come up - or something like that, so the last half of the race definitely challenged my willpower and perseverance. I am pleased to report that I crossed the finish line with a time of 32 minutes and 15 seconds - my personal best this year!
And so it is, too, with the challenge of continuously improving response times and performance of our business databases. It is an iterative process that requires skills, tools, and perseverance over time.
Next week is the 19th Annual IDUG North American Conference. Remarkably, I have been to them all, and been a speaker since 1996. I look forward to renewing and refreshing old friendships and making new friends. This year DBI is unveiling some new distributed database performance solutions that will have features and capabilities unlike DBAs have ever seen before. I look forward to showing you how Brother-Panther™ can help you Hunt Performance Problems with Speed and Agility. Brother-Thoroughbred™ will help you Win the Race Against Time by accurately identifying accountability for response times, resource bottlenecks, and service level attainments. And, of course, our Brother-Eagle™ database monitoring solution for DB2 LUW and Oracle is still soaring high and stalking the world's databases for performance improvement prey.
I look forward to seeing you at IDUG. Look me up if you'd like to go for a run.
1,000,000 miles seems like a good time to reflect upon one's life. At an average of 2,500 miles per trip, this suggests I've taken maybe 400 trips. With an average ticket price of $500 (certainly some have been much higher and others have been lower), perhaps I've put $200,000 into Delta's bank account. It is a nice piece of Hartman luggage which incidentally fits into the Size Wise carry-on tester...
Next month, in San Jose California, I will participate in my 19th consecutive IDUG North America conference. I've contributed to IDUG as a speaker every year since 1997 - making 10 years of presentations. Fortunately, I enjoy teaching and writing. And, of course, I'm flying Delta to get to SJC.
With so much travel, I'll tell you I'm struggling with Waist Management. The life of a road warrior can be very difficult on one's diet. I started the year at 205 LBS with a goal of dropping to 180 by year's end. Despite running three to four miles 3-5 times per week and "eating better" (when possible), today's weight is 198. I have more work to do. Interestingly, back when I flew my first mile with Delta, I probably weighed 160 LBS. Unfortunately, I can't blame the 40 LB gain entirely on airplane peanuts. There are simply just too many awesome restaurants across America and around the globe.
As for DBI, we'll be two years old this July 15th. Last year, 2006, was our first full year of operations. We achieved $3M revenue and profitability in 2006, a remarkable milestone for a young company. We'll have more exciting news and achievements coming in 2007 as we grow from two dozen employees towards 30-40.
That's it for today, I need to catch a Taxi to the Chicago ISACA Chapter Group meeting - roughly the 10th ISACA Chapter I've spoken to this year.
You never know when you are going to see you loved ones again. This is a movie about how one man tries to cope with the loss of his family after 9/11. I give the movie ten thumbs up.
Yesterday there was a horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech. There are now 33 families grieving unexpectedly, trying to cope with their loss.
So remember this: the next time you leave your home, try to have a pleasant, thoughtful, loving good-bye, good luck, and hugs and kisses if appropriate. The next time your spouse or family is leaving home, bid them a kind, loving farewell.
You just never know.
See the movie.
With kindest regards,
Where has the time gone? I have to say I think about writing in my blog almost every day, but this is often a fleeting thought when there isn't a computer nearby. Things are extremely busy at DBI these days; we've got a lot going on. Still, this is no excuse for my shameful neglect of my blog. So, here I am at midnight on Tax day 2007, getting back up on the horse after my fall. Please pardon my absence.
We had to shut down the posting of comments to our blogs - it seems people promoting web sites of ill-repute will stop at nothing when it comes to advertising their filthy URLs. Well, we cleaned those up and will strive to maintain professionalism. If you do see something offensive here, our apologies in advance. Please Contact Us and we'll promptly remove the offensive content.
I think my younger daughter has grown about 5 inches since my last blog post. I should probably stop putting Miracle Gro in her milk. But as I watch her grow up so fast, I'm thinking a lot about values and finding ways to teach values. There are some values that I believe are particularly valuable and important, though I recognize and appreciate that everyone may have different priorities for their values.
We have a strong value system at DBI, too. In some of my future posts, I'll write about our values and why they are important.
And for the technical followers amongst you, yes, I suppose I'll write about DATABASES from time to time. IBM has a lot going on with DB2, as usual, and Larry over at Oracle is keeping us busy and entertained as well. It's a great time to be a database professional - everyone is doing it all over the world. In fact, the rush to become a database professional or Java programmer has quite possibly contributed to the shortage of tractor trailer truck drivers in the United States and global warming worldwide.
Now that I've finally picked up my keyboard to post a blog entry, I am feeling a rush of excitement just like when you do get back on a horse after falling off. Now, I want to ride and ride, but time is running short. It's time to say farewell for tonight, tomorrow is another day.
With best regards,
"More states are letting consumers prevent businesses from seeing their credit reports without permission. Is it an identity-theft solution, or just a nuisance? B4"
Credit Freeze laws "permit consumers, often for a small fee, to stop a credit-reporting agency from releasing their file to almost anyone without their explicit authorization. A freeze affects eveything from opening a credit card to setting up cell phone service".
I'll tell you what, if this credit freeze capability will stop the four to eight credit card offers I receive DAILY from arriving in my mailbox, this sounds like an excellent idea. About 25 states have enacted credit freeze laws. New York's law took effect November 1st, 2006, and laws in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin take effect on January 1, 2007.
Consumer groups are in favor of these laws, and, as you might expect, companies who want to freely examine your credit reports are against them.
"An estimated 95 million Americans have been exposed to some risk of identity theft in the last two years because of breaches at companies, institutions, and governments". The US population is about 300 million, so this is about 1 out of 3 Americans. Every time I speak in public, I survey my audiences and ask for a show of hands to discover who, directly or indirectly, has been impacted by identity theft. Invariably, 10-25% of the audience will raise their hands.
Perhaps you are amongst the lucky 2 out of 3. It seems it is just a matter of time until we are all impacted unless businesses, institutions, and governments really get serious about protecting valuable information. According to a Computer World article released on November 13th, Protecting Data Becomes Top Security Priority for IT in 2007. I humbly suggest DBI's Brother-WatchDog solution.
Meanwhile, it seems a prudent idea to learn more about the laws enacted by each US state and consider if a credit file freeze is right for you. Unfortunately for me, Texas - as is the case with some other states - only allows a credit file freeze if I have already BEEN an identity theft victim. How STUPID is THAT?!?!?!
To find out if a credit freeze is available in your State, visit this link: www.consumersunion.org/finance/creditfreezeinfo.htm.
I hope this post is helpful to many of you readers. Feel free to add a comment and talk about your identity theft experience if you have been a victim.
You can place a free 90 day fraud alert in your credit file. The alert requires lenders to take extra steps to ensure validity of applicant information before granting credit. I call Equifax at 888-766-0008 every three months to keep my alert active.
Equifax has made the process very simple. You never have to speak with a human. You will need to enter your social security number and the number of your street address (for example, enter "123" if you live at 123 Main Street). You will also enter a day time and evening telephone number for lenders to call you to verify applicant data. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes, and Equifax also notifies the other credit reporting companies so you only have to make one phone call.
So, with 1 out of 3 Americans being impacted by identity theft, I suggest you pick up the phone now - while you are reading this - and spend 5 minutes on a free call to help avoid months or years of aggravation.
I've also had the recent opportunity to be involved in our neighborhood's Home Owner's Association (HOA). Our community has some issues to resolve regarding fairly apportioning the costs of some community improvements amongst the home owners. Our current Board and Officers were "elected" without a majority of home owners (voters) present, and now several community members are upset about the proposed cost distributions.
Voter apathy is a problem in our country. If you want to change things, make sure you vote. If you don't vote, please - no whining about the consequences afterwards.
Make sure your voice is heard this November 7th - Please VOTE!
Dear DB2 LUW Database Administrators,
I continued to be surprized and amazed by the number of database snapshots that I've seen recently where "Database Files Closed" is greater than zero, and often times much greater than zero. It is not reasonable to expect DB2 to perform its best when it is busy wasting valuable CPU cycles by closing and opening files (or devices) - an operation that can take significant relative time and slow down SQL response times.
The culprit is often database configuration parameter MAXFILOP. The default value of 64 was invented around 1992 when we were lucky if a machine had 128MB of memory. 64 is completely unreasonable, unacceptable, unthinkable, and unrealistic for today's hardware. If this is your value, or if you are observing "Database Files Closed" greater than zero, then, PLEASE, HURRY UP and INCREASE the value to a minimum of 512, or incrementally by steps of 512, until Database Snapshots regularly show "Database Files Closed = 0".
If you like, go ahead and set MAXFILOP to its maximum allowable value of 32,767. This parameter hurts a lot if it is too small, but I am not aware of any adverse consequences of having it too large during the past TWELVE years.
Here is an example of the command syntax:
- db2 "update DB CFG for DBNAME using MAXFILOP 512"
If you are not sure what I'm talking about, or if you are unsure if your database is plagued by this severe problem, then give Brother-Eagle™ a try (it's free) and let it do the analysis for you. Database Files Closed is just one of 24 key health, efficiency, cost, and problem metrics that it monitors. Check out the full list here.
Until next time,
On July 15th, 2006, DBI turned one year old. We had quite a party!
In case you missed it, we hired a party boat on Lake Travis in Austin and spent the day on the water. Every "brother" on our team received a noodle as a party favor and it was quite a sight to see everyone floating around this beautiful lake. The diving platform and water slide were big hits too, and Brother-Sergio did a fantastic job on the grill cooking burgers and hot dogs. It's remarkable how refreshing ice cold water can be when you are the target of a squirt gun.
I am very proud of our team and what we have achieved. Tecnically, yes, DBI is a "young" company, but in just 365 days we've grown to over two dozen seasoned professionals with decades of IBM DB2 and Oracle expertise.
"Start-ups", or "young" companies, traditionally don't become profitable until their 3rd or 4th year of existence. Remarkably, DBI has booked over $2.2M in revenue during the first two calendar quarters, we're about $1M in the black so far, and we're on target towards $5-6M annual revenue for 2006. DBI is presently privately held so we can do the right things for our customers and employees without being a slave to quarterly Wall Street results. Ask any of our team members, and they'll tell you that we're on to something special here.
To all of the DBI "brothers", thank you for making DBI such a success in such a short period of time. Interested in joining our team? Please visit our Careers page at http://www.database-brothers.com/careers.php
To all of our customers, thank you for your trust, confidence, and your business. Do you have your FREE copy of Brother-Eagle? yet? This is DBI's gift to the DB2 LUW and Oracle database communities - please run Brother-Eagle to analyze performance of any database BEFORE needlessly upgrading your hardware.
No other company on this planet is working harder to deter identity thefts and data crimes. With Brother-WatchDog?, accountability extends throughout your organizations and does not rest solely on the shoulders of the CEO, Board of Directors, and Auditors. Compliance isn't enough - Achieve Accountability!
Until next time,
Whether you agree or disagree with the war in IRAQ, I think our men and women who are fighting this war are heroes.
Today, during a flight from Atlanta Georgia to Columbus Ohio, the flight attendant made a special announcement on the PA as the plane was about to land.
She told all of the passengers that there were two soldiers on board who were coming home from IRAQ for a 15 day leave. These men hadn't seen their families in many months. The flight attendant also asked that everyone remain in their seats so that these soldiers could exit the plane first and join their families as soon as possible. Everyone on the plane applauded at this request.
And, after the plane arrived at the gate, everyone remained seated. When the soldiers stood to collect their carry-on luggage, everyone applauded again. In fact, the cheers and applause continued until the door was opened and these men exited through the door. My eyes were filled with water. I was very happy for these men, though I doubt I was as happy as they were to be home.
Whether you agree with this war or not, no matter your political orientation, when you see men and women dressed in uniform who are serving our country's "leadership", remember that they are the ultimate servant of our country. Please thank them for their service.
Isn't it just a joy to figure out how to make something work?
A new blog area has been added to DBI's site called "Brother-Eagle". This blog is open to new registered users, new posts by registered users, and comments. The intent is to have a professional community for Brother-Eagle users to discuss this product. Please share tips, techniques, how-to's, and suggestions.