Know your BI

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-04-05 Print this article Print

Know and love your BI tools. Allyson Fryhoff, vice president of Oracles Sensor-Based Services, pointed out to me that once customers get past understanding what readers, tags and printers they can use, the need to understand and analyze the information they have becomes very important. Pre-RFID, DBAs may not have been up on BI, since they havent had that much data from which reports must be generated. RFID will present a whole new world of data that hasnt had reports associated with it before, so make sure you know whos going to deal with it and how. Check out events-based computing. Oracles Jacob Christfort, vice president and chief technology officer of Server Technologies, advises DBAs who are getting up to speed on RFID to take a look at queuing systems, formerly called Oracle Streams. Check out the Oracle Technology Network for some sample code and a primer on this technology, which enables propagation and management of data, transactions and events in a data stream, either from within a database or between databases. Many DBAs probably dont use events-based computing nowadays, but they should expect future RFID-concerned applications to employ the technology, Christfort told me.
Also, check out Flashback queries. Flashback queries were introduced in Oracle9i and enable DBAs to perform queries against log data. Instead of having to roll a database back to last week to query the state of the database in that time frame—a very laborious process—DBAs can instead query the log without rolling back. Thats potentially very useful, since it can help you to reduce the amount of data kept in current and archived tables.
In a traditional database, youd have to keep all of the data in large tables, which is extraordinarily data-intensive. With Flashback queries, you can push things that you dont query often into an archive. You dont lose the ability to go back and query that data, since you can do so in flashback queries. Next page: Weigh in on the consumer-privacy issues.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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