The web is a rich and fertile source of data-related information. But tracking things down on the web can sometimes be difficult – especially if you do not know where to look. Several good sources of DBMS information on the web can be found by reviewing the web sites of DBMS vendors, database tool vendors, magazine sites and consultant sites.
I recommend starting with the web portal I edit and publish called The Database Site. The mission of The Database Site is to make it easier for individuals and organizations to find what they need to better understand database systems. Most of the following references can be found on The Database Site…
One of the best resources for the data professional is the vendor web site for the DBMS software you use. On such sites you can find up-to-date news, information on release schedules and bug fixes, downloadable manuals, and technical support. Be sure to bookmark the site for your DBMS vendor and visit regularly to keep tap of what’s going on with your favorite database management systems. The web sites for the major DBMS vendors are (in alphabetical order):
- IBM DB2 at http://www.ibm.com/software/data/db2/
- Informix at http://www.ibm.com/software/data/informix/
- Microsoft SQL Server at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/default.asp
- Oracle at http://www.oracle.com
- Sybase at http://www.sybase.com
Another useful web resource for data folks can be found on database tool vendor web sites. The tool vendors employ many DBMS experts and former DBAs who are willing to share tips, techniques, and scripts in order to promote their company and its products. I provide an exhaustive list of data- and database-focused vendor links at http://www.craigsmullins.com/rellinks.htm.
Online magazines are also a worthy place to seek advice. Many useful data-related articles are published every week in technical magazines of every sort. And several magazines focus almost exclusively on database and DBA-related issues. Even better, many of these publications are provided free-of-charge, in return for filling out a subscription request with company and demographic information. Additionally, most print magazines also host web sites that offer many, if not all, of their articles online. Some of these publication offer online content to subscribers only, but many offer some content to all browsers. Some of the better magazine web sites out there include:
- Oracle Magazine at http://www.oracle.com/oramag/index.html
- IBM Database Magazine at http://www.ibmdatabasemag.com/
- Database Trends and Applications at http://www.dbta.com
- Information Management (formerly DMReview) at http://www.information-management.com/
- SQL Server Magazine http://www.sqlmag.com
And don’t forget to check out consultant’s web sites. There are a boatload of consultants who specialize in DBMS technology. However, there are some consultants that have risen to the level of guru because they are willing to share their knowledge and experiences at conferences, events, and through writing articles. Many of these premier consultants have set up content-rich web sites containing numerous documents, presentations, and tips to anyone visiting their web sites. The consultants do this to promote their business and gain leads for future business. Some of the leading consultant web sites containing interesting and useful information for DBAs include:
- Yevich, Lawson & Associates focusing primarily on DB2 at http://www.ylassoc.com
- TUSC focusing on Oracle at http://www.tusc.com
- Fabian Pascal’s site devoted to debunking erroneous beliefs about relational and other database technologies at http://www.dbdebunk.com
- And, of course, you can check out the author’s web site at http://www.craigsmullins.com for an exhaustive on-line catalog of his published writing and more.
And that doesn’t even touch on the many expert blogs out there. Keeping up with a ton of blogs can be difficult though, so you might want to rely on the Log Buffer carnival supported by The Pythian Group. Every week the Log Buffer highlights what is going on in the data blogosphere.
There are also many web portal sites that offer a convenient collection of database- and DBA-related information. A portal typically provides a vast amount of information on a single topic, as well as links to related information, a search engine, customization options, and the ability for users to be notified by e-mail when relevant content is posted. The following web sites function as portals for database professionals.
TechTarget publishes a veritable plethora of web portals. SearchOracle and SearchDataManagement are two that should appeal to data professionals. There are other TechTarget sites worth looking into depending on your area of expertise, too. They offer portals on topics ranging from security to ERP to storage to data backup.
The Data Administration Newsletter (http://www.tdan.com) is another combination portal/magazine site, this one focusing on data administration issues.
There are numerous other portal sites that provide useful data-related information. Some of the best focus on a single DBMS technology. For example, all of the following offer useful services for the specific DBMS they cover:
- Oracle links and news at http://www.lazydba.com, http://www.orafans.com, and http://www.oraworld.com
- DB2 links and news at http://www.DB2portal.com and http://db2usa.blogspot.com/
- SQL Server links and news at http://www.sqlserver.com, http://www.sswug.org, http://www.sql-server-performance.com, and http://www.swynk.com/sql
Many other web sites may prove to be useful or interesting for data professionals. One of the best things about the Internet is its ability to provide a forum for anyone with information to share. New and intriguing sites are popping up every day. But let’s take a look at some of the best web sites for DBAs that already exist.
Providing a very useful service for DBAs is DBAjobs.com (http://www.DBAjobs.com). This site lists as its mission to advance the careers of all database professionals and to recruit the best database talent for its clients. For DBAs looking to advance their careers be sure to visit this site for access to many database-related jobs as well as assistance in preparing your resume, interviewing tips, salary guidelines, and database news.
Sites hosting information on industry standards can be quite helpful, too. For example, ANSI (American National Standards Institute), ISO (International Standards Organization), and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology all provide web sites:
Perhaps closer to the technical information required by DBA is the SQL standard web site at http://www.jcc.com/sql_stnd.html. This site purports to be a central source of information about SQL standards. It contains links to various other sites that document the SQL standard.
DAMA, the Data Management Association, is a coalition of professionals dedicated to the advancement of data resource management. The DAMA web site (http://www.dama.org) documents the conferences and meetings sponsered by DAMA, but also offers links, resources, newsletters, and publications on data resource management.
User groups have been founded for each of the major DBMS vendors. These groups sponsor annuals international conferences and promote the sharing of information by database professionals. The web sites for these groups offer useful information on conference locations and dates, as well as articles, presentations, and tips:
- International DB2 User Group at http://www.idug.org
- International Oracle User Group at http://www.ioug.org/
- Professional Associates for SQL Server at http://www.sqlpass.org
- International Informix User Group at http://www.iiug.org/
- International Sybase User Group at http://www.sybase.com/ISUG/
There are literally thousands of other web sites that might be useful to you as you embark on your career as a data professional. Here are a few of the ones I have found to be worthwhile.
- SQL Weaknesses at http://dbtips.wordpress.com/
- The XML portal at http://www.xml.com
- The Journal of Conceptual Modeling at http://www.inconcept.com/JCM/about.html
- The Data Warehousing Institute at http://www.dw-institute.com
- The Metadata Coalition at http://www.mdcinfo.com
- The OLAP Council at http://www.olapcouncil.org/
All of these types of sites are very useful for obtaining up-to-date information about DBMS releases and version, management tool offerings, and the like, but sometimes the information on these types of sites is very biased.
Good luck to you as you peruse the Internet to keep up-to-date on data and database management!