Are you tired of weak, crappy coffee?

May 2, 2007 / By Babette Turner-Underwood

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I am an ex-tea tottler. Several months ago, I started to once again drink that elixir of the Database Gods. Now that I am beginning to drink coffee again, I can really appreciate Jon Emmons’s humor in naming his blog site Truly, a DBAs work life does NOT begin until after coffee.

Unfortunately, it had been years since I actually brewed a pot of coffee. What was I going to do? Like many people using a new technology, I wanted to make some but had no idea of where to begin. Luckily, our company had a BIG sign posted next to the coffee machine, “Are you tired of weak, crappy coffee?”, with detailed instructions.

I don’t think I am giving away too many Pythian secrets here, but not only did it explain to only put a portion of the potential water reserve so the coffee would be stronger. It also gave warnings of potential problems. One problem was that putting the coffee grinds and water in before turning the unit off would cause a burst of steam to cause the grinds to be blown all over and ruin the pot of coffee. Pure Genius!


The instructions were so humorous because I see them as exemplifying the work ethic at Pythian. And that is, documentation and sharing of information. When we do work for a client, we carefully document all the steps taken, and any problems encountered and workarounds we discovered. The information is then put into a shared repository for all the DBAs to access and use in similar situations.

Most recently markings were added to the actual coffee pot to indicate MINIMUM and MAXIMUM levels. As a DBA, I am very familiar with thresholds. If something like free space reaches a MININUM, then I react by adding additional space. When the coffee pot reaches the minimum, there is an indication that it is time to make a new pot. The MAXIMUM indicator assists us to ensure that we do not go over our limits (for water).

The Coffee Pot

So sharing the secret to making a perfect cup of coffee or cloning a database with RMAN are handled the same way around here. Freely, in the spirit of teamwork and making each others’ lives easier for both us and our clients.

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