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Neon's Oracle guru called in to beef up Titan

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Dave Moore is a self-confessed Oracle geek. According to his blog, you are an Oracle geek if "instead of looking at the clock on your PC for the current time, you run a sysdate query because you believe it is more accurate".

Since last week, Moore has, specifically, been Neon Enterprise Software's Oracle geek - brought in to beef up Neon's Titan data archiving software product.

Moore's credibility as a true Oracle geek is confirmed by his status as an Oracle Ace, backed up by 20 years in database management.

"In the late 1980s I was working at Texaco on IBM mainframe systems - CICS, IMS and DB2 - when they decided to go for open systems. That's when they brought Oracle in and I first got involved," Moore says.

He later moved to BMC - firstly as a database administrator, but with the aim of getting into BMC's research and development team: "I must have sent a dozen emails a day to the head of R&D about ideas for open systems development and eventually they got the message."

After only three months, Moore made the transition to R&D and began working on a change management product in the Oracle team. Twelve years on, changes at BMC which took it away from open systems led him to leave and help set up DBI a company to take charge of some of the products BMC was no longer developing. It was while at DBI that he was headhunted for Neon. "I knew they had a good reputation in the market and they wanted an Oracle product author to develop their range in a new direction."

Moore's contract as "product author" is an unusual one. It effectively gives him full control over the development of Neon's Oracle archiving activities in the Titan range - and a share of the sales action. "Basically, I get to be an entrepreneur and I get the rewards associated - but with the support of a large company which cuts the risk."

The "product author" concept has its roots at BMC where founder John Moores (no relation) pioneered the idea of giving specific product ownership to individuals in return for a share of the pot. In many ways it echoes the chief-programmer-team approach used in the 1970s by IBM. Chief programmer teams rely on a gifted "visionary" engineer supported by a team of skilled individuals. IBM abandoned the idea because of the lack of visionary engineers.

Moore acknowledges that being a product author is not for everyone because it relies on a broad set of skills, from a business knowledge of the market to a sound technical understanding of the product area. His development team, based in the Ukraine and Russia, is using an Agile development approach to speed up delivery of products.

"Using the Agile model means we can concentrate on the difficult stuff up front - but not get too bogged down in detail. We work closely with customers to define the requirements and then the team is sequestered during the two-week development sprint so they don't get diverted."

Moore sees data archiving as one of the major corporate software growth areas and aims to put Neon in a position to profit from increased demand.

"Companies have a massive amount of data and need ways to archive it so they can retrieve it easily. At the same time, they want to get the best performance out of their operational systems. They need mechanisms to achieve this easily and efficiently and that is the space I want Neon to be in."

He will, of course, record the progress of the Titan project on his blog. ®

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