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Since October 1998
RoughSea Limited (Database Consultancy)
For years the business of RoughSea Limited has only been consultancy. Since about September 2009 I have been working on a site dedicated to IT education on the web, ******** Developing both site and contents (in particular, a basic SQL course that combines video with an interactive window for exercises) has been a major endeavor.
Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking (SGCIB)
My work at SGCIB has been extremely varied, as it has been a customer of RoughSea Ltd since the beginning until November 2010, and I usually spent 2 or 3 days a week with them. Besides the unavoidable switch to euro and Y2K projects that everybody has been involved in during this period, I have intervened in almost all departments, improving performance of equity trading programs at a time where volumes were increasing very fast, slashing up the run-time of many big batch programs sometimes by hours, helping with architecture, in particular for archival processes, improving critical PeopleSoft programs for the accounting department, advising people in charge of reference data, re-designing the database for Lyxor (a hedge fund and a subsidiary of SGCIB), working on data warehouse queries for the HR department. Based in Paris, I have also had to work with developers in New-York and Bangalore.
The research and department arm of the world leader of cosmetics has also been a RoughSea customer from 1998 to 2009. Except for the beginning of 2002 where I have spent more time there studying real-time replication of formulae between the R&D centres in France, Japan and the US, I have spent one day a week at l’Oréal for years. I have optimized many applications, management of formulae, raw materials, labelling, toxicology, security issues (including interfacing Oracle with an iPlanet LDAP server), performance work on third party software, plus assistance with production, migrations etc.
I have spent 2 days a week at Cégétel from the last quarter of 2002 to the end of 2004, deploying a monitoring tool (I3), being the technical correspondent for the software publisher and using this tool for performance work and the auditing of externally developed programs.
Before Cégétel, I have spent a few days a week with Quallaby, to help with the architecture of Proviso V3 (monitoring of very large networks). Re-design of installation procedures.
Besides these main customers, I have had many varied shorter missions: improving searches in the DNA database of the French Police (8 times faster after a few days’ work), performance work with France Télécom (now known as Orange) for the programs that managed their DSL equipment, architecture and help with production procedures for Lexbase, a company that provides legal texts and commentaries on the web, etc.
Dec 2009 to Jul 2010 KDS (Online Travel and Expense management)
Senior Oracle DBA
Part-time job (two days a week); the aim was to solve some immediate production problems, then to replace a regular daily hot-backup by an RMAN backup and to set in place Dataguard for disaster recovery. These tasks were followed by the implementation of an automated cloning procedure for refreshing development databases. I also wrote appropriate Nagios plugins for monitoring everything, while helping with queries and of course documenting everything. After having dealt with urgencies, I trained R&D teams and advised on indexing and database design.
1998 to 2004 Oriole (Software publisher)
Co-founder, Technical Director
Oriole is a company I created with two British friends to develop and sell administration utilities for Oracle (a data downloader, monitoring utilities, etc.)
Although we successfully sold a number of licences to several companies, telecoms companies in particular, we never reached the critical mass that would have allowed us to grow, I was too busy with consulting that was working much better and I slowly pulled out.
1989 to 1998 SQL Tech (software services, France)
Numerous audit, consultancy and development missions, either directly or as team leader. A few examples:
Electricité de France (Power Utility)
After having spear-headed the effort, I have managed a consultant who has been working on a tool for the analysis of incidents in nuclear plants. Data has been migrated from a home-grown DBMS to DB2 (in an MVS environment), and graphics were developed for analysis.
Dassault Electronique (Electronics)
Design of the database for the maintenance and repair of automatic tellers (ATMs)
Société Générale(Bank – Retail)
Technical database architecture for remote banking services (telephone and Minitel (pre-web)). Design of benchmarks for hardware suppliers.
L’Oréal R&D (Cosmetics)
Reorganization of the R& D databases, optimization of client/server applications. I have handled single-handedly for two years the administration of the databases at one of the two main R&D centers in France, visiting them one day a week. During this period, I had to migrate the databases from VAXes to DEC Tru64 machines, then from OpenVMS to Unix (OSF/1), notwithstanding two major Oracle upgrades (Oracle 6 to Oracle 7, then Oracle 8)
Optimization of billing processes (pushed a rather dismal 6,000 invoices/hour up to 60,000 invoices/hour – with the same hardware). Assistance with the data warehouse feeding process.
Société Générale Investment Banking
Help with the deployment of OMS, a front-office software trading tool (real-time database replication).
The product had been developed initially in Singapore. To become familiar with the deployment process, I accompanied the Singapore DBA for a 3 day installation in Manila. Back in Paris, after much scripting and optimization, I managed to install and seed a database in Tokyo in two hours from my Paris desk. One year later, I was sent back again for one week in Singapore to show the developer in charge how to rewrite a critical process, which resulted in a 10x improvement at peak times.
Besides consulting, between 1990 and 1995 I was the designer, product manager and leader of the development team (up to 5 developers, including an Israeli and two Danes) for Professional DBA, an administration tool for Oracle (about 60 licenses sold, in France and England).
I also authored database administration and tuning courses.
1988 to 1989 Diagma (logistics consultancy)
Senior Software Developer
Development of operational research programs, in particular a GUI for a transportation optimization software product. This was a time when addressing more than 640K required some back-bending.
1986 to 1988 Oracle France
Technical Support Engineer
Sole Unix support engineer in France for almost one year. Author, in early 1987, of the first 'Performance' course of Oracle France. Worked for 5 months alternatively with Oracle France and with Oracle Europe (in the Netherlands) to take part in software ports.
1985 to 1986 IBM France
This is the place where I have first heard of a start-up company called Oracle.
1984 to 1985 University of Ottawa (Canada)
Visiting Computer Science Professor
This assignment was a civil substitute to the then compulsory military service. I taught various undergraduate courses: Programming for engineers, computing concepts for business, computer architecture, data structures.
Courses taught mostly in French, but also in English.
Last Quarter of 1983 IBM France
(Short term contract)
I worked for the marketing department of AS (Application System), an early decision support system.
I studied competitive products (Nomad, Ramis, SAS, etc.), of which only SAS and Informatica survive today, and I briefed sales people on them.