I have a couple of days between assignments so I am spending a little time doing research. Ultimately, there is a piece to write on Oracle 11g OLAP, and some course notes on aspects of data warehousing. But do this sort of thing I need to get myself set up with a database (Enterprise Edition - I will need partitions, OLAP and all of the other VLDB bells and whistles) for self-education purposes; in my old job I had a small database running under Widows set up on my laptop and access to several Unix style databases (Solaris, AIX, HP) so could simply knock up a simple test to show me what happens and learn about getting the syntax right. But now I have an Apple MacBook Pro and no Windows or Unix (I do know that OS-X is a Unix, but that's beside the point) to run Oracle on.
Step up VMWare Fusion - I have relatively rapidly built a Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 64-Bit VM guest OS to run on my Apple, cloned it as my base build, mastered how to change the name of the screen header for the VM machine so that I know which VM I am running and proceeded to install 11g database software and a small test database. This is great fun as before this week I had not touched Linux (let alone gnome) - true I could speak Solaris, Dynix and AIX, and it is so long since anyone allowed me a root password. So, now I have two linux servers, an empty one that I can base subsequent builds on and a working 11g database.
I suppose the next thing is to build a Windows VM for the stuff that needs Microsoft Windows (OBI SE-ONE, for example) - but why is Windows so expensive to license? If I do go with the clean 'gold-build' VM and clone it before adding the minimal software required for the purpose in hand I will need to watch out how I clone the machine - or else VMWare will change the MAC address of my virtual network adaptor and break the license key