In memory of Pieter Van Puymbroeck

In Memory of Pieter van Puymbroeck

Dear Pieter,

I’m still in state of shock. When our dear friend Philippe called the other day around noon I knew suddenly that something terrible must have happened. I could hear it from Philippe’s voice immediately. Something was wrong. You passed away. Way too early. I still can’t believe it. I miss you.

I know you for many years now. Not as long as others. But long enough to call you a friend. We spent hours together at conferences where we often met. I remember so well when you arrived at breakfast at SlOUG in Portorož one morning complaining heavily about the patching experience your most important Exadata customer had the night before. But even though you were angry and exhausted you still had this smile in your face, this sense of humor I liked so much.

Or when I stepped out with my headphones on at Brussels airport for Tech Days in Belgium not recognizing the world around me. But you spotted me and offered me a spontaneous ride to Antwerp where you and Philippe had setup the Belgium version of POUG. We’ve had such a deep and intense talk in the car, as we’ve had several times afterwards again. Not about Data Guard but about life and other things.

When you told me at OOW that you are seriously looking for a chance to join Oracle, I was thrilled and excited. And even though you didn’t want to join RAC development but instead became a PM, I think this was the right decision. You had to step in VERY big footsteps. Larry “Murphy” Carpenter just retired when you came on board. You were the new Data Guard PM. And you lived this role from day #1. I knew before how good you were. But you surprised me many times when we chatted on Friday about one of my reference customer’s setups, and you just went in and replicated the scenario and blogged about it. Just tech facts. No nonsense, no marketing blabla.

You acted so well as a customer’s advocate balancing between development and the outside. Improving the product was your passion. We’ve had so many discussions about new DG features. You’ve not only had your team in mind but also the customers and their expectations.

It was always such a great pleasure to see you and talk to you. Since this Covid nightmare started, our meetings now were limited to nightly slack chats when we both worked late and occasional zoom sessions. I just asked you a few weeks ago whether you’d like to join a call about Data Guard and Multitenant gotchas. And you delivered one of these awesome Pieter talks – honest, enthusiastic, very technical. Exactly what makes the difference.

You were a sailor. And we never made it to have mussels in Brussels together with Philippe, and then spend the weekend on the boat together as we planned it for April 2020. It won’t happen anymore.

I hope that you sail well above the clouds now.

I’m missing you, my friend.


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