Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Oracle ACE Director Briefing

Can you guess how I slept last night? 🙂

I met up with a bunch of people in the hotel lobby and walked over to Oracle HQ for the Oracle ACE Director Product Briefing. Due to the changes to the travel funding this was a smaller event this year, with around 40-50 people.

Once again the majority of the content was under NDA, so I can’t say anything specific, but the recent announcement by Larry Ellison and the press Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ads mean you probably know what took a substantial amount of time. I can’t remember the last time we had so much database content in the ACE Director Briefing. The skew meant there were slim pickings for those that weren’t database people and hadn’t made the previous days sessions.

I’m going to repeat what I said yesterday, which is very self-indulgent of me, but try to remember the following over the next few days.

  • Judge the announcements on the detail, not the headlines. The headline is the Tinder photo, not the person you will end up sitting across the table from.
  • There is some interesting stuff that is possibly not what you were expecting. I like vanilla icecream, but if I’m expecting to taste chocolate and I get vanilla it’s going to make me pull a face. Once I reset my expectation, vanilla is nice.
  • Just because a feature/product/service isn’t a good fit for me, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a bunch of people out there who will want it. Despite what I believe, I am not the center of the universe. Neither are you!

Once all the sessions were over we had some nibbles, drinks and conversation until it was time to get on the bus to take us from Redwood Shores to San Francisco. Once I had dumped my stuff in the hotel I popped out with Bjoern to get some food and supplies, then it was back to my room and bed.

Tomorrow is a day off, before the madness starts. There is a Developer Champion mystery event in the afternoon, so that will be interesting…



Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Developer Champion Product Briefing

Another night of broken sleep and another early start. 🙂 I walked across to Oracle HQ with Bjoern Rost, where we grabbed some food, said some hellos and started the day.

This is the first Developer Champion Product Briefing, and there were some faces that were new to me. There were about 20 Developer Champions, made up of some Oracle ACEs, some Java Champions and some others. There was also a bunch Oracle staff, so most of the day the room had about 30 people in it.

It’s good to have a mixed crowd in the room. It’s far too easy to stick within your little echo chamber and have a very blinkered view of the world. Seeing the way others reacted to the content from the day was very interesting.

We were under NDA, so I’m not going to risk saying something I shouldn’t and getting into trouble. The vast majority of the information was stuff that you will hear next week, so you’re not missing out, there’s just a time lag. 🙂 I like to think much of the value was in our feedback, but that’s probably me just being overly self-important.

As far as next week is concerned I would suggest:

  • Judge the announcements on the detail, not the headlines. The headline is the Tinder photo, not the person you will end up sitting across the table from.
  • There is some interesting stuff that is possibly not what you were expecting. I like vanilla icecream, but if I’m expecting to taste chocolate and I get vanilla it’s going to make me pull a face. Once I reset my expectation, vanilla is nice.
  • Just because a feature/product/service isn’t a good fit for me, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a bunch of people out there who will want it. Despite what I believe, I am not the center of the universe.

Doing 10 hours of geek is pretty tough, especially when you have very little expertise in some of the areas.

We went straight from the briefing to get some food and before I knew it, it was bed time. What a tough day!

Big thanks to the Developer Champion Program for inviting me and putting on this event. Thanks to the speakers for making time for us at the busiest time of the year! A special fanboy thanks goes out to Wim Coekaerts for coming back to us. I’ll get to stalk him again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the ACE Director briefing, which has a large percentage of database stuff in it, so I will be on more familiar territory, and get more detail about what I heard today. 🙂



Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) Strategy Day

As is always the case during the first few days in the US, sleep was broken. I woke up at 01:30 and dozed my way through to the next morning. I met up with the wife and a few folks and walked across to Oracle HQ for the Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) Strategy Day.

The agenda for the day was as follows:

  • Check-in, breakfast, and opening remarks : Misha Vaughan, Vikki Lira
  • Oracle Applications Cloud top-level UX messages and Q&A for FY ’18 : Jeremy Ashley
  • OAUX Cloud Rapid Development Kits (RDKs) : Karen Scipi, Lancy Silveira
  • OAUX Innovation : Jake Kuramoto, Andrew Gilmour
  • Wrap-up and closing remarks : Misha, Vikki

There was a group of us in the room, with 4 others connected over Zoom and permanently visible on the big screen.

I wrote a lot of notes throughout the sessions, but rather than sharing them I’ll direct you to the OAUX Blog and Usable Apps site, where you can get most of the information first hand. You can also check out Lucas Jellemas’s post about the day, that includes a summary of the areas that were covered, along with some photos.

This year the event was compressed into half a day, which I guess made things much simpler for those attending over the web. I think it worked well and still allowed us to get an idea of the current goals and emphasis of the UX team, whilst giving us an opportunity to feed back about both our pain points and successes. As someone who self-identifies as a command line junky, I find this stuff really interesting and oddly relatable to what I do. It’s always good spending time with the UX team because they are a fun group of people. I plan on spending some time at the OAUX Exchange next week, which I would urge others to come along to if they are attending OOW17. Last year it was a great way to spend a few hours! If you are interested you can register here.

Once the OAUX sessions were wrapped up, the wife and I went across to another building at Oracle HQ to visit my dad. As usual he spent most of his time telling me how amazing I was, how I had totally eclipsed his achievements in every way possible and how I had married beneath myself. It was all really embarrassing, but all completely true…

Just as dad was ready to depart, who should walk in to get a coffee but my sister-in-law Maria. We sat gossiping for a while about all sorts of stuff and laughing far too loud in what was otherwise a quite coffee shop. 🙂

Once the family reunions were done Debra and I walked back to the hotel where we bumped into Bjoern Rost. We had a quick chat, then it was back to my room to dump my stuff before heading out for dinner with the UX team and the other attendees from today’s sessions.

It was a really great day. Lots of information and lots of cool people! Big thanks to the UX team for inviting me again this year. I really appreciate it!



Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : The Journey Begins

The day started quite reasonably with a 06:30 taxi to the airport for a 09:00 flight to San Francisco via Newark.

Birmingham airport was very busy, but I had bought the Premier Access for $89, so I walked up the priority lane, past the massive crowds and did security really quickly. It’s like the really cheap version of business class. 🙂

The flight to Newark as delayed by about 15 minutes,  but apart from that it was fairly straight forward, talking a little over 7 hours of air time.

Using Newark as the first port of entry to the USA can be a bad idea if you have a connecting flight. You have to go through all the usual airport security to “leave” the airport, then recheck your bags for your domestic flight. The reason I bought the Premier Access was to speed up this section of the journey, but it turns out is doesn’t really help. Since we were 15 minutes late and I originally had a 2 hour layover, which was really 1:45 when you consider boarding close times, I resigned myself to missing the next flight. Somehow the stars aligned and I made it as boarding was beginning. Amazing!

The flight from Newark to San Francisco was hard. The flight itself was fine but the tiredness really started to sink in. The last hour was torture. I must have gone to the toilet about 10 times to move my legs. I knew I was just over-tired, but I started feel a little frantic. We eventually landed, and not having to go through US security was great.

The next challenge was trying not to have a fight with the hotel about the hotel shuttle. I was tired and they were very unhelpful. Rather than escalate the argument and get deported, I gave up and got a taxi for $44…

I got to the hotel, dumped my stuff, scrubbed myself clean and went out for some food with Lucas Jellema. From there it was back to bed for an early night. I slept from 21:30 to 01:30 local time, then dozed my way through to the next day.

Tomorrow is the Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) strategy day…



ODC Appreciation Day 2017 (#ThanksODC)

Update: You may have noticed the name change. 🙂

After last year’s successful OTN Appreciation Day it only seems fitting to do it again this year. Since Oracle Technology Network (OTN) has now been renamed to Oracle Developer Community (ODC) there is a name change for the event this year, but the idea is the same. You can read why I decided to do this in last year’s announcement post.

The “EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things” sessions at Oracle OpenWorld have proved really popular and this allows everyone else to get in on the act. The “rules” are pretty much the same as last year…

  • The blog post title should be “ODC Appreciation Day : <insert-feature-name-here>“.
  • It can be a feature related to any Oracle product, not just database.
  • The blog post content should be short, focusing more on why you like the feature, rather than technical content. This makes it more accessible for new people to join in. If you’ve written in detail about that feature before, then link to that post and/or the docs from your blog post.
  • Tweet out the blog post using the hashtag #ThanksODC. If you have enough room, you might want to include #ThanksOTN as well for the sake of backwards compatibility. 🙂
  • We should all publish on the same day so we generate a buzz. Last year loads of people were on twitter retweeting, making it even bigger. The community is spread around the world, so the posts will be released over a 24 hour period. The day of the event will be Tuesday 1oth October. That gives people enough time to put something together, especially first-timers. Keep an eye on the date in case it has to change to avoid public holidays, like last year. 🙂
  • It really doesn’t matter if you write about the same feature as someone else. It’s interesting hearing different perspectives.
  • Oracle employees are welcome to join in. I’m happy for you to post about a feature of your product you think adds value, but please don’t just do a sales pitch for your product. 🙂
  • You are not allowed to call me a kiss-ass, then subsequently join in. 🙂

Like last year, it would be really nice if we could get a bunch of first-timers involved, but it’s also an opportunity to see some returning champions! 🙂

The day after the event I will put out a blog post with links to all the blog posts from the event.



No DBA Required?

Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman put out a nice post a few days ago which you can read here. It talks about the future of the DBA, especially in the light of Oracle’s new “fully managed” Database Cloud Service that will be announced soon. I pushed out some links to the post on social media with a “Just Read” message, as I sometimes do, then was hit by a wave of questions and comments about it. I think I’m on the same page as Kellyn where this is concerned and I’ve been saying similar things for quite some time.

I’ve also talked about how the world has changed for PL/SQL and SQL developers.

The reactions I’ve received following all these posts, as well as the comments about Kellyn’s post, can be broken down into the following categories.

  • Denial : The [Apps] DBA role will never die!
  • Panic : Quick, tell me what I should learn today before my family is out on the street.
  • Pragmatic: My role as a DBA has evolved so much over the years, and will continue to do so. I have to continue to adapt or die.

I think from my previous posts you will know I’m in the Pragmatic category. The type of work I did 20 years ago, whilst calling myself a DBA, is drastically different to what I do today. In 10 years time my role will be totally different, but I will probably still call myself a DBA (Do Bloody Anything).

At this point someone will chip in with, “We will never move our databases to the cloud so this doesn’t affect me!” This is naive for a couple of reasons. First, you will move *some* things to the cloud. It will happen! Second, the changes to the DBA role will happen regardless of the cloud. Automation is the thing that is altering the lives of DBAs and SysAdmins. Cloud is just another form of automation. If they haven’t already, your company will have to get on board with automation or die. In addition, the products you use will evolve over time, as they have been for years.

You can look at all this from a couple of angles.

  • OMG! I’m going to have to learn something new. What a bloody nightmare! I was hoping to do the exact same thing every day until I die!
  • OMG! This is brilliant! There’s loads of new stuff to learn! When I know this new stuff I’m going to be even more valuable!

Take your pick… 🙂



PS. It will be interesting to see what Oracle actually come up with at the end of all this… 🙂

Update: Loïc Lefèvre just sent me a link to this article, which is pretty cool!

Update 2: You might want to read this from Thomas LaRock from the SQL Server camp. 🙂

My Current Focus

In recent weeks I’ve been writing fewer blog posts and pushing out more technical posts. I know a lot of people don’t make the distinction, but the technical stuff goes on the main website and the bullshit opinion pieces go on this blog. 🙂

The changes to the Oracle ACE Program travel policy have had a very positive effect on me. It’s allowed me to get back to my roots, which is producing technical content for my website.

I like to present. I dislike travelling, but I like to meet different people and geek out with them. These things are fun to me, but they do represent a very big time sink. The time I spend organising a trip, prepping my presentations, travelling and recovering from the trip all adds up and it’s an extremely inefficient use of my time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to do it, but the reduction in the number of events per year is welcome.

One piece of advice I give to new bloggers is to write what you want to write, rather than attempting to write for an audience. Do what you enjoy, because it’s the only way you will continue to do it. It’s funny how I’ve rolled out that advice numerous times, but I seem to have lost sight of it myself. I find writing opinion pieces so exhausting because you’re constantly trying to guard against saying the wrong thing, and in the end someone will always find a way to be offended by what you say. Technical content is so easy in comparison because it’s just facts. These last few weeks have been so much fun in comparison to the months that came before them.

In a week I’ll be leaving for Oracle OpenWorld, which is kind-of the opposite of everything I’ve said in this post, but then it’s back to the plan. More content, less bullshit.



PS. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time… 🙂

PPS. If opinion pieces are your thing, keep doing what you do. I love reading them. I just dislike writing them. 🙂

Oracle 12c on Fedora 26

Before we get into this, I feel the need to mention this important caveat, so I don’t get any grief about this.

With that done, here we go…

Fedora 26 has been out for a while now. As soon as it dropped I tried to do some 12c installations on it and hit a stumbling block. The software would install and link fine, but it wouldn’t start up Oracle processes, so you couldn’t actually create a database using the DBCA or SQL*Plus. I roped in Frits Hoogland to help me find the issue, which he did through the magic of strace. 🙂

With that information, a bit of Googling revealed other software that was struggling with changes to glibc, with the only reliable solution (to their problems) being to downgrade to glibc from Fedora 25. That didn’t sound too satisfactory to me.

If I’m honest, I got kind-of bored by it until Andy Campbell made me aware of a workaround, so I was finally able to get 12cR1 and 12cR2 working fine on Fedora 26.

Not surprisingly, the 12cR1 installation still suffers from that Perl issue on newer chipsets. The 12cR2 installation is a lot clearer by comparison.

So now you know how to do it, please don’t! 🙂



Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : I’m Presenting!

A few weeks ago I tweeted about being a member of #TeamRejectedByOracleOpenWorld again. Since then I found out one of my presentations was accepted for JavaOne as part of the Oracle Developer Champion program, so I will be going to San Francisco this year after all. This is the presentation I’ll be doing if you want to come along.

Make the RDBMS Relevant Again with RESTful Web Services and JSON
Wednesday, Oct 04, 4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. | Moscone West – Room 2002

Since I’ll now be in San Francisco, I’ll get to join in with a bunch of other stuff. The week before the conference starts I’ll be part of these events at Oracle HQ.

  • Oracle Applications Users Experience (OAUX) Strategy Day : I was lucky enough to get invited to this last year and it was really fun and interesting. Now I get to go back again. 🙂
  • Oracle Developer Champion Briefing : I’m really not sure what to expect from this as it will be the first one.
  • Oracle ACE Director Briefing : I think this will be a smaller affair this year due to the changes in travel funding, and it’s compressed into a single day. It’ll be good to catch up with everyone again!

In addition to my JavaOne presentation, I’ll be at the EOUC presentations on User Group Sunday.

EOUC Developer Champions Show the Cool Tech They Use
Sunday, Oct 01, 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Marriott Marquis (Golden Gate Level) – Golden Gate C1/C2

EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things
Sunday, Oct 01, 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Marriott Marquis (Golden Gate Level) – Golden Gate C1/C2

The wife kicked me out of the list of speakers for the Oracle ACE session. So much for family loyalty… 🙂 These multi-speaker sessions have been really well received in previous years, so please come along and join in the fun!

Like last year, it’s going to be a really long and hard trip, but since this could be my last one I’ve got to make the most of it!

See you there!