Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Day 3 (Wednesday)

I’m finally starting to sync with the new time zone, so I had to set an alarm to be up in time for an 08:00 appointment.

First up was an Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Hands-On Lab in the Hilton with Yasin Baskan and Hermann Baer. I wrote a bit about this separately here.

After speaking to Chris Jones I was planning on going to the next lab. Unfortunately it was full, so sat at a table and started writing up some notes. As I did I eyeballed a bunch of people turning up late for Chris’ lab and giving the ladies controlling the door a hard time because it was full. People are super rude. Some people turned up to the session 35 minutes late and still expected to be allowed in to do a 45 minute hands-on lab. Go figure…

From there I went down the road to the Marriott to see a session called “MySQL 8.0 Overview” by Morgan Tocker. I’m mediocre MySQL DBA at best, so this was just me trying to keep up on things. There was a lot of familiar stuff for an Oracle DBA/developer, like JSON support, WITH clause, windowing functions, optimizer histograms, invisible indexes, instrumentation, roles etc. It seems I accidentally know a lot more about MySQL 8.0 than I thought I did. 🙂

From there it was a quick dash across to Moscone West to see “Oracle Database Features Every Developer Should Know About” presented by my sister-in-law and son. I did know all the features, but there was one I hadn’t written about, so I sense a backfill article coming after I get back to the UK. 🙂

I was going to go back to the Marriott for a session, but got chatting and ended up missing it. After getting some food and bending David Haimes ear for a while I headed back to another session.

The next session was “Five Things You Might Not Know About the Oracle Database” presented by my sister-in-law and Dominic Giles. Once again, I had heard of everything, but there were two things I had not written about yet. One backfill article and one new article coming. 🙂

After talking a little time out to abuse David Peake, which is the highlight of any conference, I headed across to the room for my session, about 40 minute early. I got prepped, unplugged and started working through some notes again.

My session, “Make the RDBMS Relevant Again with RESTful Web Services and JSON” was down as a Java One session. That combined with it being in the last block before the evening party meant I was a bit concerned I would be presenting to nobody. I shouldn’t have worried. People came and I had a good time. I spoke to Connor later and he said I was moving really fast through the talk, 69 slides in 45 minutes, but he probably does 400 slides in that time, so I guess I was really slow. 🙂 The session finished at 17:15 and I was answering questions and chatting with some of the folks until 18:45.

By the time I got to the bloggers meet-up it was winding to a close. Just long enough to grab some food, say hello to a few people, including the wife, and get into a photo. Most of the folks then moved on to the evening event, but I had already found a good home for my wrist-band, so I ducked out and headed back to the hotel to crash. The wife streamed videos of Ellie Goulding singing “Love me like you do”, in an attempt to remind me of the time we watched Fifty Shades of Grey together, but I ignored her and went to bed. 🙂

Tomorrow morning marks the end of the craziness…



Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Hands-On Lab : My Thoughts

I signed up to a hands-on lab for the Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service. These are the notes I took during the lab. They are a little scrappy, but I think you will get the idea…

I had some prior information due to the briefings I attended before OpenWorld, but everything I’ve mentioned here has been said publicly in OpenWorld sessions and is part of the hands-on lab.

Lab Outline

During the hands-on lab we did the following.

  • Connected to the service from SQL Developer.
  • Created new schemas and connections to the service.
  • Created tables and constraints with RELY DISABLE NOVALIDATE.
  • Loaded data into the tables from an object store.
  • Created external tables to files in an object store.
  • Connected to a sample schema and ran some queries before and after online scaling the service.


  • The Oracle Public Cloud interface and provisioning looks similar to the current DBaaS offering, but a little more simplified. There are fewer options to fill in.
  • The minimum storage is one 1TB with increments of 1TB. The storage scales on demand, so no dramas about starting small and increasing as you go. The storage is paid for on a monthly basis.
  • CPU is paid for on an hourly basis. You can scale down to 0 and stop paying for the compute if you have downtime (weekends?), but you continue to pay for storage.
  • You have an admin user, similar to system, but you don’t have SYS and SYSTEM access. No conventional OS access either. It’s similar to RDS for Oracle in that sense.
  • Provisioning time for a new instance is about 10-20 seconds.
  • Once you have the system provisioned there is pretty much no additional configuration you can do.
  • Access requires a wallet, similar to the Exadata Express Cloud Service, so you need to download the connection details from the Client Access tab. You get a zip with the relevant connection details.
  • If you manually create users, you need to grant them a role called DWROLE. That is the only role needed to connect and manage objects in the schema.

Object Creation

  • Tables are created with no constraints (except NOT NULL) and no additional features like partitions etc.
  • Primary keys, unique keys and FKs are defined with RELY DISABLE NOVALIDATE, so the optimizer has the necessary metadata, but no physcial structures like indexes are created.

Loading Data

Privileged operations are done used the DBMS_CLOUD package. Some of the things we did during the hands-on lab include.

  • DBMS_CLOUD.CREATE_CREDENTIAL – Creates a credential object to authenticate to the object store (Oracle or AWS S3). The credential is created once, and is used by default for all operations from then on. The object store is used as a source for data loads and external tables. On initial release the number of formats are limited, but it will eventually include additional source formats over time.
  • DBMS_CLOUD.COPY_DATA – Copies data from the object store into a table. This is full load operation. There are a number of options including table_name, file_uri_list, format. The format defines how the file should be loaded.
  • DBMS_CLOUD.CREATE_EXTERNAL_TABLE – Create an external table pointing to the files in the object store, rather than loading them into the database.

The USER_LOAD_OPERATIONS view displays information about load operations.

As with the existing database cloud services, if you need to transfer a large amount of data it can be done by shipping it to Oracle for them to seed it. I can’t remember the name of the specific service, but suffice to say you will not have to SCP your petabyte warehouse files to the service. 🙂

Scaling and Performance

  • The service is essentially scaled by resetting the CPU_COUNT for the instance in the cloud screens or via a REST API, so it is using a variation on instance caging to control CPU. CPU is charged by the hour. You can scale down to 0 when you don’t need resource, but you will still be paying for storage.
  • In the initial release the SGA and PGA sizes are tied to the CPU count, so adding an extra CPU increases the SGA and PGA allocated. Future releases may make these independent, but for now this is the way it works.
  • Parallel Statement Queuing is enabled, and the cloud interface allows you to monitor the statement queue. The queue is understandably affected by CPU count.
  • The Query Result Cache is enabled, so for small result sets a second run of the statement is super fast. 🙂
  • You are responsible for the schema design and the SQL you write against it, but you will not be creating indexes and partitioning strategies to address performance issues. The service is responsible for tuning the workload, not you.


  • The hands-on lab was obviously quite limited in terms of the scope, so I can’t give a comprehensive review, but from what I have seen so far it appears Oracle have delivered what they said they would. A fully managed service that removes the need for operational DBAs as creation, backups, patching and upgrades are not your business.
  • It’s hard to know at this point how well the automated tuning works. As more people try it out with different workloads we will get a proper feel for what it can and can’t do. What we do know is you will not be adding indexes or partitioning stuff, so at least that aspect of tuning is out of your control.
  • I don’t know if everyone got to see this, but Hermann scaled my service and it just worked, completely online.
  • It’s fun to theorise how they have achieved some of the aspects of service using the existing features.
  • I’ll be interested to get my hands on it once it goes live.
  • I’ve mentioned a few times in other posts, this is the first generation of this service. We don’t know how it will evolve over the coming months.
  • Remember, if you don’t like the lack of control you can alway pick DBaaS, Exadata Cloud Service or run on-prem. These will not have the option of being autonomous though.
  • Overall my feeling is I like it. I know this might sound odd coming from a DBA, but I like the hands-off nature of it.

Thanks to Yasin Baskan and Hermann Baer for putting on the session. Hermann, please don’t tell anyone you had to help me connect to the database when my brain rebooted and I wasn’t even capable of doing something as simple as that. It will remain our secret right?



Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Day 2 (Tuesday)

I started the day by catching up with the blog and answering some more questions about the Autonomous Database stuff. In most cases my answers were, let’s see what gets released. 🙂

Once I had caught up I made a very brief trip to the gym to do a bit of weights and some stretching, then I cleaned up and headed down to the conference.

I did a tour of the developer lounge and demo grounds in Moscone West again, then bumped into Alex Nuijten. We got talking and I went with him to see Colm Divilly speaking about ORDS. I had my two cameras on the chair beside me during the session. When I got up to leave I left them there and we went out to get some food. Once we had eaten I noticed my cameras were missing, so we walked back to the room and some nice person had spotted them and handed them in. It’s not a proper OpenWorld unless I’ve temporarily misplaced my camera or laptop. 🙂

From there I did a tour of the Moscone South exhibition hall, then went back across to the developer lounge in Moscone West. I ended up talking to a bunch of people on a variety of subjects including community programs, APEX, ORDS, SQL Developer and Docker, to name but a few. I was also introduced to Blue Bottle Coffee, which was nice, but not life-changing as I was lead to believe. 🙂

I briefly saw the wife, who stayed long enough to show me a JavaScript app she had written, before going to meet more important people and no doubt tell them she’s not technical. It’s all getting very suspicious…

Eventually I headed back to the hotel, dumped my stuff and headed out to grab some food. On the way I bumped into Oren Nakdimon and I introduced him to the delights of Chipotle. We must have spent somewhere between 60-90 minutes geeking out about all the stuff we had seen so far. We were the last people to leave the place as they were closing, which was kind-of funny.

From there it was back to hotel to play catch-up and prepare for the following day!



PS. Don’t forget my session on Wednesday.

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

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Day 1 (Monday)

I managed to accidentally (on purpose) sleep through the bay swim. What a shame as I so wanted to swim in cold water and see Bjoern in a knitted jockstrap… Not!

The first action for the day was to watch Larry’s keynote on YouTube. It’s important to know what has been said officially, so I don’t go saying something I shouldn’t and get “disappeared” for breaking the NDA. 🙂 Once that was done I wrote, what seems to have been a controversial blog post. I’m rather disappointed at the reaction to the Autonomous Database. As I expected, very few people seem to have actually listened to what was said in the keynote and I suspect many didn’t even read the entirety of my blog post. Instead, they saw “Autonomous Database” and launched into “it’ll never work” mode. It’s like people want it to fail and want to keep doing the same old boring crap for the rest of their lives. I am hopeful this suite of services will be the start of something interesting, but time will tell. Fingers crossed!

My first stop at the conference was the Oracle Developer Lounge in Moscone West. I had a quick look around at what was going on there, including robot Tai Chi.

From there is was a quick scan of the Demo Grounds to decide what I am going to spend time on tomorrow. I said hello to a few of the Oracle staff I know, and of course told the people on the performance tuning stand they were no longer needed. I’m guessing by the end of OOW17 they will have heard that about 50,000 times… 🙂

I spent quite a bit of time talking to Jeff Smith about an assortment of things related to SQL Developer and ORDS. Then I had a chat with John Brock (JB) about Oracle JET. I’m not a proper JavaScript developer (yet), but I wanted to say thanks for the really good session he did for us at the ACE Director briefing. The demo grounds are a great place to get more information about technologies you know, but also a great place to get context about technologies you don’t know. You just have to admit you’re a noob and ask for the basics. 🙂

I grabbed some food, then went up to the Grand Hyatt to spend the afternoon at the Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) Exchange. I had already seen some of this stuff the previous week at the #OAUX Strategy Day, but it gave me more opportunities to ask questions and get some more context. It’s a difficult job, but they are gradually converting me away from the command line. You can see my shock and awe at what they are doing here on this tweet from an interactive desktop. 🙂

Towards the end of the #OAUX Exchange I met up with the wife and she persuaded me to get in on a photo. Little did I know we would use these pedicabs to go down the hill, through rush hour traffic. If you saw me, I was laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside. Knowing how Debra is in a regular taxi, I’m amazed she agreed to do this.

We popped into the UKOUG meet-up in the darkest bar I’ve ever been in. You needed the flashlight on your mobile phone to see where you were going. We were only there for a few minutes before Debra had to go to some meet-up for important people, and I went back to my room to crash.

Once in my room I had to deal with the fallout from the blog post earlier in the day. I think I need to start a counselling service.

More of the same tomorrow. My feet are killing me. I really should lose some weight.



PS. Don’t forget my session on Wednesday.

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

Oracle Autonomous Database and the Death of the DBA

Before we start, make sure you watch the keynote and actually listen to what is said from a tech perspective (not the pricing stuff). Don’t prepare your counter argument before you hear what is said. Listen!

{Unfortunately, the video was removed from YouTube}

Myself and many others have been talking about this for over a decade. Most recently in my post before this announcement called No DBA Required.

As a cloud provider, Oracle want to make products as autonomous as possible because it reduces the amount of bodies they need to look after them and reduces human error. Yes, even the best of us screw up! It’s also annoying when you have a good product and stupid people use it badly, then blame the product. The aim of this suite of autonomous databases is to automate as much as possible to reduce the need for human interaction and free us from the mundane. There is an important slide at about 41 minutes that sums this up well. Less time on infrastructure, patching, upgrades, ensuring availability, tuning. More time on database design, data analytics, data policies, securing data. With the possible exception of tuning that can be interesting, let me put this another way.

Less time on boring shit. More time on important shit!

This is firmly targeted at removing the need for operational DBAs. A role that *you* should have already automated out of your organisation anyway. If you’ve not, then you have failed.

It should be obvious that the Development DBAs are sitting pretty here. The thinkers are safe. The recipe followers are not. Your mantra from now on should be…

Keep learning. Keep improving yourself. Keep your job!

For context it’s worth mentioning a few things.

  • Oracle 18c is effectively, but as has happened with recent patchsets, it contains a bunch of new functionality.
  • Although Oracle 18c has new features that make it easier to build an autonomous database, the “Autonomous Database” is a cloud service, so you will need to run your database on Oracle Public Cloud, or possibly on Cloud@Customer. Just installing 18c on-prem will not get you an autonomous database.
  • This is the first generation of the first service in a suite of database services for a variety of workloads. The more customers that use these services, the more workloads Oracle will see and the more autonomous they can make them. This is the beginning of a process, not the conclusion.

My view? Bring it on. Save me from the boring crap! 🙂



Update: Rather disappointingly, but as I expected, many people don’t seem to be able to look past the name of the service and are just making knee jerk reactions.

Also, there seems to be some perception that I’ve drunk the Kool Aid on this. I’ve been looking at the information about the service and I think it is interesting. Over time I will refine my opinion, as the facts emerge. What I won’t do is write it off before it’s even been released. It’s that sort of attitude that has turned some DBAs into inflexible dinosaurs. You’ve got to evolve or die people!

Update 2 : I’ve now tried the service. You can read what I thought here.

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : User Group Sunday

The day started with a run walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. We gathered in the hotel lobby, and since I am now a performing monkey I had to do the splits for Jeff Smith, then we got a taxi across to the visitors center at the city side of the bridge.

Some folks stayed behind to wait for the other runners to get there. A group of us just walked across and back.

The view was terrible. 🙂

Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the day to begin.

The registration queues were really long, but they moved quickly. I didn’t have time to pick up the additional materials because I had to get to the first official events for me at OOW17, which were the multi-presenter EOUC events.

I was present at both, but I had my 6 minute slot in the second session. The attendance was low this year, especially for the second session. I think database people left after the first session, which was a pity as the Dev Champions spoke about things database people need to know too. The internal layout of the Marriot Hotel didn’t help. Things were so much more obvious in Moscone. I found the sessions enjoyable. I really like this format.

After those sessions were complete I met up with Gilbert Standen to talk about his Oracle on Linux Containers project Orabuntu-LXC, which will support Docker in the future.

From there is was back to the queues to pick up the rest of my registration items, then back to the hotel. In the evening we went down to the pier for the Oracle ACE dinner. After a quick photo call it was food, drinks and socialising for the rest of the evening.



Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Day Off

The Saturday before OpenWorld is a day off and for me it has typically become a day in bed. A few days into the trip the lack of sleep has begun to take its toll and three days of concentration at the OAUX, Dev Champion and ACE Director briefings means you feel like you need a break and the conference hasn’t even started yet… 🙂

This year there was a slight change to the plan, as a “mystery event” had been planned for the Dev Champions. Earlier in the day I had bumped into Bjoern and Connor and said I had a daydream it was a boat trip on the bay. Guess what we did?

I am available to read palms and tea lives at a very reasonable rate!

We were bussed down to the pier, got on a boat and went around the bay with some food and drinks. It was a really nice experience. Amongst other things we got to see some kite surfers doing some crazy speeds, lifted about 50cm off the water on those blades/foils.

On the way back we sat down on the upper deck and had a meeting about the program, which gave us some more opportunities to ask questions and give feedback.

From there it was a bus back to the hotel, a quick chat to a few people, then back to bed. I realise some people will think it’s super boring to be sleeping so much, but OpenWorld is a marathon, especially for those of us that are doing the meetings the week before it also. It’s effectively a 8-9 day conference, so it’s really easy to burn out if you don’t take care of yourself.

Tomorrow is User Group Sunday!