OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : Wednesday

I started Wednesday by trying to play catch-up with some of the keynotes. I don’t like going to them, but it’s important to hear what was said, because people often put their own spin on what was actually said to make it fit with their narrative.

From there I headed down to the conference to see Michael HΓΌttermann with “DevOps: State of the Union”. Michael managed to pull off a session where we did all the talking. How does that work? πŸ™‚ It was really good fun, and it was interesting to hear other people’s experiences, and how they define DevOps.

Next up was Simon Coter with “Practical DevOps with Linux, Virtualization, and Oracle Application Express. At the start of the session Simon started a Vagrant build using the “vagrant up” command, then continued with the session, describing how tools such as VirtualBox and Vagrant can help you build consistent environments. He then described this specific build and showed us the finished product. I think the session went really well, and if you follow the blog you know I’m a VirtualBox+Vagrant fan. The other thing worth mentioning was he showed how a VirtualBox VM can be exported to OCI, and maybe in future an OCI VM imported back into VirtualBox. The first of those two operations means you could use VirtualBox and Vagrant as your choice for custom infrastructure builds for the cloud. Interesting…

Next up was “Embracing Constant Technical Innovation in Our Daily Life”, which was a panel session made up of Gustavo Gonzalez,Β Sven Bernhardt,Β Debra Lilley,Β Francisco Munoz Alvarez and Me. We didn’t have a big crowd, but we did get some crowd participation. I find panels fun, and some of the practical suggestions included.

  • Write stuff, and preferably put it out on the internet. Thinking someone might read it makes you up your game, and something like blogging can help some people with motivation to try out new stuff. (Writing Tips)
  • Do presentations, because of the pressure of a deadline often makes you focus, and there is also a desire to present something new. Remember, presenting is not just about conferences. Get a group of people in your office and present stuff to the group. It’s a good skill to develop, improves your confidence and makes you more visible in the company and of course improves knowledge transfer! (Public Speaking Tips)
  • When you get good at one thing, it makes it easier to learn new things. You understand the effort it takes and you know you have to look below the surface. (Learning New Things)
  • Get involved with the community. A wise person learns by other people’s mistakes. Go to local meetups for subjects outside your main skill set, to give you a different perspective. It might reinforce your beliefs or challenge them.

After that it was off to see “Understanding the Oracle Linux Cloud Native Environment (OLCNE)” with Wiekus Beukes, Tom Cocozzello and Thomas Tanaka. Oracle have built a tool that allows you to install, manage and upgrade selected Cloud Native Computing Foundation projects. That tool is called OLCNE. Why is this important? Because there are loads of CNCF projects, with a load of dependencies, so trying to install, and more importantly upgrade them, can be a nightmare. This tool will make that easier, as it will manage dependencies, and keep track of which versions of project X are certified with which versions of project Y. All these versions will be tested by Oracle to make sure things just work. The idea being you want Kubernetes + CRI-O + Prometheus + Istio? Sorted. For someone like me, who is a complete noob at most of this, that is a really interesting proposition. The project will be open sourced and on GitHub. Once it gets enough non-Oracle people contributing to the project, they hope to submit it to CNCF. Maybe we are seeing the start of how to manage CNCF projects in the future?? πŸ™‚

After that I went to see Colm Divilly speaking about “Database Management REST APIs”. The management APIs were introduced a couple of versions ago, but with each release they are adding more stuff. We now have integration with the DBCA for instance and PDB lifecycle management, as well as APIs to control features like Data Pump and get performance monitoring information. I really need to spend some time paying with these, because it’s a great way to automate operations and make them available to other people. I like to think of it as breaking down the walls of the silo by presenting what you do as a service.

Once that session was over I spent a few minutes talking to the ORDS and SQL Dev folks, then it was back to my hotel to crash. I ducked out of the concert (the ticket went to a good home) and other invites because I am old and my bed was calling me.

That was my last day at OpenWorld. I leave Thursday morning US time and will be back home at some point on Friday UK time. I’ll no doubt do a post about the journey home and a wrap-up post once I get back.

Cheers

Tim…

OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : Monday (Puppies and Free Tier)

I was tempted to call this “Day 1”, because it’s day 1 of the main conference, but I’ve already had two very full days with very little sleep.

The day started with a walk down to Moscone, where I got my first surprise.

This is my 14th visit to OpenWorld and I’ve never seen this road open during the conference. I’m sure this made the locals a lot happier, as there were less traffic issues, but it did restrict the flow of people somewhat. Having said that, the finished Moscone rebuild means things are a lot more centralised this year, so that wasn’t such a big deal for me.

I started off with a walk around the demo grounds, where I saw some familiar folks. Thank you Dbvisit for something familiar in sea of changes around the conference. πŸ™‚

I also saw Connor MacDonald drawing a crowd at one of the “theatres” in the demo grounds. You can barely see the people sitting, because of the people standing around…

I stalked bumped into Wim Coekaerts in the demo grounds and had a fanboy moment chat with him about the move from Xen to KVM that has been happening. I’ll no doubt be at some of the Oracle Linux stuff over the remainder of the conference.

I chatted to John Beresniewicz for a while, which is always a pleasure. I bumped into Richard Foote, and we went to get some food and check out where our rooms were for presentations during the week. With the Moscone rebuild, it’s worth finding your feet early. Eventually I had to leave him, as he was constantly mobbed by people mistaking him for David Bowie. We also saw this…

Gone are the days of scantily clad “promo girls”. Now you get people to your stand by having a pen full of puppies. Everyone standing around thinking, “Tech or puppies? Food or puppies? Autonomous something or puppies?” I guess you know what won… πŸ™‚ This was only one section of the pen. There were a lot of them, and I believe they were already adopted with good homes to go to, so I’ll forgive this exploitation. πŸ™‚ I assume based on the results, next year’s OpenWorld and Code One event will morph into a dog show. You gotta do what pulls in the punters. πŸ™‚

I booked in for a shift at the Groundbreakers Hub. I was meant to do 14:30 to 17:00, but I ended up starting early and finishing late, so most of my afternoon was playing at being a bouncer for the photographers doing head-shots for the speakers and members of the assorted community projects at the event. Really it was just an excuse to stand and chat to people. πŸ™‚

As a result of my shift, I missed the keynote, so I’ll have to catch the recording of that, but I already knew most of the announcements, as would anyone paying attention to the exhibits around the conference. These were on the monitors before the announcements.

Now I wonder what one of the announcements was??? πŸ™‚

Once my shift was over, I headed back to the hotel, then met up with some folks for dinner. I was once again the walking dead by that time, so I just slurred my way through the conversation. It was a good evening though! πŸ™‚

Tomorrow (today by the time I post this) is my first presentation…

Cheers

Tim…

OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : Groundbreakers Unconference

This year the Groundbreakers Briefing was completely different. Rather than have some formal presentations, the Groundbreaker Ambassadors an a bunch of Oracle staff all took part in an unconference. People suggested topics and we went into groups to discuss the topics that interested us. Obviously there was a lot of overlap in interests/concerns.

The first one I took part in was discussing a number of areas relating to “Is the RDBMS dead?” and this also included platforms and delivery mechanisms, such as containers. There were people from both sides of the camp, meaning those that favour the RDBMS and those that don’t. From my perspective I say use the correct tool for the job. In some cases that is a RDBMS. In some cases not. When we become too partisan, it’s easy to lose perspective. Of course, it’s also hard to be objective if you’ve spent most of your working life in one camp or the other. I think we have a lot to learn from each other, and the “next big thing” will only happen if we keep an open mind.

The next one I went to related to diversity in the workplace, which is something I have an interest in. The person that suggested this session was basically asking the question, “How do I know if I’m part of the problem?” As always with these types of discussions, it was interesting to hear different takes on the subject. I’m not going to talk specifics, as I don’t think it’s my place to report on some of the things that were said, but it seems like awareness is the first step in this process. Rather than move on to the next session, I continued this discussion with some of the folks. The great thing about an unconference is the rules are, there are no rules (sort-of). πŸ™‚

From there we went off to the San Francisco Science Museum for a couple of hours. I’m a town/city person, but I like looking at nature. We spent some time looking at fish, butterflies, snakes and frogs etc. Pretty cool. Let’s hope this isn’t the only way to see these in future!

From there we had to shoot across to the Oracle ACE dinner. Chatting with people is what I really enjoy at conferences, so being able to meet up with everyone and have a chin-wag is great. Not surprisingly I had far too much food! πŸ™‚

It was a long and busy day, and the conference hadn’t even started yet!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. There is an event during the evenings called the Groundbreakers Unconference, which is open to all the people at the conference. That’s not what I’m talking about here. πŸ™‚

Vagrant Build of AWX on Oracle Linux 7 Using Docker-Compose Method

I may need to do a bunch of scripting related to our load balancers, and I have the choice of using the API from the servers directly, Ansible Core or the web services exposed by AWX. I wanted to play around with AWX anyway, so that seemed like a good excuse…

First step was to install AWX. It’s pretty easy, but I must admit to spending a few minutes in a state of confusion until I rebooted my brain and started again. Turning things off and on always works. I’m an Oracle Linux person and “I do Docker”, so the obvious choice was to install it using the Docker-Compose method on Oracle Linux 7 (OL7).

The post includes the basic Docker setup, but if you need something a little more, check out the installation article and video.

If you don’t care about the build and just need AWX up quickly, you can use this Vagrant build that does everything for you, including Docker and AWX on Oracle Linux. πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2019

It’s nearly time for the madness to start again. This will be my 14th trip to San Francisco for OpenWorld, and however many it is since Java One and Code One got wrapped up into this…

  • Flights booked : βœ”
  • Hotel booked : βœ”
  • ESTA approved : βœ”
  • Irrational fear of flying and general anxiety : βœ”
  • 80 lbs weight loss : ❌
  • Talk complete : ❌
  • Denial : βœ”

At the moment the scheduled stuff looks like this.

Friday :

  • 03:00 UK time : Start the trip over to SF. I know I said I would never do this again, and I know what the consequences will be…
  • Evening SF time : Groundbreaker Ambassador Dinner

Saturday : Day : ACE Director Briefing

Sunday :

  • Day : Groundbreaker Ambassador Briefing
  • Evening : Oracle ACE Dinner

Tuesday :

Session ID: DEV1314
The Seven Deadly Sins of SQL
Date: 17th Sept 2019
Time: 11:30 – 12:15

Wednesday :

Session ID: DEV6013
Embracing Constant Technical Innovation in Our Daily Life
Date: 18th Sept 2019
Time: 16:00 – 16:45
Panel: Gustavo Gonzalez, Sven Bernhardt, Debra Lilley, Francisco Munoz Alvarez, Me

Thursday : Fly home.

Friday : Arrive home, have a post-conference breakdown and promise myself I’ll never do it again…

In addition to those I have to schedule in the following:

  • A shift on the Groundbreakers Hub, but I’m not sure what day or what demo yet. I’ll probably hang around there a lot anyway.
  • Meet a photographer to get some photos done. I’ve told them they’ve got to be tasteful and “only above the waist”.
  • Spend some time annoying everyone on the demo grounds. I know Kris and Jeff are desperate to see me. It’s the highlight of their year!
  • Stalk Wim Coekaerts, whilst maintaining an air of ambivalence, so as not to give the game away. Can anyone else hear Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings”? No? Just me?

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff too, but I’ve not got through all my emails yet. Just looking at this is giving me the fear. So much for my year off conferences…

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

Docker Birmingham – September

Yesterday evening I went to my first Docker Birmingham meetup, sponsored by Black Cat Technology Solutions.

I was so tired before the event I was really nervous I would fall asleep half way through a presentation and start snoring. πŸ™‚ When I got there I was greeted by an array of pizzas. I wanted to eat them so badly, but then I would definitely sleep, so I resisted. πŸ™‚ I spent a bit of time chatting to one of the hosts Shaun McLernon before the sessions started.

The agenda had a last minute change, as one of the speakers was ill, so the first presentation was a lighthearted one by Alistair Hey called “CV Driven Development – Why it’s ok not to be ‘cool’. ” He spoke about the things that trigger alarm bells when he’s looking at CVs, and used that as a segway into comparing what’s cool, with what just works. A specific case being a comparison between Kubernetes and AWS ECS, where he compared the pros and cons of each. The take home message was use the correct tool for the job, where the “correct tool” choice will be influenced by your requirements, skills and what works for your organisation.

Being short of a speaker, a couple of folks stepped up to talk about their projects in a lightning talk style. First up was Marcus Oaten with a talk about an environment built on Docker for testing new architectures for a Drupal application. Essentially using Docker to model all the services and layers to try new approaches out before having to commit to a specific architectural change.

Next up was Dan Webb speaking about the evolution of the builds used for a PHP environment he was working on. Moving from large-ish multi-purpose containers to smaller single-purpose containers with separation of duties and multi-stage builds.

I think the lightning talks worked really well. They triggered a lot of discussion, with people throwing out ideas.

The meetup was really useful. I like the “this is what we are doing” stuff, as it feels a lot more real, and shows the thought process and progression. I’m not sure about the experience level of the other folks, but I’m a Docker newbie, so this sort of thing is more important to me than hearing all about the super-cool stuff I will probably never use. I like hearing that as well, but this this stuff is more relevant to me at this stage.

I definitely plan to go again. Thanks to the folks at Black Cat Technology Solutions for sponsoring and organising the event, and to the speakers for stepping up to the plate.

Cheers

Tim…

Midlands Microsoft 365 and Azure User Group – Launch

Last night I went to the launch of a new meetup call Midlands Microsoft 365 and Azure User Group. It was co-organised by Urfaan Azhar and Lee Thatcher from Pure Technology Group, and Adrian Newton and Mark Smith from my company.

Some of you may have noticed this isn’t about Oracle. Yes we have a big Oracle Cloud Apps thing and a bunch of Oracle on-prem stuff, but we also have a lot of Microsoft stuff here, including loads of mailboxes on Office 365 etc. As a result, Azure is also becoming a big thing for us.

I’ve used Azure a bit for some Oracle trials, with the articles on the site, and I did a WebLogic on Azure talk some years back, but this is pretty far out of my lane, so I was really there to show some support to our folks and trying to learn some stuff. πŸ™‚

The turnout was really good. I think there were about 40 people in total, with about 6 coming from our company. For the first event I was kind-of expecting more of “us”, and less of “not us”, so the fact so many “not us” turned up was awesome! Getting a couple of Microsoft Most Valuable Professisonal (MVP) speakers for the launch event was cool.

After some introductions from Urfan and Lee, the first speaker was Ed Baker with an “Introduction to Microsoft 365”. The purpose of this session was for Ed to give an overview of the M365 stack and try to gauge what we were interested in, to see how the meetup should move forward in future. Ed is an Enterprise Mobility MVP and is clearly comfortable in front of an audience.

After food (Pizza and Indian) and drinks it was time for Gareth Jones with “An Introduction to Microsoft Azure”. Gareth talked about the way Microsoft deliver the Azure services, including the setup of their data centres. Once again, this was about gauging the interest for the different aspects of Azure. Gareth is an Azure MVP, and just like Ed was very happy in front of a crowd.

It was a really good start for the new meetup. Big thanks to Urfaan, Lee, Adrian and Mark for getting this going. Thanks to Ed and Gareth for taking the time to come and speak to us. Thanks to everyone who turned up to support the event, as well as the sponsor Pure Technology Group. I look forward to the next event, to see how this moves forward!

Cheers

Tim…

Birmingham Digital & DevOps Meetup : August 2019

Yesterday evening I went along to the Birmingham Digital & DevOps Meetup for the first time. It followed the usual meetup format of quick intro, talk, break, talk then home.

First up was Elton Stoneman from Docker with “Just What Is A β€œService Mesh”, And If I Get One Will It Make Everything OK?” The session started by describing the problems associated with communication between the building blocks of a system, and how a service mesh can alleviate some of them. It then moved on to some service mesh demos using Istio. These included examples of altering the routing of traffic to do canary testing and targeting specific groups etc.

Elton was really honest about the learning curve, issues and overhead associated with this sort of setup. One comment I really liked was when he showed a slide containing the following, saying that often people assume there is a progression from left to right.

Meaning people assume you learn Docker, then you need some form of orchestration so you learn Swarm. From there you naturally progress to Kubernetes and once you understand that, you will inevitably move on to a service mesh using something like Istio. Elton’s point was you don’t *have to* continue on this progression. You can step off at any point once you’ve achieved the functionality you need. I think this is a really important point and I can see it reflected in what I do with Docker. We’ve got some things that stop at just using Docker containers, with no orchestration at all. I work on a project that requires some orchestration, so we use Swarm, which is really easy to use. So far I’ve had no reason to go beyond Swarm, and even considering a service mesh is so far down the line for us. I’m not discounting the relevance of these for everyone, but they don’t make sense for me at this point.

It was a really good session and I learned a lot. You can check out Elton’s blog here.

After the break it was James Relph with “Container Security Fundamentals”. This started of with a basic introduction to containers, using that as an entry point to explain how containers can be problematic from a security perspective, and what you can do to reduce the impact. He covered a lot of stuff, some of which I already do, some I know about and some stuff that was new to me. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Don’t automatically trust images from Docker hub. Do your due diligence, even when they are from a reputable source.
  • Use your own image repository. He mentioned ECR amongst others. This can be used for your own images, but also base images from Docker Hub, which you have verified.
  • Don’t use “latest”, but use specific tagged versions. Latest gives you all the latest fixes, but all the latest bugs too. You should test and verify before you let images out into your infrastructure.
  • Multi-stage builds to reduce the size of containers and minimise the attack surface. Basically, copy out what you need and leave the crap behind.
  • Using sidecar containers to provide specific services, allowing your application images to remain more focused. The sidecar images can be maintained by feature experts to make sure they are as secure as possible.
  • Scanning images using Clair, amongst other things, to check for dodgy software. One of the audience mentioned Anchore.
  • Using microVMs like Firecracker to provide additional isolation, whilst retaining the ease of use of containers. I’ve not played with this, but I have tried Kata Containers, which seems to do pretty much the same.

There was a lot in there!

I was a bit nervous going into the event thinking it would all go over my head, and some of it probably did, but it was cool. I got to speak to a few people before the event, during the break and at the end. It seemed like there were quite a mix of people there from beginners in these areas upward, so I didn’t feel out of place.

A few times I found myself thinking, that’s great, but what do I do about my 3rd party applications? I’ve written before (here) about how 3rd party apps screw everything up. πŸ™‚

Thanks to Elton Stoneman and James Relph for taking the time to come and speak to us. Thanks to the folks from BrumDigitalDevOps for organising the event, and to Capgemini UK for sponsoring the event.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Vagrant : Oracle Database Build (19c on OL8)

Today’s video is an example of using Vagrant to perform an Oracle database build.

In this example I was using Oracle 19c on Oracle Linux 8. It also installs APEX 19.1, ORDS 19.2, SQLcl 19.2, with ORDS running on Tomcat 9 and OpenJDK 12.

If you’re new to Vagrant, there is an introduction video here. There’s also an article if you prefer to read that.

If you want to play around with some of my other Vagrant builds, you can find them here.

If you want to read about some of the individual pieces that make up this build, you can find them here.

The star of today’s video is Noel Portugal. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you dude!

Cheers

Tim…

Walk the walk : Delivering is more important than talking about delivering!

This post could be about so many things, but I’m going to try and keep it technology related.

I like to talk and clearly after 19+ years of doing the website and more than a decade of presenting it’s clear I’m not afraid of making my opinion known. I like to think it’s an educated opinion, based on experience and the ability to actually deliver on it, or be part of a group that delivers.

What I find increasingly difficult is dealing with people who can talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk. It’s really easy in our industry to say the right things and be seen as someone that is making a difference, when actually it’s all just hot air. All that really matters to me is that you can deliver. It’s nice if I like the people I work with, because it makes the workplace more pleasant, but that’s a bonus. I don’t have to like you to work with you. I just want you to deliver on what you promise.

The internet is both the greatest and the worst thing rolled into one. Everyone is a self-proclaimed expert about things before they’ve even finished reading the book. Everyone presents their “hello world” app as proof they’ve mastered the tech. Everyone is a certified rocket surgeon, but has never seen a rocket.

So what do you do when you encounter people like this? You ask questions! Most of these types break down under questioning. Drill into the subject and ask for examples of projects etc. If they know their stuff they should be able to answer, and will probably get a kick out of telling you about it. If not, just their manner will often give the game away, even if you know nothing about the subject yourself. As the saying goes, “You don’t need to know how to swim to recognise when someone is drowning!” It’s usually pretty easy to spot when someone is full of πŸ’©. I know who you are!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Don’t even get me started on idiots who can neither talk the talk, or walk the walk, but still seem to get promoted to their level of incompetence.

PPS. I work with several. Can you tell I’m pissed off?