UKOUG 2011: Days 1 – 3…


I went to lots of good presentations over the three days.

Day 1:

  • SQL Tuning – Kyle Hailey
  • Clonedb – Me (not counting myself in the “good” list, just placing myself in the timetable)
  • OakTable Talks
  • Emerging Trends in RAC – Julian Dyke
  • Upgrading your Cluster to 11gR2 – Martin Bach
  • Learning about life through business and software – Cary Millsap

Day 2:

  • NFS Tuning – Kyle Hailey
  • OakTable Talks
  • RAC Attack – Organized by Jeremy Schneider (I spent the rest of the day helping out here)

Day 3:

  • About Multiblock reads – Frits Hoogland
  • OakTable Talks
  • Simulating workloads with RAT and Simora – James Morle
  • What shape is your data? – Niall Litchfield

There were of course many other talks, but when you do as many conferences as me you tend to have seen many of them already. :) Added to that, I got into interesting conversations with people and ended missing sessions because of that.

I went to the OakTable lunchtime talks each day. I think these were my favorite presentations of all. Each day was made up of five 10 minute slots. Quick, casual and no slides. Very entertaining. I hope they happen every year.

The days were incredibly long, as proved by my parking bills. The first day battered me and it was a matter of survival from that point on.

Thanks very much to everyone involved in organization of the event. That’s my first UKOUG as a presenter. Let’s hope it’s not the last.



UKOUG 2011: When sessions attack…


Just finished my session. What a nightmare…

I was surprised anyone turned up as it was a late change to the schedule and there were some great sessions going on at the same time. Check out the photo.

It was kinda OK, until I got to the demo, which I screwed up. That was really disappointing because it really was the crux of the session. I thought I saw the issue and tried to salvage it, but it failed again so I gave up and moved on. I would like to say it was an OK recovery from a disastrous demo, but that would be a lie. Flipping crap.

Quite annoyed with myself because I know why it got screwed up. When I was in Bulgaria somebody asked me a question and I messed with the demo to prove a point, but forgot to repair it afterwards. Of course, it works again now that it’s too late. :(

There seemed to be some real interest in the technology and I assured people that the demo screwing up was noting to do with the tech, it was totally my fault.

So not the best showing I could have put in. I think it is summed up nicely by this tweet,

“session clone db is a mess”

Nuff said!

If anyone wants to see the running demo, drop me a line on twitter (@oraclebase) and I’ll meet you and show it working. If not, check out the article here.



UKOUG: I’m now speaking on Monday…


A couple of slots opened up in the UKOUG schedule due to cancellations and a message came through the OakTable mailing list asking if anyone could fill them. Alex Gorbachev and myself stepped up to the plate.

This means I’m now speaking about Clonedb on Monday at 11:05 in the Media Suite. See here.

The downsides to this are:

  • I’m now up against Connor McDonald who is always brilliant, so I won’t get to see his talk and he’ll soak up all the attendees.
  • I’m also up against Greg Rahn‘s session on Real-Time SQL Monitoring. I saw this at OOW and it’s well worth seeing.
  • One of my Brummie mates wants to come and watch me present, which will make me nervous as hell, especially if he is the only person in the audience.

On the positive side:

  • It will be my first presentation at the UKOUG conference. Long story… :)
  • My Brummie mate will actually go to see Connor, which means there will be nobody in the room, so I can blog about how awesome I was.
  • The adrenalin rush associated with presenting will help to delay the inevitable illness I get at the end of the year when all my presentations are over. Maybe I will actually make it to the end of UKOUG this year…

So if you fancy coming along to heckle me on Monday morning, you know where I am. :)



BGOUG 2011: Wrap-Up


So that’s another BGOUG finished and once again it was a great event. Every time I go I recognize more faces and my Bulgarian dancing gets a little better. :) I’m already looking forward to the next one I get to attend. A big thanks to Milena and the gang for organizing everything. There was literally nothing I had to do for myself. :) Also a big thank you goes out to the ACE program for funding my travel costs. It’s much appreciated.

For the first flight on my way home I had the pleasure of sitting next to Dimitri‘s wife Crystal (spelling?), which made the trip more interesting. Watching her play games on my iPad was funny. On the second flight I managed to completely screw up my demo database. Thank heavens for backups. :)

That’s my last international event for the year, so I guess it’s time for me to get ill and miss the whole of December, including the UKOUG conference. If that happens again this year  I think I will never hear the last of it from Debra Lilley. :)

I’m going to hit the gym hard, clean up my diet again and take lots of vitamin C. I will be healthy for UKOUG!



BGOUG 2011: Day 2…


Day 2 started with a very tired Doug Burns presenting “Performance and Stability with Oracle Database 11g’s SQL Plan Management”. As with his previous talk, this was firmly rooted in his practical experience of the feature and as such contained a mixture of positive and negative results. Essentially it boiled down to, this works great for some applications and not so great for others, so you’ve really got to suck it and see.

Next it was my Clonedb talk, which seemed to go pretty well.

After that it was Joze Senegacnik talking about “To Index or Not to Index, That is the Question”. Having seen Richard Foot‘s presentation at InSync11, I was pretty confident about the answers to some of the questions Joze asked the audience. :)

Next up it was me again, this time giving my Edition-Based Redefinition talk. Once again, this seemed to generate a good number of questions.

Then it was back to Joze for “Getting the Best from the Cost Based Optimizer”. This was a mixed bag of tips and features relating to the optimizer. These style of presentations always contain gems that either you didn’t know already, or had forgotten you know. :)

After a short break it was off to the evening meal. This was a more sedate affair than the previous evening. I don’t think any of us could have coped with another full-on night. After the food we moved down to the bowling alley in the hotel, where I was spectacularly rubbish. :)

This morning we had plans to do some sight-seeing, but everyone was so tired we’re giving it a miss and being lazy in the hotel spa. :)



AUSOUG 2011: Perth Day 1 & 2…


Day 1:

The first presentation of the day was Debra Lilley speaking about 42 real life examples of Fusion Middleware with applications. When you see the markeing bumf it’s easy to believe Fusion Middleware is only for massive projects that use all its functionality. Debra’s presentation highlighted how Fusion Middleware is being used out in the real world. It’s not all about mega-projects.

Next was my Edition-Based Redefinition talk. I think it went pretty well and I got a whole bunch of questions at the end. The speakers receive a bottle of wine as a thank you for presenting. I donated mine to the lady who asked the last question of the session. Talk about shamelessly buying friends… :)

I started to chat to a few people and somehow managed miss the next two sessions. People should have learned by now that once you start me off there is no stopping me. :)

The last session of the day was Graham Wood’s on Oracle’s hidden features. This was a mixed bag of neat little features, some of them I knew, some of them were new to me and some were things I remember reading about in the past, but had forgotten they existed. These presentations are always pretty humbling when you realize how much stuff has passed you by over the last few years. :)

In the evening a few of us went out for a quick drink, then it was off to bed (not together :) ).

Day 2:

Day 2 started off with Scott Wesley talking about APEX 4.1 security. I like APEX, but I don’t use it enough. The content was cool and the presentation style was pretty neat. He used Prezi rather than PowerPoint, which made a nice change. It would make senese to download this presentation and make a checklist of things you need to consider before putting any APEX app live.

Next up was Craig Shallahamer speaking about SQL elapsed time analysis. I think the OTN APAC Tour is taking its toll on Craig’s voice. He’s starting to sound like Barry White. :) Craig is a very dynamic presenter. I tend to waddle around the stage a bit. Craig is more like Superman. It’s really good to watch and the content is great too.

Then it was off to present my Clonedb session. The turnout was pretty good, but the room was massive, so it felt a little like a wasteland. :) Once again, lots of questions, so it was pretty cool. Lots of comment after the session as well. It seems the Clonedb feature has got a few people really excited.

Next was the panel session on our experiences of presenting. I like it when panels have strict control. Without it, it’s impossible to stop me from talking. I enjoyed being part of the panel, so I hope it was useful for the audience. The more people that can get into presenting, the better conferences will be.

Chris Muir‘s session on angels in the architecture was pretty neat. I’m not an ADF guy, so it’s not exactly my thing, but he presents well and had some cool photos of buildings to go along with his metaphor for the session.

Finally, it was Connor McDonald‘s session on a year in purgatory – diary of an 11.2 RAC upgrade. Connor is a great presenter and I think this is a presentation that many DBAs really need to hear. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Oracle RAC is not easy. Yes, you can install it on VirtualBox and have it running in no time, but that is far from using it in a high-octane live environment that *must not fail* and having deadlines to meet while patching etc. When you see the history of what Connor went through, you could understand lesser DBAs just jacking it all in and going off to grow carrots.

That was the end of a very successful AUSOUG conference, so a few of us went out to eat, then I got my plane home…

I was a little nervous about the flight home. I was awake from 04:30 and my plane was not until 22:30, so I had been awake about 18 hours before I even got on the plane. I don’t sleep on planes, so I was expecting another 21+ hours of being awake before I got home. I managed to cope quite well and I got into my house at about 14:00 and went straight to the gym, trying to delay going to bed until a more normal time in the UK. I ended up in bed about 18:00, so I had been awake for over 45 hours. I’m going to be in an “altered state”for a few days, but no major dramas, which is good.

Big thanks to the ACE Program for allowing me to go on the OTN APAC Tour. Also a big thank you to everyone involved in the organization of their respective events.



OOW11: Wednesday…


Wednesday: This was actually my last proper day at Open World. I fly home Thursday morning, effectively missing the last day of the conference. It’s a shame, but it’s the way things worked out and I’m totally burnt out now. :)

Wednesday was definitely “the day after the night before”. I was a little bit under the weather the previous day, so I didn’t feel great on Wednesday morning. Once I got out of the hotel and moving things got a little better. Bagels with cream-cheese in the OCP Lounge helped also. I went to see Cary Millsap speaking about instrumentation, a subject close to my heart. Everyone knows Cary is a great presenter, so I will not big him up any more or his head will pop. :) After that I hung around the RAC Attack in the OTN Lounge, then it was the big keynote. @brost sent Gwen Shapira and I up to the Hilton to watch a stream of the keynote. They didn’t have it there so we had to walk back to Moscone North and sit on the floor to watch it.

Keynote: The keynote was more-or-less what I expected from the ACE Director briefing. There were a few inconsistencies from what we were told, but nothing to write home about. It was all engineered-cloud-exa-grid, with a bit of “everyone else is rubbish” thrown in for good measure. Larry was on good form, but the “live”-ish demo went on a bit too long and I lost interest.

Steve Jobs: I was sorry to hear about the death of Steve Jobs. It’s always sad when people die young. I wish the press would stop making him out to be some sort of Messiah or Saint. He was just a very clever man. Let’s not turn his death into a farce.

Blogger’s Party: After that is was off to the Blogger’s Party, sponsored by Pythian. As with previous years, there were prizes for a number of things, including an iPod Touch for the person who got the most signatures on a Pythian bandana. I made a conscious decision to go for it this year and managed to get a signature from everyone at the event. When it came to the judging I had won, but then felt a little guilty because everybody else hadn’t taken it quite so seriously as me, so I gave the prize to the lady (DBA Kevlar) who came in second place. The sweet smell of victory was easily more important than the prize. :) Thanks to Pythian for another great event.

Once the Blogger’s Party was starting to wind down, most people moved on to the Appreciation Event. I was not really feeling up for it, so I gave my wristband away. I would have only stayed an hour or so, which would have been a bit of a waste. I hope the person who got my wristband ate loads, drank loads and enjoyed Tom Petty and Sting. :) Instead, I went for some food with Chris Muir and Bex Huff, then crashed in my room.

OOW11 Take Home Messages:

  • “Exa” means an engineered solution from Oracle that includes a bit of “magic sauce” software that you can’t run on anyone else’s hardware.
  • Appliance means an engineered solution with stock software running on it. You could build it yourself, but why would you want to?
  • Oracle now do NoSQL (based on the Berkeley DB Storage Engine) as a product. You can get this wrapped up with Hadoop on an engineered system called the Oracle Big Data Applicance. Not sure I will ever touch one of those, but it sounds kinda cool.
  • If BI is your thing, Oracle now provide an Exalytics product that has loads of memory allowing you to do much of your BI workload directly from memory. Once again, sounds cool, but not sure I’ll ever get to touch one.
  • There’s a new version of Grid Control called Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c. I guess we now know the next version of the database will be called 12c. :)
  • The movement in the Linux and VM space has got Oracle to the point where they can finally acknowledge that cloud exists and they can build one for themselves. See If Oracle do this well it could be great for them. If they stuff it up there will be plenty of vendors waiting in the wings to point the finger.
  • Fusion Apps actually exists! Nuff said!
  • Lots of people know about my website, but very few people have got a clue about who I am. That’s the way it should be I guess. :)



OOW11: Monday and Tuesday…


Monday: I went to some presentations, hung around in the OTN lounge and ate at every possible opportunity. Tanel Poder‘s presentation on “Large-Scale Consolidation onto Oracle Exadata: Planning, Execution, and Validation” was pretty cool.

In the evening I planned to meet a former colleague at the OTN party. I decided they best way to find him was to visit every food station at the party, which of course meant sampling the goods. Unfortunately I spent too much time eating and not enough time looking for him. Sorry Ian! The cool thing about Open World is you can enter a giant tent full of thousands of people and pretty much guarantee you will bump into loads of people you know. :)

Tuesday: I spent most of Tuesday helping out at RAC Attack in the OTN Lounge. I did manage to get to see Greg Rahn‘s presentation called “Real-World Performance: How Oracle Does It”, which focussed on Real-Time SQL Monitoring. Greg’s presentation style is really easy to listen to and you know this isn’t just theoretical knowledge. He’s in the trenches doing this stuff as part of the Real-World Performance Group.

As the afternoon progressed I felt a little tired, so I went back to the hotel, puked and fell asleep. I think this was more to do with being over-tired than anything else. That meant I missed some of the later sessions and didn’t hook up with anyone in the evening.

This morning I feel a little ropey, but I’m going to head on down to RAC Attack again and see if I can make myself useful. Tonight is the appreciation event, but I’m not sure if I will be able to “appreciate it” unless I get a major energy injection at some point today. :)



OOW11: Saturday and Sunday…


Saturday: This was my day off before OOW11 started. I spent the morning following Chris Muir round toy shops, trying to find something cool to take home for his kids. Then we went and registered for the conference. After that it was back to the hotel to chill out a bit before the OakTable Network party in the evening.

I have to admit to feeling a little daunted about the OakTable Network party. I wasn’t able to go last year because it clashed with the Oracle ACE party, so this was my first time. I’ve met many of the members before, but standing in Graham Wood’s house surrounded by a bunch of people with brains the size of planets tends to make a grunt DBA/developer like me feel a little paranoid. Luckily, everyone is really low temperature, so I quickly felt at home. Graham and Joan certainly know how to throw a party. Vast quantities of food and drinks along with great conversation. I’m already looking forward to the next one, but I must eat less next time. :)

Sunday: I started the day of with Marcelle Kratochvil‘s session about unstructured data and multimedia. If you know Marcelle, you’ll know that she is passionate (a massive understatement) about multimedia and is now starting up a multimedia and unstructured data user group called OMMUDS. It’s early days at the moment, but I hope things go well because it is a fascinating subject and one that will do nothing but grow in importance in the coming years.

After that I went to see Scott Spendolini do a brief history of APEX, which is a pretty cool intro session for the APEX symposium. I was planning to watch some more of the APEX symposium, but I got pleasantly side-tracked and ended up going to get some food with Frits Hoogland. That developed into a couple of hours of geeking-out about Exadata. I know very little about Exadata, but Frits knows loads, so I guess I got a lot more out of it than him. :) During that time he showed me some of the stuff he’s presenting at UKOUG this year. If you have the opportunity you should definitely go to his sessions. He has some really neat stuff to show you.

In the evening it was the ACE party. Once again, a cracking event, but once again I ate far too much. Victoria also forced me into taking a doggy-bag home with me, which I really didn’t need, but emptied anyway. :) I spent a lot of time talking with Oded Raz and Liron Amitzi. With a bit of luck I might get to present in Israel in the future. Just as it was closing time I bumped into Steven Feuerstein and we had a little chat. Don’t forget to try my questions on the PL/SQL Challenge in October. :)

I’ve continued to get to the gym a couple of times each day, but considering the amount of food I’ve eaten, I’m not sure it will do me much good. This morning both Lillian and Victoria were at the gym, but there was no sign of Justin. Come one dude, you are letting the side ACE Program down. :)



OOW11: Oracle ACE Director Briefing Day 1 & 2…


If you’ve followed Twitter over the last couple of days you’ll have seen cryptic posts about the content of the ACED briefing. We all had to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to make sure we didn’t tweet or blog about the Oracle Games Console (OGC) before Larry announces it next week. Day 2 is done and we have a day off before OOW11 starts for everyone else. I’m already totally knackered. :)

It’s quite freaky to think the ACE program has got so many of us together in one spot and essentially provided a 2 day conference just for us. It’s even more amazing to think that they were able to get so many important people to take time out during the busiest time of their year to come and speak to us. I don’t think many people can pin down Thomas Kurian for an hour this close to Open World. It says a lot about the amount of work Justin, Victoria and Lillian have put in over the last few years, that they can get this level of buy-in for the program. Despite being a tired and grumpy old man, I am extremely grateful to be part of the program.

If you are coming to OOW, you are going to hear a lot of interesting announcements this week. If you can’t make it, you might want to keep an eye on the Oracle YouTube channel. It will have live content streaming, which should help keep you up to speed with what’s going on over here.

I mentioned in a previous post Jeremy Schneider invited me to help out at RAC Attack at OOW 2011. I’ll be doing a couple of shifts on Tuesday. Come along and have go. It should be fun.

I’ve managed to drag myself into the gym quite a bit. I did the evening of my arrival and morning and evening on both days since. Once the mayhem surrounding OOW kicks in I don’t know how easy it will be to keep it going. Time will tell.