Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Thursday – Day 4

And here we are. The last day of Oracle OpenWorld 2016…

The first session I went to was a panel session called “Thinking Clearly About Database Application Architecture” with Gerald Venzl, Bryn Llewellyn, Connor McDonald, Toon Koppelaars, Cary Millsap. The session started with an introduction by Toon, explaining how the thick database architecture model is provably superior to the thin database model, especially from a performance perspective. I am definintely in this camp, so they were preaching to the converted, but IMHO some of the most interesting comments came from Gerald. To paraphrase, and I hope I didn’t distort his meaning…

  • The object model favoured by most developers (Java, C#, Javascript etc.) does not fit well with the set-based approach of relational databases, which is why they rely so heavily on persistence layers to bridge the gap. The challenge is how to make them coexist.
  • Oracle is not the only database technology being used out there. Depending on the engine, the thick database approach may be more difficult or even impossible. That may make developers less likely to adopt it.

I liked both of these comments for a variety of reasons.

  • We need to make what we do more accessible to the current crop of developers by putting it in a form they find acceptable. Making the PL/SQL APIs we produce available to non-PL/SQL developers through REST web services (see ORDS) might be one way we could do this.
  • Thick or thin doesn’t have to be a binary decision. You might choose a middle ground (chubby?). For example, you can have a transactional layer (not table APIs) with some logic in the database, that allows you to leverage the power of the engine. Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL are all capable of doing this. You can use this transactional layer as the foundation of your business logic layer, which may be in the database, if that is your choice, or in the application server depending on your needs. I have a preference, but making it a binary decision marginalises people. Some may say this halfway house is not the best solution, but I would argue a halfway is better than nothing, as well as sowing seeds for the future…

I spent the gap between this session and the next one speaking to John Clarke from the Real-World Performance Group. Clever guy!

Next up was a panel session called “Optimizing SQL for Performance and Maintainability” with me, Keith Laker, Nigel Bayliss, Chris Saxon, John Clarke and Connor McDonald. The most scary thing about being on a panel is actually trying to understand the questions. From the stage the PA echoed so much I could barely understand a word. 🙂 We got through quite a few questions and had a lot of laughs. I think it went well. 🙂

From there it was back to the hotel. I ended up standing outside chatting to a bunch of people for ages, then it was some goodbyes and back to my room. I’ve got an early start tomorrow for the trip home, so it was going to be an early night…

After a while I got a DM from Debra asking me to collect an oraclenerd towel and I was persuaded to go out to eat pizza. So not so much of an early night.

Let’s see how tomorrow goes… 🙂



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Wednesday – Day 3

I started the day by meeting up with a bunch of people at the Dbvisit breakfast. This has become a regular event over the last few years. Followers of the blog know I like the Dbvisit folks and they tend to attract people I find fun and interesting. After food, loads of coffee and interesting conversation, it was time to head across to the conference.

I bumped into Liron and Zohar at the OTN lounge and walked over with them to watch Connor McDonald with “12 Things DBAs will love about in 12cR2”. We joined a big queue of people, which included Toon Koppelaars and Kim Berg Hansen, all waiting to get in…

Connor’s sessions are always great. It’s a pity he had to squeeze it into 45 minutes. The combination of his session and my chat with Chris Saxon yesterday have left me really looking forward to the 12cR2 on-premise release, regardless of when it gets released. 🙂

After grabbing some lunch, I headed across to watch Chris Saxon, Connor McDonald, Steven Feuerstein, Bryn Llewellyn and Michael Rosenblum in “Optimizing PL/SQL for Performance and Maintainability”. It was a panel session, I was there early and near the front, so I got picked to do microphone duties during the session. I was the person walking around passing the mic to people wanting to ask questions. 🙂


From there it was back at the OTN lounge where I chatted to a bunch of people, whilst blocking the gangway, then I headed back to the hotel.

I showed my face briefly at the Bloggers Party and found a new home for my Appreciation Event wristband. I got to have a quick chat with Sten Vesterli about his thoughts on the future of ADF, MAF and JET. I also got to have a quick catch-up with Mike Dietrich, who I see eye-to-eye with on a bunch of subjects. 🙂

From there is was back to the hotel, where I spent the next few hours on the laptop dealing with some work, community and website issues that have been building up in my absence…

Tomorrow is the last day of OpenWorld and my last day in San Francisco!



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Tuesday – Day 2

Day 2 started a little late for me. I was up early, but I logged in to work and had to do a few things. Once I had got through that I headed down to the conference…

On the way there I bumped into Ronald Bradford and we hit the exhibition hall together. We stopped by the SolarWinds stand and noticed a “Deploy Faster” sticker. Part of the promotion for the Girls Who Code Foundation. If you see one, take a selfie with it and tweet it using the #DevelopersRule hashtag. That will get them a $10 donation!

From there I moved across to the demo grounds and made a nuisance of myself with Jeff Smith, Kris Rice and David Peake at the SQL Developer, ORDS and APEX stands…

After that I headed off to watch Dad do his Real-World Performance Group session. Unfortunately the session was full and they wouldn’t let me in. I tried both the, “Don’t you know who I am?”, and, “I just want to see my Dad speak!”, lines, but neither worked… Instead I headed back down to the demo ground to annoy more people. 🙂

I watched the start of Larry’s keynote on a big screen outside, then went down to the keynote room itself to see the second half of it. I’ve not watched a keynote live for years…

I bumped into Liron Amitzi and we spent a little time brainstorming ideas for the British Columbia Oracle User Group (BCOUG). I’ll write a separate post about that…

I met up with Chris Saxon and we discussed 12cR2 PL/SQL and SQL features. He had already done a session on it, so he gave me a quick run through. From there I headed off to watch him and Connor in “Ask Tom Live with Chris Saxon and Connor McDonald”. It was a really fun session!

A quick chat with Y.V RaviKumar and Oren Nakdimon, then I headed back to the hotel and that was Day 2 over…



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Monday – Day 1

I’ve been away from home for over a week and we’ve finally got to Day 1 of the conference… 🙂

After not feeling too great last night I skipped the bay swim. I headed down to the conference and my first stop was the AppsLab Internet of Things (IoT) Workshop. With some help from Mark Vilrokx, I have now joined the world of the cool and hip. During the workshop you get a little Arduino board that is wifi enabled. You connect a button and a speaker, then upload a program to the board. Once you’ve done all that you can press the button, it connects to the Oracle IoT Cloud Service and it plays a little tune. You can also control other people’s devices. Next stop, world domination…


From there I moved on to the “Oracle Applications User Experience Cloud Exchange”, hosted by the UsableApps folks. They had a whole bunch of stands, each demonstrating a different facet of user experience (UX). For example:

  • Large multi-screen visualisations.
  • Desktop and mobile UX from the current Oracle Cloud Applications and future directions of these products.
  • Current and future versions of the extensibility framework.
  • Rapid Development Kits (RDKs) for ADF, Mobile and JET, allowing you to quickly develop PaaS applications that look and function the same as the SaaS applications.
  • Office of the future.
  • Customer success stories.
  • Some were just plain fun, like using a toy guitar to control a player in a virtual world, who could throw Pokeballs. What’s not to love? 🙂

For someone from my background this is a totally different world.

I especially enjoyed speaking to Basheer Khan about the work his company (Knex) has been doing extending Oracle SaaS using Oracle PaaS. In a world of proof of concepts (POCs), it’s great to see someone successfully delivering real products on top of Oracle Cloud Services. It’s also good to see all the messages from the UX team being put into practice by him and is company. If you get a chance to speak to him about it you really should.

The combination of the IoT and UX sessions put me in a super-positive mood. Happy days! 🙂

From there it was back to my day job, so I headed off to see Andrew Holdsworth speaking about “Real-World Performance Monitoring: Can You Believe the CPU Numbers?” Turns out you can’t believe the numbers! The Real-World Performance Group, which Andrew heads up, always deliver quality sessions, based on science and real-world experience, rather than the fluff you get from some. I try and get to their sessions every year for this reason. There was also another reunion with Dad, who has started on the Marmite and teabags I brought him. 🙂

After that I headed down to the exhibition hall to say hello to the Dbvisit gang. They’ve got a new version of Dbvisit Standby coming out soon, as well as a product called Dbvisit Replicate Connector that can stream data from Oracle to Kafka, amongst other things. I’m definintely going to kick the tyres on both of these once they are released!



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : User Group Sunday

User Group Sunday started with the bridge run/walk. A group of us got a Ubers across to the visitors centre, then walked or ran across the bridge and back.

If I was really sad I would tell you it’s a great way to hatch Pokemon eggs and there are loads of Pokemon to catch along the bridge, but I’m not sad at all, so I don’t know this and I never did any of that… 🙂


On the way back I was getting out my camera to video something, slipped on a metal grate and ended up on my back. I didn’t get hurt in the fall, but it was kind-of embarrassing. I slipped about 3 more times on the journey back, but managed to stay on my feet.

I got back to the hotel, cleaned up, then it was down to the conference. The “EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things” session, was a 2 hour session with a large group of speakers, all doing 5 minutes on their chosen subject.

I like this lightening talk format. It means you get to touch on loads of subjects and give people lots of pointers to things to look out for. It also means the user group can get loads of speakers up on stage, rather than just 2 each year!

From there I was feeling a little wasted and walked back to the hotel with Martin Widlake, both of us doing a good impression of grumpy old men…

Once I was back at the hotel I edited the EOUC video, then my neck started to feel really stiff and I got a banging headache. By about 18:00 it became obvious I wasn’t going to make it to the Oracle ACE Dinner, so I decided I was just going to have an early night and try to sleep.

I’ve checked out some of the photos of the Oracle ACE Dinner online and it looked really cool. I’m gutted I never got to go, but I’m not sure people would appreciate me having a Machu Picchu moment there. 🙂

After a ridiculous amount of sleep I feel OK today, but my neck is still really stiff. I’m starting to think I might have tweaked it during the fall on the bridge. Let’s see how today goes.



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Newark to San Francisco

I woke up at about 05:00. After a quick check on work, I got my stuff together and headed down for the shuttle to the airport. The roads around Newark airport are terrible. Really bumpy with loads of holes. It felt like bad turbulence. 🙂

Bag drop and check-in at Newark was self service and it went OK. The security line was kind-of long, but I got lucky and was redirected to a shorter line. 🙂 Officially, Newark airport has free wifi for 30 minutes, but in reality it has no functional wifi which sucks! Ignoring the wifi issue, it’s not the worst airport I’ve been to…

The flight from Newark to San Francisco took about 5.5 hours, which wasn’t too bad. The problem was there was a 40 minute delay before we got going and about the same again waiting on the runway before we could actually get off the plane.

Doing a domestic flight makes the entrance into San Francisco so much easier. I had all the pain entering at Newark. 🙂 I got my bag and got the hotel shuttle to the Sofitel in Redwood Shores. As I got on the shuttle I met Lonneke DikmansLucas Jellema and Luc Bors. 🙂

The Sofitel in Redwood Shores will be my home for the next few days.



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Birmingham to New York

For this year’s Oracle OpenWorld I decided to spend some money and take a trip to New York before the OOW craziness begins.

There is a direct flight from Birmingham International to Newark Airport, so it’s a pretty simple journey and cuts the journey to San Francisco in half. I don’t normally take this route as it makes Newark my first point of entry into the USA, so I would have to pick up my bags and go through security again, which is a major pain. Since this time I was planning to stop at Newark anyway it wasn’t a problem. When I say it wasn’t a problem, I am carefully omitting the huge queues for immigration and the extremely rude staff…

Once I got my bags I took the Airtrack to the Newark Liberty International Airport Station, then took a train to Penn Station in New York. From there I could have taken the subway three stops to my hotel for about $2.50, but I hadn’t thought too far ahead so I took a cab for about $20 that took much longer because of the traffic. 🙂

The plan was to stop the next two nights in the Hilton Garden Inn, Central Park South, before transferring to the Hilton at Newark Airport the night before my flight to San Francisco.

All in all, the trip was fine. I’ll write about my time in New York in a separate post.



Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : Come and Play!

In a few short weeks I’ll be jetting off to Oracle OpenWorld 2016. It’s pretty crazy to think this will be my 11th visit to OOW and San Francisco…

The rough itinerary for the trip will be…

New York City. I’m going to break my flight in NYC for a few days on my way to San Francisco. I’ve only recently confirmed my flights, but as soon as I did I reached out to NYOUG to see if they wanted me to speak at a local meetup. Unfortunately the only working day I’m in NYC is Monday 12th September and that is a couple of days before a big meeting they are organising. It’s a shame we couldn’t work something out, but maybe next year?

If there is anyone in NYC that would like me to come and speak at their office on 12th, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can arrange something. If not, I’ll just be hunting Pokemon before I go to San Francisco… 🙂

User Experience (UX) Day. I’m going to San Francisco an extra day early this year as I’m taking part in the UX Day. I’m not totally sure what that entails, but I think the folks on the UX team are awesome people and I would like to know more about what they do professionally. I’m keen to feedback about the UX of Oracle Cloud, so building that relationship with team will be good.

Ace Director (ACED) Briefing. After the UX day comes the 2 day Ace Director (ACED) Briefing. We heard a lot about the future versions of several products last year, some of which have still not been released. It will be interesting to see what is in the pipeline.

So that’s three full days before OOW16 actually starts!

User Group Sunday. I’ll be taking part in the EOUC #EMEADBA sessions.

Conference: Oracle OpenWorld
Session Type: User Group Forum Session
Session ID: UGF2630 + UGF2632 (It’s one big double-session)
Session Title: EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things: Part I & II
Room: Moscone South – 102
Date and Time: 18th September 2016, 13:00 – 15:00 (1-3 PM)

In previous years we’ve focused on 12c features. This year Debra suggested people pick their favourite feature for their 5 minute slot and there is a really good mix of features, spanning database versions Oracle 7 to Oracle 12c. I’ve got 5 minutes on Data Pump. 🙂

I really like these sessions. The pace is great, if a little frantic at times. You cover lots of ground in a small time. Even if you don’t care about a specific subject, it’s only 5 minutes until the next speaker. 🙂

SQL Panel Session. I’ve been invited to join in on a SQL Panel Session later in the week.

Session Type: Panel Session
Session ID: CON6557
Session Title: Optimizing SQL for Performance and Maintainability
Room: Moscone South – 103
Date and Time: 22nd September 2016, 13:15 – 02:00 (1:15-2:00 PM)

I was in something similar last year and it was really scary, but good fun!

Of course, I’ll spend the whole week trying to get involved in whatever is going and generally making a nuisance of myself. 🙂

If you are going to be at OOW16 and you see me, please come and say hello. Speaking to people about geek stuff is the best thing about conferences!



OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 : It’s a Wrap!

laotn16The OTN Tour of Latin America (Northern Leg) is now over for another year.

Each tour comes with its own set of challenges. As the tour progresses you get increasingly more tired and less able to cope with those challenges. The journey from Guatemala to Pereira broke me. It was like my adrenal glands had burnt out and there was nothing left in the tank. When I get into that state I just want to be quiet and on my own until I feel normal again. Not exactly possible when you have a two day conference ahead of you.

These tours provide an unusual mixture of experiences and emotions. I love meeting new people and geeking out with them. I hate the travelling associated with the tours. Queues, airports, queues, plane rides, queues, taxis, queues and hotels get pretty old pretty quickly. I dislike the total helplessness you feel at times during the process. Unfortunately, until someone gets round to inventing a teleport system, that’s the way it is.

Despite all that I would still recommend people do them if they get the chance. They are hard work and you will spend a lot of your own cash, but they are also very rewarding and open your mind. Just don’t expect it to be glamorous. 🙂

Here’s a list of blog posts I made during the last couple of weeks.

Each has a YouTube video embedded. You can watch the montage videos of just the events on this playlist.

You can see my less than glamorous travel montages (plus a couple of proper glamorous sightseeing trips) on this sarcastically name playlist.

So that’s it. Another tour in the bag. Thanks to the ACE Program for funding the flights and accommodation. Without you this would not be possible for me. Thanks to all the user groups for their help in organising their respective events and inviting me. Thanks also to all the attendees for coming to the events. I hope to see you all again!



PS. I’ll never do a tour again… Until the next time…

OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 : Pereira, Colombia to Home

laotn16The day started quite normally. I met Debra at about 08:00 for breakfast. We had a chat, then said our goodbyes, as she was leaving a few hours before me.

The hotel kindly allowed me to check out at 14:00, so I went to the gym, then went back to my room to chill until it was time to leave. Whilst in my room I started to feel a little unwell. I had visions of a Machu Picchu incident on the flight home, which made me nervous, making me feel even worse.

I got to the airport about 2 hours before the flight. That’s about 90 minutes too early at Pereira as it’s a really small airport. Check in was fine, and I got my bags checked straight through to Birmingham, which was a result.

The airport was fine, but it was really hot, which made me feel even worse. I put my bag on my knees, then used my neck cushion as a pillow and tried to sleep. Not ideal, but better than being awake in that heat. At one point I saw Frank Munz. He had lounge access, but I was flying on a different airline so he couldn’t sign me in.

About 45 minutes before the flight I moved to the boarding gate. It was much cooler, which came as a relief. I got a drink from a vending machine, took some paracetamol and tried to relax. As I was drinking I realized I was probably dehydrated. I had sweat buckets in the gym during the morning and the night before and I doubt I had drunk enough to make up for it.

We boarded and the row opposite was empty, so I took that row, which allowed me to get some footage of the flight without feeling trapped. The drink, pills and distraction of filming made me feel a lot better.

I got to Bogota airport, walked out of domestic arrivals and straight over to international check-in and the Lufthansa gate. I don’t know who I was praying to, but I was literally praying my air miles upgrade had gone through. Fortunately it had, so I headed up to the lounge for the 2.5 hours before my next flight. The thought of being able to lie flat on the 11+ hour overnight flight to Frankfurt and the endless supply of peanuts in the lounge lifted my mood no end. 🙂

Having a business class upgrade made boarding really simple. I was in a window seat, which normally starts my, “I’m trapped in my seat”, reflex, but that wasn’t too much of a problem until about half way through the flight when my stomach went crazy. I was back and forward to the toilet about 6 times in the second half of the flight. I was able to step over the guy in the next seat, so I didn’t have to keep waking him.

At Frankfurt airport I rushed straight for my next plane, which was listed as boarding as I arrived. Fortunately it was a little late leaving so I got to it with time to spare, most of which was spent in the toilet.

The flight home was fine. I think it took about 80 minutes. Of course, by that time I was so sick of being on a plane the slightest things were bugging me. People talking too loud. Babies crying. The noise of the earphones on the guy next to me. People being nice to me. 🙂 I had to keep reminding myself tolerance was super-low because of the trip.

I arrived in Birmingham a little late and the queue at security was horrendous. Luckily it moved really fast in the automatic queue. My bag was one of the first on the conveyor, so I grabbed it and made a dash for the taxis, where I joined another queue. 🙂

Suffice to say I made it home in one piece. Headache, bad stomach, I think I have a temperature, but I’m home all the same…

Final travel video and wrap-up post tomorrow I guess. 🙂