AIOUG Sangam15 : It’s a Wrap!


The whole Sangam15 experience is over for me now!

Here are the posts I put out during the trip.

I did my thank you messages in the Day 2 post, but once again I would like to say a big thank you to AIOUG for inviting me, to the Oracle ACE Program for getting me to the event and to all the attendees for making it a great event and for making my Facebook go nuts! :)

See you all soon!



AIOUG Sangam15 : The Journey Home


The night before a morning flight is always a little tricky for me. I lie in bed thinking, “What if I oversleep?”, which winds me up and makes it really hard to relax and drop off. I dozed on and off, but eventually gave up, turned the TV on and watched some films for a few hours.

I grabbed a quick breakfast and got the taxi to the airport. The hotel staff advised leaving at 07:00 for a 10:15 flight. The traffic was very light and the queues for check-in and security very small, so I ended up sitting at the boarding gate two hours before the flight. Better to be early than late!

Hyderabad airport is very clean, modern and has some reclining seats so I was able to chill out for a while. :)

The flight from Hyderabad to Dubai took about 3.5 hours. It was relatively uneventful, but rather uncomfortable. I had an aisle seat, but the guy in the centre decided he wanted to sit with his elbows digging into my ribs and his leg pressed against mine. I wouldn’t mind so much if he was a big guy and couldn’t help it, but he was a skinny little thing, so taking all of his space and part of mine seemed unnecessary. :)

As soon as we landed in Dubai airport, I grabbed some food and headed off for the boarding gate. Very soon we were on the plane and heading to Birmingham. I enquired about an upgrade, but it was going to cost $2,500 USD, so that wasn’t going to happen. :)

I got to experience wifi on the plane for the first time. It’s been “available” on other flights, but I’ve never got it to work before. I got it working on the flight between Dubai and Birmingham. It was ultra-slow, but better than nothing and only $1. :) It made the 7 hour flight go a lot quicker.

I arrived back in Birmingham safe and sound. After a quick taxi ride home I put my washing on, scrubbed the smell of aeroplane off me and went to bed!



AIOUG Sangam15 : Day 2


My session on Day 2 started at 11:10, where I spoke about running Oracle Databases in the Cloud. This included a quick run through of the Oracle DBaaS offering and AWS RDS for Oracle amongst other things.

The session generated a lot of interest. In fact, I spent the next 5 hours answering questions and taking photos with people. It sounds kind-of crazy, but it was really good fun. As a result, I didn’t get to see any sessions, but as I said yesterday, I feel my purpose here is to connect with people and that is exactly what I did for 5 hours straight. Thanks to everyone that came to speak to me. You made me feel very special and I hope I was able to help you. It never ceases to amaze me what an impact one little website can have!

From there it was on to the closing talks. In addition to the normal closing speeches, there was a motivational talk by DR Rajdeep Manwani. I really enjoyed the talk and judging by the reaction of the crowd, so did everyone else. The talk used several anecdotes and his personal experiences to put across the message that your success or failure is your responsibility. You can blame others when things go wrong (external locus of control) or take personal responsibility (internal locus of control). Ultimately, successful people are those that take personal responsibility and do something about it, rather than blame the world for their failings. I wholeheartedly agree.

After that I spent some time saying my goodbyes, then it was off to get some food and then to bed, ready for my early start for the trip home.

I would like to say a big thank you to the AIOUG for inviting me and to all the AIOUG volunteers that made the event go so well. Thanks also to the Oracle ACE Program for getting me to the event. My special thanks go to all the attendees that made me feel really special for two days.

Tomorrow is the journey home. Fingers crossed for free upgrades to Emirates business class! :)



AIOUG Sangam15 : Day 1


I was up at about 04:00 on Saturday and waiting for breakfast to open at 06:30. Pretty much as soon as I ate something I felt really tired again. That after a day of sleeping… :)

I headed on down to the conference and instantly saw a bunch of friendly faces, including lots of people I had met on the OTN Yathra 2014 Tour.

After the keynotes, I got to have a quick chat about User Groups with Mary Lou Dopart from Oracle, then it was off to my first session about database consolidation.

I’m always more nervous about giving introductory/overview sessions than I am about full-on technical sessions. My database consolidation session is a little bit like a history lesson of consolidation, including old and new. The response was very good. I had a lot of people wanting to speak to me afterward, which meant I missed the next two sessions. I don’t mind that, as I feel my purpose here is to interact with as many people as possible. As long as people want to speak to me I’m willing to speak. :)

After lunch I had a major energy crash again. Whenever I was speaking to people I felt really up-beat, but as soon as the conversation stopped I felt like I wanted to collapse on the floor and sleep. To play it safe I went back to my room to sleep for a couple of hours.

Next up I went to see Debaditya Chatterjee and Giridhar Ravipati speaking about “Oracle Multitenant Best Practices”. Some points that came out of that were.

  • Always use the AL32UTF8 character set for the CDB. Most other character sets can be converted to that to allow them to become PDBs and in a future version, we might be able to plug in a PDB with any character set, provided it is a subset of the CDB character set.
  • Use OMF, as it simplifies file management substantially.
  • Consider the impact of operations, like patching. Are you patching all PDBs, or not? If not, you will be using the unplug/plug approach to patching.
  • Standardise as much as possible.
  • Size SGA, redo and undo correctly to allow for the combined needs of the consolidated workload.
  • Always use Resource Manager to control resource usage of each PDB.
  • Don’t modify PDB$SEED. Create a new PDB with the modifications, then use that as the clone source, for new PDBs, instead of the seed.
  • Stagger maintenance windows within a CDB so all PDBs aren’t doing maintenance tasks at the same time.

Some points about possible features in 12.2 were also mentioned, including:

  • Maximum number of PDBs increased from 252 to 4096.
  • PDB memory management via resource manager.
  • Ability to set CPU_COUNT at the PDB level to allow the equivalent of instance caging for the PDB.
  • Hot cloning of PDBs and incremental PDB refresh.
  • Application containers, to allow common definitions across all similar PDBs. Useful for ISVs who require many copies of the same PDB, like one for each customer.
  • Online relocate of PDB from on-premise to cloud, as demoed by Larry Ellison at OpenWorld 2015

Remember, all talk of 12.2 is covered by the safe harbour slide, so those features might not end up in the final release. :)

After speaking to Debaditya and Giridhar, we headed off to a panel session to close the day. As most people will know, putting me on a panel can be a dangerous thing. I ended up having something to say about almost everything. Panels are a mix of scary and fun. :) As usual, the session was followed by additional questions and conversations which lasted about an hour. :)

After saying a few quick goodbyes, it was off to grab some food, then back to my room to sleep some more. Are you starting to sense a pattern here? :)

Overall, day 1 was a really fun experience. Let’s hope day 2 does not come with quite so much jet-lag! :)



AIOUG Sangam15 : The Journey Begins


The day started pretty early. I was packing at 00:00 and the alarm went off at 05:00. Nothing like last minute packing to focus the mind. :)

The taxi to the airport was good. The driver was interesting, speaking to me about his visits to India and Pakistan. It certainly helps pass the time when the driver is chatty.

I wasn’t able to check-in online, but there was no queue at the check-in desk, so that was quick. It’s such a short trip I’m only traveling with hand luggage, but I still checked it. I can’t be bothered to fight for overhead locker space with everyone. The queue for security was really long, but they had all the sections open, so it moved quickly. I had to get my laptop scanned because … reasons?

Once through security I bought myself a coffee and promptly threw it across the floor. Embarrassing much! I was hoping to find some floor to take a nap on, but after shaming myself with the coffee situation, I thought the last thing I needed was to shame myself further by sleeping on the floor. I try to limit myself to one shameful moment per airport visit…

The flight from Birmingham to Dubai was easy. It was meant to be 6.5 hours, but we arrived early. The plane was half empty, so there was free space next to me. Happy days. During the flight I watched:

After a 2.5 hour layover in Dubai, it was time for the next flight. The flight from Dubai to Hyderabad was really busy and some lucky people, including me, got upgrades to business class (see video). It was only a 3 hour flight, but I’m all about the business class these days! :) The important thing about upgrades is you have to pretend it wasn’t a free upgrade and you could afford it. :) During the flight I watched the second half of Mission Impossible : Rogue Nation. It was quite good.

After a very pleasant flight, I arrived at Hyderabad and bumped into Kamran Agayev at customs. We agreed to share a taxi to the hotel, then I made him wait for over an hour for my bag to arrive. It was really embarrassing. Sorry mate!

I’m now firmly ensconced in the hotel (see video). It’s 05:24 and I plan to spend the whole of today (Friday) in bed playing catch-up, before the conference starts on Saturday.



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : It’s a Wrap


I’m back home from Oracle OpenWorld 2015. My overall feeling for this year was evolution, not revolution. We got newer versions of some products, like APEX, WebLogic, SOA Suite and Oracle Forms, just before the conference. We got previews of new versions of products, like Oracle Database 12cR2 during the conference, which we might get next year.

Of course, there was a heavy emphasis on cloud, but the difference between this year and previous years was some of the product are now generally available (GA), so it’s possible to trial or buy them. In previous years, you could only use some of the cloud products if you were “special”.

Not surprisingly, Oracle are trying to ease the migration from on premise to cloud with hybrid options, like their private cloud offering. I expect this is pretty much the way OpenWorld will be for the next few years until the cloud vision is complete, or something else comes along.

Many thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for getting me across to San Francisco again. Thanks for the invites to the EMEA group presentation and the Oracle SQL Panel session. Both were good fun. Also, a big thanks to everyone who took the time to speak with me during the week. It is this aspect of any conference that I enjoy the most.

Here is a list of posts during the trip.



Update: You can see a random video of some footage from OOW15 here.

Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : The Journey Home


I was awake at 04:30, about 15 minutes before my alarm and wake-up call. That reduced the levels of panic normally associated with such an early start. I dropped off my key-card with the guy on the hotel check-out and got into the waiting car and off I went.

I think this was the first time I’ve ever left San Francisco via the domestic terminal. Getting the bags checked in and doing security was pretty straight forward, so I sat down with about 90 minutes spare before the flight.

The flight to Newark was event free, but the guy on the arrival gate at Newark was a complete dick. As we walked through, he said, “Welcome to Boston”, which I can only assume was meant to be a joke. Yeah. Great joke. Idiot!

When I originally booked the flight I had a choice of a 1, 2 or 3 hour layover. Having had a couple of bad experiences at Newark before, I opted for the 3 hour layover. As it turned out, our arrival gate was right next door to the departure gate, so I found myself wishing I had picked the 1 hour layover. Of course, the later planes may not have been so conveniently located, so better safe than sorry.

The flight time from Newark to Birmingham was mercifully short. So short in fact we had to wait for a gate to become free to disembark on the Birmingham end.

After a quick taxi ride, I was home…



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : Thursday


Thursday is always an odd day at OpenWorld. The exhibition hall and demo grounds are closed, people start to drift off during the morning and some people party too hard the evening before. :)

Moscone South was really quiet, but there were still enough people to distract me from going to sessions. :) I headed off to get lunch with Martin Klier and John Kelly, which was good fun. I also spent a long time talking with Zahid Anwar, before meeting up with Heli and heading back to the hotel.

It was a short day, but it marked the end of OOW15 for me. I’ve got a very early start tomorrow for the journey home…



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : Wednesday


Wednesday started early. I was invited over to breakfast with the Dbvisit crew, which was a great start to the day. I met Arjen years ago and the Dbvisit team have continued to be good people ever since. It’s always good when I get to meet up with them!

After breakfast I headed over to the OTN Lounge and just parked there for a big chunk of the day. Having the lounge in the main concourse of Moscone South is great as there is a constant flow of people to meet, but it does mean that someone like me who likes to chat will get stuck there for hours. :) Every time I meant to leave, someone interesting would come along. As a result I missed all the sessions I was meant to go to. :)

At about 16:00 I walked over to the “Optimizing SQL for Performance and Maintainability” session. The panel was made up of Mohamed Zait, John Clarke, Connor Mcdonald and me, with Gerard Laker keeping the show running. The quality of the other panelists and the fact I was the only non-Oracle person made it a little daunting. Looking out on the audience didn’t help much either, as there was a who’s who of people you really don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of. :) I think collectively, we handled the questions pretty well, but I left the hard ones to the clever people. :) I like to think I represented the average-Joe DBA/Developer. Connor and I hung around for a while after the session to continue answering questions.

From there, it was across to the Bloggers Meetup, which was a great opportunity to hook up with all the people I had not already seen during the week so far. I got to have a good chat with Robyn Sands, who said some nice things about my comments during the panel session, which was a relief. Not surprisingly, I also got to film a few more “.com” clips. :)

As people started to leave for the Appreciation Event, I planned to head back to the hotel to crash, but I was easily persuaded to go for a curry with Jeff Smith, Scott Spendolini, Mike Hichwa, Kris Rice, Colm Divilly and Todd Trichler.

After that, it was back to the hotel to reflect on another rather random, but enjoyable, day…



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : Tuesday


The day started in the normal way, with a quick blog post about the previous day and a visit to the gym.

The original plan for the day was to hit the demo grounds again. I popped into OakTable World for the quick chat with a few folks and ended up staying for quite while. I watched some of the Ted-style talks, specifically Tim Gorman, Jonathan Lewis and Martin Klier. I then got chatting to some folks outside, before heading back in to see Gwen Shapira do a session on Kafka.

Whilst I was there I got to film a few “.com” clips for my videos, with funniest setup being Tanel Poder. He saw me filming some other folks and just launched in, not knowing what was going on and struck a pose. It took a bit of prompting before he realised he had to say something. You’ve got to love the enthusiasm. :)

GrahamWoodI got to admire Connor’s t-shirt and most importantly, I got to meet up with my dad!

From there I headed off to the demo grounds, where I inevitably ended up at the SQL Developer stand, speaking to Kris Rice and who turns up but Connor McDonald. :)

From the demo grounds I went to grab some food with Connor, then I headed back to the hotel to crash out.

It was a good day, which goes to prove my point, you’ve just got to go with the flow when you are at OOW. Plans are good, but don’t worry if they don’t work out.