ODC Appreciation Day 2017 : It’s a Wrap (#ThanksODC)

Yesterday was the Oracle Developer Community ODC Appreciation Day (#ThanksODC).

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Here is the list of posts I saw in chronological order. If I missed you out, give me a shout and I’ll add you. 🙂

Four people chose the “online datafile move” feature, which is a feature I love too, so I guess that comes out top of this list in terms of popularity. 🙂

It’s always good to see some of the entires in languages other than English!

It’s wrong to have favourites, but the entry that made me the most happy was that of Flora B., who was inspired by this event to write her first blog post ODC Appreciation Day : EM CLI. That’s great!

In addition to the people who posted blogs, thanks to all those people that tweeted their favourite feature, and took the time to retweet everything. It was fun to watch them all coming in.

Once again, thanks everyone for getting involved and of course #ThanksODC! 🙂

Same-ish time next year! Add a comment if you have any ideas for themes for next year. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

ODC Appreciation Day : Silent Installation and Configuration (Automation) : #ThanksODC

Here is my entry for the Oracle Developer Community ODC Appreciation Day (#ThanksODC).

I’ve been mentioning automation a lot recently, both in relation to the cloud and on-prem. The OpenWorld announcements about the Autonomous Database service are not the first thing Oracle has done to ease automation of repetitive tasks. In fact, Oracle has quite a long history of making automation of installation and configuration easy.

I’m not sure what version introduced silent installations of the database, but I first wrote about them when using Oracle 9i (here), with the article changing a lot over the years. In addition to making installations faster, more repeatable and less error prone, they are also important these days if you are using a cloud provider for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), since using X emulation to perform tasks can be super-slow. Over the years I’ve also written about silent installations of WebLogic, Oracle Forms, ODI and OBIEE to name but a few.

In addition to installations, Oracle has made silent configuration possible too. Running the Database Configuration Assistant (DBCA) in silent mode is pretty simple (here). WebLogic Scripting Tool (WLST) is a not always easy, but it is a really powerful way to script build processes for WebLogic servers (here). If you are using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control, you will find an API for pretty much everything, allowing you to script using EMCLI (here).

You can find a number of articles I’ve written related to silent installation and configuration using the links above, or grouped under this section of my website.

A good knowledge of this subject is important if you want to start checking out Docker, because you will be doing silent builds and configuration for everything.

When you are learning something new it is nice to use GUI screens, as they often feel a little simpler at first and sometimes give you a little more context about what you are doing. Once you’ve covered the basics you should really switch to scripting, as it will make you more efficient. When I first started to manage WebLogic servers I resisted the switch to using WLST for quite some time. It seemed a little complicated and I was in denial until Lonneke Dikmans persuaded me to try it. Once I got into it I never looked back! 🙂

To summarise the advantages of scripting your installations and configuration, they are:

  • Faster.
  • More reliable.
  • More repeatable.
  • Work fine on the cloud and in Docker.
  • Easily maintainable and can be version controlled.

If you’re not using this stuff already, do yourself a favour and give it a go. You will thank yourself!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : It’s a Wrap

Time for a final post to summarize the craziness that was OpenWorld 2017. 🙂

For me the story of this year’s OpenWorld was the emphasis on humans doing stuff where humans add value, rather than doing boring crap that can be automated.

The obvious thing people will jump on is the Autonomous Database announcement, which I’ve written about already, but the story follows through many aspects of the conference.

The interest in chatbots is quite high at the moment. From a work perspective, it’s not about replacing every application you have with a voice or messenger interaction. It’s about finding use-cases where they work well. Having a chatbot that deals with trivial interactions frees up humans to deal with more important stuff. Over the last few years products using natural language processing for text and voice interaction have come a long way. Many people have devices in their pocket that do this pretty well (Siri on Apple and “OK Google” on Android). Products like Amazon Echo and Google Home have made voice interaction seem normal. As they become more normal, people will expect these services from you.

In the apps world there is an emphasis on making things simpler by making the apps more intelligent. Rather than expecting the user to fill in every bit of information, you default the most likely responses based on the information you have about that user. This could be a simple as pre-filling an address, or as complicated as using machine learning to make educated guesses at what they want. It’s all about making basic interactions as efficient as possible so user time can be spent more productively.

Cloud providers are a great example of software defined data centers. If you choose to move to the cloud, the cloud provider has done the heavy lifting for you. If you want to continue to work on-prem, you need to learn the lessons of the cloud providers and remove humans as much as possible from the process of deploying and managing virtual machines, containers, databases, app servers, networking, load balancers and firewalls etc. Those people can then focus on more architectural, development and performance-related issues.

We speak about the benefits of agile and DevOps all the time, but many people get caught up in the tooling and automation associated with this. Cloud providers take a lot of that burden off us, and tools like Oracle Developer Cloud Service, available for free if you have some other Oracle cloud services, save you from having to worry about some of that development tooling. Other cloud providers offer similar services.

The list goes on…

None of these messages are new, but it has taken me some time to adjust to some of them. Sometimes you have to have a personal use-case to really appreciate things. My experience of cloud services, voice devices, Docker and seeing data center automation using VMware Software Development Data Center have made me more responsive than I think I was before.

People often have a fear of change, and speaking about automation makes people think job cuts, but as I mentioned before this is about stopping people worrying about boring stuff and getting them to focus on where they add value. I don’t see this reducing the head-count in our IT department. I see it reducing the grunt work and directing resource at more important stuff. We are so preoccupied with the crap, we never get to stretch our wings…

Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program and the Oracle Developer Champions Program for making this all possible for me!

So that’s another visit to San Francisco done. Due to funding changes I don’t know if I will visit again. Time will tell.

Here are the 14 posts that relate to this trip.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Developer Champion Product Briefing

Another night of broken sleep and another early start. 🙂 I walked across to Oracle HQ with Bjoern Rost, where we grabbed some food, said some hellos and started the day.

This is the first Developer Champion Product Briefing, and there were some faces that were new to me. There were about 20 Developer Champions, made up of some Oracle ACEs, some Java Champions and some others. There was also a bunch Oracle staff, so most of the day the room had about 30 people in it.

It’s good to have a mixed crowd in the room. It’s far too easy to stick within your little echo chamber and have a very blinkered view of the world. Seeing the way others reacted to the content from the day was very interesting.

We were under NDA, so I’m not going to risk saying something I shouldn’t and getting into trouble. The vast majority of the information was stuff that you will hear next week, so you’re not missing out, there’s just a time lag. 🙂 I like to think much of the value was in our feedback, but that’s probably me just being overly self-important.

As far as next week is concerned I would suggest:

  • Judge the announcements on the detail, not the headlines. The headline is the Tinder photo, not the person you will end up sitting across the table from.
  • There is some interesting stuff that is possibly not what you were expecting. I like vanilla icecream, but if I’m expecting to taste chocolate and I get vanilla it’s going to make me pull a face. Once I reset my expectation, vanilla is nice.
  • Just because a feature/product/service isn’t a good fit for me, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a bunch of people out there who will want it. Despite what I believe, I am not the center of the universe.

Doing 10 hours of geek is pretty tough, especially when you have very little expertise in some of the areas.

We went straight from the briefing to get some food and before I knew it, it was bed time. What a tough day!

Big thanks to the Developer Champion Program for inviting me and putting on this event. Thanks to the speakers for making time for us at the busiest time of the year! A special fanboy thanks goes out to Wim Coekaerts for coming back to us. I’ll get to stalk him again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the ACE Director briefing, which has a large percentage of database stuff in it, so I will be on more familiar territory, and get more detail about what I heard today. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…