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.



SANGAM15 – See you there!


I mentioned my Oracle OpenWorld 2015 trip in a previous post. Yesterday evening I picked up my passport with my lovely new India visa in it!

The talks are written. The flights are booked. The hotel is booked. I have a visa. So that’s me sorted for SANGAM15 in November! :)

It’s going to be a rather hectic few days. I fly out, do the 2 day conference, then fly straight home. It looks like I will be in aeroplanes and airports longer than I will actually be in India. :)

If you are coming along to the conference, be sure to come and say hello. :)



OTN Yathra 2014 : It’s a Wrap


The OTN Yathra 2014 tour is over and I’m back home now. Here are all the blog posts from the tour.

Although I come from the second biggest city in the UK, Birmingham has a very slow pace in comparison to other UK cities. Friends had told me how busy India was, so I was quite nervous about this trip and how I would cope with it. My initial fears were confirmed during my first taxi ride from Amritsar airport to Jalandhar. Getting ill on the first morning of the tour wasn’t a good omen either. Once the kind folks at the Lovely Professional University sorted me out with some medical attention, things started to get better and I started to believe I might make it to the end of the tour alive. :)

As the tour progressed I got into my stride and really started to enjoy the whole process. As I’ve said many times, I’m not a fan of travelling, but I like being at different places. The travelling part of this tour was very strenuous, which was my own fault for choosing to do all 7 events, but that was easily outweighed by getting the opportunity to connect with the attendees and speakers in all the cities.

Here come the much deserved thank you messages:

  • Thanks to everyone from All India Oracle Users Group (AIOUG) involved in the organisation of this tour. Aman, SaiSatyendra and Murali did a great job of making the logistics as simple as possible.
  • Thank you to Oracle Corporation for the use of their offices and to all the Universities that let us visit them.
  • A big thank you goes out to Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and the Oracle ACE Program, without whom this tour would not have happened.
  • Thank you to my fellow speakers. I’m not sure I would have stayed sane on my journey from Jalandhar to Noida without the company of Raj Mattamal. :) Raj, Debra and Hans were welcome distractions from the hours spent in airports, planes and taxis. Thanks everyone for putting up with me. Thanks to all the other speakers that dotted in and out for specific events. It was fun to hook up with you all.
  • Finally, thank you to all the attendees for coming and supporting this event! Without you being there, the events would not happen, so if you want to see more of these events in future, please join AIOUG and get your friends to join too. :)

My lasting memories of India will be:

  • Crazy traffic.
  • Fantastic food.
  • Very friendly people.

Until next time…



OTN Yathra 2014


I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately, mostly because I’ve been spending my time freaking out about the arrangements for the OTN Yathra 2014 tour of India. I had to apply for a visa, which in itself was not too bad, but I spent quite a long time without a passport, thanks to the courier not bothering to attempt a delivery. All that time I didn’t know if my visa application had been successful, so I wasn’t sure if I would have to submit it again. By the time that arrived, it was so late that booking the flights became interesting… At one point I wrote to Debra Lilley and said words to the effect of, I think this is just not meant to be!

Well tonight (Tuesday evening) I got my flights confirmed for my trip that I start on Sunday. :)

This is proving to be quite an expensive trip.

  • Visa: $130.00 – About £110 for the visa itself, and about £20 for the courier service.
  • Vaccinations: £250 – I feel like a human pincushion now. I had a bunch of boosters that were due, as well as stuff specifically for India.
  • Malaria Pills: £80 – We are in low risk areas (cities), but we are doing a couple of journeys between cities by bus, which travel through high-risk areas (countryside), so they advised me not to take any chances. I could have got the cheaper pills for about £8, but I decided to go for the ones with less side affects. I don’t see the point in travelling all that way to stand on a stage and feel like crap because of the anti-malaria pills. At least these should minimise the chances of that. If so, that’s worth a few extra quid.

For those that think this Oracle ACE thing is a free ride, you don’t get any of this money back!

I’ve still got stuff to get, like insect repellent. My pastey white skin seems to be very appetising to insects and I am not a stranger to infections when I do get bitten. Fingers crossed I can avoid the worst of it…

Getting to this point has been a bit of a trial. :) Thanks to everyone who has helped. Murali put together a great pack to help the speakers plan the trip and Lillian and Vikki from the Oracle ACE Program have done a great job pushing through my last minute travel bookings!

Normally I’m doing the thanks when the events are over. :)

Let’s hope everything from now on goes a little smoother than it has up until now!





OTNYathra 2014 : India OTN Tour


Just a quick note to say the top-level approval for OTNYathra 2014 – India OTN Tour has been granted. Next, we’ve got to submit our individual travel approvals and see how that goes. If everything goes to plan, I will be representing the Oracle ACE Program on this tour in February, which visits the following locations.

  • Jalandhar – 18th February
  • Noida – 20th February
  • Mumbai – 22nd February
  • Pune – 23rd February
  • Hyderabad – 25th February
  • Bangalore – 27th February
  • Chennai – 1st March

Fingers crossed everything goes to plan. :)