Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day 4


My RAC Attack session was pretty early, so I headed straight there for the morning.

The OCP lounge always has drinks and food, so regular pitstops there are the norm for me at OOW. If you have OCP or above, it’s really worth dropping by on the first day and getting your ribbons, so you can do regular refreshment stops during the week. :)

After RAC Attack it is was back to the demo grounds to do another quick tour. Basically, I was looking for new faces to speak to and quizzing people further about stuff I had discussed on previous days. Sometimes you have to let this stuff stew a while before you can think of more questions. :)

I bumped into Tom Kyte before his SQL Tuning Experts panel session. He said something like, “Ah, Mr Hall”, to which I replied, “Mr? I didn’t do 5 years at evil medical school to be called Mr!” That comment came back to bite me during the panel session when I put my hand up to ask a question and he said something like, “A question from DR Hall…” The shame…

SQL Tuning Experts Panel

Some of the take-home points from this include:

  • The optimizer’s short term memory has become longer, as some of the dynamic statistics and cardinality feedback information can now be persisted to the SYSAUX tablespace.
  • SQL Monitor is the the best tool in 11g to troubleshoot performance problems.
  • SQL Performance Analyzer is a great way to check the impact of changes on SQL performance.
  • Stats have to be representative, not necessarily new.
  • Pending stats save you from screwing up all your plans every night. :)
  • In 12c, Enhanced Real-Time ADDM runs every 3 seconds to give you up to date advice on things that are happening on your system.

Five Things about SQL and PL/SQL you might not have known.

This included a mix of new stuff in 12c and existing stuff. My laptop battery was dead at this point, so I was making notes on my Nexus 7, so I only recorded the 12c stuff.

  • Implicit return of result sets:
    – The DBMS_SQL package new contains overloaded RETURN_RESULT procedures to push cursor variables back to the calling client code.
    – This is similar to how SQL Server can return result sets using SELECT without defining out parameters.
    – SQL*Plus automatically shows the implicit output.
    – PL/SQL can manipulate them using the GET_NEXT_RESULT function to return the next cursor variable.
    – This is a migration feature, so there is no need to replace existing procedures and functions that return cursor variables to return record sets.
  • Global Temporary Table Statistics can be session specific. It is controlled using a statistics preference, allowing them to be set to global or session-specific.
  • The cardinality of pipelined table functions was discussed. These is a subtle change in 12c as the cardinality feedback introduced in 11g is persisted in 12c.

Evening Social Events

In the evening it was off to the bloggers meetup. Every year I get to put more real faces to the names and twitter handles I’ve got used to seeing. It’s really good to meet everyone properly and have a little chat.

After that it was off to the appreciation event, or the everlasting buss ride as it turned out to be. I ended up seeing the last couple of songs by Kings of Leon, who sounded OK. I saw most of Perl Jam, but was a little dissapointed. The sound quality was a little poor and they weren’t as tight as I would have expected. That’s not to say they were bad, just not as good as I wanted them to be. I think maybe I should play Ten and pretend I’m twenty again and convince myself it was the best gig ever…

All in all a pretty crazy day…



Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day 3


Day 3 was similar to day 2 for me. I spent a lot of time hanging around the RAC Attack sessions. A lot of people pass through, so in addition to helping people set up virtualized RAC, there are always interesting people to talk to.

I did some serious demo grounds cruising again, including:

  • Data Pump Enhancements in 12c.
    – You can now do all the transportable tablespace stuff in a single hit using NETWORK_LINK.
  • PL/SQL Enhancements in 12c.
    – I’ll talk more about these in a summary of a Tom Kyte presentation in a later post.
  • Global Data Services in 12c.
    – Define a single service that can load balance across multiple replicated databases. This is independent of replication method.
  • Oracle Linux. I went back and spent some time chatting with Lenz Grimmer again. He’s really good value!
  • Oracle Text in 12c (Rodger Ford).

I finally got to meet Jeff Smith and David Haimes in person. It’s always a bit odd meeting people for the first time when you feel you already know them…

I went back to the hotel to dump my bag before heading out and accidentally went to bed, so that’s a second night of no social events for me… :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day 2


The cold continues…

I decided than rather than trying to sit in sessions and struggle to cope I would do my stint at RAC Attack and spend the day on the demo grounds…

The demo grounds are a really awesome way to get information because you are often speaking to the developers and product specialists working on code itself. In my opinion, you get a much better fix on what is going on that sitting in a presentation.

I got to speak to a bunch of people for a few hours about:

  • Oracle Linux (Lenz Grimmer).
  • Unstructured Data and XML DB (Mark Drake).
    – XML DB is mandatory in 12c.
    – The new Enterprise Manager Express runs from within the database using the XML DB infrastructure,. This replaces the deprecated Database Control.
  • Optimizer enhancements in 12c (Alison Lee and Maria Colgan).
    – Adaptive Plans : The optimizer can change the plan during execution if it determines the cardinality estimates it made are not accurate.
    – Adaptive Statistics : The optimizer can store information about adaptive plans to allow it to make better estimates in future.
    – Existing information, like cardinality feedback can now be persisted, rather than being aged out and lost.
  • DBFS Enhancements in 12c.
    – Addition of WebDav support, so other platforms can use it as a real filesystem, without the Linux FUSE project.
  • Edition-Based Redefinition Enhancements in 12c.
    – Marking objects as non-editionalble.
  • Pluggable Databases in 12c.
    – Separating the internal Oracle metadata (container database – CDB) from the user metadata (plugable database – PDB)
    – Easier upgrades, clones and migrations.
    – Reduced namespace clashes. Public synonyms and DB links for each plugable database within the same instance.
  • Compression Enhancements in 12c (Graham Wood).
  • Far Sync Server (Graham Wood).
  • SQL Developer.
  • Data Redaction in 12c.
  • Data masking and data subsetting in Cloud Control 12cR2.

Sorry if I missed anyone or anything out of the list.

I think it may have been the Blogger meetup last night, but I was too tired so I went back to the hotel and dropped into a coma for a few hours. :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day 1


Day 1 turned out to be a little awkward for me because I was feeling pretty under the weather. I’ve been nursing a very minor cold for a couple of weeks and I think the lack of sleep has made it kick up a gear.

I went to a DB tuning session and an ADF deployment session, then I felt out for the count. At lunch time I went and watched a movie (review to come), then I went back to my room and vegetated for the rest of the day. It felt like a bit of a waste of a day, but I really wasn’t able to cope with anything more.

In the evening it was the ACE Dinner. I ate loads of food and talked until my throat was dead. It was fun, but I was glad to get back to my bed.



Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day Minus 1


After another night with little sleep, Saturday was a chance to recover. I had no formal plans for the morning. I registered for OOW, then went out for breakfast with Marcelle, who then had to shoot to MySQL Connect.

From there I went back to my room for a little rest, then it was out to take Connor McDonald‘s advice and get a $15 T-Mobile SIM to get 7 day data access from my hotel room. Much cheaper than the hotel internet!

During the day I managed to hassle Marcus Eisele, Simon Haslam and Jakko Landlust about WebLogic stuff. It’s the classic case of “The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know”. Perhaps I should stop asking questions, so I can convince myself I’m a WebLogic God!

In the evening it was out to the OakTable dinner, which as now been renamed to “The Anual Doug Burns OakTable Party”. It was a pretty good effort considering it was his first one. I was a little bit disappointed at the lack of balloons, party streamers, jelly & icecream etc. Next years I’m sure he’ll be able to rectify these oversights!

After the walk home it was off to bed to get 3 hours sleep before “Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day 1” starts.

So far I’ve managed to get to the gym every day, but I’ve also managed to stuff myself with food. As a result I’ve lowered my fitness expectations for the week somewhat. My goal is to make it to the end of the week without getting stretch-marks on my face…



Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day Minus 2


Day 2 of the ACE Director briefing went pretty much to plan. My recent adventures in WebLogic meant I had to pay special attention to a few areas I would normally let wash over me. :) I also learned a few things about the WebLogic roadmap that made me kick myself for some of the recent decisions I had made. I guess that’s what happens when you get forced into a position of doing a role you have no background in. I confess I’m a WebLogic noob! :)

Thanks for Victoria and Lillian for organising the ACED briefing again. It’s good to get face time with the movers and shakers in the Oracle tech world…

At the end of the day we were taken from the Sofitel in Redwood Shores across to the Hilton in San Francisco. That’s my bas for the next few days. Sleep still alludes me…



Oracle OpenWorld 2012 : Day Minus 3 (continued)


Continuing from my previous post, the Oracle ACE Director Meeting went well. There seems little point in giving you a list of things I can’t tell you about, so I think I will just say I like Eddie Awad‘s summary of the day in tweets here.

I think it is safe for me to say there will be some interesting things going on this week for a variety of reasons. When you are following the blog posts and tweets, keep in mind the following three things are legally *very* different:

  • Talking about future tech under a safe harbor disclaimer. This basically means Oracle promise nothing and all the stuff they say may not come to pass in future products. There is absolutely *no* legal requirement for them to deliver.
  • Making an official announcement of a new product. This has some legal ramifications. These types of announcements have to be followed by real products within a certain time frame.
  • Releasing the product. This is the bit I care about, because it means I can get my hands on it. :)

Some of the things we’ve been told seem very… odd. It’s difficult to say more without digging a hole for myself, but I suggest you listen carefully over the coming week and make sure you place what you hear in the correct one of those three categories…

Regardless of the *oddness* of some of the information, it was a cool day. Wim Coekaerts is always a highlight for me. I just like to listen to the guy talk about tech. He makes things sound so simple and obvious. Very cool.



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. :)