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.
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…
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…
So it’s the day after the 2 day ACE Director Briefing and I’ll try to lay out my feelings about what I heard. I can’t of course mention details.
First off, the briefing itself was great. Many thanks to the team running the ACE program for putting this all together and persuading all the speakers to come. The same goes to the speakers, that give up their time at one of the busiest periods of the year. Despite what you may feel, your presence is much appreciated. 🙂
For those that have never attended one, the ACE Director Briefing is pretty much a private 2 day conference (mostly under NDA) which can be a little intense, especially when it comes before a 5 day conference. The content covers a whole range of the Oracle product stack, which is great for a generalist like me, but can be a little hard to cope with for those ACEs that specialise more. My advice to those people is, use it to pick up the buzzwords and identify the ACEs and Oracle staff that work in those areas. You never know when you will need some information and knowing the go-to kids is a quick and “safe” way to get it. You don’t have to know everything, just where to find it. 🙂
I guess my overall feeling this year is one of frustration, but for a number of reasons.
- I am undoubtedly a generalist, so I have a finger in many pies, so to speak. As a result of that, I can’t be “amazing” at any of them. The classic Jack of all trades, master of none. When you are hit hard with a bunch of sessions from different areas, it makes you realise how rubbish you are at many of them, and that’s kind-of frustrating. It’s nice to sit at home and kid yourself you are awesome, but an event like this brings you back down to earth with a bump. Ego can be a terrible thing. 🙂
- I feel like some teams at Oracle are completely divorced from reality. I am on the coal face. I speak with people on a daily basis who are struggling with some of the these products, for a variety of reasons. I don’t want to get all bitchy about this (I do really), but it feels like the classic “them and us” situation you always see between I.T. and their users, but in this case, us DBAs and developers are the users. There are some teams at Oracle who are fantastic at engaging with their community. I’m thinking APEX and Linux to name but a few, but there are others who… Well… Not so much… I feel the constant negative press about Oracle’s shady sales tactics are hurting Oracle at business level. What they really don’t need is people like me who have been rabid advocates of the technology for 20 years thinking, “Ahh f**k it! Time for something new!”, which is exactly how I felt at times during these two days.
- It feels like some areas of Oracle are running scared, or at the very least, totally directionless, at the moment. I guess in this day and age, with a new “cool kid on the block” every 5 minutes, you’ve got to hedge your bets somewhat, but it gives me an uneasy feeling. Weakness elicits either a nurturing or attack response. I guess it says a lot about me, but in this case weakness triggers my attack mechanism. I want Oracle to be strong and fearless, not another one of those tech companies who bounce around aimlessly before falling into obscurity.
I was very vocal during these two days. I’m pretty sure some speakers felt I gave them a hard time. Some of that is obviously born out of this frustration. I would like to apologise to any of the speakers who felt I was picking on them. I wasn’t. I just want this stuff to work so badly. I want people to say, “Wow. That’s f**kin’ amazing!” I want people to like Oracle. I want Oracle to be successful. This is totally selfish, because I want my knowledge and skills to remain relevant. It is in my interest that Oracle stay top of the pile.
Anyway, enough this emotional nonsense!
Over the next few days, you are going to see a large number of announcements. Many are quite obvious. There are normal release cycles you can predict. You know every other word is going to be cloud. 🙂 Having said that, try and look through the marketing and you will find some really cool stuff underneath. I think when the dust settles, a lot of people will find a lot to be happy about. I hope I’m one of them!
PS. This is not a rallying cry. This is just a tired, fat, old man venting. Nothing to see here. Please move along…
I started the day with a jog around the lake. Believe it or not, I got lost a couple of times. We checked out of the hotel and headed off for the second day of the ACED Briefing. 🙂
Once again, it’s mostly under NDA, but the agenda for the day was as follows.
- Tom Michelini and Jeff Welsch : BDaaS and IaaS Update.
- Edwin Desouza : MySQL Update.
- Wim Coekaerts : Linux and Virtualization Update.
- Steven Feuerstein : Strengthening the Oracle Database Developer Community Together.
- Roland Smart and Vikki Lira: Oracle ACE Program and OTN Update.
- Andy Mendelsohn : Oracle Database Development Update
- Oracle Database Development Update – the details. This was presented by a group of people whose names I forgot to note. Sorry. I missed the second half of this session because I went outside to chat to some of the guys presenting the first half…
- David Peake : APEX Update.
After refreshments, it was a coach ride to the Hilton San Francisco, where we will be based for the main Oracle OpenWorld conference.
Just before I left I noticed WebLogic 12c (184.108.40.206) and Oracle Forms and Reports Services (220.127.116.11). That was a little surprising, since the timeline for the Forms release is not what were were told the day before! Sigh. Good news though. 🙂
The day started at 03:00 local time. I was in denial for about 60 minutes before I threw in the towel and got up. A couple of new release blog posts (VirtualBox 5.0.8 and MySQL 5.7) later, it was off to the gym again. I told you, it’s the new me…
After the gym I spent ages chatting to people in the foyer, whilst still stinking of gym and drinking coffee++. After getting cleaned up, I met up with a bunch of folks at 08:00 to walk across to head office for the first day of the ACE Director Briefing.
As usual, this couple of days is all under NDA, so we can’t talk about specifics, for fear of leaking some of the big announcements for OOW 2015, or because we are being told future direction. As a result, the following is really an idea of the agenda, where that doesn’t imply the content of an announcement… 🙂
- Vikki did some quick introductions and basically told us to behave. 🙂
- Jeremy Ashley and co. : Spoke about Cloud User Experience. Jeremy’s UX team has a hand in the design of many Oracle products. I have a lot of time for the work they do, and I can think of a few Oracle products I wish they had more involvement in. 🙂
- Thomas Kurian : Gave an executive address. I’m saying nothing more about this, for fear of getting “disappeared”. Lots of interesting things coming. Something for everyone. 🙂
- Vikas Anand, Kaj Van De Loo, Greg Stachnick and Kuldip Oberoi : Cloud update, with each person speaking about their respective parts of the cloud.
- Interjeet Singh : Oracle Fusion Middleware update. This was quite a “vibrant” session during the question and answer part. 🙂
- Mike Lehman : This session focused on WebLogic.
- Shay Shmeltzer and Joe Huang: Oracle Development Tools and Mobile Platform Update.
After the sessions were over, we had some refreshments, then headed back to the hotel. A few of the folks went out to eat, but I just headed to bed.
For a generalist like me, today contained lots of interesting and sometimes confusing stuff. Tomorrow is more focussed on Linux and database stuff, so it is like a fun day for me. 🙂