Oracle Autonomous Database and the Death of the DBA

Before we start, make sure you watch the keynote and actually listen to what is said from a tech perspective (not the pricing stuff). Don’t prepare your counter argument before you hear what is said. Listen!

Myself and many others have been talking about this for over a decade. Most recently in my post before this announcement called No DBA Required.

As a cloud provider, Oracle want to make products as autonomous as possible because it reduces the amount of bodies they need to look after them and reduces human error. Yes, even the best of us screw up! It’s also annoying when you have a good product and stupid people use it badly, then blame the product. The aim of this suite of autonomous databases is to automate as much as possible to reduce the need for human interaction and free us from the mundane. There is an important slide at about 41 minutes that sums this up well. Less time on infrastructure, patching, upgrades, ensuring availability, tuning. More time on database design, data analytics, data policies, securing data. With the possible exception of tuning that can be interesting, let me put this another way.

Less time on boring shit. More time on important shit!

This is firmly targeted at removing the need for operational DBAs. A role that *you* should have already automated out of your organisation anyway. If you’ve not, then you have failed.

It should be obvious that the Development DBAs are sitting pretty here. The thinkers are safe. The recipe followers are not. Your mantra from now on should be…

Keep learning. Keep improving yourself. Keep your job!

For context it’s worth mentioning a few things.

  • Oracle 18c is effectively 12.2.0.2, but as has happened with recent patchsets, it contains a bunch of new functionality.
  • Although Oracle 18c has new features that make it easier to build an autonomous database, the “Autonomous Database” is a cloud service, so you will need to run your database on Oracle Public Cloud, or possibly on Cloud@Customer. Just installing 18c on-prem will not get you an autonomous database.
  • This is the first generation of the first service in a suite of database services for a variety of workloads. The more customers that use these services, the more workloads Oracle will see and the more autonomous they can make them. This is the beginning of a process, not the conclusion.

My view? Bring it on. Save me from the boring crap! 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Rather disappointingly, but as I expected, many people don’t seem to be able to look past the name of the service and are just making knee jerk reactions.

Also, there seems to be some perception that I’ve drunk the Kool Aid on this. I’ve been looking at the information about the service and I think it is interesting. Over time I will refine my opinion, as the facts emerge. What I won’t do is write it off before it’s even been released. It’s that sort of attitude that has turned some DBAs into inflexible dinosaurs. You’ve got to evolve or die people!

Update 2 : I’ve now tried the service. You can read what I thought here.

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : User Group Sunday

The day started with a run walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. We gathered in the hotel lobby, and since I am now a performing monkey I had to do the splits for Jeff Smith, then we got a taxi across to the visitors center at the city side of the bridge.

Some folks stayed behind to wait for the other runners to get there. A group of us just walked across and back.

The view was terrible. 🙂

Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the day to begin.

The registration queues were really long, but they moved quickly. I didn’t have time to pick up the additional materials because I had to get to the first official events for me at OOW17, which were the multi-presenter EOUC events.

I was present at both, but I had my 6 minute slot in the second session. The attendance was low this year, especially for the second session. I think database people left after the first session, which was a pity as the Dev Champions spoke about things database people need to know too. The internal layout of the Marriot Hotel didn’t help. Things were so much more obvious in Moscone. I found the sessions enjoyable. I really like this format.

After those sessions were complete I met up with Gilbert Standen to talk about his Oracle on Linux Containers project Orabuntu-LXC, which will support Docker in the future.

From there is was back to the queues to pick up the rest of my registration items, then back to the hotel. In the evening we went down to the pier for the Oracle ACE dinner. After a quick photo call it was food, drinks and socialising for the rest of the evening.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Day Off

The Saturday before OpenWorld is a day off and for me it has typically become a day in bed. A few days into the trip the lack of sleep has begun to take its toll and three days of concentration at the OAUX, Dev Champion and ACE Director briefings means you feel like you need a break and the conference hasn’t even started yet… 🙂

This year there was a slight change to the plan, as a “mystery event” had been planned for the Dev Champions. Earlier in the day I had bumped into Bjoern and Connor and said I had a daydream it was a boat trip on the bay. Guess what we did?

I am available to read palms and tea lives at a very reasonable rate!

We were bussed down to the pier, got on a boat and went around the bay with some food and drinks. It was a really nice experience. Amongst other things we got to see some kite surfers doing some crazy speeds, lifted about 50cm off the water on those blades/foils.

On the way back we sat down on the upper deck and had a meeting about the program, which gave us some more opportunities to ask questions and give feedback.

From there it was a bus back to the hotel, a quick chat to a few people, then back to bed. I realise some people will think it’s super boring to be sleeping so much, but OpenWorld is a marathon, especially for those of us that are doing the meetings the week before it also. It’s effectively a 8-9 day conference, so it’s really easy to burn out if you don’t take care of yourself.

Tomorrow is User Group Sunday!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Oracle ACE Director Briefing

Can you guess how I slept last night? 🙂

I met up with a bunch of people in the hotel lobby and walked over to Oracle HQ for the Oracle ACE Director Product Briefing. Due to the changes to the travel funding this was a smaller event this year, with around 40-50 people.

Once again the majority of the content was under NDA, so I can’t say anything specific, but the recent announcement by Larry Ellison and the press Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ads mean you probably know what took a substantial amount of time. I can’t remember the last time we had so much database content in the ACE Director Briefing. The skew meant there were slim pickings for those that weren’t database people and hadn’t made the previous days sessions.

I’m going to repeat what I said yesterday, which is very self-indulgent of me, but try to remember the following over the next few days.

  • 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. Neither are you!

Once all the sessions were over we had some nibbles, drinks and conversation until it was time to get on the bus to take us from Redwood Shores to San Francisco. Once I had dumped my stuff in the hotel I popped out with Bjoern to get some food and supplies, then it was back to my room and bed.

Tomorrow is a day off, before the madness starts. There is a Developer Champion mystery event in the afternoon, so that will be interesting…

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…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) Strategy Day

As is always the case during the first few days in the US, sleep was broken. I woke up at 01:30 and dozed my way through to the next morning. I met up with the wife and a few folks and walked across to Oracle HQ for the Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) Strategy Day.

The agenda for the day was as follows:

  • Check-in, breakfast, and opening remarks : Misha Vaughan, Vikki Lira
  • Oracle Applications Cloud top-level UX messages and Q&A for FY ’18 : Jeremy Ashley
  • OAUX Cloud Rapid Development Kits (RDKs) : Karen Scipi, Lancy Silveira
  • OAUX Innovation : Jake Kuramoto, Andrew Gilmour
  • Wrap-up and closing remarks : Misha, Vikki

There was a group of us in the room, with 4 others connected over Zoom and permanently visible on the big screen.

I wrote a lot of notes throughout the sessions, but rather than sharing them I’ll direct you to the OAUX Blog and Usable Apps site, where you can get most of the information first hand. You can also check out Lucas Jellemas’s post about the day, that includes a summary of the areas that were covered, along with some photos.

This year the event was compressed into half a day, which I guess made things much simpler for those attending over the web. I think it worked well and still allowed us to get an idea of the current goals and emphasis of the UX team, whilst giving us an opportunity to feed back about both our pain points and successes. As someone who self-identifies as a command line junky, I find this stuff really interesting and oddly relatable to what I do. It’s always good spending time with the UX team because they are a fun group of people. I plan on spending some time at the OAUX Exchange next week, which I would urge others to come along to if they are attending OOW17. Last year it was a great way to spend a few hours! If you are interested you can register here.

Once the OAUX sessions were wrapped up, the wife and I went across to another building at Oracle HQ to visit my dad. As usual he spent most of his time telling me how amazing I was, how I had totally eclipsed his achievements in every way possible and how I had married beneath myself. It was all really embarrassing, but all completely true…

Just as dad was ready to depart, who should walk in to get a coffee but my sister-in-law Maria. We sat gossiping for a while about all sorts of stuff and laughing far too loud in what was otherwise a quite coffee shop. 🙂

Once the family reunions were done Debra and I walked back to the hotel where we bumped into Bjoern Rost. We had a quick chat, then it was back to my room to dump my stuff before heading out for dinner with the UX team and the other attendees from today’s sessions.

It was a really great day. Lots of information and lots of cool people! Big thanks to the UX team for inviting me again this year. I really appreciate it!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : The Journey Begins

The day started quite reasonably with a 06:30 taxi to the airport for a 09:00 flight to San Francisco via Newark.

Birmingham airport was very busy, but I had bought the Premier Access for $89, so I walked up the priority lane, past the massive crowds and did security really quickly. It’s like the really cheap version of business class. 🙂

The flight to Newark as delayed by about 15 minutes,  but apart from that it was fairly straight forward, talking a little over 7 hours of air time.

Using Newark as the first port of entry to the USA can be a bad idea if you have a connecting flight. You have to go through all the usual airport security to “leave” the airport, then recheck your bags for your domestic flight. The reason I bought the Premier Access was to speed up this section of the journey, but it turns out is doesn’t really help. Since we were 15 minutes late and I originally had a 2 hour layover, which was really 1:45 when you consider boarding close times, I resigned myself to missing the next flight. Somehow the stars aligned and I made it as boarding was beginning. Amazing!

The flight from Newark to San Francisco was hard. The flight itself was fine but the tiredness really started to sink in. The last hour was torture. I must have gone to the toilet about 10 times to move my legs. I knew I was just over-tired, but I started feel a little frantic. We eventually landed, and not having to go through US security was great.

The next challenge was trying not to have a fight with the hotel about the hotel shuttle. I was tired and they were very unhelpful. Rather than escalate the argument and get deported, I gave up and got a taxi for $44…

I got to the hotel, dumped my stuff, scrubbed myself clean and went out for some food with Lucas Jellema. From there it was back to bed for an early night. I slept from 21:30 to 01:30 local time, then dozed my way through to the next day.

Tomorrow is the Oracle Applications User Experience (#OAUX) strategy day…

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 : I’m Presenting!

A few weeks ago I tweeted about being a member of #TeamRejectedByOracleOpenWorld again. Since then I found out one of my presentations was accepted for JavaOne as part of the Oracle Developer Champion program, so I will be going to San Francisco this year after all. This is the presentation I’ll be doing if you want to come along.

Make the RDBMS Relevant Again with RESTful Web Services and JSON
Wednesday, Oct 04, 4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. | Moscone West – Room 2002

Since I’ll now be in San Francisco, I’ll get to join in with a bunch of other stuff. The week before the conference starts I’ll be part of these events at Oracle HQ.

  • Oracle Applications Users Experience (OAUX) Strategy Day : I was lucky enough to get invited to this last year and it was really fun and interesting. Now I get to go back again. 🙂
  • Oracle Developer Champion Briefing : I’m really not sure what to expect from this as it will be the first one.
  • Oracle ACE Director Briefing : I think this will be a smaller affair this year due to the changes in travel funding, and it’s compressed into a single day. It’ll be good to catch up with everyone again!

In addition to my JavaOne presentation, I’ll be at the EOUC presentations on User Group Sunday.

EOUC Developer Champions Show the Cool Tech They Use
Sunday, Oct 01, 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Marriott Marquis (Golden Gate Level) – Golden Gate C1/C2

EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things
Sunday, Oct 01, 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Marriott Marquis (Golden Gate Level) – Golden Gate C1/C2

The wife kicked me out of the list of speakers for the Oracle ACE session. So much for family loyalty… 🙂 These multi-speaker sessions have been really well received in previous years, so please come along and join in the fun!

Like last year, it’s going to be a really long and hard trip, but since this could be my last one I’ve got to make the most of it!

See you there!

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : It’s a Wrap!

That’s another Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) done, so it’s time to reflect on the event.

I think the most surprising thing for me was how much I enjoyed the User Experience (UX) and Internet of Things (IoT) stuff. I did the UX Strategy Day and the “Oracle Applications User Experience Cloud Exchange” afternoon and they were really fun and interesting. The IoT session took me back to my childhood, playing with wires and breadboards.

iot

For years the AppsLab folks have kind-of dragged me along into the future. Often I don’t get what all the fuss is about at first, then two years later it’s part of my everyday life. 🙂

The tech side of OOW16 was a little disappointing for me. I’m a tech guy and repackaging existing tech into a new cloud service isn’t really exciting to me. That’s not a criticism of the cloud services themselves, but a reflection of my interests. Even the release of Oracle Database 12cR2 was not that thrilling, because it’s not available for download yet, so I can’t get my hands dirty with it. In fact I was feeling really flat about 12.2 until I spoke to Chris Saxon and Connor McDonald, who managed to re-ignite the spark, leaving me eagerly anticipating the download. Let’s hope it comes soon!

Oracle continue to push their cloud agenda and as I’ve mentioned several times over the last few years, this is good for us on-premise users too. As a cloud provider Oracle have effectively become a customer of their own technology stack. Having felt the pain of what that can mean at times, the products are changing. There are a bunch of features added into their technology stack over the last few years that directly affect their ability to run efficiently in the cloud. There is a greater emphasis on reduced resource usage and better consolidation, which IMHO is good news for us too. I don’t know what the future will bring, but for the moment I feel the cloud is having a positive effect on Oracle products, which is good for me as a consumer.

One thing I’m conscious of is how few presentations I go to and how that might be perceived by those who’ve never visited OOW before. Presentations are the least valuable thing at OOW from my perspective. You will often get more value out of a 10 minute conversation at the demo grounds than you will watching a 45 minute marketing presentation. What’s more, you’ll make contact with the people that matter. The networking side of conferences is the number one priority for me as it gives me more access to information. Of course, I see a lot of presentations at conferences through the year and I have the ACE Director briefing before the conference starts, so my situation is a little different to the average attendee, but I would still advise networking over presentations.

I put out quite a few posts during this trip.

Big thanks go out to the Oracle ACE Program who made this visit to Oracle OpenWorld 2016 possible for me. What with the UX Strategy Day, ACE Director Briefing and OpenWorld itself, this has become a 9 day event, not counting travel on each side. I’m very grateful for the opportunity!

Let’s see what this next year brings!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld 2016 : San Francisco to Birmingham

I did my usual thing of not sleeping well before an early flight. I’m so nervous about waking up late and missing the flight I can’t sleep properly, which sets me up for a terrible day of travelling…

I was awake before my 04:45 alarm, so I had a shower and messed about on the computer until it was time to leave. I was sharing a car with Gustavo and Alex, who both had masses of luggage, having bought half of San Francisco during the trip. The drive to the airport was easy at that time in the morning and so were the airport queues. As usual, I was in the last boarding group and everyone in front of me had brought 17 pieces of oversized hand luggage and a donkey. Sigh…

The trip from San Francisco to Newark took about 5 hours, then it was a 3 hour wait before the next flight. Newark airport is a food desert. That’s not to say you can’t get food. It’s just the choice is terrible. They only seem to server horrible crap or chocolate, so guess what I ate…

The flight from Newark to Birmingham took about 6 hours. The flight itself was fine, but after we had some food I felt a little bit odd. I went to the toilet and threw my guts up in spectacular style. After that I felt great and I’ve had no more issues since. I suspect they may have fed me something that wasn’t synthesized in a lab and my body rejected it. 🙂

I landed early the next day, feeling a little delirious because of the lack of sleep. Security was the quickest I had ever experienced. I barely broke my stride. Of course, that meant I had to wait ages for my bag. Once that arrived I took a taxi home and unpacked into the washing machine, lay in the bath for a while (sorry for the image) and went to bed. The trip was over…

Six hours later I woke up, got some food, put on the next lot of washing, then went to bed again… I’ve been up since 03:00 doing some video editing as more sleep is really not on the agenda right now. 🙂

I’ll post a wrap-up post about OpenWorld 2016 in the next couple of days.

Cheers

Tim…