Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : ACE Director Briefing – Day 1


ace-directorThe 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. :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : The Journey Begins


The day started at 05:30, which was not much different to normal, so that was good. A quick taxi ride to the airport was followed by a 1 hour sleep on the floor next to the departure gate. It’s wonderful having no shame. :)

The first flight from Birmingham to Frankfurt was about 80 minutes and it was fairly straight forward. I had a 2 hour layover before the next flight, so there was no real drama there. I ended up boarding as the last person in the last boarding group. :) I tried to buy a business upgrade, but it was going to cost $2500, so screw that.

The United flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco was about 11.5 hours and a little annoying.

  • The plane interior was a really old refit. It was pretty terrible compared almost every other airline I’ve been on in the last few years.
  • The “entertainment system” was one of those old shared screen things, not a personal system, so you had to watch the same thing as everyone else.
  • The shared screen froze for a few seconds every 5 minutes or so, which kind of ruins your suspended disbelief.
  • My special meal was “missing” again. I mean, come on!

It’s hard to believe it’s 2015 when you are on a United plane. :) Luckily, the staff were really nice. There was one lady doing her last flight after 46 years of service. Awesome!

We landed a little late. Getting though US customs was actually pretty quick, which makes a change. I took the hotel shuttle with Osama, GurcanSimon, Cary and Arup, who all converged from different flights.

After getting to the hotel, I dumped my stuff and went to the gym. It’s the new me. :) After getting changed, I went down to the bar for a few minutes to say hello to some people, then headed off to bed by about 22:00 local time.

Allowing for the time difference, I think that’s about 24 hours from bed to bed. :) Tomorrow is the first day of the ACE Director Briefing!



Oracle OpenWorld : It’s just around the corner…


The total insanity that is Oracle OpenWorld 2015 is just around the corner. I’ve got my flights and hotels booked, so I think I’m good to go!

The first couple of days will be ACE Director briefings. The big announcement this year will be the Oracle Games Cloud (#OGC), but as a beta program participant I’m under NDA so I’m not allowed to talk about it. It will be interesting to see what else is coming down the pipeline. I expect lots of hardware refreshes and standard stuff like that, but there is always something unexpected that makes you sit back…

Of course, the main event of the ACED briefing will be me gathering 100+ “dot com” YouTube cameos. Dress to impress and perfect diction please… :)

As far as presentations go:

  • Optimizing SQL for Performance and Maintainability—a Panel Discussion [CON8415] Moscone South Room 309 16:15 – 17:00 : I’ve been invited to join this panel session. I’m the token dumb-ass to help you relate to panel. My job is to nod, like I know what people are talking about and occasionally scratch myself. :)
  • More Than Another 12 on Oracle Database 12c [UGF3190] Moscone South Room 306 time 13:30 – 15:15: UKOUG are using their two user group sessions to host another multi-speaker extravaganza. I was involved in this last year, but submitted my entry too late to get in this year. There are so many good EMEA presenters! My slot will be called “12 Oracle 12c Data Pump enhancements in 7 minutes!” :)

Apart from these events, there are always loads of things to get involved in, so it’s going to be a busy few days!

If you are new to the OpenWorld experience, I suggest you check out Jeff Smith’s post called, How to Survive, no, Thrive at Oracle Open World. Making the most of OOW is a skill. It’s a pity if you get to the end of the event and feel like you missed out. Preparation is the key! :)

For those who are lucky enough to be going, I’ll see you there soon. If you can’t make it, many of the headlines will be streamed live and you have a blogsphere that will keep you updated on the fun bits!



Oracle OpenWorld Rejections : #TeamRejectedByOracleOpenWorld


Once again it is Oracle OpenWorld paper rejection season. :)

Invariably, us conference types start to have a bit of a moan about being rejected, hence my little jibe #TeamRejectedByOracleOpenWorld. In case people lost sight of this being a joke, here was one of my tweets on the subject.

“Setting up a helpline for #TeamRejectedByOracleOpenWorld to deal with all us people who can’t cope with not being heard for 5 mins. :)”

The reaction to these tweets is quite interesting, because some in the community are stunned by the people getting rejected. In reality it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Jonathan Lewis summed the situation up nicely with the following tweet.

“You’re confusing OOW with a user group event. Different organisations, reasons, and balance”

If I’m honest, presenting is not high on my list of desires where OpenWorld is concerned. There is too much to do anyway, without having to worry about preparing for talks. If someone asks me to get involved in a panel session, RAC Attack or some similar thing I’m happy to help out, but if I do none of the above, I will still be rushed off my feet for a week.

The Oracle ACE program is allocated a few slots each year. Some people need to present or their company won’t allow them to attend. Others want the “profile” associated with presenting at OpenWorld. Neither of these things affect me, so I typically don’t submit for the ACE slots. I would rather see them go to someone who really does want them. I get plenty of opportunities to speak. :)

If you really want to speak at conferences, your focus should be on user group events. Getting to speak at something like OOW can be a nice treat for some people, but it probably shouldn’t be your goal. :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2014 : Summary


OpenWorld 2014 was dominated by jet lag. Not that “special” type of Doug Burns jet lag, but the real stuff. As I mentioned in a previous post, having been ill in the 3 weeks leading up to OpenWorld, the jet lag hit me hard and I had nothing in reserve to get me through it. I’m now back in the UK and it is even worse. It’s 01:00 as I write this and I’ve been to sleep for about 3 hours. I’m now wide awake. It’s going to be a long day!

Apart from the jet lag, what was the overall message at OOW14?


This one was pretty predictable. What broke away from the message of previous years was the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) message. In previous years Oracle said they were not interested in IaaS as competing with the general cloud providers, like AWS, was not good business. As Mark Rittman put it, this is “a race to for the bottom”. Instead, Oracle wanted to focus on the Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), where they are selling their technology stack and software respectively. This has much better margins and allows them to do something that other cloud providers can’t really compete with in a price fight.

In reality any PaaS provider needs to also provide IaaS because applications do not work in isolation. It may be nice to have your Oracle database on the cloud, but what do you do with that 3rd party application that you would like to run in the same data centre as the database?

Oracle have come out with a statement that they will provide general purpose compute power and not be beaten on price by the likes of AWS. That sounds quite scary, but I think the reality is this will only be a small part of their cloud business. I would imagine most people moving to the Oracle Cloud will be doing so for the PaaS and SaaS offerings. The IaaS will only play a supporting role.

In more general terms, Oracle are planning on adding just about everything “as a Service” on their cloud. They’ve announced Database Backup, Documents, Big Data (Hadoop) and Node.js as a Service, which were new to me, along with all the usual stuff we either already had or expected…

Once everything is available, it will certainly make an impressive lists. From a platform perspective, not quite as diverse as AWS yet, but impressive none the less.

Big Data

On the whole, Oracle shied away from the normal, “You can do big data with the Oracle database!”, message they’ve been trying to promote over recent years. I think the world and their dog understand that “Big Data” and relational databases don’t really go hand-in-hand.

Instead, Oracle were pushing the Oracle Big Data SQL product. I started off pretty cynical about this, thinking it would just be a knock-off of Cloudera Impala, but it does seem to be something more. Big Data SQL allows you to create external tables over Hadoop and NoSQL data stores, so you can write SQL against them and process the data in your Oracle database. No need to learn any new query/programming tool. It also allows you to join differing data sources together.

Regardless of your views on big data, there are a lot of “data people” out there with SQL skills and, relatively speaking, nobody with map reduce skills. That and the fact that many companies for the foreseeable future will be churning through their map reduce jobs to produce data to put into a relational database for reporting, means that integration between Hadoop, NoSQL and RDBMS will be a key component. Oracle Big Data SQL seems to have hit this nail square on the head. If it weren’t so ridiculously expensive, it would be interesting to see the adoption rate!

JSON Support

This might seem like a minor feature on the surface, but I think it is a massive step forward for Oracle. The reality of the marketplace is that document stores are now seen as the preferred solution for some situations. Oracle will never compete with the likes of MongoDB (it’s webscale) on shear performance, but how many people really need to hit those numbers? Last year my company were considering MongoDB/RavenDB for some HR projects. The main factor against this idea was the split of the “single point of truth” between Oracle and another database technology. If the JSON support in the Oracle database had been available, we would probably have used it.

The JSON support in the database seems pretty comprehensive to me. Once the REST APIs are available, through Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) it will be interesting to see how the developers react to this.

APEX 5.0

It was rather disappointing to hear that APEX 5.0 is a long way off going to production. The logic for holding back is sound. It’s got to be bullet proof, especially the upgrade process, so it’s better to wait until it is sorted, than release early and get lost in a support nightmare. Even so, I wanted the pretties… :)


I didn’t listen to the formal announcements about WebLogic, so I’m not sure how much of what I heard is still under NDA from ACE Director Briefing. For that reason, I’ll keep my mouth shut, but suffice to say, there are things in the pipeline that will make my life much easier!


The database side of things was relatively quiet. Two years ago we got, “This is what we will give you in 12c”. Last year we got, “This is what we have given you in 12c”. This year we got, “This is what we gave you last year in 12c”. :) We did of course get lots of In-Memory stuff, but we knew about that last year and it is now GA… :)

I guess some news was that we are 18-24 months away from 12cR2, so you will probably have to upgrade to 12cR1 if you want to retain support without paying any extra cash. The proposed release date for 12cR2 will be after the free 1 year extension to support runs out… When you consider the obligatory, “wait for the first patchset”, that could be a long time without support… (Doc ID 742060.1)

Everything Else

There were of course numerous things about Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, MySQL 5.7, Engineered Systems and a whole bunch of other stuff, but I guess if you follow those areas you already know…


As mentioned in a previous post, the take home message for me is that Oracle are working hard to be a cloud provider. As such, they have spotted obvious flaws in their own products. A big proportion of the new features in their infrastructure products seem to me like a direct result of them “eating their own dog food” while trying to become a cloud provider. I think this is good news for the future of Oracle products, even if you don’t care about the Oracle Cloud specifically.

Big thanks to the ACE Program and OTN for getting me to OOW14. It was great to meet up with my Oracle friends and Oracle family again. I’m looking forward to a jet lag free 10th anniversary OOW next year! :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2014 : Wednesday


Another early start on Wednesday. I headed down to meet the Dbvisit gang for breakfast. FYI: I’m not paid to keep mentioning them and I don’t work for them. They are just a great group of people who I really like, so when I get a chance to meet up with them I do. :)

From there it was on to Moscone where I bumped into Eric Yen. We’ve known each other for years on the interwebs, so it was nice to spend some face-to-face time. I also bumped into Daniel De Meda again. We chatted for a while the previous day, so when we met today we did a selfie. From there it was off to the demo grounds again, then I met up with Sve Gyurov for lunch.


If you’ve ever met Sve, you will realise that I am on tiptoes and he is crouching when we took this shot, otherwise this would be a picture of my head and his chest. :)

After lunch I had a major attack of lethargy, so I headed back to the hotel for a rest, which I’ve just surfaced from at 20:00. :( I’m going to duck out of the evening events as well…

So this really marks the end of OpenWorld for me, because I leave tomorrow morning. It’s been a really strange one for me this year. I enjoyed the ACE Director Briefing and felt like I was coping really well, then I kind-of crashed once OOW actually started. What with being ill for the 3 weeks prior to the event, then having to deal with the jet lag, I really had no reserves to fall back on this year. I feel a bit disappointed with myself as it feels like a wasted opportunity, but you can only do so much…

I’ll write a wrap-up post about the whole event when I get back.



Oracle OpenWorld 2014 : Tuesday


Tuesday started early with 5 hours in the hotel lobby. The plan was to catch up on my blogging using the free wifi. I hadn’t blogged for a couple of days, which prompted an email from my mom to see if I was OK. :)

It took about 5 hours to complete two blog posts, because every 30 seconds someone new walked by and I was “forced” to speak to them. :)

That done, I headed down to Moscone South to check out the Dbvisit stand. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had never tried a Twinkie, so Chris Lawless went to work correcting that state of affairs by bringing a box of Twinkies to their stand. You can see me trying my first Twinkie here!

I didn’t record me eating my second Twinkie. :)

From there is was a visit to the demo grounds again, then up to the OTN lounge to chat with a few people about the ACE Program, life the universe and everything. After a quick lunch with Vikki from the ACE Program, I hooked up with Steven Feuerstein to chat about his YesSQL initiative. Soon after that it was across to the ODTUG gathering briefly, before heading off to the SQL and PL/SQL Performance Panel, which featured Jagan Athreya, Dad (Graham Wood), Tom Kyte and Steven Feuerstein.

After popping back to the hotel to dump my bag, it was back down to Howard Street to the attend the evening festivities. I spent most of the evening with Doug Burns and one of his colleagues called Seamus. I even had a drink. Who’da think it?

Tiredness is still a big problem for me. The day is starting so early that I feel like the living dead most of the day.



Oracle OpenWorld 2014 : User Group Sunday


Sunday started with the walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was meant to be a run, but a few of us lazy folk met up early and walked it instead. I did run about 5 paces, so I don’t feel quite so guilty about having a “I ran the bridge” type T-shirt. :)

After getting back and getting changed I headed down to the Moscone. I was involved in the “12 things about 12c” sessions by UKOUG. This was a double session with 12 speakers, each with 5 minutes. My section was 5 minutes on “A case for the Multitenant option with a single PDB”. I was pretty nervous on the lead up to this, which sounds a little silly for a 5 minute presentation, but shorter presentations require you to be a lot more focussed on the message. One extra anecdote and you’ve blown your time limit. :) I think it went OK. :)

I like this type of format. I think every conference needs something like this at the start of the event, so you get a quick feel for what is going on in the subject. It can also act as a pointer to help you decide what sessions you want to focus on during the event.

In the evening it was the Oracle ACE dinner. If someone asked me to define a perfect night out for me, it would probably include Oracle geeks, food, contortion and a silks performer. I love speaking about Oracle. I live eating food. I love circus acts, especially contortion. When they organised the ACE dinner I think they must have read my mind! :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2014 : ACE Director Briefing – Day 1


As I’m sure many of you will know, “the first rule of ACED is to constantly talk about ACED”. So every year they put us in a room for the 2 day ACED Briefing where “the first rule of the ACED Briefing is don’t talk about the ACED Briefing”. You can guess, this is going to be devoid of spoilers! :)

I think it is safe to say, the main focus areas of Oracle OpenWorld 2014 are reasonably predictable, but a number of the announcements related to those areas of focus are not so predictable! I think there will be something for everyone next week! That’s all I’m going to say about the ACED Briefing content! :)

Now for opinion time. This is obviously affected by what I heard during the day, but also what has been happening for the last couple of years…

In my opinion, Oracle getting into the “cloud business” over the last few years has been one of the best things to happen to the company! Why do I say this? Because “eating their own dog food” while trying to build a portfolio of cloud offerings has given them a very specific focus. Pre-cloud, many of the features that will be spoken about next week would probably not have been on the radar, even though customer’s wanted them. Now, there is a *very* big driver for getting this stuff done. If Oracle need it to build their cloud, it’s going to happen!

“I don’t care about Oracle’s public cloud”, will be the cry from some out there. Fine. You don’t have to care, but their cloud is built on the Oracle database, WebLogic, the Fusion Middleware stack, their engineered systems etc. If you care about any of the individual building blocks, Oracle’s public cloud will have a positive effect on those building blocks. Making those products lean, fast and flexible is a really important focus when you are trying to use this stuff at the scale Oracle are!

So when you are listening to the array of announcements over the coming week, I would like you to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is this feature good for building Oracle’s cloud?
  • Do I think this feature would exist if Oracle didn’t need it for their cloud?
  • Can I make use of this feature, independent of Oracle’s cloud offering? (If I could afford it)

At the end of OOW14, when you look back as a whole, I think most people will see how Oracle entering the cloud business has had a really good knock-on effect on their product set.

On a personal note, it was fantastic being at the ACED briefing. I missed it last year and it was great to meet up with everyone again. OOW is so big it is easy to miss people. Having so many of my Oracle friends in one room is brilliant! Happy days…

In the evening I was going to go straight to bed, but Carry Millsap persuaded me to go out to eat. Well, I say persuaded me, but really I just wanted to be near him because he’s so pretty! :) Cary, Kerry, Frits, Martin, Bjoern and myself went out to a little Mexican place and I got a brilliant burrito, which I scoffed, whilst teaching them to speak proper English. They now understand the words minger, minging, muggy and bellend.



PS. As any conspiracy theorist knows, the public denial of the Oracle Games Console (OGC) by Thomas Kurian is proof of its existence. I believe it uses technology reverse engineered from the wreckage recovered from Roswell.

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 : The Journey Begins


I did my normal last minute packing last night. After a quick panic this morning, I was off in the taxi I for the airport.

I find it amazing how sense goes out of the window at airports. There was a big sign saying “Put empty trays on rollers”, so people were either leaving them or stacking them up. Either way, they were getting in the way. WTF? RTMF!

The first flight to Frankfurt was fine. While waiting to board I was staring at the guy in front thinking, “I’m sure I could do his fade better than that!” I might have to start… :)

The flight to SFO went without incident. I met Joze SenegacnikØyvind Isene, Martin Bach and Harshad Oak during it. :) Once we landed, it was the airport shuttle to the hotel, then straight out with the family for some food. Its sad that we only get to meet at conferences. :)

Tomorrow is the ACED briefing, so lots of tweets telling people I can’t tell them what his going on. :)