Oracle Midlands : Event #11 – Summary


oracle-midlandsLast night was Oracle Midlands event #11 with Chris Antognini.

The lead up to this event was not the best for me. I had been on the verge of a headache all day. By 14:00 I gave up, went home and went to sleep for a couple of hours. It wasn’t great, but it was just enough to take the edge off, so when the time came, I felt sort-of OK to head out for the event. The drive started to convince me this wasn’t the best move, but once I got to the event and sat down I figured I was going to make it. :)

Chris did two talks at the event.

The first talk had lots of people’s heads nodding. It’s kind-of depressing, but we’ve all seen, and continue to see, these same things happening again and again. I, like others in the audience, am convinced it is because of the lack of emphasis on database technologies in development. Too many frameworks encourage a hands-off approach to the database, hiding it behind persistence layers that end up doing a mediocre job, at best. Anyway, enough of my rambling. This session should be mandatory viewing once a month for every developer that goes near a database! :)

redstacktechThe second session was pretty neat too. I must admit I’ve become addicted to the Enterprise Manager 12c performance pages, so a couple of the things Chris mentioned took me by surprise, including the use of some V$ views that I assumed were part of the Diagnostics and Tuning Pack, but aren’t. I’m purposely going to avoid mentioning them here because I would want to confirm the status before accidentally leading someone astray, but the idea was, query the V$ view and you are good. Query the DBA_HIST_* view and you’ve sourced the information from the AWR, so you need the D&T pack. This definitely *does not* apply to all V$ views, but it’s worth checking out if you don’t have D&T, or you are working with standard edition.

I think the evening went really well. Thanks to Chris for coming to speak to us and thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for getting him across. Thanks to Red Stack Tech for sponsoring the event, allowing this to remain free. Thanks to Mike for doing a great job of keeping these events rolling. Of course, thanks to everyone for turning up after the Bank Holiday weekend. :)



Oracle Midlands : Event #10 Summary


oracle-midlands Last night was Oracle Midlands Event #10 with Jonathan Lewis.

The first session was on “Five Hints for Optimizing SQL”. The emphasis was very much on “shaping the query plan” to help the optimizer make the right decisions, not trying to determine every single join and access structure etc.

In the past I’ve seen Jonathan do sessions on hints, which made me realise how badly I was using them. As a result of that I found myself a little scared by them and gravitating to this “shaping” approach, but my version was not anywhere near as well thought out and reasoned as Jonathan’s approach. It’s kind-of nice to see I was on the right path, even if my approach was the mildly pathetic, infantile version of it. :)

red-stack-tech-swagThe break consisted of food, chatting and loads of prizes. It’s worth coming even if you don’t want to see the sessions, just to get a chance of winning some swag. :) Everyone also got to take home a Red Stack Tech mug, stress bulb and some sweets as well.

The second session was on “Creating Test Data to Model Production”. I sat there smugly thinking I knew what was coming, only to realise I had only considered a fraction of the issues. I think “eye opening” would be the phrase I would use for this one. Lots of lessons learned!

I must say, after nearly 20 years (19 years and 11 months) in the game, it’s rather disconcerting to feel like such a newbie. It seems to be happening quite a lot recently. :)

redstacktechSo that was another great event! Many thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to come and speak to us. Hopefully we’ll get another visit next year? Well done to Mike for keeping this train rolling. Wonderful job! Thanks to all the sponsors of the prize draw and of course, thanks to Red Stack Tech for their support, allowing the event to remain free! Big thanks to all the members of the Oracle Midlands family that came out to support the event. Without your asses on seats it wouldn’t happen!

The next event will be on the 1st September with Christian Antognini, so put it in your diary!



Oracle Midlands : Event #10


Just a quick heads-up about the next Oracle Midlands event. It’s good to encourage new speakers, so Mike is giving this new, unknown kid a shot at the limelight. I hope you will all come along to show your support.




Oracle Midlands : Event #9


oracle-midlandsThe traffic on the way to Oracle Midlands Event #9 was a complete nightmare! There are a bunch of roadworks around the city that are making the traffic movement really problematic at the moment. Added to that, the always slow M6 was causing tailbacks along the Aston Express Way into the city. The traffic islands were all blocked, with people blocking exits and jumping red lights in a desperate attempt to get on them. Fortunately I started in plenty of time so I arrived with a few minutes to spare. Phew!

First up was Joel Goodman speaking about “Oracle Distributed Transactions”. This was actually quite a scary talk because it showed me both how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten over the years. I’m getting old! There were a few raised eyebrows when he discussed the automatic and manual recovery of in-doubt transactions. I think a few people will be reviewing their recovery procedures. :) Joel is always good value as a presenter and as a walking Oracle encyclopedia!

The break, which included samosas and a prize draw, gave me the opportunity to chat to a few people, including @Kelloggs_ville. We had spoken at the start of the event, but in true Tim Hall style, I hadn’t made the connection between the real person and the Twitter picture. :) Don Stieler knows my skills in this respect. :)

Next up was Richard Harrison, a regular Oracle Midlands attendee and a previous “Lightning Talk” speaker. His session was on “Data Pump Tips & Tricks”. This talk really highlights to me the value of watching sessions on stuff you already know. Everyone has a different experience of the Oracle product set. Everyone has had to try and solve different problems using it. As a result, everyone is capable of putting a unique spin on the subject. I came away with a bunch of stuff I hadn’t considered before, which I will probably go back and retro-fit into some of my articles. Judging by the number of people scribbling away, I think other people were of a similar mind. :) Richard’s session was predominantly demo-based, a man after my own heart. :) I think this was Richard’s first full-length presentation and I’m hoping this will be the first of many!

I’m really getting a kick out of seeing how Oracle Midlands develops. Mike has done a truly amazing job of lining up great speakers and I feel like the group of attendees are bonding more with each event. I came away from the event feeling really hyper and enthusiastic about Oracle. It’s good to be reminded how much more there is to learn and to feel connected to other Oracle geeks. :)

Mike’s already got the speakers for the next couple of events lined up. The next one is by some new kid on the block called Jonathan Lewis. :) The one after is by Christian Antognini. Amazing!
redstacktechBig thanks to Mike for keeping this train rolling. Thanks to everyone who keeps turning up and showing their support. This stuff can only happen if you keep coming! Thanks to the speakers for taking the time out to come and educate us. Big thanks also to Red Stack Technology (my new favourite company :) ) for sponsoring the event, so it can remain free! I’ll be seeing some of you folks at the UKOUG Systems Event later today! :)

See you soon!



Roll up! Roll up! This week’s events!


Here’s a quick reminder of a couple of events happening this week.

On Tuesday evening it’s Oracle Midlands Event #9 in Birmingham. First up is Joel Goodman, who is practically a walking Oracle Encyclopaedia, speaking about “Oracle Distributed Transactions”. Next up is Richard Harrison, a regular Oracle Midlands attendee and returning speaker, this time presenting about “Data Pump Tips & Tricks”. It’s going to be a good evening, so please come out and show your support! It’s sponsored by Red Stack Technology, so it’s free!

On Wednesday it is the UKOUG Systems Event. I’m in the first slot, so it’s going to be an extremely early train ride for me. There is packed agenda, so I’m sure there is something for everyone involved in the systems side of things!

Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you folks at these events!



Oracle Midlands Event #5 : Summary


Oracle Midlands Event #5 happened last night.

First up was Martin Widlake speaking about clustering data to improve performance. The cool and scary thing about Oracle is you often go into session like this thinking it’s all going to be stuff you already know, then you realise how much you either didn’t know in the first place, or had forgotten. A couple of times Martin asked questions of the audience and I felt myself shrinking back in my seat and chanting the mantra, “Don’t pick me!”, in my head. :)

After food and some chatting there was freebie prize draw. I won a RedGate t-shirt. I shall have to remember to take it to OOW and “accidentally” wear it whilst walking past the RedGate booth. :)

Next up was Ron Ekins speaking about data virtualization and instant cloning. The session started off with a general introduction to the subject and a quick look at the products available to achieve it. This session also included a live demo of Delphix. The more I hear about Delphix, the more impressed I am. Judging by the Oracle geeks they’ve drawn into the company in recent years (Kyle Haley, Steve Karam and Tim Gorman) it seems I’m not alone in that opinion. :)

Thanks to RedGate for sponsoring the event, allowing it remain free.  Thanks to Mike Dirden for organising the event. Thanks to the speakers travelling to Birmingham to teach us some stuff. Thanks also to the attendees, without whom this would not happen. Please keep spreading the word. :)



PS. The next event will be with Bjoern Rost in November. Keep an eye on the Oracle Midlands site for details, which should be appearing in the next few days.

Oracle Midlands : Event #5


Just a quick reminder that Oracle Midlands Event #5 is just around the corner (Tuesday 16 September).

  • Boost Performance by Clustering Data – Martin Widlake
  • Data Virtualisation and Instant Cloning – Ron Ekins (Delphix)

Martin is always good value, so I’m looking forward to that session. I’ve seen a couple of talks on the Delphix stuff and it is seriously cool! I think this session will open a few people’s eyes… :)

Big thanks to the Red Gate Software folks for sponsoring the event, allowing it to remain free

You can get more details here. I’ve already registered. See you there!