Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : User Group Sunday


My wake up times are getting gradually later and later. That’s a good thing for now, but will make the journey home harder. :)

The day started with a bit of work on those articles I mentioned yesterday, with the inevitable trip to Lori’s Diner for breakfast of course.

I headed off to the gym, which felt super-hard. I’m trying to get some cardio in every day, in addition to the weights. I enjoy lifting weights, but if you are fat it just makes you look bigger, so in clothes you look even fatter. I despise cardio, but it is a necessary evil. I’ve been pretty good on the exercise front since I’ve been away. Not so good on the eating front though… :)

During the day we had the EMEA User Group Community session called “More Than Another 12 on Oracle Database 12c”. I was one of the 16 speakers, which included:

We each got 7 minutes for our particular topic and a buzzer went off when your time was up, so there was no over-running. :) Some were much quicker than others, but that’s all good. We had a 2 hour block and we finished at about 1 hour and 45 minutes, so we I think we did pretty well.

I really like this format. If there is a topic you are not into, you are only 7 minutes away from the next speaker. It also forces you to be extremely specific and direct your talk. You can get a lot done in 7 minutes if you need to. I’ve uploaded a video of my section of the talk.

I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as the speakers. Please send your feedback, so we know if we should do this sort of thing again next year…

After the session, I chatted to a few people, including Gilbert Standen. You may have seen me tweet about some of the Oracle RAC on Ubuntu stuff he does. It’s pretty interesting and far more geeky than the stuff I do. :) He gave me a t-shirt and swag, which I’ll hopefully remember to wear at my session on Wednesday. :)

After chatting to a few folks, I hooked up with Jonathan Lewis and we went off to Ghirardelli to eat ice cream and chat about the stuff that had happened so far this year at San Francisco. I didn’t realise he was an ice cream fiend. :)

After that, we headed back to the OTN lounge for the group photo, but found we were too late, so when you are looking at it, imagine were are there too. :) Then it was back to the hotel to dump our stuff before heading to the Oracle ACE dinner.

This years ACE dinner was really nice, although semi-clad dancing girls, contortionists and silks performers were conspicuous by their absence. :) Jokes aside, what made it nice was it was great for mingling. Everyone was on their feet, moving round the room chatting to each other. As well as all the usual suspects, I got to speak to a bunch of people from the OTN tours I’ve been on. It’s always good to reconnect and talk about the next visit. :) I also got to speak to Liron Amitzi about his recent move to Vancouver, which is a pretty interesting life change! You also get to meet some people in person for the first time. I was really happy to finally meet Mahir M. Quluzade in person. I feel like I already know him, but now we have met. :)

At about 22:00 we got on the bus and headed back to the hotel, where I completely zonked out!

All in all, it was a good day!

This morning is the start of the main OOW15 conference and I’m already knackered. :)



Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : ACE Director Briefing : Final Thoughts


ace-directorSo 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.
  • Jetlag.

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…

Oracle OpenWorld 2015 : ACE Director Briefing – Day 2


ace-directorI 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 ( and Oracle Forms and Reports Services ( 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. :)



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!



OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : It’s a Wrap!



I just realised I didn’t write a closing post for the OTN Tour of Latin America 2015, so here goes.

Here are the links to all the posts I wrote during the two weeks that related to the main body of the tour.

Here are the links to the posts I wrote during the little trip to Machu Picchu.

Overall it was a really fun tour. Ignoring my illness at Machu Picchu, I think I coped a lot better with it than I have the previous couple of tours, which was good news.

Big thanks to the organisers and attendees at all the events. I hope to see you all again soon! Thanks also to the ACE Program for giving me the opportunity to fly the flag! I must also say a thank you to my fellow speakers for putting up with me for all that time. I know I can be hard work, so you are all deserving of an “I survived a tour with Tim”, badge, if one existed. :)

Sorry for the delay in writing this post! See you soon!



OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : PEOUG, Peru – Day 1


A quick taxi ride got us to the conference hotel really quickly, so we were nice and early for the PEOUG event.

After the introductions by Miguel Palacios, it was time for the first sessions of the event. Of the English speakers, first up were Debra Lilley and Dana Singleterry. Debra had some problems with her laptop, so she did her presentation using mine and all went well. Dana did his session over the net, so I sent a few Tweets to let him know how things looked and sounded from our end. I figured a bit of feedback would help reassure him there weren’t any technical issues.

My first session of the day came next. I had a good sized audience and some of the people were brave enough to ask questions at the end. :) I had some in English and some in Spanish using the translation service to help me. :)

Debra fixed her laptop by the time her next session started, but her clicker died, so she borrowed mine. Dana’s second session was at the same time as Debra’s, so I flitted between the two, sending a few feedback Tweets to Dana about his session again.

After that session, Ronald, Debra, Pelinio, Enrique and myself ducked out to get some lunch in a place down the street.

After lunch, both Ronald and I each had back-to-back sessions. I did my Cloud Database and Analytic Functions talks. I feel like they went well. I hope the crowd did too. :)

There was one more set to talks, all from Spanish speakers, including a very full web session by Edelweiss from Uruguay. After that we got together for the closing session and some prize draws. I didn’t understand what was being said, but everyone seemed really happy and in good spirits, so I think the whole day was well received. Certainly all the feedback we got was very positive!

Big thanks to MiguelEnrique and everyone at PEOUG for inviting us and making us feel welcome. Thanks to the attendees for coming to the sessions and making us feel special by asking for photos. :) Also, big thanks to the ACE Program for making this possible for us!

So that marks the end of this years OTN Tour of Latin America for me. Sorry to the countries in the northern leg. I hope I will be able to visit your folks soon!

Debra and I are going to visit Pikachu Machu Picchu over the next couple of days, then it’s back home to normal life for a while. :)

I’ll write a summary post to close off this little adventure when I get home. Once again, thank you all!



OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : PEOUG, Peru – Day -1


After the CLOUG event, Francisco drove us to the airport, where Kerry, Ronald, Debra and I parked ourselves in the lounge for a while. Lots of eating then ensued! Kerry was flying back home, but the rest of us were on our way to Lima, Peru, for the PEOUG event. :)

The flight across to Lima was pretty straight forward, taking about 4 hours, if you include the time sitting and waiting to take off. I think the flight time was about 3 hours and 30 mins. We arrived at the airport at about 02:00 and we were all pretty beat up. It was an effort to even speak, which if you know me is a rather extreme state. :)

I had a complete brain fade and forgot we were being picked up by Enrique Orbegozo, but fortunately he caught us before we disappeared onto the shuttle, so it ended OK. I’m so sorry Enrique! :)

We arrived at the hotel at about 03:00. I can’t speak for the others, but I was feeling like the living dead. I got to my room and I don’t remember anything else until the morning! :)

Debra has Hilton Honors status, so I got signed into the lounge for the day, which meant free food. :) We had a lazy day. Apart from a 10 minute walk down to the coast and back, it was a hotel day, trying to recharge the batteries. Some food, sitting in the pool and sitting in the lounge with our laptops, trying to catch up with the world.

This morning we are off to the PEOUG event. The last event of the southern leg of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2015. I’ve got three presentations to do, plus some backups in case speakers don’t show. :)



OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : CLOUG, Chile – Day 1


The morning was a little confusing. I got up and went to breakfast, but there was no Debra. Once I had finished I got the front desk to call her and found out her clock was an hour behind. Chile has changed its timezone to match Brazil, but some Apple devices don’t seem to realise this, even if they are set to auto-update. One of those devices being Debra’s phone. When we asked at the hotel, they said it’s been a problem for a number of people. :(

Francisco drove us to the venue and we moved straight into the auditorium. After an introduction by Francisco, it was time for the first session. It was a three track event, so I’m just going to talk about the sessions I was in. :)

  • Kerry had a different version of the agenda, which had him on at a later time, so he hadn’t arrived by the time his session was due to start. I was originally down as the second session, so we switched and I went first with my “Pluggable Databases : What they will break and why you should use them anyway!”. Being in a auditorium is always hard unless it is full, as people spread out and you feel like you are presenting to empty chairs. :)
  • Next up was Kerry Osborne, with his “In-Memory In Action” session. I had to duck out of this early to get to across to my next session, which was on the other side of the building.
  • My next session was “It’s raining data! Oracle Databases in the Cloud”. This was in a much smaller room, so it felt really full and much more personal. As a result, the audience interaction felt a lot better. I spent quite a bit of time talking to people after the session, which is my favourite bit of this conference thing.
  • I got over to see the tail end of Ronald Bradford‘s session on “Testing and verifying your MySQL backup strategy”. I’ve got a couple of things I need to check in my own MySQL backups now. :)
  • Next up was Kyle Hailey speaking about “SQL Performance Tuning”. Kyle has a very visual approach, which works for me!
  • After lunch it was back to me for “Oracle Database Consolidation : It’s not all about Oracle database 12c!”
  • Next up was Kyle Hailey with “Database performance tuning”, which focussed on using ASH to identify problems and was once again, very visual.
  • The final person up was Debra, with “Do Oracle Cloud Applications Add Up?”. The answer is yes, they do add up, to 42!

After the final session, we hung around for a prize giving and a quick photo opportunity, then had to say our goodbyes and go straight off to the airport to get our flight to Lima.

Thanks to Francisco and the folks at CLOUG for inviting me, as well as all the attendees that came to my sessions and spoke to me during the day. I love speaking directly to people about the technology, so when people come to ask questions I’m in my element. :) Big thanks to OTN and the ACE Program for helping to make this happen for me.



OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : CLOUG, Chile – Day -1


We were due to leave the hotel in Sau Paulo at 04:45 today, so I was planning to get up at around 04:00. Instead, I woke up at 03:00 and couldn’t sleep. I think I was a little nervous about missing the flight.

The journey to the airport didn’t present any major dramas at that time. There was a little mixup with the size of the taxi, so we had to travel in two cars, but that was fine. Debra and I travelled with David Peake, who was leaving us at the airport to fly to Brasilia for an APEX conference. Francisco and his son were in a separate care.

We had just enough time to get a coffee before getting on the 4 hour flight to Santiago, Chile. I was tired and in a terrible mood. A number of things happened on the flight that really pissed me off, so I shall be writing a letter of complaint to TAM Airlines!

During the flight I watched Avengers : Age of Ultron, which I thought was pretty good. Although I liked it, I’m not sure where this franchise can go. It does feel a little samey! Likewise with Fast & Furious 7, which I also watched and liked. Both franchises feel like they’ve run their course to me…

We landed in Santiago, Chile to find TAM had lost one of Francisco‘s bags. Then the hire car company AVIS/Budget screwed up, so were were in the airport for a while. At this point I switched from tired and angry to just tired and “Whatever!”

When we got to the hotel, Debra and I dumped our stuff and went on the 2 hour bus tour of Santiago. It started cold and damp, but ended very cold and very wet. Being tired and cold made it a bit of a trial, but it was good to do something, rather than just go to bed and sleep the day away. You can see some terrible photos, including various bits of bus, here. :)

So it’s been another incredibly long day, after very little sleep. Time for bed before the CLOUG event tomorrow. We fly straight out after the conference, so this will end up being a very brief stay in Chile.



OTN Tour of Latin America 2015 : GUOB, Brazil – Day 1


I woke up pretty early again, spent a bit of time working, then headed down to meet the wife at breakfast. I was gabbing away, when she mentioned it was time to register. I had a mad dash to get back to the room, shower and head down to the GUOB event. Thankfully, I am stopping in the conference hotel.

This was a three track event, so I tried to get to sessions that I hadn’t seen at other events.

  • The event opened up with Pablo Ciccarello discussing OTN and the ACE program.
  • My first session for the day was “Pluggable Databases : What they will break and why you should use them anyway!” talk. I was introduced by Alex Zaballa, Brazil’s latest Oracle ACE Director. Well done mate! I was incredibly nervous for this talk. I think it was because of the rushing around before the session. Once I got going I calmed down a lot. I think the session went well. People were a bit shy about questions during the session, but people came up to me after the session to say hello and ask questions without being in front of the audience. The questions you get are the best bit of doing these conferences. In answering questions, you learn a lot yourself.
  • After speaking to a few people I headed (a little late) into Kerry Osborne‘s session on “Controlling Execution Plans (without touching the code)” Part 1. The room was too full for me to get into this session in Argentina.
  • After lunch I headed on to see Dana Singleterry speaking about “Development Platform in the Cloud – Why, What and When”.
  • Next up it was me with my “It’s raining data! Oracle Databases in the Cloud” session. I really like doing this talk. It’s not a heavy technical session, but I like to think it brings a bit of sanity to the Database on the Cloud discussion.
  • After me came Alex Gorbachev speaking about “Benchmarking Oracle I/O Performance with ORION”.
  • After a short break, it was on to Kerry Osborne‘s session on “Controlling Execution Plans (without touching the code)” Part 2.
  • Next up was Alex Gorbachev speaking about “Big Data and Hadoop for Oracle Database Professionals”.

The last session was in Portuguese, so I ducked out and spoke to a few of the attendees instead.

After saying our goodbyes to some of the folks, we headed out to a Brazilian barbecue. Obviously, it was a meat-fest, but it was a good place to eat as a vegetarian too. Unfortunately, I drank one and a half drinks that were designed to injure humans. :)

It was a long, but fun day. Big thanks to the organisers and attendees at the GUOB event. I hope to see you again! Thanks also to the ACE Program for getting me here!

I’ve got a ridiculously early start for Chile tomorrow! :) Goodbye Sau Paulo!