Oracle Midlands : Event #17 – Summary

Having spent the last two weeks at Oracle OpenWorld 2016, what’s the obvious thing to do within a couple of days of getting back? Go to Oracle Midlands to hear more about Oracle 12c Release 2 of course!

First up was Dominic Giles with “Oracle Database 12c Release 2: Whats new?… What’s improved?” I’ve been a big fan of SwingBench forever so the name Dominic Giles has been familiar to me for a long time. Up until recently I had never actually put a face to that name, but once I did I realised I’d seen him loads of times over the years. I was finally able to introduce myself properly at this years ACE Director Briefing and apologise for not doing so earlier. 🙂

Dominic’s session was a romp through some of the 12cR2 new features and enhancements. With allegedly 500+ new features in 12cR2, not all of which are documented yet, there was a bunch of stuff I hadn’t already heard of. Dominic is relaxed and super-confident in his presenting style. That combined with the huge list of new stuff knocked my internal 12cR2 hype-meter up a few notches. There is so much new stuff it is really daunting, but exciting too.

Note to self. Keep checking the v$version view on LiveSQL incase it mysteriously switches to 12cR2 at some point soon…

redstacktechNext up was Nigel Bayliss, the latest incarnation of “The Optimzer Lady”, with “The Optimizer in Oracle Database 12c Release 2: What You Need To Know”. I had the good fortune of being on a SQL performance panel with Nigel at this years Oracle OpenWorld, so this is the second time we’ve bumped into each other in a week, but on different sides of the planet. 🙂

As the name suggests, Nigel’s session was also about new features, but focussed on the optimizer. With finer grained control over the adaptive features and more conservative defaults in this regard, I think a move from 11gR2 to 12cR2 will be less of a mystery than the switch from 11gR2 to 12cR1 was for many people. 🙂 The session actually covered most of the 12cR1 optimizer features as part of the setup for what’s changed in 12cR2, which I thought worked really well. Nigel is also a confident speaker, with a laid back approach and midlands accent, which of course makes him a superior presenter! 🙂 Once again, my internal 12cR2 hype-meter got knocked up a few more notches!

Come on Oracle! Give me 12.2! 🙂

Big thanks to Dominic and Nigel for coming to speak to us. Thanks as always to Red Stack Tech for sponsoring the event, allowing it to remain free, and to Mike for organising it!

See you all again soon!



Oracle Midlands : Event #16 – Summary

oracle-midlandsLast night was Oracle Midlands Event #16 and we were lucky enough to get Jonathan Lewis for the third time. I think he now holds the record for the most presentations at Oracle Midlands. Both his sessions were on indexing.

The first session was really a general session about B-Tree and Bitmap indexes. What they are. Where they are not. Ways to reduce the number of indexes or avoid indexes entirely etc. It started with some basic information, almost like a primer, then worked on through to some more complicated stuff. Jonathan encouraged questions as he went along, and he got plenty.

I like the broad appeal of this type of format because it means there is something for everyone in the room. The newer people are going to get lost after a while, but they still get something out of the session. The more seasoned people get a refresher, then get challenged more as the session goes on. For me it takes time for some of the concepts to sink in, so each time I see a session like this I will get a little further along and things will click a little better. If I watched a session just full of the complicated stuff I would probably switch off. Just the simple stuff and I would be bored. This approach draws you along and allows you to work a little past your comfort zone. 🙂

Because of the number of questions, the first session was running long, so we had a short break, then Jonathan finished the first session and started on the second…

redstacktechThe second session focussed on the things that have happened over the years that affect how we approach indexing. This included features in a number of database versions that either directly or indirectly affect indexing. Jonathan also talked about the impact of technologies like partitioning, Exadata and InMemory that may give us situations where the best index is no index. 🙂

I got a lot out the these sessions. I asked a lot of questions and got to clear up a bunch of things in my head. I tend to mostly work on OLTP systems, so there is a lot of warehousing stuff where I don’t get a lot of practical experience. Knowing the theory and actively using it are two very different things, so it’s good to have an opportunity to get direct answers like this.

Thanks to Jonathan for coming to speak to us. Thanks as always to Red Stack Tech for sponsoring the event, allowing it to remain free, and to Mike for organising it!

See you all again soon!



Oracle Midlands : Event #15 – Summary

Last night was Oracle Midlands Event #15 with Joel Goodman and Martin Widlake.

First up was Joel with a session called, “Oracle Storage Fragmentation”, where he discussed the potential fragmentation issues possible in tablespaces, tables and indexes. If you’ve been a DBA for a long time it’s easy to think everyone knows this stuff, but I get asked questions about this stuff a lot! The session had a good mix of content, with something to keep everyone happy from beginner to old timers. Joel is like a walking encyclopedia of Oracle, so it’s always good to hear him present.

Next up was Martin with a session called, “Performance of PL/SQL functions called from SQL”, where he discussed the pros and cons of calling PL/SQL functions from SQL statements. I like Martin’s presentation style. He’s very self-deprecating and amusing. Of course I am biased because he’s part of the family. 🙂

redstacktechAfter the second session a few of us went across to a local pub and chatted for hours. The place was closing up when we left. It was quite a late one for a “school night”, and I was full of Diet Coke by the time I left, so sleep was not a great option. 🙂

Thanks to the guys for coming to speak to us and to everyone that came along to the sessions. Thanks to Mike for doing a great job in keeping Oracle Midlands going and to Red Stack Tech for their continued support.



Oracle Midlands : Event #14 – Summary

Last night was Oracle Midlands Even #14 with Lothar Flatz.

The session started with “Raiders of the Data Dictionary I: Indexing for the Workload” where Lothar discussed a project he worked on based around completely revamping the indexing of a system. I guess the best way I can describe it is to say it’s a more scientific approach to indexing, using the contents of the dictionary to provide information about columns and column groups used in queries to determine the indexes to create. In some ways the approach was quite extreme (throw everything away and start again), but I also admire the bravery of that approach!

Next up was “Raiders of the Data Dictionary II: The Curse of the Buffer Cache” where Lothar discussed the problems associated with trying to keep large, frequently used tables in the buffer cache. Once again, some interesting points made and some things that will definitely influence my approach in future.

It was great to meet Lothar in person for the first time. After being in the game for 20+ years many subjects can start to feel a little repetitive, so it’s nice when someone comes along with a different spin on a subject. I certainly found myself asking a lot of questions of him and myself, which surely must be what this knowledge spreading thing is all about!

Thanks to Lothar for taking the time to come and speak to us and to everyone that came along to listen. Thanks to Mike for doing a great job in keeping Oracle Midlands going and to Red Stack Tech for their continued support.

See you at the next one! 🙂