UKOUG Tech17 : I’m Speaking

Just a quick note to let you know what I’m doing at UKOUG Tech17 during the 4th-6th December.

I’ve got a couple of normal presentations.

Multitenant : What’s New in Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2)
Stream: Database 1
Length of slot: 50 minutes
Day: Monday 4th December – 14:25-15:15

Using PL/SQL & ORDS to Develop RESTful Web Services for APEX? Why?
Stream: APEX
Length of slot: 50 minutes
Day: Tuesday 5th December – 15:40 – 16:30

I’m also doing a 25 minute session on Wednesday for students, which isn’t currently listed on the Agenda. It’s part of a UKOUG and Oracle Academy collaboration.

At some point in the week I’ll be picking up the “Best UK Speaker Award” for a session I did at Tech16. It’s funny because I wasn’t originally presenting at that event, but I was asked to fill a gap in the schedule when someone dropped out. Happy accident. 🙂

Similar to previous years I will be in and out a lot. I have to give priority to colleagues who don’t get to come to as many conferences as me. It’s only fair…

See you there.


OUG Ireland 2017 : The Journey Home

I left the hotel bar with Martin, Chris and Neil and after an abortive attempt to get an airbus, we got a taxi to the airport.

I was convinced Dublin Airport was one of the few airports that don’t want you to unpack your laptops from your bag so I didn’t and my bag got flagged. I have no idea where I got that idea from, but I felt like a dick. 🙂

We then went to get some food and wait for our respective flights, whilst discussing our favourite movies…

When it was my time to board I said my goodbyes and headed to the boarding gate…

All three seats in my row were full and all three of us were of a “fuller figure”, but fortunately the row across the aisle was free so I got to “upgrade” from a middle seat to my own row. Happy days!

The flight home was about 45 minutes, then it was a taxi ride home to complete the journey. Wrap-up post to follow!



OUG Ireland 2017 : Day 1

I arrived at the Gresham Hotel, registered and went straight down to the first session of the day…

First up was Maria Colgan presenting, “What to Expect from Oracle Database 12c”, a quick romp through the cool features in Oracle 12c (12.1 and 12.2). The room was full so I had to listen form the corridor, with my head occasionally popping round the door to see the screen. Maria’s sessions are always great value, so definitely get to her if you can.

Next up was Marcin Przepiorowski with “Direct NFS for DBAs”. I’ve used this for some time, but only because Kevin Closson made me. 🙂 Marcin worked through some of the pros and cons and gave a bunch of numbers and graphs to prove is points. Graphs mean science! 🙂

I then moved on to Christian Berg with “Doing Oracle Analytics this way? STOP IT!”. We are transitioning to Oracle BI for the on-prem warehouse associated with our Oracle Cloud Apps stuff. I’m not part of the project and I don’t understand any of this stuff, but I just want to understand some of the vocabulary. I’m definitely understanding some more of the words now. 🙂

Next up was Martin Klier with “42 facts for Grid Infrastructure, ASM and RAC”. This was a quick-fire introduction to RAC and ASM. I’ve used both for some years, but I still find it really cool to see a summary like this, from someone who can actually do it for real.

Then it was me with back-to-back sessions. I brought my underwear, but forgot my pointer, so I had to borrow one from the mighty Maria Colgan. Thanks Maria! My first session was “Put your feet up and have a REST. Take a Tour of JSON Support in the Oracle Database”. The second was “It’s Raining Data! Oracle Databases in the Cloud”. Both sessions got a good crowd and I really enjoyed them. Judging by the reactions on Twitter some of the audience appreciated them too. 🙂

After my sessions I went to Gerald Venzl with “Supercharge Your Code to Get Optimal Database Performance”. He had the word Java on the title slide, but by his own admission it applied equally well to any programming language that interacts with a database. He discussed a number of things like the impact of commits, set processing, array processing and bind variables etc. For some of the points he did live demos to show the impact of getting it wrong. It’s exactly what you need every developer to hear before they are allowed to develop against a relational database. I think Gerald has spotted a gap in the market and is positioning himself as “The New Tom Kyte”, so from now on he will be known as Gerald Kyte… 🙂

Kamil Stawiarski with “Back to the basics: TABLESPACES… but a little bit low level style”. In this session he spoke about how different operations affect the contents of the datafiles on disk. Not the data you can query from SQL, but actually what is written (or not) to disk. He demoed it, by performing the operations in SQL and displaying the contents of the datafiles using a little C++ utility. It’s important for people to understand this stuff from a space-manangement perspective, but also from a security perspective. Just because you’ve deleted the row, it doesn’t mean you can’t read it from the datafile (assuming you are not using TDE) etc. 🙂

After the last session we got together for drinks. The queue was pretty big, so I went across the road and checked into my hotel, then came back and got a pint of Guinness. We headed off to the ACE Dinner at Rustic Stone, which was quite fancy. From there we moved across to a local bar and I was “forced” to have another Guinness. Then it was back to the hotel, where Christian “forced” us to eat rather expensive chocolate. I ended getting to bed really late. It was a really fun day at the conference and the evening. 🙂

Let’s see what tomorrow brings… 🙂



OUG Ireland 2017 : The Journey Begins

There is something about early starts that get me so nervous I can’t sleep properly. As a result I was awake before my 05:00 alarm, which gave me plenty of time to get ready. That was good because I hadn’t packed up laptop bag, which was also acting as my overnight bag. 🙂

The taxi ride to the airport was pretty standard, but I did have a conversation about Roza Bal in Kashmir.

I only had hand luggage, so I didn’t have to wait for the bag drop and security was mercifully quick. They did an explosives test on my phone, but ignored my laptop, cameras and huge power bank. Go figure…

Boarding happened on time and there was a gap in our row, so I was able to get the laptop out, which is always a bonus. The flight took about 40 minutes and was generally uneventful.

The journey from Dublin Airport to the conference venue was pretty simple. The AirLink Express takes you straight to the Gresham Hotel, so no drama there.

It is easier and cheaper for me to get to the OUG Ireland events than it is to get to London events. 🙂

I arrived, registered and went straight to the first session, but that’s another blog post! 🙂



UKOUG Database SIG : January 2017

I left work after an hour yesterday and spent the day cycling between sleeping in bed and sleeping in the bath. In the evening I had a Machu Picchu incident and started to puke every few minutes until I eventually fell asleep. At about 05:00 I woke up, got in the bath and slept for another 2 hours. It was then time to leave for UKOUG Database SIG! 🙂

I was originally down to do a single session. I agreed to do a second session when someone pulled out sick. 🙂 The agenda had me up first and third. I asked Jonathan if I could do a swap and he agreed, so I was up first and second. That gave the opportunity to leave if I felt bad…

My two talks were:

They seemed to go OK and there were some nice comments on Twitter. 🙂

As I expected, the Lemsip and adrenalin was wearing off by the time I finished my second talk and I had started to sweat like crazy. I had a quick chat with some folks during the break, then I got in my car and came home.

Sorry for doing a hit and run! Next time I’ll hang around for the day. I hope everyone else’s sessions wen well!

I’m off to bed now!



PS. I amended my Secure External Password Store article to address Jonathan’s question. 🙂

PPS. With the todays update (27/01/2017) of the extended support waiver extension (Doc ID 742060.1), your timescales for upgrades may now differ somewhat. Added a new slide. 🙂

UKOUG Database SIG : See you on the 25th Jan 2017

In about 4 days (Wednesday 25th Jan 2017) I’ll be one of the presenters at the UKOUG Database SIG in Solihull.

I was originally doing a single session, but someone pulled out so Patrick asked if I could fill in.

I’ve spent this morning bringing my slides and some related articles up to date, so I think I’m ready to go! 🙂

I did a talk at work last week, which was my first presentation of the year, so hopefully this event won’t be too much of a shock for the system. 🙂

If you can make it, it would be great to see you there!




UKOUG Tech16 : Wednesday

Similar to last year, I had a presentation on a day I wasn’t attending, so I used my “lunch break” to drive in, present and drive back to work. I did get to see a bunch of people while I was waiting for my session to start, including my dad and wife. 🙂

My session was called “Put your feet up and have a REST. Take a tour of JSON support in the Oracle database.” It was basically a romp through the JSON support provided by ORDS, APEX and Oracle Database 12c (12.1 and 12.2). More importantly, it gave me an opportunity to stand on my soapbox and preach my “how to stay relevant” message.

As a DBA and PL/SQL developer I’m a firm believer in the Thick Database Model, but we are no longer in a position to dictate terms. What we should be trying to do is make the stuff we develop, as well as stuff we have already built over the last 20+ years, as accessible as possible. You can’t achieve that by forcing people to use an Oracle client and telling them to call a packaged procedure. What you can do though is present them with a web service that makes it easy for them to use your code.

I’ve been pushing this message for years with XML web services and SOAP web services from the database. Nowadays the basic message is still the same, but the tools are a little different, and of course XML has been replaced by JSON.

So the question is, do you want to be legacy or play with the “cool kids”? 🙂

Thanks to everyone who came to my session and those that spoke to me during Sunday, Monday and today. Thanks to the folks at UKOUG for inviting me to come and play. As always, big thanks go out to the Oracle ACE Program for letting me continue to fly the flag in my cloud free skies. 🙂



UKOUG Tech16 : Monday

tech16_300wI got a bit of a late start to the day. I had a some work stuff I had to do before setting off for the conference and it dragged on a bit longer than I expected.

My plan for the day was to go to sessions about stuff I don’t do for my job. I could dress that up as something strategic, but the reality is I’m now totally conferenced out. It’s been a tough six months. 🙂

ukoug-markThe first session I went to was Mark Rittman with “Query, Integrate & Visualise All Your Data (In Real-Time!) Using Hadoop”. This was a strategic session, discussing the present and future direction of analytics over Hadoop. Every time I see aukoug-tanel Hadoop session there are some new projects I’ve never heard of before and a bunch of projects that are now out of favour. Gotta do it in the cloud and forget about the plumbing. Mark was joined briefly by Tanel Poder, who discussed what Gluent are doing to integrate information from different sources.

ukoug-neilAfter lunch I was planning to watch Robin Moffatt speaking about Kafka, but the room was full, so I went to see Neil Chandler with “It’s a Disaster! Making it Better Using FarSync & Fast Connect Failover”. So this is not exactly “not my job”, but Neil does this stuff at a bigger scale than I do.

I had arranged to spend some time speaking to Jennifer from the Oracle ACE Program, so I missed the next block of talks while I spoke to her and a few folks who dropped by, including a fully awake Jeff Smith. 🙂

ukoug-chris2Next I went to watch Chris Lawless from Dbvisit speaking about “Data Streaming From Oracle to Kafka”, but once again it was full. Do you notice a pattern here? Rather than miss out I sat in the corridor listening. I couldn’t see anything, but it was still a good presentation in audio only. 🙂

Next I was planning to see “Migrating to & Supporting Databases on Amazon RDS for Oracle” by Maris Elsins, but once again the room was rammed. I couldn’t face watching/listening from the corridor again, so I dropped out and went to get a coffee and some food.

ukoug-jamesThe last session of the day for me was “When The Rules Change: Next Generation Oracle Database Architectures Using Super-Fast Storage” by James Morle. There is no way I will ever work on stuff this high-end, but it’s fun to watch and it raises a whole bunch of interesting questions about the cost:benefit ratio of caching data when the storage is super fast.

From there we went across to Thai Edge for the ACE dinner. Lots of food. Lots of drink for those that do. Lots of talking. Altogether a great evening!

Towards the end of the evening I got talking to Lothar Flatz and I ended up giving him a lift back to his hotel, before heading home.

I’m just about to post this and it’s 01:20. I’m at work tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough day! 🙂



UKOUG Tech16 : Super Sunday

tech16_300wMy blog posts about a conference usually start with a post about my journey to the event, so…

I got in my car, drove 4 miles, parked my car, walked about 100m.

That’s it. 🙂

I met up with a gang of people in the ICC and pretty soon we moved up to the main reception area, where we had a natter and coffee before everything kicked off. They couldn’t find a badge for Mr Debra Lilley, so I had to make do with one for some guy called Tim Hall. There were several tracks, so I’ll only talk about what I saw…

ukoug-trondFirst up was Trond Enstad with “NodeJS & Oracle – A Match Made in Heaven”. The session was based around a live demo, including a new installation of Node, Oracle Instant Client and Oracle Node Driver. Trond built a Node app to act like an OS monitoring agent to capture “sar” data from the server and insert it into a DB table, so APEX could be used to visualise it. I now feel I am truly one of the cool kids!

Me: Alexa, am I cool?
Alexa: You’re cooler than cool. You’re the coolest!

I bet she says that to all the guys!

ukoug-jeffNext was Jeff Smith with “Auto REST Enabling Your Tables, Views, & More With SQL Developer & REST Data Services”. The session started with a basic REST primer and an introduction to ORDS. Jeff then gave some examples of how the AutoREST functionality of ORDS can enable RESTful access to tables and views. He also talked about AutoREST of PL/SQL objects (procedures, functions, packages etc.), which will be available in ORDS 3.1. Jeff was super jet-lagged, so once he finished his session I walked him to his hotel, tucked him into bed, then headed back to the conference. 🙂

ukoug-lonnekeMy little excursion made me a bit late for Lonneke Dikmans presenting “Internet of Things (IoT) in the Enterprise – A Case Study”. The session presented a proof of concept (POC) using air conditioning sensors, which constantly send information to Oracle IoT Cloud Service. When a problem with the temperature is noticed a ticket is raised automatically. A BIMServer was used to build a detailed model of the building. The maintenance folks could see the ticket and drill down from that into the model of the building, allowing them to potentially organise maintenance and fix things before the users even noticed the problem. Pretty cool, but not as cool as me according to Alexa!

ukoug-alexThe last session of the days was “Oracle 12c for Developers” by Alex Nuijten. This was a quick-fire session, covering lots of different development features that Alex likes from 12.1 and 12.2. I like these types of sessions because they cover so much ground. The audience was great, with lots of questions and interaction! It’s always interesting hearing other people’s questions. I wrote down a bunch of questions I didn’t know the answer to, which I will look into and add to my articles on the subjects. 🙂

Once the final session was over I had a quick chat with a bunch of people before heading home.

That’s UKOUG Tech16 Super Sunday done! I’ll be at the UKOUG Tech16 event all day tomorrow, as well as at the ACE dinner in the evening, so I hope to see you there!



PS. I got a new sticker. The ORDS one in the middle. 🙂


UKOUG Tech16 : I’m Speaking

tech16_300wI originally thought the BGOUG event was my last speaking event of the year, but as it happens I am now presenting at UKOUG Tech 16 in a few days time.

If you fancy coming along to my session, it’s on Wednesday 11:30 – 12:20 and it’s called Put Your Feet Up & Have a REST. Take a Tour of JSON Support in the Oracle Database.

We might be celebrating my nephew’s birthday on the Saturday this year. If that’s the case I will be able to come to the Sunday event for the first time ever.

As for the week days, I will be in on Wednesday just to present, then I will be going back to work. One of my colleagues wants to do Wednesday, so I have to be in the office to provide cover. I will be doing one of the other two days (Monday or Tuesday), but I don’t know which yet.

See you there!