Birmingham City University (BCU) Talk #5

bcuI had a day off work today so I could go over to Birmingham City University (BCU) and do a talk to the students.

Today’s session was more about giving them an idea of where databases fit into the big picture as far as data and data processing is concerned. I obviously come at this as a relational database guy, but the presentation also included NoSQL and Hadoop. I hope nobody is naive enough anymore to think relational databases are the correct solution for every use case, so it’s important to be objective about this stuff, rather than to push your own agenda.

Over recent weeks I’ve spent time trawling through material to get a feel for the subject matter, and it’s quite depressing to see the territorial pissing that goes on between all these camps. Each trying to convince you their solution is suitable for use cases where it clearly is not. To be fair, most of this is not coming from the experts themselves, but from the hangers on who can’t cope with the fact their favourite tech might not be perfect. We’ve all been there! 🙂

Over the weekend as I was putting the talk together and Mark Rittman tweeted a link to this article.

I could have kissed him. The article is really even-handed and certainly helped me to put some of what I wanted to say into context.

After the session I was invited to a staff meeting to discuss industry engagement. So that’s the second time today I had to discuss something I know nothing about. 🙂 It was actually really interesting though.

Presenting at conferences and writing on the internet makes you, to some extent, part of the education system. Getting involved in this stuff is quite an eye-opener and makes you think about how you approach things yourself. As I’ve said many times before, I do all this stuff on the internet for me, but if I can make a few adjustments to make what I do more useful and/or accessible to others, that is worth considering.

I got connected with BCU as part of the UKOUG NextGen event in 2014 and the relationship has grown from there. If you are interested in reaching out to some higher education (HE) establishments in the UK, you might want to contact UKOUG. You’re not going to get paid, but I think you will get more out of it personally than put put in! 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG – Summary

ukougOn Thursday I did a presentation at the UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was not able to stay for the whole day. I arrived about 30 minutes before my session was scheduled to start. The previous session finished about 10 minutes early and the speaker following me cancelled, so my 45 minute session extended to about 70 minutes. 🙂

 

There had already been speakers focussing on Oracle Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), so I did a live demo of Azure, which included building an Oracle Linux VM and doing an install of WebLogic and ADF. There was also a more general presentation about running Oracle products on the cloud. I’m not a WebLogic or cloud specialist, so this presentation is based on me talking about my experiences of those two areas. Peter Berry from Clckwrk and Paul Bainbridge from Fujitsu corrected me on a couple of things, which was cool.

After my session I hung around for a quick chat, but I had to rush back to work to do an upgrade, which went OK. 🙂

Thanks to the organisers for inviting me and thanks to everyone that came along. It would have been good to see the other presentations, but unfortunately that was not possible for me this time!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Simon, the preinstall packages were installed in the Oracle Linux templates. 🙂

# rpm -qa | grep preinstall
oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall-1.0-8.el6.x86_64
oracle-rdbms-server-11gR2-preinstall-1.0-7.el6.x86_64
#

UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG

ukougI’ll be speaking at the UKOUG Application Server & Middleware SIG tomorrow.

It’s going to be another hit-and-run affair for me. I’m in meetings at work all morning, then I’ll be doing a mad dash to get to my presentation at the SIG, then straight back to work to do an upgrade during the evening.

The agenda looks cool, so I would have liked to stay the whole day, but sadly that’s not going to happen. 🙁

My favourite bit of any tech event is interacting with people, so just turning up to present is not ideal, but in this case I don’t have a choice in the matter, unless I go AWOL from work… 🙂

Hope to see you there, even if it is only briefly!

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech15 : Wednesday

ukoug-tech15-speakerToday was a full day at UKOUG Tech15. Yay!

Zahid Anwar rescued my laptop charger, and left it at the Version 1 stand for me to pick up. Thanks guys!

My first session was at 10:00, which was called Pluggable Databases: What They Will Break & Why You Should Use Them Anyway! I like giving this presentation and the crowd seemed to respond really well to it. Maybe I’ve converted a few people? Quote of the day must go to Jonathan Lewis who said,

“I enjoyed your presentation, but I don’t know why.”

I am being very selective with that quote, because it made me laugh. 🙂 Actually, Jonathan was very complementary, as were a number of the other speakers that were present. I know it’s not about trying to impress other speakers, but it is really nice when you get a good response from them as well as the audience. 🙂 The questions ran into the break, including three questions that I didn’t know the answer to. They are on my list of things to find out.

From there I just bounced around catching up with friends, both old and new, answering questions, speaking to people in the exhibition hall and filming a couple of segments for OTN.

At about 15:00 I got a major energy slump and was considering going home, but Noel Portugal persuaded me to go to his session on Internet of Things (IoT). As I was walking to it I bumped into Lars Ulveseth who made a comment about the weather, which confused me a little. When I quizzed him, he explained it was a reference to my session called It’s raining data! Oracle databases in the cloud, which he was just heading to. I told him I wasn’t presenting that, so he pointed me to the agenda and sure enough, I was down to present it at 15:30. Talk about shocked and surprised! After changing my underwear, it was off to do my last presentation of UKOUG Tech15! 🙂

Even though I got to the session on time and did the talk, I am still incredibly freaked out by it all. I keep thinking, what if I had gone home? What if I had not bumped into Lars? What if it had been earlier in the day and I had missed it? I am still mortified now thinking how easily I could have missed it. 🙁 On reflection, I remember being accepted for 3 sessions, but in my head they were all database sessions. When I looked through the database track, only two were present, so I though the other one must have got pulled. It turns out this session was marked as virtualization, not database, so I never saw it on the grid. If you look on my UKOUG Tech15 : See you there! post from the other day, you’ll notice I didn’t mention it. 🙁 Anyway, all’s well that ends well!

Thanks to the hardcore crowd that sat through the last session of the day, when the rest of the people had gone home or headed off to the German market to do Christmas shopping! 🙂 I got some questions during and after the session, and the people I spoke to afterwards seemed pleased with what I presented. It’s really a collection of my observations while trying out AWS, Azure and Oracle Cloud.

One of the guys in the crowd was also working at a UK University in a similar role to me, using a bunch of similar tech and higher education (HE) software, so we spent about an hour chatting once the session was over, then walked to the station together. It was a really nice example of the networking that is possible at these events. Hopefully we will be able to help each other out in future!

So that’s my last conference for the year, and apart from me being a dumb-ass and nearly missing a session, it was a really great day. Thanks to UKOUG for giving me the opportunity to speak three times this year. 🙂 Thanks to everyone that came to my sessions, asked me questions, and tolerated me talking the hind legs off a donkey! 🙂 Thanks also to the Oracle ACE Program for allow me to keep flying the flag, even in my home town. 🙂

Tomorrow morning I’m doing a talk to the students at Birmingham City University, then it’s back to my job and normal life for the rest of the year. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech15 : Monday

ukoug-tech15-speakerAs mentioned the other day, my first day at UKOUG Tech15 was a rather brief affair. I just popped in during an extended lunch break to present, then it was straight back to work.

I met a couple of people (Sve and Debra) on the way in, but pretty much had to go straight to my session. There were a few people (Connor, Niall, Martin, BrendanNeil, Iain and Dave) lurking around who I tried to persuade, with varying degrees of success, not to stay. 🙂

The session was called Oracle Database Consolidation: It’s Not All About Oracle Database 12c! and was born out of my frustration about the one-size-fits-all attitude some people have about consolidation. Depending on who you speak to, consolidation is only about [Virtualization | Containers| Exadata | PDBs] (pick one), when in fact you always end up using a combination of approaches, including some old, tried and tested, methods. It was an overview session, which always makes me nervous for a couple of reasons. First, I find overview sessions really scary to present because you can’t hide behind geek talk. Second, I’m always worried people will come along expecting something more technical, even though you’ve said it is an overview session. I started off the session by reminding people it was an overview session and made it clear I would not be offended if they wanted to leave. 🙂

A couple of nights ago I had a dream Connor was in the front row and I totally blanked at the start of the session. That didn’t quite come to pass. Connor was about 3 rows back and although I was a little shaky at the start, I didn’t blank completely. 🙂

I think the session went OK. I did what I said I would do. I just hope the audience got what they expected…

After the session, I got to speak briefly to Zahid Anwar, and said a quick hello to Frits and Oyvind on the way out, but it was pretty much a dash out and back to work. So much so that I left my Apple laptop charger in Hall 5 after my session. If anyone found it, please let me know. 🙂

So that was my first brief visit to UKOUG Tech15. I’m not in on Tuesday as a bunch of other people from work are going, so I’m left behind to hold the fort. I will be in all day Wednesday (I hope), so I look forward to catching up with people properly. If you see me walking round the conference and you have a question or just want to say hello, don’t be shy. I love talking about Oracle stuff and I would rather spend the time talking with you than sitting in someone else’s session, that I’ve probably seen 6 times already this year. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech15 : See you there.

ukoug-tech15-speakerUKOUG Tech15 Super Sunday is underway. The Sunday event always coincides with my nephew’s Birthday celebration, so I never get to attend. You’ve got to get your priorities straight. 🙂

This year I’ll be presenting two sessions:

  • Monday 12:20 – 13:10 : Oracle Database Consolidation: It’s Not All About Oracle Database 12c! This is an overview session, suitable for beginners and management types.
  • Wednesday 10:00 – 10:50 : Pluggable Databases: What They Will Break & Why You Should Use Them Anyway! For all those folks thinking about moving to 12c soon, this might help you decide which way to go. 🙂 Monday is a fleeting visit for me. I’ll be doing my session, then I’ve got to go straight back to work. I’m not in on Tuesday, but I should be in all day Wednesday, I hope.

Having a conference in your home town sounds like a good thing, but I find it harder to deal with. When you are away from home it is easy to throw yourself into conference mode and turn off real life. When you live close to the conference, you have to switch in and out of conference mode constantly. Normal life is a distraction from the conference experience. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Systems Event 2015

ukougI have a bone to pick with UKOUG. I’m coming from Birmingham and I’m a lazy git, so why the heck am I on in the first slot? 🙂 It was a 04:30 start to the day, for a train journey starting at 05:50. I could have got a later train, but it would have been busier and more importantly, more expensive… After putting the latest of my writing tips posts live and lying in the bath (sorry for the bad mental image) for a while psyching myself up for the day, it was a quick taxi ride to the station, then on to the train. The train was reasonably busy, but I had reserved a seat with a table and power socket, so I was able to use the time to write up a blog post about yesterday’s Oracle Midlands Event #9 and to do some last minute run throughs of my talk.

Since I was up in the first slot I missed the opening greeting to set up. The event was very Exadata-heavy and I was doing a virtualization talk, so I wasn’t really expecting anyone to come, but I had a pretty good crowd, which was nice. Many of the people in the room were already working with virtualization, some as users of the services, others as administrators. I don’t think there would be a lot that was particularly new to this audience, but I’m hoping they found at least something useful in there. After the session, I stood outside the room chatting to one of the guys about the issues he was currently going throught relating to Oracle licenses on VMware. It can be difficult, especially when there seem to be a lot of people out there actively trying to throw a you bum steer. My statement on this  matter is always, only ever deal with Oracle Licensing Management Services directly, not sales people, which working this stuff out and make sure you have everything down on paper before you start!

I only managed to catch the tail end of “Oracle Exadata Meets Elastic Configurations” by Svetoslav Gyurov so I will have to assume it was totally awesome! I love you Sve! 🙂

redstacktechDuring the session changeover, I got to speak to some of the folks on the Red Stack Technology booth. I popped by to say thank you for taking over the sponsorship of the Oracle Midlands events. They were also a sponsor of the UKOUG Systems Event itself, so a double thank you was in order. 🙂

Next up was “Oracle Exadata & Database Memory” by Frits Hoogland. Exadata is “posh-RAC”. Lots of stuff about RAC databases are also common to singe instance Oracle databases. As a result, this sesison was actually relevant to single instance, RAC and Exadata. Frits is one of those deep-dive guys, but the session had enough top-level and deep-dive content to appeal to all tastes. I really enjoyed it.

Next up was Roger MacNicol speaking about “Oracle Big Data SQL”. I had seen a bunch of this information last year at Oracle OpenWorld, but it also included some architectural information that was new to me. I was unaware of the architectural similarities between implementing smart scans in Exadata storage cells and getting Oracle to talk to Hive and HDFS. Very interesting!

I went to see “Migrating To Exadata The Easy Way” by Martin Bach because I wanted to watch him present. I don’t see working on Exadata in my future, so that aspect of the talk was not my focus. As with Frits’ session earlier, most of the content was relevant to Non-Exadata and Non-RAC environments too, so there was something for everyone here. Migration to new hardware and operating systems, no matter what the kit, comes with a similar set of issues and constraints. It also sparked some interesting discussions after the session, which meant I missed Jason Arneil‘s session on “Engineering DBaaS At Large Scale”. 🙁 Hopefully I’ll get to see that at UKOUG Tech15?

There was a panel session at end the day. It is fatal to ask me to get involved in these things as I have an opinion on everything and find it impossible to keep my gob shut! I did warn them! 🙂

I spent much of the social event talking to @DBASushi about Enterprise Manager Cloud Control. I made some comments about Cloud Control in the panel session, which he wanted me to clarify. I’ve said before, I think all organisations should use Cloud Control, but there are some things about it I find infuriating, totally unintuitive and bloaty. During the discussion it became aparrent that some of my issues are because I need to RTFM a bit, but others are (in my opinion) problems with the user experience (UX) of the product. No offence to anyone involved, but some parts feel beautifully crafted, while other parts feel slapped together.

From there is was a quick goodbye, then off to Euston to catch my train home. Once again, a reserved seat with a table and power socket. Happy days!

Thanks to UKOUG for letting me come out to play, as well as all the attendees, presenters and UKOUG staff I talked to. Also thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for continuing to let me fly the flag.

Cheers

Tim…

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!

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG System Event : I’ve got a paper selected.

I’ve just found out I’ve got a paper selected for the UKOUG System Event on May 20th. Check out my badge. 🙂

I was a spectator at last year’s event. At first glance you might think much of the content is not directly related to my job, since I’m not a system administrator, virtual infrastructure administrator and I don’t use any Oracle engineered systems, appliances or storage products. Having said all that, it’s hard to be a DBA these days without having a finger in several pies. Most of the information discussed at these events is relevant, even if you are not using the exact same kit or doing the exact same job as the speaker.

Hope to see you there.

Cheers

Tim…