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Oracle OpenWorld Day 5 Highlights September 24, 2010

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld.

Like most at OpenWorld, I started the day a tad later than usual after yesterday’s Appreciation Party. I decided to be a little adventurous with my first session and see a non-database related session on Application Integration Architecture as I have an interest in the issue. It was all actually quite interesting with discussions regarding what level of integration might be appropriate, whether it be purely at the data layer or at the process layer, if data needs to be integrated, should it be replicated locally somehow or referenced remotely and which method might be best in which circumstance. They also emphasised the importance of standards and how they should be applied and policed and how standards can help to resolve the issue and possible conflicts of adding increasing complexities when attempting to write reusable services. It was an hour well spent.

I next attended a really good session on Oracle Database 11g New Search Features and Future Roadmap. I learnt to my surprise that there are a quite a number of  new features in relation to Oracle Text in the recent release. New features include Entity Extraction whereby Oracle will automatically find entities in text such as people, cities, phone numbers, etc. a new Name Search facility in which people names with different spelling can more easily be found (such as Stephen and Steven) and a new Resultset Interface capability in which details and data can be nicely summarised. Also mentioned are enhancements in the manner by which frequent and not so frequent accesses to text tokens can be stored and processed. Also had a really interesting look at what new things are being planned, such as automatic partitioning, automatic optimisations of indexes via the use of a staging index, section specific index options, two index levels with better management of common terms in memory, substring index options to name but a few. Looks like there are going to be considerable functional improvements to text indexes on their way soon.

Day 5 is sooooo much more quieter than it has been and lunch was a less hectic affair with far fewer people to hustle against. It’s been another beautiful day here, the weather almost as good as it is in Australia !!

I presented one of the first sessions to kick-off Oracle OpenWorld 2010 so I was determined to see the conference through and sit in on one of the last sessions as well. I decided to go and see fellow Oakie Mark Farharm present on whether it’s ever useful to physically order data. The answer is yes but it depends and he explained why it’s so and the scenarios when it might be useful and worth considering.

Finally, I headed down to the “It’s A Wrap” function for a few drinks and a bite to eat with a bunch of friends, listening to some pretty good music, including a nice little rendition of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel”.

And so Oracle OpenWorld ends for another year. There were a number of big announcements this year, a number of excellent sessions, some catching up with old friends and the making of many new ones, with the odd beer and glass of wine consumed during the process. A huge thanks to everyone who attended my sessions and for all the positive feedback. Also a huge thanks to Lillian, Vikki, Justin and everyone on the OTN team for looking after all the Oracle ACEs so well. Looking forward to heading home now and getting back to Australia.

I’ve eaten so much and put on so much weight, that I’m beginning to resemble a sumo wrestler. Don’t believe me, well see this picture taken of me while I was walking around the exhibition hall …

Oracle OpenWorld Day 4 Highlights September 24, 2010

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld.

Thankfully after a decent night’s sleep, I approached Day 4 at Oracle OpenWorld with more energy than I did yesterday.

I probably had the most productive morning of the whole conference when I visited the various Oracle product booths in the Exhibition Hall at Moscone South and spoke to many of the database product managers and development staff. I had a good chat with folks from RAC One, the CBO, Database Replay and Oracle Total Recall teams among others and was able to discuss various issues with these technologies and future directions and enhancements. As an example, I was able to get useful information on how existing journal records might be added to flashback archive enabled tables and how it might potentially be possible to remove or alter exisiting flashback data, issues that we need to have addressed before we could consider implementing  Total Recall capabilities. I would strongly recommend anyone coming to OpenWorld spend some time and talk to these guys and get direct answers to questions you might have with various current Oracle technologies.

After another pleasant lunch in the sun, listening to live music, I sat in on the SQL Tuning Roundtable session. Unfortunately, it was all a bit of a flop really, with most of the time spent wading through overheads on various new Oracle 11g features rather than spend the time allowing people to ask and get their questions answered. I think only one or two of the questions written on the cards before the session started were actually answered by the panel during the session. Tip to the organisers of these types of sessions, devote all the available time for allowing folks to have questions answered and leave the presentation of new features for another time.

I next walked across to that other major event being held in San Francisco at the moment, Oracle Closed World. It was great to catch up with Mogens Norgaard and a host of other fellow OakTable members and listen in to Kevin Closson give another excellent and informative Q&A session, with the audience drinking free beer. There is something about free beer that just makes it taste just that little bit better 🙂 Afterwards, caught up over a beer with Kevin, Tanel Poder, Kyle Hailey, Kerry Osborne, Tim Hall to name but a few and met James Morle for the first time which was great. Thanks to Mogens and Kyle for organising everything.

Many of us then made our way to the great blogger get-together as organised by Alex Gorbachev and the folks at Pythian. As we did last year, we were given t-shirts and then meant to get as many people to have them signed as possible. However, I wanted to keep my t-shirt graffiti free as they’ll make a great t-shirt but made the unfortunate mistake of wearing a white t-shirt to the event. As such, I spent much of my time dodging people who kept trying to write on my t-shirt. Fortunately, I managed to make it out without graffiti free. A big thanks to Alex, Pythian, OTN and the other sponsors and organisers of a great event as I had the great pleasure of meeting a host of great fellow bloggers for the first time.

Finally, it was time for the Appreciation Event and my date with the Black Eye Peas. First though, we had to wait patiently for the coach in a massive queue that wrapped around nearly 2 full blocks. This year’s OOW event is sooooo much bigger than recent previous years. It actually went surprisingly quickly and we were on our way, with the truly spectacular lights of San Francisco passing by as we crossed the bridge to Treasure Island. This year, the place was totally and completely packed with people with huge queues for access to the food. Unfortunately, the food was really disappointing and nowhere near as good as its been previously but there was plenty of beer and wine on hand to make amends.

I’m not a great fan of the Black Eyes Peas to be honest and heard they’re not the best live band but my daughter is a fan so I decided to watch them and take a few photos. They’re started out a bit slowly but they so warmed up and by the end I thought they were actually very good and had put on a great show. There is something about a huge bass vibrating through your whole body, a light show and lasers that makes arena rock what it is. In the end, I had a great night but was thankful the queues to get back on the buses were no where as long.

Just one day to go …

Oracle OpenWorld Day 3 Highlights September 23, 2010

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld.


Started Day 3 waking up at 3am and staying awake until San Francisco decided to slowly light up. I have a feeling this summary will be a little briefer than previously …

First up was my Unconference Q & A session at Parc 55 Hotel. Considering the overall “Javaness” of the venue and location, I was actually surprised as many as 20-30 people managed to find out it was on. From my perspective, it was another success with quite a number of different questions asked and various subjects discussed including the workings of bitmap indexes and why they’re not suitable for OLTP applications, the appropriate ordering of composite index columns, index compression, usage of function-based indexes, impact of deletes and the setting of null values to index enries, to name but a few. Hopefully those who attended found it a useful session as Jarneil did.

Next up I popped into Kevin Closson’s session on “Do It Yourself Exadata”. Now I not the most “hardware savvy” of folks, but Kevin is both extremely knowledgable and passionate in his presentations which is a very useful combination of attributes to have as a presenter. I enjoyed his session very much and left with an appreciation of the various technical issues involved in trying to build an Exadata like environment, how it’s possible but perhaps not particularly practical.

I then enjoyed a lunch session out in the beautiful San Francisco sun, admiring many of the nearly buildings, attempting to get all my yawns out of my system (somewhat unsuccessfully).

I then had another quick walk around the exhibition hall where I met and had a chat with Guy Harrison, who kindly gave me a personally signed copy of his latest book. (Note to self: after all the goodies I’ve been collecting, be prepared for a very heavy suitcase on the flight back to Australia !!). A tip for anyone interested in going to OpenWorld in the future. Practice your golf putting skills for a few weeks beforehand as it will immeasurably increase one’s odds in winning a prize at the exhibition hall 😉

I then attended Greg Rahn’s Oracle Database Performance Secrets Finally Revealed session. It was excellent and covered very well an approach that really every DBA should be adopting when determining the actual cause and best solution to a performance related issue. No silly silver bullets here but a case of why why why why why (the 5 questions that a DBA should be asking in order to determine the actual root cause of an issue so that the actual and appropriate actions can be taken). No guess-work, no endlessly trying out different things hoping it might make a difference …

I decided initially to attend a session on the internals of the CBO run by Maria Clogan (who is again a great speaker) and various things that can go wrong but although excellent, I kinda knew all the material so decided instead to leave and pop into a presentation on how to deploy new database features risk free with Database Replay, a new 11g feature I’m looking at using back at work. Bad move !! It was all bland talk followed by an unbelievably long and totally unrelated vendor video on how to make solar panels, followed by a totally irrelevant discussion on just how great Exadata is with barely a mention of database replay, how it was deployed, how it helped, how it was applied, nothing of any practical benefit. In short, a total waste of time, unless you’re interested in solar panels of course.

It was then time for a beer or two back at the OTN tent to share the love and joy that was the “Java Posse”. I kinda get the strong impression that not all Java folks are overly thrilled at sharing the JavaOne conference with OpenWorld and Oracle Develop. Still, the Java song was rather catchy, Java Java Java, jing jing jing !! The networking side of things and meeting people is probably the most important aspect of conferences such as these and it’s always good to make new friends, catch up with old ones and finally put faces to people I’ve only previously met electronically.

A group of us then decided to go out to dinner at the nearby Mel’s Drive Diner and the “famous” Mel’s Burger although I’m not quite sure why it’s so famous to be honest. Despite attempts by Tim Hall to tell me just how many calories there were in the milkshakes, I did really enjoy one nonetheless !! A spot of shopping and an early night ends Day 3. Certainly hoping to sleep better tonight and not have nightmares of solar panels trying to burn me up alive …

Oracle OpenWorld Day 2 Highlights September 22, 2010

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld.

What a difference a good night’s sleep makes to one’s outlook on life !! Slept soundly until dawn for the first time since arriving to the US and boy, do I feel better for it. After a lazy morning, had a late breakfast at my favourite haunt, Louis Diner, for a breakfast that lasts me all day.

The first session of the day was a presentation on SOA and the so-called transformation the IT landscape. I’m very curious to see how other organisations implement SOA solutions as I have reservations regarding how my work is contemplating going down this path. It’s was actually quite a useful summary of the various integration issues that many organisations have and how a SOA based solution attempts to address these issues. It was a tad marketing oriented by those involved but worth sitting in on.

More than can be said for my second session on Oracle Database Performance and the latest developments, a boring marketing driven piece on how Oracle can scale this way and that, how it’s got the best results here and there and how it’s the market leader here, there and everywhere. I joined the every growing stream of people walking out and decided instead to check out the exhibition hall. As usual, the place was huge and packed with vendors desperate to get your details in exchange for a t-shirt or flashing yo-yo. I actually had a good chat with a number of vendors and saw various database monitoring products that was worth further investigation. Caught up with Gary Goodman from at the Hotsos stand, had a chat with a lady who was an ex-watering skiing champion who loved competing in Australia and of course left with a bag full of t-shirts and flashing yo-yos.

Next was my second official presentation on index related new features introduced in 11g. There was a good turn out with few falling asleep so hopefully it was reasonably successful. I was a bit dehydrated with my voice threatening to give out but I manged to make it and finish in time no less. Both Asif Momen and Jarneil both appeared to have enjoyed it.

I next attended a customer panel on Oracle Exadata and IT consolidation as it’s a technology that is obviously very topical at the moment. It’s of course another marketing exercise however if their joint experiences are to be believed (eg: implementing 1/4 rack systems with massive performance improvements and heaps of free resources to spare), then it’s potentially a technology to consider moving forward. The devil of course is always in the details however and it’s something I would love to test with our production workloads. I can’t help thinking Oracle’s move towards larger more powerful node Exadata systems, with fewer actual RAC nodes, suggests an interesting direction, especially for OLTP based systems. In all, a useful session with plenty of food for thought.

I had just enough time to pop over to the OTN Mason Street tent for a quick drink and bite to eat to attend a “Meet An Oracle ACE” function that was being hosted. Met a few new ACEs myself, including a Java Champion who was surprisingly very normal and nice 😉

My final session of the day was the Real-World Performance Panel session, which is always worth attending. I managed to catch up with Graham Wood and Greg Rahn beforehand which was nice. This year there were actually quite a number of questions that were related to indexes (perhaps someone noticed I was sitting in the back row !!). The question that most grabbed my interest was whether indexes are required at all in an Exadata systems or whether everything runs so fast and vast volumes of data can be processed so quickly, that using indexes is all a bit redundant and unnecessary. The general answer and consensus of the panel was that it of course depends. The fundamentals with Exadata are just the same, it’s just that Full Table Scans and parallel processing can all be done so much more efficiently and quicker than previously, resulting in FTS and hash joins being more likely and attractive to the CBO. However, for the policing of constraints, for row (or “few” or relatively selective rows) processing, then accessing the data via an index is still going to be a more efficient option. It all still depends. For Data Warehousing however, thinking in terms of set and parallel processing should certainly be considered which in turn naturally leads to less reliance on indexes. However, it again all still depends and is just as relevant in non Exadata data warehouses. In all, it was an excellent session with some good questions and even better answers.

After a quick rest back at the hotel, it was time for the Asia-Pacific cocktail reception at the rather impressive Press Club where both Chris Muir and I managed to get on good terms with a number of the waiters who made sure we were served first with any new food being handed out. The  combination of chocolate truffles and red wine was just divine !! Finally, we made an appearance at the massive OTN party where we met up with a number of folks over a wine or two. One thing that can alway be said about the OTN team, they sure know how to organise and throw a great party.

Overall a mixed day with some disappointing sessions, some really good ones and with a number of new t-shirts in my collection 🙂

Oracle OpenWorld Session Updates (In The Flesh ?) September 17, 2010

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld.
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Based on emails I’ve received, I know a number of you are keen to attend some of my sessions at Oracle OpenWorld this year so a few updates for your information. I’ll keep this blog entry as up to date as I can with the latest information as it comes to hand, so keep checking back or of course check the official site and the Schedule Builder for the latest updates.

As of this morning, both of my official presentations were marked as full so if you tried to register for them you may have been disappointed. However, at this stage, only one of my presentations has been moved to a larger venue.

The current details of my sessions are as follows:

Session S318615: “IOUG: Oracle Indexing Tips Trick and Traps” – Sunday September 19, 12:30pm Moscone West L2 Room 2005 – FULL

The above session is still unfortunately marked as full. Being an IOUG session, it may not be possible to move this to a larger room so unfortunately, if you haven’t already pre-registered for this, it may be difficult to get in. From past experience though, if you get there early enough and wait in the standby queue for 10-15 minutes, usually sufficient people fail to turn up to perhaps make the wait in the queue worthwhile.

Session S319069: “Oracle Indexing New Features In Oracle11g R1 and R2″ – Monday September 20, 2:00pm Moscone South Room 103

This session was previously marked as full but has now been moved to a different room. It was previously in room 303 but is now in the larger (1300 capacity) Room 103, still at Moscone South. If you previously couldn’t pre-register, I would recommend booking your place while you still can via the Schedule Builder as there’s every chance it could fill up again the way things are going. 

“Unconference: Oracle Indexing Q & A With Richard Foote” Tuesday 21 September, 10:00am Hotel Parc 55 Mason Room

Being an Unconference session, this can’t be pre-booked and so can’t officially be full. That said, the rooms for these sessions are really really small so if you’re interested in attending, it will be a case of first in, best dressed. This is your chance to ask those indexing (or David Bowie) related questions, especially if you couldn’t manage to get into one of my other sessions. A similar session last year went really well so hopefully it’ll be something worth attending if you get the chance.

I’m really looking forward to the conference this year, especially as I wasn’t too sure for a while there that I was going to make it. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to meeting lots more people this year and that everyone who would like to attend one of my sessions can do so. As usual, I’m packing about 2 hours worth of material into each 60 minute session so it’ll be fun to see if I can actually finish in time !!

Oracle OpenWorld – Day 5 Hightlights October 16, 2009

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld, Richard's Musings.

Started the day desperate again for a coffee at the OTN lounge.

I was looking forward to catching Kevin Closson at the Unconference but unfortunately the session was cancelled at the last minute. So spent some time having a nice chat with Chris Muir and Tim Hall who I had the pleasure to meet when I attended the ODOUG conference in Monterey earlier in the year.

I then attended an excellent roundtable discussion forum with the Oracle folks who write and manage the Oracle Cost Based Optimizer. Some excellent questions (including mine on the use of AUTO with method_opt 😉  ), although I wasn’t totally convinced with the answer given. However, I had to clap and clap rather loudly when they made special mention of not setting the OPTIMIZER_INDEX_COST_ADJ paramater and recommending rather strongly not to touch this parameter at all. Something I’ve been suggesting for quite some time. I also got some encouraging feedback on resolving a couple of  key issues I have with statistics gathering:

1) A better way of collecting the clustering factor statistics for indexes so that Oracle can remember more than just the last block it visited

2) The ability to collected extended statistics that span more than one table

Both are being actively looked at. However, the highlight for me was the fact they were playing “The Best Of Bowie” album after the presentation, just for me !!

Also had the pleasure of meeting Christian Antognini in person who’s writings I greatly respect.

My final session of the day and of the conference was a round table discussion with the Oracle Real-World Performance folks, including Graham Wood who I had the pleasure to meet earlier in the conference and Greg Rahn who I also met today for the first time. Again, a very good session with some very good questions and answers, especially the question of when should one rebuild an index and the answer that one should only do so in special cases. The fact that these guys promote this best practice in a large public forum such as this (although I was picked out by the panel from the audience that perhaps I should be up there answering this question !!), can only help in getting the message out there.

And so it ends. I had a fantastic time here at Oracle OpenWorld, met some fantastic people and made still more Oracle friends, but I’m now really looking forward to getting home after over 3 weeks on the road.

Oracle Openworld – Day 4 Highlights October 16, 2009

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld, Richard's Musings.
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I set out to reduce my pace today with only limited success.

My first session was to attended Alex Gorbachev and Paul Vallee’s Unconference session on how to make DBAs highly available. Interesting discussion on some of the various challenges confronting DBAs, such as controlling the balance between the need for stability and availability vs. the need of some organisations for constant change requirements and the importance of delivering such change as quickly as possible. Also, whether the procedures and processes for managing and controlling change management, including industry and governmental governance requirements are a help and a good thing or a hindrance and a threat in just getting the job done. The answer IMHO is that it depends on how such guidelines are implement and policed. It’s somehow comforting to know that other DBAs face similar issues and concerns as your own.

I then attended an excellent presentation on the new features associated with Data Guard in 11g Release 2 (except for the section where an Apple customer described his experiences with Data Guard, during which I simply couldn’t understand a single word he said). This is certainly all of great interest for us at work with the ability of being able to configure a read-only database farm having obvious business potential. However, I was particularly impressed by the ability of Oracle when confronted with a block corruption to automatically fix the corruption by copying a healthy version of the block from a standby database (or indeed the Primary database if the corruption appears on the Standby side). The key word here is automatically and without a single error message being raised, except for a message written to the alert log. Impressive stuff.

The lunch today was simply superb, absolutely the nicest lunch I can ever enjoy having. Please note these comments are addressed specifically to Chris Muir who missed out on lunch and was hungry all afternoon as a result 🙂

Then spend some time in the OTN lounge, catching up with a number of folks, including Cary Millsap. Looks like I might very well be presenting at the Hostsos Symposium next year if I can get enough free time organised.

Watched Larry’s Keynote address from the OTN lounge. I had a press pass that enabled me to watch the keynote up close but the free beers on offer at the OTN lounge convinced me this is the place to be 😉 There wasn’t a lot new announced that I didn’t already know, although the 10 million dollar Exadata challenge to IBM is typical Ellison. However the highlight for me was the speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger during the keynote, very funny.




After missing out on all the prize draws yet again (I never, ever win these sorts of things, ever), I despondently made my way back to the hotel. Had a lovely dinner with my family who are over doing all the sightseeing things while I’m at the conference beforing making my way to the Oracle Appreciation Event on Treasure Island. Popped into the Aerosmith concert for 5 minutes, tick, seen them now and then over to see dear old Roger Daltrey who performed a really good set of mainly Who classics. Oracle certainly know how to put on an excellent show. However for me, the highlight was actually the coach ride to and from the event with the stunning views of the San Francisco lights as we crossed the Bay Bridge.

sadly, it all comes to an end tomorrow …

Oracle OpenWorld 2009 – Day 3 Highlights October 15, 2009

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld, Richard's Musings.

The first thing to note about day 3 is that it’s wet. I mean really really wet and really windy as well. Considering my home town of Canberra has been in drought now for many years with water restrictions in place, I haven’t seen this much rain for a very long time. That said, I believe it’s been raining quite a bit in Canberra since I’ve been traveling so perhaps things are beginning to change for the better at last.

Started the day by attending Dan Morgan’s Unconference session on 11g Rel 2 new features that don’t feature in the marketing material. Some good stuff is in there, with basic little things such as being able to now easily alter database links for example having the potential to make life a little easier.

I then presented my own Unconference Q & A session on Oracle indexes. The turn out was actually quite good and there were some really good discussions including Index Skip Scans, Locally Partitioned Indexes, dangers of Bitmap indexes, coalecing rather than rebuilding and how different it is to drop an index once it’s been created. Thank you to everyone who attended and for making the session a successful exercise, including Jonathan Lewis who started the ball rolling with the first question and some excellent comments and Tim Hall who managed to ask the first David Bowie related question 🙂

The heavy rain meant I didn’t have the patience or a strong enough umbrella to wander too far from the main Moscone complex, but I managed to catch a nice presentation by Karen Morton on how to effectively collect database statistics. She presented really well and I really it although perhaps didn’t highlight enough the perils of some of the auto statistics options, especially with regard to method_opt.

I then listened in to Dan Norris in the  OTN lounge on the new Exadata V2 offering. Certainly the columnar compression capabilities sound interesting. Of course I also heard that everything runs so fast that you might not need indexes on such a powerful beast, so perhaps my days on covering indexes on this blog are numbered 😉

I next had a look around at the other exhibition hall, practicing my golfing skills and picking up yet more t-shirts and yoyos that light up in funny ways. I’m a bit concerned that my luggage just won’t be able to hold all this stuff I’ve picked up !!

I have an interest in the Total Recall capabilities of 11g (and it’s lack of capabilities) and so attended a presentation on the improvements of Total Recall and flashback archive in 11g Rel 2. It looks like most of my issues with subsequent DDL changes on flashback archive enabled tables now being supported  one way or the other. However, I still have concerns with the potential “corruptability” of the archived historical data and the subsequent recoverability implications. It would also be a nice improvement if “who” made a particular change was more readily available without having to purchase yet more expensive database options or have to modify the table structure.

The final presentation of the day was Tom Kyte’s Top 11 new 11g Release 2 New features. His top 11 was basically:

– Do It Yourself Parallelism (with new dbms_parallel_execute feature)

– Analytics Functions (new ones such as LISTAGG and NTH_VALUE)

– Execute on a directory (and the preprocessor capabilities)

– Recursive Subquery Factory (self referencing WITH clause capabilities)

– Improved Time Travel (Total Recall improvements as mentioned above)

– You’ve got mail (new file watchers capabilities that can automatically invoke some code when a file arrives in a directory)

– Deferred Segment Creation (only allocated storage when the first row is inserted, not when segment is created)

– Flash Cache (write blocks back to disk AND an SSD like device so that subsequent reads from the SSD are faster)

– Parallel Improvements (such as better control of parallel process executions and memory parallel execution capabilities)

and both number 10 and 11 best feature, the killer one …

– Edition Based Redefinition (ability to have different versions of the same stored code running at the same time within the database)

As usual, Tom covered this topics with nice examples, in a very clear and concise manner.

On the way back to the hotel, I popped into the Blogger get-together function and had a few drinks and had the opportunity to meet and chat with a number of fellow Oracle bloggers. Thanks to the Alex Gorbachev and Justin and the OTN team for putting the event together.


Aussie Oracle Bloggers, although one of us an Aussie no more 😉

It’s been a looong day …

Oracle OpenWorld 2009 – Day 2 Highlights October 14, 2009

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld, Richard's Musings.

It’s been a busy day today.

The effects of drinking perhaps one too many margaritas at the Oracle ACE dinner last night meant I was in desperate need of my morning coffee to start the day. Thank goodness for the OTN lounge 🙂

There were a number of announcements today but perhaps the main one from my perspective is the announcement of Oracle’s Enterprise Application Documents offering, an issue we’ve been battling for a long time.

I attended the Jonathan Lewis Unconference presentation on how to be an Oracle expert. It was all really quite interesting and raised a number of points that made one ponder. He asked for example what was the Oracle release that introduced the most significant change. See if you can come up with the same answer he gave (which after thinking about it is probably correct).

Later attended a general presentation that covered both 11g Release 2 and the new OLTP Database Machine Version 2. Usual marketing hype, much of which was already covered during the launch presentations. Discussed features such as RAC One, tiered storage partitioning options and advanced compression which are all certainly on my list of things to investigate.

Caught up with Gareth Llewellyn who mentioned the new OJAM Red Room website that has lots of Oracle  information and OpenWorld insights, with an Aussie / NZ emphasis.

After lunch, spent some time in the exhibition hall, stocking up on t-shirts, assorted pens and rubber ducks 🙂

Attended Jonathan Lewis’s other presentation on hints on hints. Again excellent, picking up a number of useful little tips, especially the full potential of the qb_name hint. I think he summarised things nicely when he recommended:

1) Don’t use them
2)  If you ignore recommendation 1, then be very very careful and precise when using hints

He also explained very nicely the myth that hints can be “ignored” by the CBO when he asked a poor soul from the audience to take off a jacket which he wasn’t wearing. He obviously didn’t perform what was asked of him as it wasn’t possible but did he actually ignore the request …

Later had a nice chat with Jonathan in the OTN lounge, exchanging thoughts mutual acquaintances we unfortunately know and the beauty and magic of Oxford City.

Finally attended the Battle of the DBAs Version 2 presentation which attempted to demo the potential productivity improvements when using the new EM capabilities and features. I don’t think they quite pulled it off but certainly highlighted that EM has some very nice features.

My mission tomorrow is to find out why they’re serving at the conference Seattle’s finest coffee here in San Francisco 🙂


Oracle OpenWorld 2009 – So It Begins … October 12, 2009

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle OpenWorld, Richard's Musings.
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Wow, I’ve had one hell of a 2 week period !!

I’ve been travelling around the southern part of England with my son, as part of  a school football tour, with 22 other teenage boys. It’s been a lot of fun but it’s also been extremely tiring, getting up early each morning, packing in as much as possible into each day, living in youth hostels with a room full of snorers, attempting to sleep on lumpy bunk beds, while making sure 20 odd teenagers don’t do what teenagers do naturally which is getting into trouble. On the whole we succeeded, losing just the one boy for just the one afternoon !!

Highlights included watching two English football matches (Tottenham vs. Burnley and the mighty Crystal Palace vs. Blackpool) and just walking around and enjoying the sights of wonderful places such as Oxford, Bath and London. Lowlight (other than losing that one boy for a while) was getting caught trying to sneak into a public toilet without paying the 50 pence fee only to be caught on CCTV and making the mistake of going into the ladies rather than the mens !!

Rather than go home and recover from the trip, I’ve now made my way across the Atlantic to enjoy Oracle OpenWorld here in foggy San Francisco.

Being a Sunday morning, it was a bit of a struggle and somewhat unnatural to get up early but Tom Kyte was doing the first keynote talk so I made the effort to attend. It was as usual with Tom an entertaining and interesting little discussion on what we as developers (and DBAs for that matter) still do oh so wrong. It covered topics such as how we often don’t know how to ask for help and ask questions properly anymore, how we try and make what should be simple as complex as possible (a real theme at my work at the moment), how we try to ignore and pretend mistakes never occur (don’t mention WHEN OTHERS SET NULL with Tom around), how we even fail to back things up properly and finished up on how best practices can often be abused and misinterpreted if we don’t fully understand the reasons and circumstances when something really is a best practice. All good stuff which is always worth reinforcing.

I had a little chat with Tom afterwards and found out to my joy that Tom is also a great fan of “Flight of the Concords” 🙂

I was then interviewed and filmed by Gareth Llewellyn and the gang from Australia Oracle Marketing on being at Openworld and the such and it all went rather well only to be told afterwards that they forgot to turn on the mike and would I mind being interviewed and asked the questions again !! I thought it was all so funny that I found it really hard not to giggle and laugh during take 2 of the interview. I’ll post the link once it gets uploaded to youtube or wherever. Here it is.

Later in the day I met up with a whole bunch of my Oracle mates, which of course is one of the main reasons for attending conferences such as this. One of them was Alex Gorbachev who also conducted a little interview with me 🙂 I think it’s going to be one of those conferences.

Tonight, I’m off  to attend the Oracle ACE dinner and catch up with more folk. If I don’t drink too much, I’ll try and answer some of the questions that have been slowly mounting while I’ve been away. Don’t like my chances though …

I’ll post a little list of highlights each day during the conference.