jump to navigation

Friday Philosophy – I killed a presentation April 1, 2010

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, performance, statistics.
Tags: , , ,
9 comments

Well, this week saw the latest Management and Infrastructure SIG. I won’t go into the SIG meeting itself just now, maybe later this weekend. If you want an opinion on it, you might like to see what Graham Oaks said.

Being Chair of the SIG I have to find presenters. Being also one of those rare people who enjoys presenting, I know I can always tap one person to present. Me. {If only I could sing, play an instrument, act, do impression, put both my ankles behind my ears(*) or anything that was of any general interest, getting an audience would be so much easier}.

I decided to tackle a topic I have tried before and which I previously did a very poor show of: “General principles on gathering database statistics”.
It is not a title to strike joy into the soul, I know, but it is really important to getting good and reliable performance out of any modern Oracle database. Even other Oracle DBA types tend to find the topic worthy but boring, but I seem to have been forced to know a lot about it and I’ve become sadly very passionate about it.

So, I tried again. I mean, how long should it take to describe the issues with database statistics and the general principles to gathering them? I took my old presentation and stripped out all code, all SQL syntax, all listing of tables and got it down to describing the process. Then I started adding the bits and pieces you need to know to get this half-right. 132 slides. Hmmmm

I tried again and took it higher level. 48 slides. I can do 48 slides in something between 45 minutes and an hour. I was ready.

I had the last presentation slot of the day. I figure if I am going to foist myself on the audience, they should have the right to leave before I start, without missing any of the good stuff. I had 3/4 of the day’s attendees still with me when I started.

I think I killed my audience. Actually, I know I killed my audience. I lost a few as the slot progressed {I kidded myself they had to get back to the office/catch a train} and I made the fatal mistake of not shutting up when I had done 45 minutes. You see, there was all this important stuff I had not mentioned yet! Thankfully, I had a friend in the second row and when I saw him lose the will to live, I stopped. I’d been at it for 70 minutes. What we really needed was the Chair to shut me up but I was the chair.

Anyway, I came away from the talk with two realisations.

  • The topic of gathering database statistics is too large to cover in one presentation session.
  • It really is very boring, even when you are passionate about it.

I think I have no choice but to make this a blog thread (as I threatened to do so about 1 month ago). But I have also promised myself to finish off SQL Audit before I start a new thread and that was 3 months ago.

So I think I am going to have to put some time into this blogging lark. It’s OK though, I seem to go on about database statistics so much that even my cat is staring to avoid me. I’ll just stop watching Star Trek and drinking wine in the evenings and switch to preparing technical blogs. And drinking wine of course.

(*) Up until 2007 I could do this. I get out more now. Despite the stats fixation

Advert for the Management and Infrastructure SIG March 24, 2010

Posted by mwidlake in Management, Meeting notes.
Tags: , ,
4 comments

I’m a bit late doing this (life is just too busy at the moment) but I want to mention the next Management and Infrastructure Special Interest Group meeting of the UKOUG next Week. Tuesday 30th, being held in Oracle’s London City office.

I get asked by people what exactly the MI SIG is? {Honest, I do, I got asked twice this month alone!}. Is it a management meeting or is it another one of the technical SIGs, like the UNIX, RDBMS and RAC/HA SIGs? I’ve struggled to come up with a single line to sum it up. Other than to say “Both”.

It might be easier to sum up the target audience. The MI SIG is for technical people who need to deal with Oracle as a component of a large IT environment. Most of the audience could knock up a PL/SQL script to create a new set of tablespaces each month, would be able to instal Oracle {if given a couple of days and the manuals to peek at} and could explain two-phase commit. Maybe.
But what they have to deal with in their working lives are things like using Grid Control to manage 500 instances, understand what options are there for providing disaster recovery {if not the exact commands to eg set up physical standby or active/passive RAC}, knowing enough about storage options to make a sensible decision on which is best for each type of Oracle system they have. So it is a technical SIG, but covering general principles and, well, Infrastructure.

And the Management? Well, when the SIG started this bit was really interesting to me. When you have a lot of IT going on, especially in large organisations, the people looking after Oracle are not the people looking after Networks, or Storage, or Backups or half a dozen other things. And you probably have a team of people doing all that Oracle stuff with/for you. So you have to hire staff and keep ‘em happy and deal with teams who you have no power over but you need them to do stuff for you. And that Management part can be a lot harder than the technology, especially if you never planned on being a manager but just woke up one day with that monkey on your back.

So with the technical aspects of Large IT Infrastructure comes the management component too. The SIG is there for that audience.

I chair this SIG, so I am more than a little bit biased, but I think it is a good line-up of talks for this up-coming meeting. We have two talks on using OEM/Grid Control, one around using it for deploying clusters, one about how you go about integrating it with the likes of LDAP, Kerbros and using the Custom Metrics, ie plugging it into the wider infrastructure.

We also have a presentation on the latest/greatest Exadata2, from some Oracle friends.

To wrap up the technical talks I am going to try and explain some of the guiding principles for gathering statistics for you oracle databases. Not the details of DBMS_STATS command syntax, but why you need good stats, how you get them and the issues we all seem to end up facing with it.

Balancing the techical side is a talk on Birkman and understanding teams and people.

So, you can see it is a line-up matching the diversity of the SIG’s purpose.

As I said earlier, I initially was very interested in the management side of the SIG and I worried I would be pretty lonely in that opinion. For various reasons, those of us on the technical side tend not to have much time for those “soft skills” we associate with management theory. However, when I took over the SIG over a year ago, I asked the audience if they would want some talks on hiring staff, dealing with people, motivation… Over 60% of the audience said “YES!”. Quite loudly. About 30% said “OK, so long as we get technical stuff as well”. 6% said “over my dead body”.

I think the reason so many wanted the management side as well is, whether we like it or have an affinity for it or not, it is part of the job. And so we need to be able to do it. Personally, I quite like the human side of IT, but my wife tells me I am strange.

If your organisation has UKOUG membership it is free to come along to the SIG (one person per membership, excluding Bronze membership) Anyone can come along for £80. You would be very welcome and I am sure you will learn new stuff. Don’t let the fact that we retire to a pub afterwards where the chair buys a round sway your decision to come along at all.

Dealing with Bind Issues December 1, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Meeting notes, performance.
Tags: , ,
11 comments

One of the presentations I have seen today was on handling bind values. I can’t say it was, for me, the best I have seen this week, I’ve done a lot of work on binds in the past so I had come across most of the material before. Should I have bothered?

Well, there was one little gem in there which struck me as very simple and potentially very effective.

Bind variables and histograms are not a good mix, as has been commented on many, many times. In essence, if your data in a column is skewed so that some values match very few records and others match a large number, when oracle sees a SQL statement with a bind value being compared to that column, it peeks at the first value being passed in with the bind and uses it to decide on the plan (this is pre 11G, by the way).
That plan is then used for every execution of that sql statement until it is thrown out the SGA. Which is jolly unfortunate if all the values subsequently passed in via the bind do not suit the plan. 

The solutions to this usually boil down to one of three approaches; remove the histograms on the column in question so that all values are treated equally;stop it being a bind/prevent bind peeking; force the “bad” plan out of the SGA and hope the next parse gets a better plan.

All have their merits and drawbacks.

Well, in this presentation there was a fourth solution. Something like this:

if :status in (1,2,3) then
  select /*+ cardinality (t1 100000) */
  from table_1 t1
      , table_t t2
  where t1.status=:status
  and....;
else
  select /*+ cardinality (t1 100) */
  from table_1 t1
      , table_t t2
  where t1.status=:status
  and....;
end;

I might be missing something blindingly obvious here (and this might be a common solution that has just passed me by), but it seems to me to be a simple and effective solution that could be used in many situations.

I also learnt that it is rare not to find at least one good thing out of any presentation, so long as you keep paying attention.

UKOUG So Far December 1, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Meeting notes.
Tags:
2 comments

It is the start of the second day (actually, an hour in, have a small “one beer too many” issue to cope with so I missed the first session) and so far I’ve very much enjoyed the event.

I saw several good talks yesterday. highlights for me were; Graham Wood’s talk on ASH, Alex Gorbachev on ASM and Doug Burn’s talk on parallel processing. Doug’s talk fell foul of the curse of all talks, the carefully prepared and tested demo deciding not to play, but a few of us clustered around his laptop to see the final results after the event.

I really wanted to get to Randolf Geist’s talk but one of the “problems” with having been coming to the conference for so many years is meeting up with people you have not seen for ages, getting into a conversation and realising that the next set of sessions started 10 minutes ago.

Today my chairing duties start, with Luca Canli from CERN talking about compressing very large data sets, which is something that is highly pertinent to my current work.

Tomorrow I chair 4 sessions:
Larry Carpenter on DataGuard 11GR2. Larry is an old friend, he gave us some excellent support on Dataguard 5 or 6 years ago.
Piet de Visser on Good Indexing. Piet is up against Jonathan Lewis and James Moorle and he has joked to me that it could be just him and me in the room, but I doubt that. I don’t want to discourage anyone from going to see JAmes and Jonathan (both give cracking presentations) but heck, come and see Piet :-)
I’m then chairing Christian Antogini, talking on parallel processing. I’ve never “Met” Christian, I’ve been in a couple of large discussions where he was also there, so I am looking forward to meeting him properly.
My final Chairing duty is right at the end of the last day, when only the die-hards and those who’s train ticket is pre-booked late in the day remain :-)
I’ll be chairing Husnu Sensoy who is talking about backing up enormous database, which many of you will know is a topic close to my heart. That should be a fine rounding off of the conference.

My aim today is to get to a few more sessions and get through the evening without drinking that one beer too many.

UKOUG Conference approaches. November 26, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Meeting notes.
Tags:
9 comments

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s dark by 4pm, weather is miserable and I’m already sick to the hind teeth with Christmas, thanks to the never ending drive by the commercial sector to bully me into buying tatt and rubbish “to make christmas special”.

But there is another staple of the season of the end of November/start of December, which is to trek over to Birmingham for the annual UKOUG conference. Except of course that there are now several conferences run by the UK Oracle User Group, for different Oracle sectors and regions, but this is The Technical Conference. Back to three days and focusing on the database, application server/E-business suite and development. Just like the good-old-days before Larry bought up 300 companies and a big chunk of the software business services industry.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to a couple of Oracle Open Worlds (OOW) and mighty impressive the event is. But I prefer the UKOUG annual conference. It’s not the huge (and, I feel, overwhelming) size of OOW, but still pretty big, I think 10 streams of presentations, workshops and panels this year, and has the added bonus of being more Real. The presentations are to a large part independent from Oracle Corp and even the Oracle Corp presentations tend to be a little less Corporate and a little more Real. People say “how it is” at a User Group.

Plus there is more a feeling of meeting friends and colleagues and like-minded practitioners of every-day living and learning with oracle.

For those new to the scene, it’s far more easy to get to grips with than OOW and yet with Big Names doing top technical presentations, spread over a range of levels from introductory to the esoteric details of stuff most of us never need to know. Plus everything in-between.

Since 2003 I have presented every year except last year {when I decide to go play with elephants in Thailand instead}. I’m not presenting this year either and I would be lying if I said I was upset. I’m utterly gutted. But then I saw the spread of talent and interesting topics when I helped score the abstracts back in May and competition this year was fierce. I’ll be chairing a few sessions though and trying to meet up with people I know, and also people I don’t know but would like to.

If you see some small (5 foot sod all) chap with little glasses, short, brown hair and cream trousers, that is probably me. Come over and say “hi”. If you already know me and come over and say “hi” and I look like a rabbit caught in headlights, well you should know me by now and that I am utterly rubbish at recognising faces or remembering names, but that’s OK as I rarely bite and will be happy to apologise for my lack of social skills. If I’m anywhere near a bar, I’ll probably buy you a drink too, but then you have to buy me one. I’ll be under the table first though.

So, if you are also heading to Birmingham, see you there. If you are not, you are missing out on a fantastic Oracle event.

 

A Tale of Two Meetings – 11GR2 and MI SIG October 5, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Meeting notes, Perceptions.
Tags: , ,
7 comments

Last week I attended two Oracle events, each very different from the other.

The first was an Oracle Corp event, giving details of the new 11GR2 release and what it was introducing. It was in a nice hotel in London with maybe 250, 300 attendees and all quite swish.

The other was a UK Oracle User Group meeting, the last Management and Infrastructure SIG for 2009. 30 people in the Oracle City office and far more unassuming {And note, as I chair the MI SIG, anything I say about the day is liable to bias…}.

Both events were useful to attend and I learnt things at both, but I also found the difference between the two quite interesting.

Oracle 11G Release 2

The official Oracle 11GR2 presentation was where you went for the definitive information on what Oracle Corp feel are the new features of 11G R2 that are of interest (though some of it was not R2-specific but general 11G).

Chris Baker started off by telling us “there has never been a better time” to move to the latest technology or a greater need to gain business advantage through using said latest technology. You know, it would be really nice, just once, to go to such a corporate event and not be given this same thread of pointless posturing? I know it is probably just me being old and grumpy and contrary, but after 20 years in the business I am sick to the hind teeth of Keynotes or Announcements that say the same empty “Raa-Raa” stuff as the previous 19 years – the need “now” to get the best out of your technology has been the same need since the first computers were sold to businesses, so give it a rest. Just tell us about the damned technology, we are smart enough to make our own decision as to whether  it is a big enough improvement to warrant the investment in time and effort to take on. If we are not smart enough to know this, we will probably not be in business too long.

Sorry, I had not realised how much the Corporate Fluff about constantly claiming “Now is the time”, “Now things are critical” gets to me these days. Anyway, after that there were some good overviews of the latest bits of technology and following form them some dedicated sessions in two streams on specific areas, split between semi-technical and management-oriented talks, which was nice.

There was plenty of talk about the Oracle Database Machine, which appears to be exadata version 2 and sits on top of Sun hardware, which is no surprise given the latest Oracle Acquisition. I have to say, it looks good, all the hardware components have taken a step up (so now 40Gb infiniband interconnect, more powerful processors, even more memory), plus a great chunk of memory as Sun’s “FlashFire” technology to help cache data and thus help OLTP work. More importantly, you can get a 1/4 machine now, which will probably make it of interest to more sites with less money to splash out on a dedicated Oracle system. I’ll save further details for another post, as this is getting too long.

The other interesting thing about the new Oracle Database Machine was the striking absence of the two letters ‘P’ and ‘H’. HP was not mentioned once. I cannot but wonder how those who bought into the original exadata on HP hardware feel about their investment, given that V2 seems only available on Sun kit. If you wanted the latest V2 featries such as the much-touted  two-level disc compression is Oracle porting that over to the older HP systems, are Oracle offering a mighty nice deal to upgrade to the Sun systems or are there some customers with the HP kit currently sticking needles into a clay model of top Oracle personnel?

The other new feature I’ll mention is RAT – Real Application Testing. You can google for the details but, in  a nutshell, you can record the activity on the live database and play it back against an 11g copy of the database. The target needs to be logically identical to the source {so same tables, data, users etc} but you can alter initialisation parameters, physical implementation, patch set, OS, RAC… RAT will tell you what will change.

For me as a tuning/architecture guy this is very, very interesting. I might want to see the impact of implementing a system-wide change but currently this would involve either only partial testing and releasing on a wing and a prayer or a full regression test on an expensive and invariably over-utilised full test stack , which often does not exist. There was no dedicated talk on it though, it was mentioned in parts of more general “all the great new stuff” presentations.

Management and Infrastructure SIG

RAT leads me on to the MI SIG meeting. We had a talk on RAT by Chris Jones from Oracle, which made it clearer that there are two elements to Real Application testing. One is the Database Replay and the other is SQL Performance Analyzer,  SPA. Check out this oracle datasheet for details.

SPA captures the SQL from a source system but then simply replays the SELECT only statements, one by one, against a target database. The idea is that you can detect plan changes or performance variations in just the Select SQL. Obviously, if the SELECTS are against data created by other statements that are not replayed then the figures will be different, but I can see this being of use in regression testing and giving some level of assurance. SPA has another advantage in that it can be run against a 10g database, as opposed to RAT which can only be run against 11 (though captured from a terminal 10g or 9i system – that is a new trick).
There are no plans at all to backport RAT to 10, it just ain’t gonna happen guys.

The SIG also had an excellent presentation on GRID for large sites (that is, many oracle instances) and how to manage it all. The presentation was as a result of requests for a talk on this topic by people who come to this SIG and Oracle {in the form of Andrew Bulloch} were good enough to oblige.

The two Oracle Corp talks were balanced by technical talks by James Ball and Doug Burns, on flexible GRID architectures and using OEM/ASH/AWR respectively. These were User presentations, mentioning warts as well as Wins. Not that many Warts though, some issues with licence daftness was about it as the technology had been found to work and do it’s job well. Both talks were excellent.

The fifth talk was actually an open-forum discussion, on Hiring Staff, chaired by Gordon Brown {No, not THAT Gordon Brown, as Gordon points out}. Many people joined in and shared opinions on or methods used in getting new technical staff. I found it useful, as I think did many. These open sessions are not to everyone’s taste and they can go wrong, but Gordon kept it flowing and all went very well.

 

The difference between the two meetings was striking. Both had strong support from Oracle  {which I really appreciate}. Both included talks about the latest technology. However, the smaller, less swish event gave more information and better access to ask questions and get honest answers. There was also almost no Fluff at the SIG, it was all information or discussion, no “Raa-Raa”. But then, the lunch was very nice and there were free drinks after the Corporate event {we shared rounds at a local pub after the SIG event – maybe one round too much}. 

I guess I am saying that whilst I appreciate the Big Corporate event, I get a lot more out of the smaller, user group event. Less fluff, more info. Thankfully, Oracle support both, so I am not complaining {except about the “there has never been a better time” bit, I really AM sick of that :-( ).

 So if you don’t support your local Oracle user group, I’d suggest you consider doing so. And if, like so many sites seem to, you have membership but don’t go along to the smaller events, heck get down there! There is some of the best stuff at these SIG meetings.

June Management & Infrastructure meeting June 5, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Meeting notes, Perceptions.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Wednesday this week saw the first UKOUG Management & Infrastructure meeting special interest group meeting (MI SIG) of the year – postponed from April due to a clash with the G20 summit. You can see details of the meeting here where {if you are a member of the UKOUG} you can download some of the papers.

I feel the MI SIG has been struggling a little over the last few meetings – too many sales pitch presentations and numbers hit by travel woes (we just fell unlucky) and then the recession – but this meeting felt better. We had a good mix of strong presentations and numbers were up. The number of expected delegates has been very variable over the last 2 weeks, at one point we were full (50 people) but then some dropped out, others registered late. We ended up with 39.

At the last meeting I asked if people wanted more on the management side and the majority did, so I pitched a presentation about how to be a Manger in IT. It would have been relevant to management in other disciplines but IT does have some unusal aspects, one being that there is a much higher percentage of introvert and logical personality traits amongst IT people. Soft Skills and considerations of personality do tend to get short change in technology environments too.

Not only did I pitch a touchy-feely topic but I also went powerpoint-naked. I put up a half dozen intro slides and then turned off the projector and just talked. I was more than a tad anxious that this could have fallen flat and ended up as me spewing random drivel from the front, but the audience took up the topic and started chipping in. It snowballed and became a general discussion. I managed to keep it flowing and mentioned most of the things I wanted to include and also took a lot of input from the audience. Maybe one or two of the links I made to add my intended points were a bit tenuous but heck, it was the first time I’d done a free-form presentation like that for years and years.

Not only was the session a success {phew} but it seemed to set the pattern for the rest of day. We had had some good questions being asked of John Nangle during his opening presentation on Exadata (I’d really like to get my hands on one of those units) but after the free-form session everyone seemed to be talking to each other more and all presenters had questions and little discussions to deal with during their sessions. They all dealt with them well.

We rounded off the meeting with a drink in a local hostelry for those who were inclined and the discussions kept going. The general feeling was that it had been an excellent day with people being a lot more interactive than normal. I know other SIGs use “speed chatting” and other things to help encourage people to talk to other delegates. They have found that such things might not initially be popular {what! you want me to talk to strangers?} but always give the meetings a greater feeling of interaction and delegate feedback is that they are {sometimes reluctanatly} recognised as helpful.

I think I’ll try and have some sort of interactive or ice-breaking aspect at future meetings as it seems to really help the day be a success.

Management And Infrastructure SIG May 28, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Management, Meeting notes.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

It is the next Mangement and Infrastructure Special Interest Group meeting next week (MI SIG), on Wednesday 3rd June.

I currently chair the MI SIG and, just as Andrew Clark says about the Development and Engineering SIG, “it is not as sexy as it sounds” {The chairing, I mean, the SIG itself is incredibly sexy and wonderful}. It basically means I spend a few days 2 or 3 times a year helping organise the event, strongly supported by the UK Oracle User Group (and in particular by Michelle Ericsson) and by the deputy chairs, Gordon D. Brown, Neil Chandler and Tony Clements, our “Oracle buddy”. I then chair the meeting itself.

Chairing may not be sexy, but it is rewarding, especially when we get a good line up of talks as for this one and the registered delegate numbers are healthy. SIGs have been suffering poorer attendances of late and a high number of delegates just not turning up, which is vexing (and, I’m sorry to be blunt, bloody rude to the speakers and committee who do this for free).

I’m presenting on “Being an IT Manager” and I am trying something different. I am ditching Powerpoint and I am just going to talk. It could be a disaster.

I’ll of course let you know how it went. Alternatively, if there are still spaces, come along and witness for yourself.

welcome to my Blog – The Northern SIG April 29, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Meeting notes.
Tags:
1 comment so far

I was thinking that I would start my blog with a technical piece, just to set my intention and credentials from the start, but as such pieces need some experience in formatting them correctly, I thought I would instead start with some words on my recent trip the UK Oracle User Group Northern Server Technology Special Interest Group. Or the Northern SIG, as it is easier (and much less of a mouthful) to refer to it.

 

These Northern SIGs occur due to the committed and diligent efforts of Lisa Dobson, supported by Neil Jarvis, and they give those North of Sheffield who find it hard to get down to London, Reading or similar places down South the opportunity of a day’s presentations and mingling with fellow Oracle  professionals. They give me the opportunity to escape the South and return to my adopted home of the North.

 

I started early by arriving in York on Monday and met up that evening with my friend Piet de Visser, who has recently been risen to the ranks of an Oracle Ace. And justly deserving too, an insightful and most helpful practitioner of database arts is Piet. 

 

Having spent a pleasant evening with Piet, I arrived the next morning at the venue for the Northern SIG. I promptly bumped into Simon Haslam, a fellow presenter for the day, and we set off through the corridors of the Park Inn Hotel to find the meeting.

 

Lisa and Peter Robson kicked off the event with the usual introductions, but also thanking the delegates for getting there (it looked to me we had 50 or so people in the room, which is OK but we could have coped with 90). In the current business climate, SIG attendance has suffered and numbers are down. Asking around at this and other events, the slashing of travel budgets and managers’ reluctance to have staff out of the office and not being seen to be “knuckling under” at the day job is a major issue for many. A great shame as it is when things get tough that you most need to keep on top of the technology and maintain links with others in the field, who often provide that extra help and advice that we all need from time to time. These meetings are effectively free training, I think you have to be something of an idiot to not appreciate them right now. Hey Ho.

 

Anyway, the first free training was Piet de Visser talking about backups, methods of backing up and a few insightful comments about “if it is not simple, it is not a good idea”. This is the sort of clear thinking that led to his Ace-ship. I always like seeing Piet present, he has a gentle but quiet, biting humour in his presentation style. The topic itself is a good one and was basically pointing out that backups can be hijacked for other purposes, such as duplicating data, as an archive, for feeding reporting systems. But if that detracts from your primary goal of being a backup then maybe you need to think again. Piet and I share a viewpoint that a backup ain’t a backup until you have shown that you can recover from it in a way that supports your business.

 

From this point on there were two streams and, being a single entity, I had to pick one presentation or another. I stayed in the main room as that just happened to be where the talks I felt I could benefit from most were. Next up was Patrick Hurley who gave an overview of datapump, the replacement for import/export. Datapump has been around for a few years now but many of us still use imp and exp of old. Because it is of old and we are all used to using it. It was a good overview of the topic and the sort of  presentation I think we don’t have enough of. Too many presentations (mine included) can be on details of a specific subject. Great for those who know all the basics, but bamboozling to those who have not grown grey with the rising dominance and complexity of Oracle. We need those expert presentations but I think we maybe need more of the intro and intermediate sort, such as this datapump one. By the end of the session I had learnt a few things; The general ways of using datapump; How fast it is compared to old imp/exp; a couple of jokes I am trying to get out of my mind; Patrick is a Jedi Knight.

 

Next up was a talk by Julian Dyke on the Optimizer Statistics, a topic I have a lot of interest in. Unfortunately, there was a talk on IT Disasters in the main room that I was obliged to attend, on the grounds I was the speaker. I did try to suggest to the audience that they had all made a mistake and should go next door, but they were not to be dissuaded. I am happy to say though that Julian got the bulk of the audience. Only just, mind, but certainly in his favour. My talk went fine, I did not run out of time (something I have had problems with over the last couple of years) and no one walked out on me or threw any shoes, so I count that as a success.

 

Lunch was a good opportunity to catch up with people and, amongst others, I was lucky enough to spend time talking to Peter Robson about the wider concerns of business ethics and the annoying way politicians’ short term attitude can screw it up for us all, but I will save that for a later rant.

 

After lunch I had to miss Simon Haslam’s talk on Weblogic (I am not a middleware person) in order to listen to Pete Finnigan. I love going to talks by Pete. I know very slightly more about security than middleware and in my working life security is a topic that comes up from time to time. Thanks to Pete’s talks I now know enough to know I know too little. But I know who to ask if I need to know more. I failed in this latest talk to do what I normally do as Pete presents, which is to watch the audience as he matter-of-factly chats about how easy it can be to access systems and how protecting them is more than setting a few passwords and removing a few privileges. Ashen-faced shock is usually in evidence and much scribbling of notes. I should take no pleasure in this (to my shame I am afraid I do), I am sure that my ignorance in this area will cost me dear one day. Pete, expect a call in my darkest hour.

 

Streams merged for the final presentation of the day, which was the stalwart, ever dependable presenter Joel Goodman, talking about Oracle Exadata. Always informative, always encompassing and delivered in his clear, deep American tones. I always think of reliable, god-fearing, solid-as-a-rock pioneers of the American Mid-West when I see Joel present. I don’t know if he would like that, but it is meant in the best possible way. I also think he could break me like a stick and shatter my bones if I upset him, but I have never seen him upset, despite my having been an arse to him on an occasion.

Oracle Exadata strikes me as a good concept and potential very, very useful, but something you are going to have to pay through the nose for and that could end up being such a phenomenal buy-in that it could become a noose around your IT departments’ neck.

 

That left only the final round up and thank-yous by Lisa but a fire alarm cut through her last items and accelerated the closing of the event. A few of us presenters gathered in a hostelry for a pint and a chat after but the fire alarm had precluded the invitation of any other interested parties, which is a great shame. I’ve found through the SIG I chair that the people who come along to the drink who are not part of the established clique are those who are mostly likely to move from passive members to active members, who keep the whole show running. However, for myself it was a nice rounding off of a very enjoyable day and I will return to the South looking forward to the next UK Oracle User Group Northern Server Technology Special Interest Group event.

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers