Sunday, March 25, 2012

OUGN 2012 Day 2 - Wrap up

The last day started with a master class Key features of redo by Jonathan Lewis. You need quite a good reputation to gather a large crowd to listen on such a subject. Well prepared with good slides, lots of real-world experience together with questions from the crowd made it to a time well spent in the auditorium. He didn't get through all the slides, but that did not matter since we had two hours filled with entertaining learning.

At 11:30am I attended the presentation Falling in Love all over again - OEM 12c Performance Page Enhancements; you can guess by reading the title who gave the presentation. Clearly this was a presentation Doug loved to give, and he praised the new improved functionality and interface. He made some comparison to other methods of tuning/analyzing a performance problem; a subject I still find interesting. The presentation was for the most part a live demo with SwingBench and virtual machines, no Death of PowerPoint after three hours of sleep. The only problem I have with these features is that many customers around here do not purchase the managements packs needed for all the fun. But I hope more people will understand the necessity of having this software. I had to leave the presentation early because of a board meeting, really a lunch with the sponsors. Doug, if you read this, now you know why two of us left early, not because you did less than splendid.

After lunch there was a talkshow with the main sponsors and with Jonathan Lewis, Maria Colgan, Stephan Janssen, and VP of EMEA Andrew Sutherland, hosted by board member Alice Rossman. Alice does this very well, by now it has probably dawned on her that she will have to do this every year. I like to hear stars in the Oracle sphere talk about what matters outside the office. Andrew Sutherland was the other Scottish funny guy. Think we should make sure that we have at least two of them every year, it is something with their humor; their special love for the Brits and that accent.

Staying up late with good company several nights in a row makes you tired. I attended only one session after lunch. Using PL/SQL Hierarchical Performance Profiler with Bryn Llewelyn. I'm not writing much code these days, but knew this is useful and something I want to know about when I need it. Bryn speaks very clearly in his presentations and easily engage in discussions afterward.

The feedback we received throughout the conference was vey nice, the level of the sessions and choice of content. Making a program like this is much more than sending emails to a lot of famous people. We need to find a variation on subjects, verify against feedback from last year and also have content that pushes the members forward. Making the program in itself takes a lot of effort, but clearly paid off.

This year we had hands-on labs. Not all where successful, others had a great turn out like RAC Attack. We learned a lot from this, and I believe that a one day conference in Oslo before the main conference will be repeated. We also invested in the new Java track; it was a good start, made some new ground we can build on further.

I had a great conference and feel pride that so many foreign speakers want to come and present at OUGN. Since we are not scaling back I expect to see most of them again together with other genius. We might have some logistic challenges like a larger ship.

Personal ambitions for next year is convincing the rest of the board that we need to find some way to have Cary Millsap from Method R, and one or more from Pythian (like Gwen, Alex and Yury). We also need to encourage more Norwegians to present user cases.

Finally, I want to thank my employer Keystep Consulting for letting me spend many hours otherwise billable in order to prepare for the conference. I am proud of the team there and being part of it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

OUGN 2012 Day 1 - At sea

This is my first conference as a board member, and going to a presentation for every slot is not possible. I did go to Doug Burns presentation on SQL Plan Management in 11g though I had actually seen it at OOW 2011, probably because I like Doug's presentation style. This preso does not go into very much detail on SPM, but takes us on a travel through the subject and leave it to us to actually get some experience on it. It does look interesting, and the only thing that keeps me from getting much experience on it is that the current customer is lagging behind on the upgrades to 11g; the few we have on 11g are small and have not presented any problems with plan instability.

Maria Colgan's presentation on how to collect statistics was a big hit. A colleague stated this was perhaps the best presentation he had been to ever. Very entertaining presentation and packed with useful take aways. Yes, I did go to the same presentation at OOW 2011 as if I'm unwilling to expose my brains to something new. But in fact I learned something new, and I still have something to try out, for example next time I encounter a database that uses partitioning, sigh.

The RAC Attack team set up in the public area and a couple of enthusiasts insisted to complete the lab from Day 0. The intention was not only to have a lab on board, but also a place where people could come and go, and ask questions on RAC in particular and about life in general. Think it worked well, but obviously the hands-on lab was competing with the sessions, and most concluded that lab was something they could try at home later.

The feedback we got after Day 1 was great, but I'll save that to the wrap-up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OUGN 2012 Day 0 - The Martins

23:48, so tired that a Twitter message would be more appropriate. But, just wanted to make it for the record that today turned out to be a very pleasant day. I had the responsibility to host track #5, which started with Martin Büchi on Information Lifecycle Management in OLTP DBs with Partitioning. ILM is a subject that many postpone because it is too complicated. In Martin's presentation he showed a reference model, illustrated various scenarios with alternative solutions. He then showed how partitioning can be used to archive data that has been aged out. I cannot possible make justice to his presentation, but since I write about it here I'm sure I'll remember to come back to it, download it and digest it. If Mr Büchi reads this, he has it on record that he did well. Hope he'll be back again.

Two hours later, two other Martins took the stage. Martin Paul Nash and Martin Bach introduced RAC Attack for the first time in Norway. I've been excited about RAC Attack since I took the courage to recommend it for the OUGN Board, and after getting the approval, inviting them over. They did not disappoint at all! The turnout was quite good; 20 people filled the room and started to hack on VirtualBox, VMware and Oracle. After lunch a few wearied off but the rest continued to the end. We where the last to leave the conference area and we got plenty of positive feedback on this. I think I've been tweeting enough on #RACATTACK lately, it was a great experience.

Actually OUGN was blessed by a fourth Martin, Martin Widlake. I couldn't go to his presentation, but head counts and feedback showed his presentation went very well. I did have the pleasure to talk to him during the dinner later. The picture of the Martins where taken at Holmenkollen just before the dinner. Martin's smile on his face pretty much sums up the mood after Day 0. Loved it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

OUGN 2012 Day -1

Tomorrow is the big day. For the last 4 years our annual conference has been on a cruise ship from Oslo to Kiel and back. That is two days with presentations, fun and stuff. A big success we are not going to change at least this year. But, for this conference, we sent out too many invitations to Very Important Presenters and got an impressive positive response; we run out of slots pretty fast. (Let's say we are not really #1 when it comes to logistics in this country.) So we decided to extend the conference with one day in Oslo before we board the ship on Thursday. Someone called it a pre-conference, which is unfair to the presenters since they are giving real meat tomorrow. Someone called it a whole-day conference, eh, as opposed to the other days? Anyway. tomorrow we'll have lots of hands-on labs, master classes and what I'm really excited about, RAC Attack.

Tonight we met at the top floor of the conference hotel as some kind of pre-conference beer meetup. I suspect the guys that showed up didn't really know they took part in a meetup, they just went to the nearest bar with the coolest view in the city. As always, it was nice to meet some of the invited guests: Maria Colgan, Christian Shay, Kuassi Mensah, Bryn Llewelyn, and Holger Friedrich, together with the rest and beers.

Some came with a late flight from UK, like the two Martins responsible for RAC Attack. Not sure where Doug is, he is not on tomorrow AFAIK, but he will be very welcome when he shows up. Btw, Maria told me they have the same humour in the presentations. I agree, those two can fool anyone into studying statistics.

More details on the conference here: Let the party begin.