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October 2011

10200 Trace Shows Consistent Reads, but Not All Consistent Reads

October 4, 2011 An interesting, but poorly worded, problem appeared in an OTN thread recently where the OP claimed that a 10200 trace was not showing a consistent get, even though a concurrent 10046 trace’s EXEC and STAT lines indicated one consistent get.  The provided test case and sample 10200/10046 trace left a couple of [...]


Hybrid Columnar Compression is one of the big features of Exadata that can make fairly dramatic differences to the amount of space it takes to store your data. But how do you find out what’s going on under the covers if you haven’t got an Exadata machine in your garage ?

Here’s a simple starting point that occurred to me a couple of days ago after the product manager (or some such) pointed out that there was no need to make an Exadata emulator available to anyone because all you needed was the compression advisor which you could trust because it actually compressed a sample of your data to see how well it could compress.

Unicode Migration Assistant for Oracle

When you want to convert a database created in the default characterset to a multibyte characterset, there were two basic approaches - the safe export/import and the not-for-the-faint-of-the-heart alter database convert internal. In either case you had to follow a string of activities - checking the presence of incompatible values by running csscan, etc.

There is a new tool from Oracle to make the process infinitesimally simpler - Migration Assistant for Unicode. It's a GUI tool that you can install on the client. A server side API (installed via a patch)  does all the heavy lifting with the client GUI providing a great intuitive interface. You have the steps pretty much laid out for you. But the main strength of the tool is not that. There are two primary differentiators for the tool.

OOW11 Session #2 Exadata Management

Thank you all for attending my second session in #OOW11 - Exadata Management. You can download the slide deck here. Important: DO NOT CLICK on this link; instead, right click on this link, save the file and then open it.

Here is the slide deck.

Here are the resources I referred to in the presentation. Please note: URLs could change without my knowledge.

OOW 2011 – Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c

After a long wait Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, aka Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c is about to make it’s appearance. You can find information about the EM12c environment via following this link: This will not only bring you to the documentation and download URL’s but also to some ELearning YouTub movies that demonstrate …

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OOW 2011 – What’s New, Improved and Coming in Oracle Application Development

Currently at Tom Kyte’s session regarding topics new, improved or coming in Oracle Application Development. Tom told about the history APEX has gone thru and the current setup with the APEX Listener and even the “PL/SQL Gateway” was mentioned. I always have to laugh a bit because this last one touches the XDB Protocol Server …

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OOW 2011 – NoSQL Databases and Oracle Database Environments

I am currently at a presentation of Patrick Schwanke, Quest Germany, regarding easy and high speed connect between NoSQL and Oracle Databases. Not really what I planned but as mentioned by Alex Nuijten in an earlier post, unstructured data and it’s handling is gaining ground, so I thought it would a good start do start …

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OOW11: Saturday and Sunday…

Saturday: This was my day off before OOW11 started. I spent the morning following Chris Muir round toy shops, trying to find something cool to take home for his kids. Then we went and registered for the conference. After that it was back to the hotel to chill out a bit before the OakTable Network party in the evening.

I have to admit to feeling a little daunted about the OakTable Network party. I wasn’t able to go last year because it clashed with the Oracle ACE party, so this was my first time. I’ve met many of the members before, but standing in Graham Wood’s house surrounded by a bunch of people with brains the size of planets tends to make a grunt DBA/developer like me feel a little paranoid. Luckily, everyone is really low temperature, so I quickly felt at home. Graham and Joan certainly know how to throw a party. Vast quantities of food and drinks along with great conversation. I’m already looking forward to the next one, but I must eat less next time. :)

Sunday: I started the day of with Marcelle Kratochvil‘s session about unstructured data and multimedia. If you know Marcelle, you’ll know that she is passionate (a massive understatement) about multimedia and is now starting up a multimedia and unstructured data user group called OMMUDS. It’s early days at the moment, but I hope things go well because it is a fascinating subject and one that will do nothing but grow in importance in the coming years.

After that I went to see Scott Spendolini do a brief history of APEX, which is a pretty cool intro session for the APEX symposium. I was planning to watch some more of the APEX symposium, but I got pleasantly side-tracked and ended up going to get some food with Frits Hoogland. That developed into a couple of hours of geeking-out about Exadata. I know very little about Exadata, but Frits knows loads, so I guess I got a lot more out of it than him. :) During that time he showed me some of the stuff he’s presenting at UKOUG this year. If you have the opportunity you should definitely go to his sessions. He has some really neat stuff to show you.

In the evening it was the ACE party. Once again, a cracking event, but once again I ate far too much. Victoria also forced me into taking a doggy-bag home with me, which I really didn’t need, but emptied anyway. :) I spent a lot of time talking with Oded Raz and Liron Amitzi. With a bit of luck I might get to present in Israel in the future. Just as it was closing time I bumped into Steven Feuerstein and we had a little chat. Don’t forget to try my questions on the PL/SQL Challenge in October. :)

I’ve continued to get to the gym a couple of times each day, but considering the amount of food I’ve eaten, I’m not sure it will do me much good. This morning both Lillian and Victoria were at the gym, but there was no sign of Justin. Come one dude, you are letting the side ACE Program down. :)



Oracle Big Data Appliance — Oracle’s Bold Move Into Big Data Space

Oracle Big Data Appliance (BDA) is being announced at the Oracle OpenWorld keynote as I’m posting this. It will take some time for it to be actually available for shipment and some details will likely change but here is what we have so far about Oracle Big Data Appliance. A rack with InfiniBand, full of [...]

Exalytics and the cloud / OpenWorld kickoff

At yesterday’s Oracle OpenWorld keynote address, Larry Ellison spent a lot of time reviewing the impressive achievements of both the Exadata database machine and the Exalogic middle-tier application machine — extolling the purpose-built nature of both systems around what he termed to be the foundations of business data processing value. In particular, the parallel nature of scanning and handling large amounts of structured data on Exadata, the ability of Exalogic to run reams of Java, and perhaps most important of all, the fact that Oracle has made a significant bet on Infiniband to rapidly move data around within and between the systems.

Referring to Ethernet as being “from the 60′s”, it’s clear that Oracle thinks it’s time to move past it for handling large data transfers.

It was interesting to see Larry try to have it both ways in the keynote — asking what the purpose is of IBM’s “fastest integer” processor, “that’s great, but it’s the fastest for what?” — and then proceed to talk about the SPARC SuperCluster as a general purpose machine.

In any event, the star of the keynote was the 3U rack-mountable Exalytics “Analytic” machine — a high-memory, high-compute “node” that provides OBIEE / Essbase / OLAP folks with their very own engineered system. By cramming memory (1TB) and cpu (40 cores) along with the in-memory TimesTen database technology into the box, Larry described a system that allows for analysis “at the speed of thought”. If you’re already an OBIEE user, this system should provide you with plenty of excitement.

Less clear is how all of these engineered systems (including the yet-to-be-described Big Data Appliance / Hadoop machine on display at OpenWorld) will be put together by integrators and customers to provide an analytic / high-transaction data processing cloud. It’s as if Oracle is slowing replacing each item on its software price list with a hardware “systems” item — it will be interesting to see how these systems get put together into solution portfolios. For example, does it make sense to buy an Exadata half-rack and fill the remaining space in the rack with Exalytic machines? Would such a configuration be supported? Encouraged?

Back to the purpose-built machines — how does this play against the cloud trend of ubiquitous, generic nodes and software tailored to that environment?

I actually think we’ll know a lot more about this interplay (and how Oracle intends to adapt to or shape the discussion) as OpenWorld proceeds — especially around customer expectations for keynotes around big data and the cloud.