I’m following up on a conference almost half a year later — try to bet that! Actually, this blog post was written more than 3 months ago and was sitting in my drafts waiting the moment I understand why I really wrote it. 3 months later… I still don’t know but I thought I should [...]
I just arrived to Minneapolis, MN and will be speaking tomorrow at the Twin Cities Oracle Users Group 2011 Winter Meeting. It’s the first time I’m speaking for this user group so I’m excited to meet the new audience. I will present one hour version of my Grid Infrastructure Internals session. Of course, no demos during presentation as it’s just enough to cover the theory slides but I’ll leave the demo as a homework as usual. :)
Big thanks to Klara Hribkova, Vice President of TCOUG, for picking me up at the airport and organizing a dinner. I’ve had a lovely meal — Bison Pot Roast — melting in my mouth.
I’m staying at Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place. Nice and clean and very friendly staff but what’s interesting about this hotel is that they have DSL modems in the rooms so each connection is going via its own DSL line. Isn’t that cool? As I logged in, I realized that complimentary internet is shaped to 512Kbit only and faster connections are charged extra. Oh well, I can’t complain about free. Still, having DSL modem in the hotel room is kind of unusual! :)
I should also mention that it’s really cold here with temperature just like in Ottawa — about -20 °C or below zero in Fahrenheit. At least, no wind chill like in Ottawa.
I want to mention that my experiment on collecting database consolidation stories was a *relative* success — we’ve got slump of participants and I can announce the book winner — Noons, it’s yours! :)
If you are at the TCOUG meeting tomorrow by any chance (well, today already), please catch me to say hello!
Right now I’m sitting in the speaker lounge with Jeremy Schneider after hacking some RAC ASM stuff as a follow up to my last presentation. We were testing some failure scenarios but that’s a topic for another blog post.
Monday started early for me — 6am. Quick run through my demos again and early breakfast. Registered before 8am while it was still empty and then joined Tom Kyte in the speaker lounge. We both had our sessions starting at 9am but Tom is a Pro when it comes to presenting — while I was taking the last minutes to go through my slides and do minor adjustments, Tom was calmly replying AskTom questions. Oh well, such is life.
My 2 hours presentation was a little slow and I wish the audience was a little more engaging but maybe it was just because all the locals hit the hibernate mode following “extreme” cold weather and didn’t quite wake up after the weekend (of course, there is not chance that it was bad presentation material or speaker…. no, no!). This was the same presentation as I’ve done at the OpenWorld but I included demonstrations of 11gR2 Grid Infrastructure and that was the tricky bit. In the end, everything pretty much worked with one small surprise. My last demo was troubleshooting of startup and I decided that I will screw up 3 things and troubleshoot online *first* time. I.e. I decided deliberately not to practice it. The latter wasn’t very smart as I had less then 10 minutes left. After few minutes of shame I had to move this demo in the list of homework. :) The good news, that I did go through my last slides briefly and I wanted to be brief there as Frits Hoogland was covering this area in more details later that day in his own session.
Exhausted after my session (and slightly disappointed by inactivity of the audience), I was very hungry but decided to wait until the official lunch time so ended up in Graham Wood’s session on some hidden free gems along with Christo and Jeremy. We did have a plan to switch to the Exadata round table and did just that. I’ve got a little disappointed with the round-table format (as I’m writing this — discussed it with round-table moderator, Joel Goodman, here in the speaker lounge and we agreed on this) – it was more like a presentation without slides with introduction to Exadata for folks who don’t have any background knowledge. It should have been a presentation while the round-table should have been left for the folks with experience or knowledge of Exadata technology.
Having been late from Exadata round-table I was late to lunch. This means I was late to the next session and managed to sneak in the last 10 minutes for Frits Hoogland‘s Oracle Clusterware 11gR2 In-depth. It looked like the audience wasn’t very active during his session either. When I spoke to Cary Millsap later, he also mentioned that it was somewhat a struggle to get the audience to laugh so he had to leverage his special jokes from the reserve list. I might borrow some of them in the future. :)
Next I went to the Tanel Poder‘s presentation on Exadata migrations and related performance tuning. Very insightful as you can expect from Tanel. He also confirms that Exadata performance rocks but it can be tricky to run stable. I think our experience was somewhat better with stability except early months when lots of issues were not fixed.
Afterward, I went to Cary Millsap‘s presentation on reading 10046 trace files. My intention was not to learn the subject that I was already familiar with but to learn how Cary can present this topic in his new style (with very few words on the slides). Turned out that he did put trace content on the slide but it was interesting to see how he emphasizes what he really wants to talk about in the 20 lines of code on the page. I will borrow this for my future presentations.
The final session of the day was Julian Dyke’s replication internals. It’s been a while I wanted to dig into replication deeper so it was a good move to go there. However, after such an active day (and night), I was struggling to stay awake even though my brain was desperately trying to keep up. The good news is that Julian have very well illustrated slides so I can always get back to it.
That evening, we had OakTable dinner. It was, of course, at the Indian restaurant. I admit I abused that place and barely was able to walk after dinner and struggled to consume anything more that evening. Still, nothing stopped us from hanging in Tap & Spile until almost 2am and even catch the last order of scotch at Jury’s. That was another abuse of the night especially that I had a presentation to deliver next day. Fortunately, the next day consequences were very mild but that evening brought me the idea of a demo for my presentation (thanks Christo) and most of Tuesday I spent getting this demo ready. It worked very well but I will need to improve few items to run it faster.
It’s already Wednesday as I’m finishing this post now. The night was lots of fun and it was long and… very late. I recall that the most bizarre idea of that evening was robbing a bank (don’t ask how we got there… it was not my fault). I didn’t really pay attention when I was back in my room and crashed but I see my last email from the phone was sent at 4:25am (Hi Doug!).
I missed the presentation on marrying Grid Control and Nagios — very interesting topic for me as some of our customers happen to use both. I struggle to understand why one would want to integrate these tools but that’s why I really wanted to see it. Oh well, I have to review the slides offline and I’ve met the author the evening before so I could always contact directly (thanks Eter!).
Half more day to go. Still struggling to decide whether I should go to Julian Dyke‘s presentation on memory (I know Christo did his this morning but it was way too early for me) or to the session on RAC Server Pools by Bob Mycroft (somehow, his name is associated with Windows – is it just me?).
Oh… I completely forgot to mention that the highlight of Monday night was Doug Burns shaving ceremony and finalizing it at Tap & Spile. I have captured some videos but they need some post-processing before I can publish them. Another highlight was watching photos of previous UKOUG conferences I attended and I specifically liked one photo that was not supposed to be there! It won’t make sense to you my dear reader but please forgive me and ignore it — it’s meant only for one of you. ;-)
It’s past Sunday midnight and I’m stuck in my room in the last couple hours finishing my slides for my masterclass tomorrow. Turns out that I’m presenting the very first session of the conference at 9am. I wish there is a keynote instead so that I could grab one more hour of sleep (it’s going to be deep into the night back home in Canada). Strange that the keynote was moved to Wednesday — I hope UKOUG has really good reason for that!
My two hours masterclass will start at the same time as Tom Kyte’s a-la keynote session — what a competition. On the other hand, there is no other sessions in server technology so I expect that folks without interest of database development will automatically end up in my session. I’m in Hall 5 – quite large room. Is it the second biggest room after the Hall 1?
I will need to work hard to keep the audience… maybe I shouldn’t plan for any breaks to make sure I don’t let folks slip out to the next sessions like James Morles’ Sane SAN 2010 or Jeremy Schneider’s Large Scale ASM.
My masterclass is based on the slides that I presented at the Oracle OpenWorld few months ago which, in turn is reworked session on Oracle Clusterware internals that I’ve done number of times as long session with demos. I thought updating this material to 11gR2 would be easy… Boy was I wrong!
11gR2 Grid Infrastructure has changes so much that it took me much much longer to get something sensible ready. I also had to limit the scope a bit as Grid Infrastructure has become so much more complex than older pre-11gR2 Clusterware. (stop complaining Alex!)
Anyway, everything is ready now and demos look reasonable. It will be a bit rough doing it first time – I’m sure I’ll stumble few times but fingers crossed we get to the end timely. I actually hope to finish early and allocate a bit more time for Q&A and potential ad-hoc demos at the end. But enough about me…
Who from Pythian are at the UKOUG conference this year? In additional to myself, it’s Christo Kutrovsky, Daniel Fink, Paul Vallee and Andrew Poodle. Christo, Dan and myself are presenting, Andrew is helping organization of MySQL track as a MySQL SIG Chair and Paul… well, I’d say Paul is a slacker so he is covering the beer tap to pay up! :)
It’s close to 2am – gotta get some sleep before tomorrow. Few words against Jurys Inn Hotel this year. It’s the first year I’m having so much troubles here including no early check-ins, not working phones, no internet in two rooms (I had to switch twice!), and somewhat unfriendly stuff this year. Has hotel management change since last year or what? Will consider another hotel next time I think.
Oh… and it’s indeed bloody cold here! So cold that it seems to impact the amount of girls-who-forgot-their-skirts-at home at the Broad Street. This unusually cold weather does impact travel plans of other conference speakers and attendees. Doug Burn seems to have been delayed for like a day and barely made it to have a pint at Tap&Spile – I wish I could accompany the crowd there until late but thanks to the awesome schedule (and unfinished state of my presentation, to be fair) I had to miss some of the fun.
PS: I have another session on Tuesday — Analysis of Oracle ASM Failability (should be Fallibility I guess but I’ll keep it misspelled simply because I can!). If anybody wants to catch up for any reason (like buying me a beer) — text me at +1 613 219 7031. iPhone doesn’t work with data-plans here for unknown reason so no twitter/email on the go.
[One thing that's great about jet-lag is that it allows you to catch up on blogging and all the email that's built up while you've been away at the conference. Not much else you can do at 2:30 in the morning.]
I'm glad I went to the Hotsos Symposium again this year. Attending conferences is an expensive business when you're a contractor as it means more lost income, so I can't go to every conference I'd like to attend but this one should probably remain near the top of my list.
- My presentation, obviously. There was a funny moment in the office today when I was looking at the OEM Top Activity page - because, yet again, it had highlighted a performance problem we were previously unaware of - and our architect said perhaps I shouldn't be using it because I couldn't be trusted not to break OEM!
- Somehow contriving to miss both of Richard Foote's presentations but at least I was able to enjoy his entertaining company at dinner one night.
- The weather - not what I had in mind at all!
- The people, as always. Not only are there lots of smart speakers and attendees at Hotsos, but the informal setting makes it easier to catch up with them. It was particularly good to get time to speak properly to a few people I've only met briefly before, buy Kerry Osborne that beer and to see Polish Paul Matuszyk there after I recommended it to him 4 years ago! As for Monique, she's one of a kind
I generally wouldn't visit the Hotsos Training Day, mainly because I've been away from home and work for long enough, particularly when you add the travelling time at either end, but this time I was determined to attend because Tanel was presenting.
It was a busy room with a very high percentage of attendees staying for the additional day. I suppose once people were actually allowed out of the office in the current economic climate, they figured they might as well pack in as much learning as they could. Tanel described it as one of the peaks of his career and I can understand that. It's an honour to present at the Symposium, so a whole day must be a pretty special privliege, but he's more than earned it with the number of good presentations and blog posts he's come up with.
It didn't get off to a good start, though, as there was a problem with the focus of the projectors, but that was soon adjusted a little and people were happy as long as it was good enough to read the text.
Speaking of text, he kicked off spending quite a bit of time talking about using the right tools for the job - sqlplus, basically - and how we can make our own performance more efficient before we even start looking at performance issues. Make no mistake - despite having a love of pictures these days, I'm fundamentally a command line chap who frequently finds himself doing the things Tanel talked about, which consequently made me chuckle.
- When diagnosing Oracle problems reported by others, I ask them to stop using TOAD, their JDBC application or whatever it is they're using and login to sqlplus. Once the problem is recreated there, I know it's a real problem.
There she goes, squirreling into the corner of your carry-on. Ready for another adventure. Tucked between a fun floppy hat and the flourescent sun-block, of which she uses plenty, pale creature that she is, Monique is situated to prove to you that a seasoned traveller knows best. Dressed in a curly mohair (so as not to show the wrinkles that betray one new to the jet set) and sporting a pale chiffon scarf - to double as a disquise in those cities where she is already known for her somewhat silly escapades - she seems to wink at you and beckon you along. Forget your cares, but by no means your playing cards, and step lightly into whatever dreams your next voyage should hold for you: let Monique be your guide.
Her very presence alleviates all the maladies brought on by the jostling of trains, the dipping of ships, the swerving of buses and even by the simple fact that you are far from home. For she has discovered the secret to successful travel; with the exception of the luscious few minutes in the X-ray machine, where she delights in making funny faces at the operators searching for more dangerous contents. Monique never looks back.
(With thanks to Carol Dacko for bringing along an interesting dinner companion for my own cuddly friends. Somehow I doubt they'll ever be the same - she's terribly sophisticated for my lot!)
I heard someone bemoaning the lack of Swag at Hotsos - just an event program, couple of magazines and a small clockwork toy sponsored by Oracle. I don't think I ever come to the Symposium expecting Swag - it's just not that kind of event. But you do tend to get good speaker gifts, including the best speaker gift I ever received. This year, it's a digital photo frame.
As for that clockwork toy, the Cuddly Toys think it's *brilliant*!!! At first, their reaction was "What's THAT?!" then when I wound it up and let it dance in front of them, they fell in love.
The only thing is that it doesn't run for long per wind-up, so my right wrist is aching from them continually beggind me to "Do it again, Douglas!"
Then again, their reaction wasn't quite as relaxed as when they met Carol Dacko's friend while we were at the restaurant. Apologies for the quality of the photo, it was dark in there, but at least it proves that Little H and Chris were allowed out for dinner and that not all Cuddly Toys are made the same.
They were just stunned by their new friend. What's THAT?
All will be revealed in the next post ....
I am back from my third visit to UKOUG and as always, the trip was wonderful, the conference was excellent and if I could have stayed, I would have. Of course, after dealing with trains all morning and then being stuck in an airplane seat watching movies for hours on end, sleeping in my own bed last night was absolute heaven. But the UK must be a wonderful place to live: the people are lovely,
This was my sixth Hotsos Symposium as an attendee, my second as a speaker, and this gathering has become something of a spring time ritual for me. Others may look at the temperature, the dogwoods or the daffodils, but Hotsos is how I know spring is here, even if it did snow in Texas last year.I can divide my life as a DBA into three distinct phases:Phase one: I was given a server (DEC Alpha 2100