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My sessions at OpenWorld 2015

OpenWorld is just around the corner, and I’m thrilled to be there again this year – it’s my first year as an Oracle employee, so it will be interesting to compare and contrast with previous years as an Ace Director.  I’ve got three conference sessions – I hope you can be there, and please feel free to come up and say “Hi”.

Click here if you’re using Schedule Builder, or just make a note of the details below



Virtualbox 5.0

I like it when stuff just “works”.

I’ve been using Virtual Box 4 for a long time now, and since my needs are relatively simple (ie, run a VM!) then I’ve not had any great cause to move to version 5.  But today I had a spare few minutes and thought “Well, its probably time”.

So the steps I followed were:

  • download
  • run the installer
  • start version 5

And .. well, all my stuff  (aka all my existing VM’s) worked just fine.  In fact, the only “error” I got was when I tried to start up too many of them at once and VirtualBox helpfully told me that I was either kidding myself or needed a better laptop.

This is how upgrades should be.  Simple and pain free.  Love it.

Downloads are here

Delphix Express – virtualize your first database (and application)

I have previously announced that Delphix now has a free version available called Delphix Express as well as how to install Delphix Express.

In this blog will look at an example of virtualizing your first database and not only the database but virtualizing the application as well.

What does virtualizing mean? Like in the world of virtual machines where we make multiple virtual machines on one set of hardware, in the world of virtual data we make many read/write copies of data with one actual physical copy of the data. We do that by sharing unmodified data and storing each version of a data block that gets modified and keeping that modified version of the block only visible to the clone that made the modification.

Here is the demo video:

AskTom and formatting

There’s an interesting “debate” going on under AskTom at the moment.  It’s hardly cause for major concern, but anyone is welcome to add their thoughts as comments to this blog post.  (Naturally, if your comments agree with my opinion, then that’s great.  If your comments don’t agree, then I’ll post them and ignore them Smile – ah the joys of being a blog owner)

So here’s the issue.  When we are posting code to the AskTom page as a solution to a question, we could post it as a mix of script and output, for example:

Fun with array fetch

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve worked with systems that didn’t run brilliantly because every database operation was the “row at a time” methodology.  Typically you see hundreds of routines (either in the database in PL/SQL) or further up the chain in C#, Java etc, and the “alarm bells” start ringing in my head when all of those routines are prefixed with “GET_” and the input parameter looks like a primary key.

It doesn’t take long before the code-reuse mindset starts creating things like:

“for each  EMPLOYEE on screen, call GET_EMP_DETAILS(:screen.employee_number)”

So to try demonstrate the silliness of this… I ask the question:

Would you do this in real life ?

And here’s what happens if you do


I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to how long I’ve been using Oracle.  But you should never stop learning.  That’s why I’m participating in a cool OpenWorld session in a few weeks, all about the modern technologies and frameworks that can now be used to build awesome applications on top of the Oracle database.  Come along – you’ll see some exciting stuff.  This session is all about modern development whilst still exploiting the myriad of features built into the database.

Before or after the session, feel free to pop up and say “Hello!”


How the log writer and foreground processes work together on commit.

(warning: this is a rather detailed technical post on the internal working of the Oracle database’s commit interactions between the committing foreground processes and the log writer)

After the Trivadis Performance days I was chatting to Jonathan Lewis. I presented my Profiling the log writer and database writer presentation, in which I state the foreground (user/server) process looks at the commit SCN in order to determine if its logbuffer contents are written to disk by the logwriter(s). Jonathan suggested looking deeper into this matter, because looking at the commit SCN might not the way it truly works.

Delphix Express installation

A couple of blog post ago I announced that there is now a free version of Delphix.  Here is a little more information about the installation of Delphix Express.

To get a copy of Delphix Express go to

and put “Express” for your title and I’ll send you the download info.

Delphix Express

Delphix Express is a free version of Delphix limited to 25 GB of managed storage and 1 vCPU. Delphix Express is set up for small projects and not optimized for high throughput nor performance testing.


If you want something done, ask a busy person…

This is a re-post I originally made on the ODTUG website on 17-Jan 2013 at the beginning of my two-year term on the board of directors...

This past weekend, I attended my first face-to-face Board of Directors meeting with ODTUG. Monty Latiolais, current president of ODTUG, asked me to let him know if there was anything “less than stellar” about my experience, and I have say the answer is “no”.  It was a stellar experience, all weekend.  Here’s why…

Oaktable World Agenda 2015

Hash Tag #otw15
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Oaktable World brings together some of the Oracle performance people in the world to present and discuss their findings.

Oaktable World is open to everyone free of charge and no registration necessary !

Oaktable World is Monday and Tuesday of Oracle Open World 2015 and is located on the same block as OOW.

Hands on Labs

Oaktable World is also hosting hands on labs Tuesday 12:30-4:30. The labs will have experts from

  • Delphix
  • DBvisit
  • Dell

to assist you on installing Delphix, DBvisit, and Toad  on your laptops. Delphix for example has a free version called Delphix Express that you can install during the labs.