What a joy to wake up without a presentation to think about and just a big hangover and lack of breakfast standing between me and "Oracle Optimizer: Best Practices for Managing Optimizer Statistics" with Maria Colgan. As I entered the room she questioned why I was there and in my bleary-eyed state, it took me a while to realise she'll be presenting this at UKOUG so I could have just had breakfast after all and caught her session another time! I'm glad I didn't though and, sitting alongside Randolf Geist again, we were both surprised by how technical some of the content was. Statistics is such a crucial part of my current work that it was good to hear some new perspectives and there was a pretty detailed explanation of how histograms work which I suspect would have helped a lot of people. It was also a very practical, realistic presentation that discussed the challenges inherent in gather statistics on large partitioned objects and offered a variety of solutions that would suit different systems. Good stuff and it was fun to be focussing on learning again, rather than worrying
Next I finally made it into the Exhibition Halls before they closed at the end of the day, but there is simply too much going on in the massive exhibition at Openworld that I only managed a quick walk around Moscone South, picked up a FusionIO T-shirt and then popped round to the Demogrounds where JB and Uri were showing people some of the new ASH and ADDM features in OEM 12c. I would have liked to hang out longer, but I planned to attend the ASH in 3D presentation on Thursday morning anyway and I had a hot date with the SQL Tuning Experts Roundtable.
This was a guided discussion with a panel consisting of some of the biggest of Oracle names - Graham Wood, Tom Kyte and Benoit Dageville. That third name might not be so familiar, but Benoit was one of the reasons I attended because I hoped I might be able to say hello to him afterwards because I believe he's largely responsible for Real Time SQL Monitoring and I wanted to express my thanks and admiration! All hail SQL Mon! With so much experience and knowledge on the panel, it's not surprise that the conversation was full of good sense and thought-provoking messages. One that stands out from memory is that object statistics collection options have changed so much over the past few versions and particularly 11g that clever custom stats collection code you might have developed for previous versions should really be revisited. For example, do we still need all those ESTIMATE_PERCENT values, or should we be thinking about default one-pass distinct samplng options?
As the panel drew to a close, I tried to say hello to Tom Kyte and fawn over Benoit (only slightly kidding) but, unsurprisingly, they were surrounded by keen questioners so I made my excuses and left for an important errand. Kellyn had offered her wrist-band so my friend could go to the big party that night. In the end, he didn't make it, but the band still went to a happy home and was much appreciated! Thanks, Kellyn
The rest of the afternoon was spent in Mogens Miracle Office (i.e. Chevys) - there's a pattern emerging here - which has become a highlight of the conference for me as it allows me to catch up with friends I don't see too often (including those, like Marco, who I hadn't seen much of yet at this conference) but there's also some fascinating technical chat too. I could have attended Larry Ellisons keynote and I heard he was on-form, but I'd heard most of what was going to be announced at the briefing earlier and I know I can always catch up with it later, as you can here. (Actually, as I watch it while typing this, I take back some of the things I said to people about how weird Larry looks these days. He actually looked better this year than he has previous years. Maybe his face is, erm, settling in? "Next Face" )
Sadly, my phone battery was getting lower and lower so I headed back to my hotel to get some charge and get changed before the Bloggers Meetup that Pythian and OTN organise and sponsor these days. As I was walking there, the news of Steve Jobs death started to break and to balance the ludicrous bandana wearing, Paul Vallee made a brief impromptu speech about Jobs. I couldn't catch him properly in the noisy bar but I believe Alex Gorbachev filmed it so maybe it will appear online at some point? As always, the Bloggers Meetup was a fun and friendly introduction to the insanity of the Appreciation Event at Treasure Island.
I followed my own advice and stuck with a couple of guys - Andy Klock and Marco Gralike - for the duration and I couldn't have asked for better company. I could have asked for better music than Sting but Tom Petty unexpectedly (for me) more than made up for it and we managed to stuff our faces with a little food and a few beers added to some good conversation (and one day, Andy, I'll take your advice ...). Before we could head home, we had some unfinished business to attend to as Andy and I were determined to win a new cuddly toy for the comfy seat at home and a new bear under orders from Pythian's Vanessa Simmons. Although we found the whole challenge pretty tough, the bear came along relatively easy but as soon as I saw a certain other cuddly toy, my heart was set.
Now at this point I could tell you that Andy's fairground game skills are top-notch or I could tell you that the man is a petty thief with no patience but I suppose the best strategy is to say nothing. The fact remains that when we got on the bus back to the W, Susan the Seahorse came with us to meet Alex Gorbachev!
Nice work, Andy!
Sigh, I *knew* this would happen when I saw the "AWR and ASH in 3-D: Performance Analysis Tools No DBA Has Seen Before" presentation was scheduled at 9am on Thursday morning Despite setting my alarm, I opened my eyes at 9 and, given the need to pack, check-out and the rest, I was destined to miss it. I decided I would just have to play around with OEM 12c when I got home but was still very disappointed to miss the demo. I realised I could make the next session if I moved quickly, but I have rarely packed in such a hap-hazard way. I don't think the Cuddly Toys knew quite what hit them!
At least I only arrived a little late for the Real-World Performance group's Questions and Answers session with Andrew Holdsworth, Greg Rahn and Graham Wood which was the usual interesting stuff.
Which made Oracle Database Optimizer: Tips for Preventing Suboptimal Execution Plans with Maria Colgan and Mohammed Zait my final session of the week. Maria was on her usual top form going through some initial slides before turning the floor open to questions. Of course, she doesn't know just how much people were enjoying the session because she doesn't do Twitter, but I'm sure we can sort that out before the next conference.
The stand-out for me from the initial slides was how often drilling into the predicates section of a detailed execution plan shows that implicit data type conversion is disabling the possibility of the optimiser using an appropriate index. Watch for that INTERNAL_FUNCTION appearing in your plans! I've solved quite a few SQL performance issues like this over the years. The Q & A section was extremely popular to the extent that after hearing a gentleman use the microphone to declare his undying love for Maria (man, I wish I had a fan club like that), I was able to go outside, grab a smoke, come back in, listen to another 10 minutes of questions before we were kicked out of the hall and Maria was still surrounded by a crowd of questioners for a good 10-15 minutes after that! Eventually somebody had to rescue her so, being the gentleman I am, I stepped in and dragged her along to Moans Office in Chevys where we all had a final lunch, some margeritas were consumed and after a long chat I was ready to head back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and head out to SFO. Seriously, the conversations I had at OOW are just as important to me as the presentations, so thanks for those!
After a fairly uneventful but slightly tiring trip back home this news was waiting for me.
Seahorses found in London? Who would have thought it?!
These posts have been almost devoid of technical content so might work as a dairy for my friends, family and I, but what if you were hoping to actually learn something and weren't able to attend OOW personally? Well the good news is that the slides for almost all the presentations are available free and online for anyone to check out but, I warn you, there's a lot to try and choose from!
As always, I had a brilliant time at Openworld so thanks to all the friends who made it for me and the good people from Miracle, OTN and Pythian for keeping me in a state of perpetual merriment Cheers and roll on next year!
Disclosure - I attended the ACE Directors briefing and Openworld 2011
the Oracle ACE Director program, which covered my travel and
accommodation expenses. Cuddly Toy incidentals and sizeable bar bills were on
Pythian, Miracle, OTN or me in most cases. Susan the Seahorse was courtesy of Andy Klock (@andyklock) of Pythian.