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UKOUG2009 - I too can blog about it ...

I don't know how they do it !

When I go to a conference, I make an agenda and mostly follow it all the way through - I might make a few changes here or there, but I won’t easily skip a slot… unless an emergency comes up … which happened only twice in these 3 days Wink

That brings me to my first observation of UKOUG2009 … wifi sucked !!!

When I go to a conference I still need to be available – I *need*wifi access to survive. I only was able to get the ICC wifi to work during the parties!

The mickey mouse portables available at the exibition hall and registration area didn’t do me any good either – I couldn’t ssh out of them !

Luckily I found some unprotected wifi signals in the exhibition area – my gratitude goes out to the people who had setup the NETGEAR wifi appliance – you delivered excellent internet services although I reckon this was unintentionally as it was protected the last day of the conference Laughing

Here ‘s a way to get people to come to your booth – if you have wifi – name the network to your company, and give people the password if they visit you – success guaranteed !

Anyway – I got deferred – I was wondering how people do it –blogging and twittering during a conference while there is so much to do, so much to see, so much to process. And I reckon, a lot of people were twitteringand blogging … that probably was the cause for the bad wifi !!! Cool

So I decided to blog a bit about UKOUG2009 when I got home.

We arrived on Sunday at Jurys Inn – which is about the best hotel you can get without going to the Hyatt. Every year I seem to bring mor eand more people of the company with me – this year our company had sent 9 people ! The hotel looked a bit quiet so we decided to head to All-bar-one.Which again looked a bit deserted … it seems the credit crunch had taken it’s toll here !

So what about the sessions – I have a broad interest – the last couple of years I do more and more application server stuff, networking, identity management and programming than hardcore DBA work.

I had sessions on my agenda ranging from ‘Getting the best out of hardware loadbalancers’ to ‘Integrating forms with apex’ over ‘Authentication,SSO and authorization for WLS’ and Tanel’s ‘Latches and mutexes’ talk. And they say I am a database geek – I reckon I attend more talks on middleware thandatabases.

Now for those of you moaning about how bad some presentations were and how you could do so much better – go out there and do it. Write a apresentation and/or whitepaper and get your butt out there.

One of my colleagues attended a talk on ADF 11g by someonefrom Oracle – afterwards they had a chat and in between my colleague mentions how his team had created a kick ass app in ADF 11g. In which he got the reply ‘well– show it to me’ ! End result – if he writes a paper about it, he may present it at Oracle Openworld 2010!

So what about the sessions I attended – here are some highlights :

Alex Keh’s talk on Active Directory and Windows Security integration with Oracle databases – Alex presentation was great – excellent topic, good presentation style, working demos and I learned a couple of new things.

Joel Goodman from Oracle education had a strange presentation title – something about DB Links PART 2. I couldn’t find part 1 in the agenda. Apparently he had submitted 2 presentations but part 1 didn’t get accepted. Nonetheless – Joel Goodman knows his stuff – he also reminds me of Wolverine – deep voice, American accent … it’s almost as if he tries to hypnotize you while pumping valuable knowledge into your brain. (I wouldn’t mind having him around in a street fight ;-) ) This presentation was all about distributed transactions and how crashing databases, involved in distributed transaction,can lock complete tables until you force commit or force rollback the transactions. I had completely forgotten about that. The last time I had to do something like that was in the Oracle7 era. So 2 thumbs up ! Joel puts hispresentations free for downloading here: 

Joel’s partner in crime Harald Van Breederode, and equally excellent presenter talked about 11g SQL Plan Management. This is something I get confronted with quite a lot – plan stability. Don’t you hate it when a new execution plan just hogs down a complete database. In my opinion, Oracle should have introduced SQL Plan Management when they introduced the CBO ! The one can’t live without the other and yet it has taken over a decade to get this feature –my guess is it was just too resource hungry for the hardware available back in the days. I love to quote Hannibal Smith on this : ‘I love it when a plan comes together!’ Harald hasn’t posted his presentation on his blog – but who knows, one day he might! 

I’m a java guy but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate plsql – I like it better then say … perl – so I went to see Steven Feuerstein’s‘High Performance PL/SQL’ – very interesting stuff. He spent quite some time on ways to cache data in the pga/uga using all sorts of tricks, ending up with 11g’s result cache. Not too bad I thought – but Connor McDonald showed a little bit more skepticisms on the result cache. He proofed that if the result cache isbeing populated and concurrent sessions are running the same query which ispopulating the cache, extra locking occurs. As usual, Connor delivered one of the best, well probably most definitely *the* best presentation of UKOUG2009 inhis usual style, firing away *485* slides in 45 minutes !

I went to quite a lot of weblogic/ias presentations. It looks like people that are Oracle acquired from the acquisitions haven’t the slightest idea of what Oracle Portal/Forms/Reports are, and *how many* people are still using it. Every presentation was heavily (not heavenly) focused on java functionality, with Forms/reports dangling, almost falling of the slides ! One guy was quite hilarious – it was a talk about SSO and WLS … to be honest I was expecting something about how ‘legacy’ apps like Oracle Forms/reports/portal and Oracle SSO (OC4J_Security) would integrate with the new Weblogic App server. Instead it was a talk about Oracle’s Identity & Access Management suite build on top of WLS. No biggy – quite interesting especially from someone who co-wrote the SAML standards.

But what I suspected would happen, did happen … someone asked a question about how all this would integrate with Oracle Portal if they migrate from IAS to Weblogic ……………….

This was going to be good as I was also interested in that. The answer was way off, it was quite clear he had no idea what Oracle Portal was or how it is deeply integrate with PLSQL (and the PLSQL SSO api) and OID. The person who asked the question tried to reframe the question but again … no serious answer –‘no, but in java … blah blah blah’ … you could see the disappointment as the person who asked the question politely nodded along and thanked the presenter for this very straightforward answer.

This confirms to me that Portal is *dead*. If you run a public website on Portal – get drupal. It’s cheap, it has way better SEO and thrives on a very large community. Oh – and I have created a drupal module that integrates drupal user management with Oracle SSO. Throw away Portal – it’s a real pain to migrate upwards (I’m stuck at Portal as I’m unable to migrate to even after a 2 week SR with Oracle). Throw it out… you’ll feel much better and people will like you for it Tongue out

One other hilarious moment was Julian Dyke’s presentation on 11gR2 new features. Julian makes excellent presentation/slides/animations. So for that reason alone, if I can, I tend to go to any of his talks. However, at the beginning of his presentation, he mentioned he had forgotten a word in his title : ‘RAC’ – ‘11gR2 *RAC* new features’. This resulted in quite a lot of people leaving the room. I decided to stay purely based on Julian’s reputation.However, I had to leave afterwards when I got an important phone call …(damn wifi) and I was glad I had an excuse to leave the room. I took the 11g RAC course in February of this year. When Julian started to talk about all the new RAC stuff like SCAN, I felt depressed. It was like I could throw away half thet hings I had learned in the course – ‘this is new, that’s new, that’s changed,this is obsolete, this works like that now …’ … too depressing …


To end this post – here’s a picture of a collegue of mine at the Fire & Ice Party (disclaimer – the girl had already left – she’s not under the table) 

Gert at UKOUG fire & ice party 

I need to lay down now after another great UKOUG conference .... till next year !!!! 


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Thanks very much for the feedback.  Hope you enjoyed the conference.




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