Monday, April 27, 2009

IOUG Forum at COLLABORATE09....One week to go!

In less than a week the IOUG Forum at COLLABORATE09 will begin. Many people have been working very hard in the background to make this amazing event come together. When you attend the event you see many of these folks. They are the conference committees, the planning committees, Board members, speakers, and many more people who volunteer their time to the user community.

These people deserve so much credit for what foes on each year. The event will be spectacular as the top speakers and knowledge-meisters come together as part of the most in-depth Oracle program of the year. This is where people come together to learn and the best teachers are part of this annual event.

The IOUG Forum will feature presentations on the topics are of most interest and concern today. It focuses on security, migration, administration, business intelligence, architecture and even some things that as the face of Oracle evolves may be of interest to you. We have recently added a couple of sessions on what Oracle Professionals need to know about MySQL.

The IOUG is there for the community and we hope that as many of you can come and join us next week. The event is second to none and the best possible use of your training dollars. The knowledge is real, the advantages are substantial. See you in a week....let the countdown begin.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Sun Rises on Oracle: Day 2

We have all now had some time to step back and look at what the acquisition of Sun by Oracle means to each of us. Everyone seems to have an opinion and I guess your expectations and judgements are based on perspective. Now I have the perspective of an Oracle user. I am someone who has seen many evolutions of the product over the past 20 years. So what makes this a good deal or a bad one and what is important to the Oracle and Sun user communities?

I see that some people think that this could be the worst purchase ever by Oracle, who has bought close to 50 companies in the past 5 years, since it takes them from a database company to a hardware company. I find this an interesting tact; I think of Oracle as an information company, the database and hardware merely enable us to solve business challenges with information. By expanding the mandate of the company, Larry Ellison has enabled Oracle to provide high performance on a platform that is provided and supported by a single organization. Has not IBM been saying that to get the best performance from DB2 you should run it on IBM hardware? This is a formula for success and it was not lost on Oracle. Oracle had already ventured into the hardware space, with the introduction of the Oracle/HP Exadata server, so the genesis of the strategy was already emerging. Sun now allows Oracle full control of their hardware and performance optimization. It provides them with a solid foundation for their middleware strategy and brings the competition into the fold with MySQL.

So you can see I think this ultimately will be a good thing for users. It simplifies things. The concept of a single support organization for the entire technology stack is very advantageous to efficient resolution of issues. Oracle can now provide the soup to nuts type of support. How many times have you had one vendor blaming another for an issue....Oracle is now accountable for the entire stack. For Oracle technology users and the user group, this is an important factor in our efficient use of the technology. If you want to see Oracle’s presentation from yesterday that announced the deal you can find it at:

Ultimately the members of the IOUG seem to be excited about the prospects of what this new Oracle company will be and how it will show leadership in the open source community. This is a community that can be quite fickle and Oracle needs to provide the support and guidance to enable people to have the confidence in the product line to spend their technology dollars. Oracle has some serious choices to make in the coming months and the user group looks forward to integrating the Sun community into the Oracle technology community.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle acquires Sun

Mondays seem to bring a lot of things. I met someone this morning dreading the start of the week as she was off to a meeting. I suggested that it was a great chance to get your week off on the right foot. It was an opportunity. Then I arrive at my desk and open my email and what do I find that Oracle has purchased Sun for $7.4 Billion. This is what makes today a great opportunity.

So today starts a new evolution in the Oracle world. For years Larry Ellison has created a company that provides almost all of the technology stack. They provided applications, middleware and database. To a certain extent they also supported hardware by providing Linux support and the launch of the Oracle/HP Database Machine. This now changes a lot of things. Firstly Oracle now like IBM can control their entire technology stack and provide single-vendor solutions from soup to nuts. How will this change the direction of the Exadata is not known, but I expect that in some form it will continue, it looks like we should expect some changes in this area.

Of course one of the biggest prizes from Oracle’s perspective must be the open source components of the company. Oracle now becomes the Java company, they have always been a market leader in the area and now will own the basic building blocks. Consider Ellison’s statement from this morning conference call announcement where he said `` Java is the foundation of Oracle’s Fusion Middleware and the single most important software we have acquired``. In addition there is MySQL, what will happen here? How will Oracle deal with this database which is a rival of its own?

This acquisition raises some interesting scenarios but at the basic level we are look at what Oracle strategy is for buying companies is are the best. Larry stated it today by saying `` One of the reasons Oracle is so successful is that we buy companies that are number one.``. We have seen it with Peoplesoft, BEA among many other where the company was the leader. It will also be great to see how Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy get along now that they have to work together everyday? These pioneers have always seemed to be allies; now that Scott works for Larry it will be fascinating to see how it works out. These guys have lots of energy and are superior thought-leaders, I expect that this combination could be a very powerful and visionary one, or it could upset the balance of power in the executive ranks. Acquisitions can be a tricky thing.

From an IOUG perspective we look forward to welcoming the Sun technology community. As this acquisition progresses the IOUG will keep everyone in the loop. It will be exciting to see how the to this purchase will change things at Oracle.

I love just never know what can happen.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lots of Anticipation

With spring in the air I am filled with lots of anticipation about a lot of different things. This is a time of renewal and a time when we can leave the cold and look forward to some least in Canada.

What am I excited about at this time of year? First off is the upcoming IOUG Forum at COLLLABORATE09, where the best and latest techniques will be presented by the most renowned experts in the world. Lately I have talking to many people about the upcoming event and the great content and networking opportunities that attendees will have. This is our best chance to get together and I hope that at a time of economic stress people see the value that an event like ours provides to ensure that you keep your jobs and help your organizations survive the challenges.

Then I am excited about my current project. We are about to deliver the design for our solution. It is a solution that provides the customer with a great framework to deliver the information and value that they need. In addition the use of Oracle 11g and Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) is an exciting technical implementation. In the past 2 years, I have seen OWB going from being nowhere on the local ETL scene to today where Thoughtcorp is involved with 3 different organizations using OWB. The emergence of the product is exciting for companies looking for cost-effective and productive ETL solutions.

Finally, the excitement is for the start of golf season. For those of you who live in climates that don’t allow you to play golf 12 months a year understand this form of anticipation. The grass is turning green and I prepare to hit the links. Over that past few years I have encouraged my passion for the game. I enjoy the game, the company and being out on a great course. My game provides lots of potential that if and when I can harness it can actually look like golf. My golf course has yet to open but it should be soon. This is the truest meaning of anticipation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oracle Warehouse Builder - It is a Real Choice

Recently I have begun work on a project for my company, Thoughtcorp. On this project we are implementing a Campaign Management Tool for a marketing organization. The project is one that is reasonably complex, and one that will ultimately provide new value to the company. It is always exciting to be involved in projects where you get to see technology, most of it Oracle technology at work. My project is using Oracle 11g as its database and as a result of this choice the project is also using Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB).

OWB has been around Oracle for a long time. This was the ETL tool that Oracle developed to enter into this market. Since that time the product was released in 200o, it has undergone many changes and evolutions. In addition Oracle also purchased a product named Sunopsis, which has since become Oracle Data Integrator (ODI). The goal is to merge much of the functionality of OWB and ODI to provide options in ETL choices while providing robust implementation options. Since OWB was released in Oracle 10g Release 1, its functionality has been available to the Oracle database community. This functionality has been lurking within your database and for my project it is time to use it.

The approach when starting a new project is to determine what tools you will be using to develop your solution. In many situations these choices are already made for you when you first start. The database is often a standard, like Oracle, the reporting tool, the ETL tool and others are often defined. In a scenario like my latest project was one that had a database and reporting infrastructure defined, but no ETL tool had previously been used or purchased. The solution could have taken two distinct paths, we could have gone out and acquired a new ETL tool, as there are many options, but the decision was to leverage the existing investment in Oracle and use OWB to act as our ETL tool. This decision provided the organization with a solid tool that is part of Oracle integration direction of the future and one that can support the requirements of our loading effort.

This decision is one that we now are working with and one that so far has shown to be a solution that can support our project’s and the organization’s ETL needs. It’s great to see Oracle’s wide breadth of technology to help to solve our challenges in a way that truly is cost effective. By leveraging the technology contained within our existing investment, we can help our organizations to be more effective without spending any new monies and in these times that could provide a very compelling reason to adopt this type of technology.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The IOUG Board of Directors Update

As we start this new week, I look to the future. The future is comes with unknown challenges and choices. We do not know exactly what we will encounter in the coming weeks, months and years. The times are constantly changing and we must all do our best to be prepared.

With the coming of spring we look to a sense of renewal of change for the better. For those of you who read this and live in climates that are green all the time it may be difficult to envision. This is a time when the grass turns from brown to green and colour returns to our world. The IOUG also has it’s annual Spring event we like to call the IOUG Board of Directors election. This election recently finished and I am very excited by the results. Of course with change comes the departure of some of the great IOUG volunteers and thought leaders that I had the chance to work with in my time within the IOUG.

Leaving the IOUG Board this year are Tony Jedlinksi, George Trujillo and Peter Smith. These 3 gentlemen represent how the things you do can help those who are around you as well as yourself. Each of the 3 brought their special talents and knowledge in many areas such as ApEx, Fusion, Database among others. These guys all know their stuff and are great about sharing their knowledge and skills. They are also great volunteers each with special accomplishments that are too many to mention here, Tony work with the web site and the support of SIGs was tremendous, George’s work with SELECT magazine has helped to Sheppard it into the great value it is to all of the IOUG members and finally Peter, who has been the backbone for all of the education that has been offered all year long, but that everyone sees at the IOUG Forum every year. Each gave their time, but being a volunteer also means that they will go on to serve in different ways to continue to build the Oracle technology community. We thank you for your time on the Board.

The IOUG also welcome Jon Wolfe, John Matelski, Todd Sheetz and Judi Dolittle to the 2009 IOUG Board of Directors. Each provides a new insight and energy to the Board and will work well as we begin to renew the user community and motivate us to take part and encourage everyone to share and become part of the Oracle community, in this world you need all the help you can get.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

IOUG Forum at COLLABORATE09....Less than 4 weeks to go!

Here we are with under 4 weeks until the IOUG Forum kicks off at COLLABORATE09 in Orlando. The date of May 3rd will bring together the Oracle technology and applications communities once again for our annual get together and is where you need to be if you are serious about your Oracle career.

Many years ago, Ray Lane, the former President of Oracle, stood up at the annual IOUG user conference and said that people go to Oracle World to learn where the product is heading and how it is supposed to work and that IOUG conference attendees come to learn how the product actually works. This is the partnership between customer and vendor that we all expect and ultimately produce a better product. The history of Oracle and the user community is a long and storied one but one that has always looked out for the best of the customer and the best of the product. We both have the same goal to create a database environment for the benefit of our organizations. COLLABORATE09 will be the user event that will provide solid content on the latest in Oracle technology and how to optimize your Oracle investment from the source. Oracle’s executives and product experts will be at the event telling us all how to make the most of your Oracle assets in these difficult times. These are the people who make things happen at Oracle and can have a real effect on the direction of the product. I encourage you to attend and engage the Oracle folks and tell them what you think, tell them what you need and ask them how they can help. Oracle comes to our event to allow people this chance that is rarely available and so valuable if taken advantage of.

The conference will have sessions covering the technology space, the application space and just about anything else around the Oracle technology stack. The sessions will be provided by people who are involved in using the tools on a daily basis. They will tell you how the product really works and how to get the most from it. The educators that share their knowledge as the best Oracle technologists in the world and you have the chance to meet all of them. By attending you can network with these experts. These people can help you one day and can save you and your organization from serious downtime. The networking in person is something that cannot be replicated on any social network, although maybe Collaborate2027 may be held in Second Life and I can’t wait to see what my Avatar looks like.

The Collaborate conference is going to be another great example of the partnership between Oracle and its user community. There are many reasons to not attend (based on short sighted economic reasons), but consider what you will learn and how you will prepare for the coming changes in technology by being there and being part of the best Oracle professionals in the world. Orlando in May is where you need to be if you are serious about your future.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We all need Balance

As this painful week comes to a close I am happy to put it behind me and look to feeling better and bringing balance back to my life. Balance is something that we all want but seem to fail at achieving. The balance of work and personal lives, the balance of a team and your own balance are just some of the areas that need balance. I think of things just being right.

So let me look at how balance can affect so many others. This past I feel that the sad state of my back has impacted my hockey teams and in a way has thrown them out of balance. My Monday night team just had a different feeling before the game and as you read we fell to defeat. Last night, my team the Steelblades took to the ice in the last game of the round-robin qualifier for the semi-finals. We had already qualified for the next round with a solid win last week, but a win this week would be a good result, but not needed. My back continues to trouble me and again I could not play and here is where the balance goes off. One of the team’s top scorers Shane Blakemore, is also our backup goalie. He played a solid game and was not the cause of last night’s outcome. The loss of his scoring on the team is critical and this factor was lost, we lost balance. On defence, our top defenseman Albert Jin, couldn’t play, something about work which we will get to later, but he was not there to set the foundation for the defence. As we all know defence wins games and last night the lack of team balance hurt our chances to succeed. The team worked hard, but the balance was not there. We play next week in the semi-finals. I expect my back to come back into balance and everyone to take their place on the team and put us through on our journey to the Championship.

Of course, the real balance is the work and life balance. I have seen it work and see the value that it gives and I also see the balance fail. As I like to say it depends and it truly does on the individual. It is what you want to get from life while still being productive and gaining satisfaction from both aspects of your life. I feel that we must achieve balance or you lose perspective. How often do we see the workaholic lose track of anything away from life, they lose touch with people and often with the world. Of course these people are driven in different ways and gain satisfaction from the job and of course profits. I feel that you really should have some balance. The fact that you work hard and achieve great things should help drive you and encourage you to continue, but you also need the time away from the “job” a place to clear your mind to come up with new ideas. A recharge of your creativity will improve your results on your return...this is balance. Just like leaving a field fallow to improve the long-term viability of the farm, you also need to find the balance of life and work, each will benefit from this balance being in place.

Finally, I wanted to let people know about something I heard this morning on the radio on the way into work. Apparently, with the holiday of Passover starting next week someone out there is selling a Kosher for Passover Tequila. This is just what the world needed. Now the Passover dinners can add a little drinking game to the story of the Exodus.

So I hope you all can find your balance in your lives, it’s worth it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

IOUG Forum at COLLABORATE09....Come be part of it!

Today is the final day to take advantage of the Early Bird registration for the IOUG Forum at COLLABORATE09 . This year’s conference will once again provide everyone that attends with the opportunity to learn about the complete Oracle technology stack. So whether you want to learn about the database, middleware, business intelligence, architecture, or the latest and greatest about Oracle, this is the place to be at the beginning of May 2009 (in only a few weeks).

We understand that these are difficult times and that travel budgets have been cut, but it is time for each of you to realize the value of this expenditure. The event is the only event of its type in the world. There is no other conference that covers all aspects and depth of the Oracle product line like COLLABORATE. This is where you learn how to optimize your investment in Oracle technology. Considering the millions that organizations have spent on Oracle, the attendance at the conference is one that is similar to what one spends on a gardener. If you think of Oracle as your backyard and the DBA, developers and architects as its gardeners, then you need to decide if you are going to have a organic garden that uses the latest techniques to encourage growth or are you going old school with chemicals that have a long-term impact. Your data needs to be cared and investing in the latest methods to maintain and encourage growth is why you need to find a way to get to this year’s event.

I hope to see everyone at COLLABORATE09 its going to be the best real education event of the year. I expect to have my sore back, back in good shape and may even start some Yoga again by the conference.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Network

Monday night hockey has come and gone and I sadly report that my team fell to defeat 2-1. The team fought hard, but our opponent on that night scored more goals, but did not defeat us.
My teammates and friends would have loved to be the Champions, but it was not to be. Being part of this team is special already. The guys are all unique and bring a closeness and honesty (except for Jimmy the Liar) that I have rarely found in many people. These guys love the game of hockey, but as we all get older we also realize that we come on Monday nights to be part of the event that is hockey. We talk about everything and exchange stories (some real and some you can’t believe are real) and have some fun, these are the reasons that really bring us out each week.

Here is a picture of the Remax All Stars.....a great group of friends.

What does my team illustrate to me is that here is a network of people you spend your time with, and they contribute to your success and you to their's. I look at the network of Oracle professionals I know and I feel impressed. I know and feel comfortable asking the best DBAs, Architects, Developers, Trainers and DW people questions that I cannot answer and they will help me. I look to the community to help me be better. I look to my hockey team to make us all winners, I look to my playing partner in golf to make us better and get some more putts and lower scores, I look for my Oracle friends to make us both better at using the Oracle technology. The true value of a network is the value that it brings to your personal and business life. I like to hang out with my hockey buddies and my Oracle buddies, my network is at work all year long.

I also want to remind you to register for the IOUG Forum at COLLABORATE09 in Orlando. The early bird value pricing ends this THURSDAY so sign up and make your Oracle network part of your winning team.