Friday, October 23, 2009

The IOUG at Oracle Open World 2009 – A Retrospective

A week has passed since I was last in San Francisco and I felt that now that I was over jetlag it would be a good time to look back at how the week went from mine and the user perspective.

The week for me has always been about networking and sharing and this week was no different. Although it looked like attendance was down, it was great to see the people who could make it plus the lines tended to be shorter. Which when you want to get to the corn dog at the Big Bash it was a good thing. The other advantage is that this was one year when I did not hear about people being unable to attend sessions due to room capacities. The people really do make this event. Below is a picture of me and a couple of IOUG Board members, Michelle Malcher and Todd Sheetz, at the IOUG booth at Open World. They along with the rest of the Board really did such a great job with the IOUG led programming that I am sure it helped everyone who attended one of out sessions.


The week as with most OpenWorld was about product direction and product understanding. I think as always Oracle presented their direction clearly for what they know and can talk about. The question of the finalization of the Sun acquisition was  handing like a big lead balloon over the entire event. I expect that when the EU finally allows this deal to go through, Oracle will have a strategy that will quickly integrate both businesses and communities together. The IOUG had some meeting with some folks from the various Sun communities and I feel that we have a number of synergies that will help both groups to benefit from the additional topics that become part of technology education.

I also met with a number of senior Oracle technology and Business Intelligence executives to see how they planned to focus their products in the next year and how the IOUG can help our users get ready for this technology. The focus for 2010 includes BI and Analytics and we are focused on providing the best Oracle BI event in conjunction with COLLABORATE10 event coming in April 2010 in Las Vegas. BTW, if you want to submit an abstract for COLLABORATE10, today is you last day….so click here to submit and abstract. The focus on driving down costs was clearly stated by all of the Oracle folks. The key is that through better more effective use of shared and open technology you can drive down costs. From a DW perspective the Exadata and Database Machine seems like the flavour of the day. I realize that this is some great technology and can provide some customers with some real performance, so don’t get me wrong about this, the other DW appliance manufacturers must be concerned. The latest version of the machine from Oracle and Sun show us where this company is going and how technology will make a difference. The speed of the basic machine along with Flash Memory provides the power not only for data warehousing but now for OLTP as well. Ray Roccaforte talked about how he expected this flash memory improvement to help DWing in the future, but for now it provides OLTP with the additional power of The Database Machine. I have to admit when I first discussed this machine with the VP in charge of this, I said I was surprised that Oracle had not gone after the OLTP market with this approach and now a year later here it is.

Lots of discussion around OBIEE and ODI/OWB, since this was my focus for the week and it was great to see how people are truly exploiting this technology. Considering how late Oracle arrived into the BI and DW tool game, they are making some solid moves into this domain and their tools can really provide the performance and results that companies are looking for.

Also met with some users involved with Z/Series Linux, a group that runs Oracle on Linux on IBM mainframes. This is a small but passionate group that was looking to the IOUG to support their networking and educational goals, and I expect that we will see many of these folks in Las Vages at COLLABORATE10 as we develop a conference-within-conference for the community.

The last evening was Aerosmith, Roger Daltrey, The Wailer and 3 Dog Night. I made it to 3 of 4, only missing the Dogs. Aerosmith was its usual polished self, with Steven Tyler being award and IOUG Lifetime achievement award. Daltrey was the biggest surprise as he delivered a great set of well known and lesser known Who material. He was in fine form and he voice in its 60th year was able to keep up. The Wailers were awesome. I grew up in Montreal with the music of Bob Marley and The Wailers and I had seen them perform before, so it was great to hear the wonderfully energizing music fill the San Fran nights.

The show wrapped and by the end of it many of us were happy to return back to share the word. I expect that 2010 will be an exciting year whether you are a Oracle or Sun customer, as we learn how the next evolution for Oracle and the user communities.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oracle OpenWorld – We call today….Larryday

As every Wednesday comes at OpenWorld we know one thing. This is the day that Larry Ellison speaks to his customers and let’s them know  what Oracle has been up to lately and tells us what we should be looking at in the Oracle world. So today I decide to rename the day “Larryday”.

The keynote is the most important session of the week and you can always tell something is up as security dogs show up at the Moscone Center, you know Larry is coming.

Ellison finally took the stage after someone from Infosys, not sure what they do, but running Toastmaster classes is not one of them.

As with most seminars this week, the promotion of the Database Machine/Exadata servers and this session was not going to be that different. I have to admit that I am very excited by this technology. I come from a background of implementing Netezza servers and I would suggest that right now they must be worried about the Oracle offering. It is amazing how

The challenge went out to IBM or anyone $10 million for anyone who can out perform the latest Database Machine. Consider that IBM is challenging Oracle claim that they are 16x faster; according to Ellison IBM thinks the claim should only be 6x faster. Here is Larry calling out the universe:


The surprise guest was next and this year it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who showed up and was here to “Pump you up”. He also commented that his IQ had gone up by 10 points just by showing up. Those who attend this event know that when you leave the event that your Oracle IQ is 10 points higher. Arnold said he loved all technology; hi tech, bio-tech, nano-tech, he loves it all. Consider how much he was helped by technology. Whether it was his body building career (food supplements) or movies, he uses it everywhere. Here is The Arnold up on the stage today.

image Of course as with any politician he had to make his social comments about California being a green state and you have to admit they are doing more than most. His talk was funny lively and just what we needed to lighten things up and get back to the real world.

That’s it for now…..have to get ready for Aerosmith, Roger Daltry, 3 Dog Night and the Wailers. It is going to be a great night and will give you an update about how it went.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oracle 11g for Data Warehousing

Back with the latest update.[ the day has been crazy already and its not done yet.  I am finally finished my presentation “An ETL Framework using OWB”. I think it went well. It was good to see so many people who are interested in this compelling technology. The basic message I had for people is that for ETL…..keep it simple. And as for the choice of OWB; it is one that your budget will like and your developers will be able to use to produce most of the results that you need. It is a compelling ETL choice. Thanks to everyone who attended and took part in the session.

So now on the next and related session, the Oracle 11g Database for Data Warehouses with Ray Roccaforte who is one of Oracle leading data warehousing gurus. It started with a discussion of the latest version of Database Machine (Exadata), he explained how they were able to achieve a huge performance gain over the orginal version of the Exadata server. With improved everything including CPU, interconnect, memory and so much more, has provided a doubling of the performance. As well the latest compression and new storage indexes which reduces I/O to near zero., this is done by ensuring that the min and max values are within a read range, so it only read what it needs to. In addition the new columnar compression allows for more effective storage. It stores data based on a column and then compressed….very cool. No quite a column database but they seem to be getting closer.

The discussion around the features in teh database is one that I always like. So consider that OLAP and Data Mining and Analytics are built right into the database and can access data effectively and efficiently. The tighter integration in 11g with OBIEE and the database is another encouraging feature. These are areas that poeple may not be aware that they exist, so I would encourage people to take a look at this technology it could save real dollars considering the cost of other analytic software today.

So the message is that Exadata is a real option for DW deployments and they are pushing this message out to the audience today

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oracle Provides Direction

During this morning opening session, Charles Phillips and Safra Katz tried to inspire the troops about Oracle current and future offerings. It almost seems like Oracle was searching for a message….and if I am to draw one thing from today’s sesison was that Oracle has software to help you do anything. As Safra mentioned today, software in the past was like ordering a car part by part and then calling a mechanic, welder and other people to put it together for you. Of course as soon as your finished your car, a light comes on to tell you you need an upgrade. So the message was that this was not the approach Oracle was taking, its goal is to provide integrated solutions that all work together and benefit from teh features of each. they focused on how Oracle is now number 1 in middleware with the full integration of BEA and the launch of Webcenter suite 11g and how Oracle now has a very viable middleware solution that relies on open and extendable capabilities. The value is in making everything work together. Below are Charles and Safra up on stage today.


There were a number of product managers who presented information about Primavera, Peoplesoft, CRM and Retek. They mentioned that companies like H&M and Zara have changed the way retail is being done and Oracle’s Retek has done a great job in supporting these changes to provide retail companies with better information to run their business better and ultimately making a greater profit. They also showed that with the integration of BI, which is allowing businesses can be more efficient in products selling and can meet today’s changing retail approach.

And the announcement of the CIO of the Year and turns out to there actually 5 CIOs of the year from numerous companies all over the world. Too many to name but they seemed pleased to be getting the award.

Next up is HP’s Ann Livermore….can’t wait to see if she discusses how the Sun acquisition will impact the Oracle-HP relationship. We shall see

User Groups Kick Off Open World

Today in San Francisco begins the annual Oracle led customer event; Oracle OpenWorld. The conference is one where people can learn Oracle’s direction for technology on the near and long-term. Sunday is a very valuable day for people who attend the event. It is Sunday that is day when the user communities run sessions that are technically focused on various components of the Oracle database and middleware.

The IOUG is front and center in this activity starting the day with important topics including security, business intelligence among many others.  Of course if you are here come by the IOUG booth in Moscone West (2nd floor) and meet others with similar interests as you.

I started my Oracle Openworld experience with the security topic. The session is a panel discussions with individuals from the user community sharing real world experiences and with the people from Oracle who are responsible for delivering the security technology to us. Below is Andy Flower of LoganBrittan and Tanya Baccam of Baccam consulting that re giving great insights into the current state of security and providing tips on how to improve it.

anyday1 It is interesting that current issues that people are experriencing and little people are doing with regard to security. The IOUG survey has illustrated some many issues that people are experiencing. With a little work DBAs and SysAdmins we can do a lot. Organization need to look to encryption, audit and options like Oracle’s Data Vault.

One small question I have….When is a blogger not a blogger? The answer is when Oracle decides that a Blog is not a Blog…so my adventure starts without Blogger credentials…let’s see if I can beat the system and still get they access I need this week...that’s all for now…..and on to the rest of the week.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Come meet the IOUG at Oracle OpenWorld

We are only days away from the start of Oracle OpenWorld, the annual gathering of Oracle professionals that is held close the Oracle HQ in San Francisco. It is an event that is hectic to say the least and one where valuable information can be overwhelming you need to find some anchors and ways to get the most out of your time there.

We always say that one of the most valuable benefits that the IOUG provide is around networking and in the mass of people who attend Openworld how can you build these networks. So here is my suggestion on how to start or continue to build your network: Join and be part of the IOUG. Starting on Sunday of Openworld it will be your time to find and meet the people in the user community with similar interests to you in an environment of education and sharing. On Sunday we will be running SIG Day at Openworld. During this day our Special Interest Groups will be running education and panels to discuss real world technical issues that are of important for all of us in the Oracle technology community. This is the place to start your week off on the right foot and take part. Find the people who are already active in the community, we are always looking for new friends :). Of course the IOUG presents a number of sessions scattered during the week. So you know if it is education you want look for the user group to help you.

In addition we will have a booth in Moscone West….so I would suggest everyone comes by and makes this a great user community meeting place. Many of the IOUG Board will be “manning” the booth, so come by and make that connection to the people who have many of the same interests and questions as you. Plus you might meet someone nice to go to Aerosmith with. See you Sunday!