Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Oracle OpenWorld User Perspective

As we return back from Oracle OpenWorld, I thought that I would blog on some my experiences and how being active in your user community can make a difference.

I find that my experience at OpenWorld is something of a special one. An experience that is based on being involved and having the goal to help others. I attend in many ways. I attend as a leader in the user group community as a Board Member of the IOUG. I am there as a writer, representing Oracle Press and my book “Oracle Database 11g Beginner’s Guide”, there as a member of the Thoughtcorp team and as an Oracle professional and ACE trying to learn what is new and how to be a better solution provider. The value that I get from all of these things is immeasurable. I am always am surprised when I have to explain the value of being involved.

At OpenWorld I had the chance to meet Ironman (if you have seen Ironman 2. you will know that Oracle was a great supporter. This is me with the suits before I had the chance to fly around in one.


I was also invited to an event where I had the chance to meet Mark Hurd, the new President of Oracle. It was a pleasure to meet him and I look forward to seeing how myself and the user group will work with this new regime. And can you find the Oracle ACE in the sculpture gallery at SFMOMA, where the event was held.


The event was a clear event where the message was that Oracle provides us with a chance to leverage all aspects of the technology stack from one place. The announcement of the ExaLogic machine was exciting as was the continued messaging around Oracle’s BI offerings. It is an exciting time to be part of the Oracle community and in the coming weeks I will continue to discuss about what I learned and some of the new technologies which will be important to us in teh coming months and years.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Standard Configurations May be Your Solution

It’s really quite amazing to me how many organizations have database and or application performance issues and then spend incredible amounts of time in their diagnosis and treatment. We solve the issues in a number of ways; we improve SQL access to the database (the most common issue), we change database parameters and execution plans to improve memory and data usage during the execution of other queries and we change the database from both a design and deployment perspective. In the end most performance issues are solved but what happens to our learning's from these issues? Generally we make changes to the one database and then wait until the next performance crisis arises, so our new solution is often lost and the knowledge not shared.

So how can we fix these types of issues? How can one performance issue help the entire organization? If the organization adopts the use of standard approaches to data and databases a lot of these issues can be reduced if not eliminated. Consider a large company who has many databases, often 100’s of database instances. In this company they need a team of DBAs who are responsible for a subset of these databases but yet they have no synergy and the differences in these databases make each one a custom deployment, which requires significant  involvement from the various IT teams. Consider if the organization adopts the use of standard configurations. If they decide to create databases in 3 to 5 standard configurations. They may create one for small applications, another for web deployments, another for analytic and data intensive applications and another for mission critical applications. This creates a limited number of selections, but each one is optimized for the application and allows for quick and simple deployments. It also reduces the variations which increase maintenance costs. The same can go for data models. Tables can be deployed based on standard approaches to how tables, indexes, partitions and other objects get created. By creating and defining standards, you reduce the risk while maintaining the highest quality and optimal performance. The key is that when we make one change we can easy replicate and deploy it in all environments such that the entire organization can gain the benefits.

As we come up to Oracle OpenWorld and the IOUG User forum, you will begin to see this type of message for larger organizations to provide them with the ability to deploy applications faster and maintain the infrastructure more effectively and efficiently. By simplifying the choices you can improve your ability respond to issues and ultimately reduce costs

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Arming Us with Knowledge

As the time for Oracle OpenWorld approaches (Sept 19 to 23rd) I started to think about knowledge and learning. This is a fundamental right and gift that I hope to have instilled in my children and what I hope we have all done for our own.

So then this morning I see a billboard that said “In the war of ideas; Are we sending out children out unarmed?

This is a question that seemed profound to me today. We live in a world where our knowledge is one of the most important qualities we can each have. This knowledge is what makes us productive but it also makes us interesting.

So how do we address this? We send our children to schools where there are educated on the way the world works and how we can find our place in it. However is this preparing us for what we really need? Do we have the skills we really need? Are we street savvy? Today the world is a complex place. One where we must be prepared for multiple influences on our everyday lives. We need to understand the influences of activity in all corners of the Earth. We need to understand how economic factors in the Far East impact North America and vice versa as well. You need to look at the big picture to be able to take a stand on how you react to various scenarios. It is no different in the IT industry. This is a place that has so many influences that you really need to understand how each impacts an IT project. You need to be armed with knowledge.

The world today is about acquiring knowledge and using it in a way that benefits everyone around you. So it is imperative to gather knowledge and quickly turn it into value. It is never too early to start this journey, but it is one that you must start so that you can be prepared as well as creating an environment where ideas are valued.